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Ubuntu May Move To Rolling Releases

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the gathering-no-moss dept.

Linux Business 246

formfeed writes "The register claims that 'Ubuntu is moving away from its established six-month-cycle and potentially to a future where software updates land on a daily basis.' While this sounds like a sudden change, it is apparently more of a long-term thought. The Register quotes Shuttleworth: '"Today we have a six-month release cycle," Shuttleworth said. "In an internet-oriented world, we need to be able to release something every day. That's an area we will put a lot of work into in the next five years. The small steps we are putting in to the Software Center today, they will go further and faster than people might have envisioned in the past."' But given that many of Shuttleworth's thoughts became decisions later on, it might be interesting to see, where this one leads. Interestingly enough, five years is about the time when Ubuntu will run out of letters."

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They already do! (1)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330448)

"changes land on a daily basis".

Excuse me, but they already do. What the heck is update manager, but a means for updates to land when needed?

Re:They already do! (1)

flurdy (301431) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330476)

"changes land on a daily basis".

Excuse me, but they already do. What the heck is update manager, but a means for updates to land when needed?

Normal updates are just for fixes.
However the optional backports are for introducing new versions so they already partially do this.

Re:They already do! (4, Informative)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330480)

Typically those changes are mostly bug/security fixes. New features/APIs tend to only be released every 6 months.

Re:They already do! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34331924)

That was my first thought!

Re:They already do! (1)

RicktheBrick (588466) | more than 3 years ago | (#34332886)

My update manager refuses to work ever since I updated to 10.10. It either keeps telling me to authenticate or it keeps telling me it is waiting for apt-get to exit. I use apt-get install for every update now until someone can update update manager. It is interesting when I updated linux-image2.6.35-23-generic it told me that a additional 139M bytes of disk would be used and when I updated linux-generic it told me that an addional 169M bytes of disk space would be used so a total of 308M bytes of disk space was needed for just two updates. I am using a 40G bytes ssd for this system so two updates are using almost 10% of my disk drive space.

that's really good! (2, Interesting)

mhh91 (1784516) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330464)

I have used Arch Linux for quite some time,and I like it when I have the latest software without having to update to a newer release,or wait for a new one to be available

Re:that's really good! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34332720)

Wow! You get the latest software before it is even released?!

/yeah, I know, comprehension fial

Obvious problem is obvious (5, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330466)

Lately, there has been a gradual shift in Linux hardware support where distros are limiting support for older hardware. I understand why they are doing it, but by doing what Ubuntu is [thinking about] doing, it could literally result in a situation where one day your computer is supported and the next day, it's not. That's not a good thing.

Re:Obvious problem is obvious (4, Interesting)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330550)

That happened to me.

ON DEBIAN STABLE

Seriously, running Debian Stable happily for months. They release a break for my Firewire, obviously a security update because it's STABLE, then they release a break for my sound, I didn't feel like futzing with drivers and stuff, that's why I stayed on stable. I went to Kubuntu. 8 months later I figured I would try Debian again. Still broke. I don't know what they were thinking, but stable isn't.

Re:Obvious problem is obvious (5, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330572)

It didn't work when you left it. It didn't work when you came back.

That's pretty much the definition of stable.

Re:Obvious problem is obvious (2, Insightful)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330672)

That thought had crossed my mind.

Well, they broke it while stable, but at least they're stable enough not to fix it.

I wouldn't think a Centrino laptop would be all that hard to keep working.

(Toshiba Tecra A5 - Kubuntu works fine, but I do prefer Debian)

Re:Obvious problem is obvious (2, Insightful)

smchris (464899) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331758)

Similar. I'd run Debian testing for years as the "best compromise" but the latest testing has given me so many problems it's more like an old unstable. Moved to 10.04. Finally, an Ubuntu where everything just worked. You can imagine that I don't welcome this news.

Re:Obvious problem is obvious (2, Interesting)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 3 years ago | (#34332462)

My results were like yours. That's why I finally switched to stable from testing. Got tired of working on my system instead of using my system.

Re:Obvious problem is obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34332900)

>Finally, an Ubuntu where everything just worked.

Lucky. 10.04 won't let me poweroff my computer. sudo shutdown -P now results in a reboot. EVERY TIME.

Re:Obvious problem is obvious (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330622)

Run LTS instead.

Of course. the wise user collects live CDs for recovery/repair/reinstallation and so is more prepared to sort out problems than most Windows victims (who can, BTW, collect PE-ish live CDs for rescue/recovery/emergency internet surfing too).

Re:Obvious problem is obvious (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34331154)

Wow. Couldn't even address one concern of a user without taking a completely non-related swipe at Windows? You must have real problem.

Little Linux fanbois so hung up on Microsoft that they can't even stick to the topic at hand. Must suck to be so uptight about what OS you use. Hahahaha!

Don't worry, little boy, we're just making a bit of fun.

Re:Obvious problem is obvious (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331622)

Run LTS instead.

About that, 10.04 Long Term Shagged regressed both the network and display drivers on one of my boxen. LTS may not mean what you think it means. It certainly doesn't mean what I'd like it to mean.

Re:Obvious problem is obvious (-1, Flamebait)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331776)

Oh, it's not even a question of whether it's "supported" or not, it's whether some bleeding edge genius decides to grab and roll out a temporarily borked driver for your "supported" hardware, just because it's got a new feature that they want to use in theirs.

Bad enough if it's your printer or scanner, but shafting Jane User's display or network driver even once, for one day, on her sole machine, effectively bricks it until Jane puts on some makeup, maybe does something with her hair, and finds a real man to fix it for her, put a baby in her belly and tell her to git off that darn computer and bake him some pie.

Re:Obvious problem is obvious (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331782)

Yeah, but the cases in which your hardware would no longer be supported, it's going to be on fairly old equipment (5-10years) which, for the most part, people are using as servers, firewalls, routers, etc... I wouldn't be turning on daily updates on a device like that. Worst case, if you built a computer for a relative they use just to check their mail. But again, I wouldn't turn on updates unless I were there to monitor it.

Re:Obvious problem is obvious (2, Insightful)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 3 years ago | (#34332312)

Yeah, but the cases in which your hardware would no longer be supported, it's going to be on fairly old equipment (5-10years)...

Five years is *way* too soon. Who does Canonical think they are, Apple?

Seen this many times (5, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330492)

You go from one release cycle style to another. Periodic releases to constant releases. And then back.

Each style has its advantages, but in the end you just end up changing for change's sake and no real benefit is gleaned one way or the other. It's a lot like reorganizing resources in a company. You move some people here, you transfer some people there, you change from a horizontal hierarchy to a more vertical one. Then in 18 months you change it back.

In the end, the guys on the ground doing all the nitty gritty work do the same job they've always done and the company keeps chugging along.

That being said, it's usually a case of management losing touch with the guys on the ground that causes this kind of shakeup. I wouldn't be surprised if Shuttleworth is a bit disappointed in how the business is going and is looking to change the sales story for Ubuntu. From the "stable and great" OS it is now to "cutting edge and always up to date" OS it could be with constant drops.

Re:Seen this many times (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34332162)

He's looking to get more into mobile and sees rolling updates as a model for that market.

Don't like it (0, Redundant)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330496)

I don't really like this news.

People like new things. I think you can get more people to change by telling them "The latest Ubuntu is out!" - which has some large changes which people can get wowed by and appriciate.

That said, with the update manager always updating at least SOMETHING every day, its sorta like this.

That said, I wish to add a question - What exactly is the difference between say Ubuntu 10.4 and 10.10 ? What exactly is a 'latest upgrade' ? When they change the way things look and a few policies (such as the default media players?)

Re:Don't like it (1)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330766)

That said, I wish to add a question - What exactly is the difference between say Ubuntu 10.4 and 10.10 ? What exactly is a 'latest upgrade' ? When they change the way things look and a few policies (such as the default media players?)

10.10 uses the 2.6.35 kernel by default instead of the 2.6.32 kernel and it has better driver support than 10.04 (more stuff just works).

95% of the changes between releases are completely cosmetic but there is the odd thing that makes it worthwhile, for me anyway.

Re:Don't like it (1)

EnglishSteve (834757) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330902)

10.10 uses the 2.6.35 kernel by default instead of the 2.6.32 kernel and it has better driver support than 10.04 (more stuff just works).

And some stuff that 'just worked' in 10.04 no longer works in 10.10.

Re:Don't like it (1)

xSauronx (608805) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330944)

I kinda got tired of the way ubuntu updated things and stopped using it. They just *move* stuff every 6 months and it was always something that annoyed the hell out of me. On top of that...the kernel updates were pretty regular, which means I needed to reboot. I was rebooting ubuntu a couple of years ago more than I ever reboot Windows now. Is that still the case? Seems like I was getting kernel updates weekly or bi-weekly.

Re:Don't like it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34331236)

The mass kernel updates are usually only the first few weeks after release. If you jump in a month or two late, needing to reboot is fairly rare.

Re:Don't like it (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331320)

I was rebooting ubuntu a couple of years ago more than I ever reboot Windows now. Is that still the case? Seems like I was getting kernel updates weekly or bi-weekly.

Unlike Windows, you don't need to reboot for a kernel update unless it's an essential security fix: unless it's changed in Windows 7, Microsoft won't let you install any other updates until you've rebooted to finish installing the previous one, whereas Ubuntu couldn't give a damn.

I seem to get a new kernel from Ubuntu every couple of weeks, but I only reboot my MythTV server every month or two unless there's a serious hole I really want fixed there and then.

Re:Don't like it (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 3 years ago | (#34333052)

Microsoft won't let you install any other updates until you've rebooted to finish installing the previous one,

That's because they test the old version, update 1 applied fully, update 1+2 applied fully and so on.

They don't test all possible chimeric system configurations e.g. where updates 1+2+3 were applied fully, 4 was applied to libraries but there is no reboot so the kernel has the updates 1-3 but not 4 and 5 was applied fully.

whereas Ubuntu couldn't give a damn.

Err, never mind.

Re:Don't like it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34331698)

True. OTOH, it might be just "funny" to find out some morning after daily updates, that window close button had moved to some random corner, a functional GUI replaced with something untested button collection, which takes quarter of screen, etc.. Perhaps it is just time to move my Eepc901 from the Netbook Remix to a less adventurous system, which is not governed by some visionary user experience artist wannabe. Any suggestions?

Re:Don't like it (1)

avaik6 (1927978) | more than 3 years ago | (#34332044)

True. OTOH, it might be just "funny" to find out some morning after daily updates, that window close button had moved to some random corner, a functional GUI replaced with something untested button collection, which takes quarter of screen, etc.. Perhaps it is just time to move my Eepc901 from the Netbook Remix to a less adventurous system, which is not governed by some visionary user experience artist wannabe. Any suggestions?

Cosmetic changes don't apply to your existing user, but to new ones, therefore, unless you create a new user each time you use your computer, you won't notice those changes.


Not untill you have a spare day and say "oh, I'm feeling nauhty, I'm going to reinstall my oobantoo, oh yes!"

Re:Don't like it (1)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | more than 3 years ago | (#34332144)

Agreed. My old creative webcam *FINALLY* works. Now, if I could get Kopete to recognize it I'd be set.

Siderant: Why is it that Kopete can't seem to keep up with Pidgin on their little items when it beats the blue hell out of Pidgin in the big-time stuff like webcam (when it works!), theme integration, identity grouping and the like? I mean little things like 'sort by recent activity', 'last seen', and 'psychic mode'. It's the little things like that which keep me from going back to Kopete full time. That and Kopete liking to eat memory like crazy.

Re:Don't like it (1)

JackieBrown (987087) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330822)

The difference should be newer versions of apps and kernels.

Stable typically only gets bug fixes.

Re:Don't like it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34331142)

People like new things. I think you can get more people to change by telling them "The latest Ubuntu is out!" - which has some large changes which people can get wowed by and appriciate.

The parent makes a great point.

Consider that the Google search traffic for Ubuntu is cyclic, and matches the release cycle closely.

http://www.google.com/insights/search/#q=ubuntu&cmpt=q [google.com]

Re:Don't like it (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#34332944)

Consider that the Google search traffic for Ubuntu is cyclic, and matches the release cycle closely.

Part of this will of course be people trying to fix problems with the latest version :P

Though this year things have been pretty smooth sailing for me when upgrading.

I have made a suggestion like this long ago. (4, Insightful)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330502)

While i understand that you want the foundation to be fairly stable that in itself creates a slew of problems. Foremost that stuff like Firefox, OpenOffice and other userend apps wont get upgraded to newer versions until the next rollover.

My personal dream would be a distribution where the user end is getting upgraded often and fast while stuff under the hood gets overhauled less often.

A suggestion would be major overhauls once every two years of the backend stuff while user applications is kept on newest stable versions. That way developers of backend stuff gets ample time to iron bugs out while users wont have to upgrade the whole desktop just to get a new version of an app.

Re:I have made a suggestion like this long ago. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34330770)

This already exists and is called "FreeBSD".

All the basic unix-userland, kernel and a couple of old and common server applications are in stable versions in the base system. All the fancy stuff is installed from ports.

While it has some benefits, and I use it as a server with great success. For a desktop environment, like Ubuntu, I suspect it would be quite work intensive to keep up to date.

Re:I have made a suggestion like this long ago. (1)

WayToGoPhil (1341289) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330932)

We seen how well rolling releases worked for gentoo. Sounds to me you want service pack updates similar to windows and OSX. Which I'm fine with but where do you draw the line on which applications get updated to their newer versions? Are just talking about applications like Firefox, Open Office? What about applications like RhythmBox that are tied to their DE. Hell do we push the latest DE(GNOME/KDE) updates out like you want for Firefox?

Re:I have made a suggestion like this long ago. (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331050)

While i understand that you want the foundation to be fairly stable that in itself creates a slew of problems. Foremost that stuff like Firefox, OpenOffice and other userend apps wont get upgraded to newer versions until the next rollover.

I'm pretty sure I've had Firefox version upgrades in both CentOS and Ubuntu without an OS version change, so that doesn't seem to be a problem.

Re:I have made a suggestion like this long ago. (1)

spinkham (56603) | more than 3 years ago | (#34332018)

It used to be a problem. Firefox has a short support window for older versions of Firefox, and Ubuntu developers have had to try to backport fixes to older versions of Firefox rather then do a major version upgrade. They have recently stopped this policy and are upgrading all older distros to the most recent firefox.

https://wiki.ubuntu.com/DesktopTeam/Specs/Lucid/FirefoxNewSupportModel [ubuntu.com]

Re:I have made a suggestion like this long ago. (1)

JackieBrown (987087) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331170)

I like it better the way it is now. There are ppas out there for most apps if you want newer versions. This gives each user control on what apps they consider non-essential enough to risk an upgrade for.

Re:I have made a suggestion like this long ago. (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331376)

Yes but PPA's can become a royal PITA when it comes time for the next upgrade. Any system that I've heavily used PPA's on has always have some issues during the upgrade procedure - most I had to reinstall from scrach to work out the quirks. Sticking with all standard repositories has never caused a problem.

For some software like Banshee, I take that risk, but I don't do it for anything but a select few packages.

Personally, I like the "limited rolling" idea. Let Ubuntu release updated versions of the user-space applications as they come out, in between releases. Major kernel changes, or underlying structure though, hold that over until the next release (except for security patches, naturally).

Re:I have made a suggestion like this long ago. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34331258)

I assume that is what ubuntu tries to target here, run the user space in the latest version of the apps, but keep the foundation in the usual release cycle. Of course this only works as long as the apps use the stable base instead of going for the latest version of a shared lib.

Re:I have made a suggestion like this long ago. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34331552)

My personal dream would be a distribution where the user end is getting upgraded often and fast while stuff under the hood gets overhauled less often.

No doubt this will be modded funny, but gentoo can give you this.

Stability? (0)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330510)

I know it sounds like a good idea but the Ubuntu releases also introduce some major feature or some behind the scene platform change. What new headache will each rolling release introduce to the user every day?

Re:Stability? (2, Insightful)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330544)

Yeah, daily releases sound great for the press but it does beg the question how they're going to deal with a new major release of glibc or something.

Re:Stability? (1)

leptechie (1937384) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330702)

Well as everyone's been pointing out, yes (near-)daily releases happen now. A packaged release happens every six months, and probably will stay that way, especially for Long-Term Support releases. Sound like Shuttleworth's proposing the whole of Ubuntu's user-base move into the Testing role, and to my mind that's just bad for business. The releases, and especially the LTSs have a defined feature set and take their time to iron out the kinks. With this many packages interacting, I have a tough time seeing how this isn't going to be something of a disaster.

Then again, I've been using Fedora for years, and haven't felt like I've been anything but a beta tester the whole time.

Re:Stability? (1)

Tanktalus (794810) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331210)

It's not like this hasn't been done before by other distros. In fact, "rolling updates" was, to me, an advantage of Gentoo. I used to run RH and even RHEL, but I had two major problems with them. a) Too much effort to get sources to compile. For example, I wanted to try the latest wx out from a coding perspective. I banged my head against it for hours and couldn't get it working. Maybe it works now, but with the RH level I had, it wouldn't for me. And b) upgrades from one release to the next were woefully underdocumented and convoluted. I didn't like the idea of blowing away the OS (which may have parts in /opt), but trying to keep non-OS stuff (that may have installed stuff to /usr) and then installing everything again, just so I could use the latest and greatest of whatever the distro didn't want to put in older releases. For example, using the latest Firefox - if the distro merely backported security fixes, I'd never see performance enhancements or new features (not all of Firefox's new features are compelling, but some could be). Or OpenOffice - newer versions of OOo have fixes for dealing with MS formats, and I may never see those, despite them being vitally important for my work with OOo, without upgrading the entire distro.

Now, Ubuntu may have an installer that goes from release to release by simply installing over top of the previous one. If they only support upgrading from the previous one, then I would end up being forced to take down my system every 6 months, give or take, to do the upgrade, and that's not great, either. Hopefully it would support at least two levels back. And maybe RH supports this better now, too. I don't know - I've been running Gentoo exclusively here for many years. I'm always at the latest - sometimes that's good (Firefox, OOo), sometimes not so much (deciding that an application is stable, and not wanting to upgrade - but then it leaves portage, and I won't be able to recompile it against a new glibc or some other library it depends on when that library gets upgraded). On the whole, I have my own flexibility, and I think this is better. Which, of course, is why I use it. I probably wouldn't want to base critical commercial servers on it, at least not without having my own test machine to ensure upgrades are ok before rolling them out to the production server, but for my home machines, it's great.

But you can do that now (3, Funny)

maweki (999634) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330528)

Just add debian testing to your sources.list


Or if you are really curious how it feel when your userland changes on a daily basis, add debian unstable...

Re:But you can do that now (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330868)

I don't know why Sid gets the bad rap that it does. I run it on my Sheevaplug, I've run it on a few other machines. I've had maybe 1-2 problems and they were all fixed within a day.

Now Debian Experimental....

Re:But you can do that now (1)

Saint Stephen (19450) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331066)

The first thing they teach you on d-l when you complain about a Sid issue is, "did you install apt-listbugs?" If you're not smart enough to read the buglist before you install, you shouldn't run Sid - you should run Stable.

Of course if you're the very first guy to install it you can still hit issues. I keep a local repo of my "last known good" debs so I can rollback if Sid breaks something. The equals key in aptitude is your friend.

Re:But you can do that now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34332562)

SID used to get a bad rap because massive changes would be made and just dropped right in.

All the people who used SID as their primary repository whined about it after the XFree-XOrg change because they (unreasonably) expected SID to stay usable. They won and now all the massive changes are made in Experimental, so SID is no longer the bleeding edge.

Re:But you can do that now (1)

HelloKitty2 (1585373) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330884)

That reminds me of Fedora Rawhide, people should try that if they want the "constant updates" model.

Instability through Obscurity (2, Interesting)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330534)

The biggest problem I've had with Arch is that changes are only tested on a few common packages before being sent out. If you use an obscure package routinely, it might not be tested decently with any given change, especially to libraries.

Once a change breaks something, you're left trying to install multiple versions, locking versions, modifying the source, or other such deep magic. Very quickly, the whole system gets to be too big a hassle to deal with.

Re:Instability through Obscurity (2, Interesting)

tenchikaibyaku (1847212) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330882)

I'm sure I'll get some flack for saying this, but this is one place where I think that gentoo is slightly better than arch: you have more power to (easily) put together a set of packages that works for you.

Re:Instability through Obscurity (2, Interesting)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331596)

Well I also use Arch, and I've never had problems when using packages from the official repository, or a maintained AUR package.

Re:Instability through Obscurity (2, Informative)

satoshi1 (794000) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330976)

That's really only the case if you're installing packages from the AUR that are unmaintained or have a lazy maintainer. With the recent python3 switch, everything not in AUR (since that is user maintained), was updated to point to the appropriate python executable.

OR, the issue is that you're performing selective upgrades. Which, in that case, of course you're going to run into library issues. ANY rolling release OS is meant to be fully upgraded whenever an upgrade is performed, otherwise you risk breaking everything.

With Arch, it only breaks if you break it, since you have total control over everything.

Re:Instability through Obscurity (2, Interesting)

DrXym (126579) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331474)

Once a change breaks something, you're left trying to install multiple versions, locking versions, modifying the source, or other such deep magic. Very quickly, the whole system gets to be too big a hassle to deal with.

Maybe the answer is something akin to restore points in Windows, noting prior to an upgrade what system files will be overwritten, backing them up (and the dpkg database) and then installing the update. If there is a screwup, then you can rollback to some point in the past.

Re:Instability through Obscurity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34331624)

"Once a change breaks something, you're left trying to install multiple versions, locking versions, modifying the source, or other such deep magic."

This is exactly what you don't want to do. File a (proper) bug report. Ask in irc or the forums. There are always people willing to help you find the right solution, but ignoring the problem and moving on to an even more obscure package is the wrong way to go in an opensource community.

Protip: you're doing it wrong.

Ubuntu SID? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34330558)

This was Debian's solution, still in development. No long cycles and it's great for the people who love the bleeding edge.

Re:Ubuntu SID? (4, Informative)

scharkalvin (72228) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330650)

Linux Mint is already doing a 'rolling release' with a distro based on Debian testing.

Re:Ubuntu SID? (1)

nukem996 (624036) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330914)

For alot of things Sid is still way out of date. I don't do much Debian work anymore but when I did I remember comming across tons of them and having to either roll my own Debian package for awhile awhile. This is certainly the case for lesser used packages.

Re:Ubuntu SID? (1)

chowdahhead (1618447) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331456)

A lot of Sid is in sync with upstream, and for those packages that aren't, we have Experimental.

Debian Experimental? (1)

xoundmind (932373) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330716)

That'll keep your system fresh.

To much change fades the message (1)

Bucc5062 (856482) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330718)

What is this fascination with change for change sake? What could possibly be so important that it has to come out each and every day? Then to use a silly statement like "in an internet-oriented world" to justify what sounds more like the capricious nature of an marketing executive then solid rational for updating software...meh!

As a recent (4 years) user of Linux I find the current release process more reliable then wondering what will happen the next day. Like another poster, I've had a "stable" release break what worked, causing me to wipe and rebuild with a previous version. These days I wait a few months for kinks to work out of a release before installing on any of my systems. Don't use the internet as an excuse to garner attention and push out sloppy programs just to say "we got there first". Promote and produce solid, dependable, and balanced releases that make the Linux (ubuntu) experience a positive one; you'll have a stronger following.

Re:To much change fades the message (1)

HelloKitty2 (1585373) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330966)

*than
than solid rational ..

But I agree with your post, don't like where all this "internet age" thing is going. Soon we'll see a facebook icon by default on the desktop, or something.

Re:To much change fades the message (1, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331134)

What is this fascination with change for change sake? What could possibly be so important that it has to come out each and every day?

The problem is that if you wait six months between upgrades then that means you spend 12 hours downloading and installing hundreds of megabytes of changes and then it crashes part-way through and your system is hosed. I've reached the point where I'm reluctant to upgrade any of my Ubuntu machines to a new release because of all the problems I've had in the past.

If they can release the updates in smaller batches which make less changes then that would reduce the odds of a system not working and taking six hours to fix. But, as people have said, that introduces its own problems if you change sometihng like glibc or the kernel version and suddenly have to recompile half the packages to be compatible.

Why not do both? (1)

Logic Worshipper (1518487) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330742)

Ubuntu could release new and simple updates/upgrades regularly, and every few years, release a new version of ubuntu. Who would want to install then update when the most recent live disk is from 10 years ago? Ubuntu could get rid of incremental releases, and just release the LTS versions, then push updates and give users a choice "security updates only", "security updates and minor bug fixes" or "security, functionality, and major bug fixes - may be less stable".

Ooooh, can't wait for it (2, Funny)

Smivs (1197859) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330772)

five years is about the time when Ubuntu will run out of letters.

Looking forward to ZenBuddhist Zebra!

This may have unforseen problems (1)

whizbang77045 (1342005) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330784)

It's going to be a big enough job for Ubuntu to keep up with whether the latest daily change works with everything. Anyone using using packages not included in the Ubuntu distribution (for example: Boxee) is likely to wake up one morning, and discover their program doesn't work. Some new library will have replaced the old library that the application required. This will probably mean I change distributions, if they do this.

It also ignores the vast unwashed throng, of which I happen to be a member, who have limitations on their internet access, either due to speed, or daily quotas. It's not unusual now to find their recommended update exceeds my daily quota.

Please don't tell me I should upgrade to DSL. The only thing remotely resembling high speed internet here is satellite. It's that, or dialup!

Re:This may have unforseen problems (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331846)

But Damn Small Linux is perfect for downloading over slow connections.

Awsome (1)

nukem996 (624036) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330880)

This is one of the biggest features I miss about Gentoo. I like running the latest and greatest but stablity is also nice. Hopefully this would mean things like same day Firefox stable releases in Ubuntu and others. Not sure how it would handle big things like GNOME, X, or glibc but if they can do it well that would be amazing.

Re:Awsome (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331626)

You should try Arch. It's very similar to Gentoo, but without all the compiling.

Re:Awsome (1)

nukem996 (624036) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331744)

Currently using Fedora. I'm really not a huge fan of pacman and Fedora is actually pretty up to date with things.

Moving Target (3, Insightful)

gillkm (410018) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330942)

Linux is already much of a moving target when it comes to application development and getting some kind of a consistent environment, now it will be increasing harder (at least on Ubuntu). I can envision vendors spending more time updating their build environments than actually implementing their products.

Re:Moving Target (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331146)

What distros need to do is have periodic "releases" of the core build and libraries, with applications built on top released as they build. Then things like KDE and glibc remain stable, while we get to use the latest firefox or openoffice once they're tested to work in the core environment.

Re:Moving Target (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34332124)

Mark Shuttleworth actually proposed this earlier in the year. He wanted the core software to synchronise releases so that distros could do the same and we'd all get the benefit of consistency.

The Schedule (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34330950)

We have to run on "internet time", it's all about the schedule, we can't let the schedule slip. We have to release something, anything on schedule. Doesn't matter if it's crap, as long as it compiles, ship it! We have to have something new for the schedule, meet the schedule! Can't slip behind schedule!

Looks like Ubuntu/Canonical wants to become another Microsoft.

Re:The Schedule (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34331820)

Looks like Ubuntu/Canonical wants to become another Microsoft.

A highly successful software company that commands ~90% of the desktop market share and around 40% of the server market share? Oh the horrors!

Easy enough - it's only Ubuntu (4, Funny)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330990)

If you're talking about needing to "be able to release something every day" and you're talking about Ubuntu then the first few days are simple to sort, and I'm sure you could continue a pattern that would keep 90% of Ubuntu users happy:

Day 1: Lighten purple in default background
Day 2: Darken orange in default background
Day 3: Darken purple (but not enough to be back to original shade of purple)
Day 4: Put orange back to what it was
Day 5: Make all window buttons red instead of red and grey
Day 6: Put all window buttons back on the right side of the window
Day 7: Add a clock widget that uses bold
Day 8: Bundle a load of random pictures, slap Ubuntu logos on them and call them "The Ubuntu Desktop Pack" (see Gnome-Look.org for examples)
Day 9: Change the cursor theme so that it turns into an Ubuntu logo when hovering over a title bar - that's a feature, right? ...

Profit may be in there somewhere as well.

Re:Easy enough - it's only Ubuntu (2, Funny)

grking (965233) | more than 3 years ago | (#34332952)

Profit is definitely in there somewhere. M$ have been generating revenues from re-skinning their OS for years. The XP theme, the Vista theme, the Win7 theme...

LTS releases ? (2, Insightful)

ProgramErgoSum (1342017) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331064)

So, which one - if any - would be a LTS release ? I am really bothered about it. I am so far away from bleeding edge, that I want to change from one LTS release to another alone; let alone six-monthly ! And how about software developed for a particular release ? "Tested on Ubuntu release Nov 24 2010, 11 PM GMT+5" ?

Re:LTS releases ? (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331654)

Why would the LTS release be any different? It would just stay on the same cycle as the LTS does now. There is no reason a rolling release schedule would keep them from building an LTS version.

Re:LTS releases ? (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331902)

My experience of Ubuntu Desktop LTS releases has been that that Supported consists of Canonical saying "Yeah, well, the good news is that it ain't getting any worse". And then they roll out an update that shags your drivers.

I know, I know, you get what you pay for, roll your own if you need it to be stable or up to date. But I don't think Canonical is really committed to LTS releases, and I'm pretty sure that individual developers aren't. Interest in N+1 tails off even before release, as all the cool kids start working on N+2.

Corporate applications (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34331226)

I know lot of applications that run only on older versions of Ubuntu, so rolling releasess would break support for these kind of applications, because nobody is developing those applications anymore, but some people are using those. I actually use one program that runs only on Ubuntu 9.04 and I use it via VirtualBox from 10.04.

I admit that Ubuntu release cycle is too fast, because it makes lot of work for testing team. If you develop program for Ubuntu you need to test (and develop) your program several versions of Ubuntu. I think, one release in a year would be enough.

Rolling releases would be good for standard user, but in corporate environment it would total hell.

Ubuntu Zen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34331252)

The last letter of the Latin alphabet is "Z", so "zen" sounds like a really good name for the final release.

They won't run out of letters (4, Funny)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331326)

They won't run out of letters, they're using Base64.

Since *nix tends to be case-sensitive, they can re-use the first 26 names without collisions, and it will still be in version comparison order. Then I expect to see "0-day 0liphant" and so forth. By the time we get to the plus, minus, and equals, Canonical will have sponsored the naming of 3 newly discovered species such that they can finish the cycle. At 2 per year, that gets them to (04 + 32) = 2036. That's enough time for John Titor to come back from the future to fix the 2038 bug once and for all, along with the Ubuntu naming conventions hopefully.

In other words, Don't panic.

http://www.famalegoods.com (0, Offtopic)

falas105 (1946722) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331414)

welcome to: W W W ( famalegoods ) c o m The website wholesale for many kinds of fashion shoes, like the nike,jordan,prada,****, also including the jeans,shirts,bags,hat and the decorations. All the products are free shipping, and the the price is competitive, and also can accept the paypal payment.,after the payment, can ship within short time. free shipping competitive price any size available accept the paypal W W W ( famalegoods ) c o m jordan shoes $32 nike shox $32 Christan Audigier bikini $23 Ed Hardy Bikini $23 Smful short_t-shirt_woman $15 ed hardy short_tank_woman $16 Sandal $32 christian louboutin $80 Sunglass $15 COACH_Necklace $27 handbag $33 AF tank woman $17 puma slipper woman $30 W W W ( famalegoods ) c o m

I hate 'upgrading' (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331618)

Installing small daily updates is a breeze; I don't even think of it anymore because of automatic download and install options.

Upgrading to a new Version of the OS via many hundred megabyte download/CD/DVD is a pain in the ass.

Considering that it is possible to push out small incremental updates via the daily update system this seems like a good idea to me.

Also, you can already choose not to apply any of the daily software updates (esp. ones that might not be compatible with your hardware).

I look forward to the days where I'll never have to install an upgrade again...

Re:I hate 'upgrading' (1)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 3 years ago | (#34332634)

Considering that it is possible to push out small incremental updates via the daily update system this seems like a good idea to me.

I look forward to the days where I'll never have to install an upgrade again...

Gentoo has worked for me this way for years, and I presume many other distros can do this too. In fact, I rarely even use the install CD for new machines; if I already have a Gentoo box of the came architecture, I just copy the root filesystem and continue from there. Of course, a new kernel (for drivers) and other adjustments are necessary, but rarely a full install.

what everybody else has already realised (1)

SkunkPussy (85271) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331658)

it seems only yesterday that Mark Shuttleworth was demanding that the entire linux ecosystem move to a 6 month release cycle in order to match ubuntu

Awesome! (1)

yet-another-lobbyist (1276848) | more than 3 years ago | (#34332042)

This is what I have been waiting for. After my initial excitement about (k)ubuntu release updates to get all the hardware running and supported, I am now at a state where everything is fine. The ongoing new 6-month releases are more of an annoyance than a great feature. Having to upgrade completely every 6 months just to get access to the latest software releases does not seem like a worth while effort. Sure, you can say that's what the LTS releases are for. But while the LTS releases do enjoy long-term support for security-relevant updates, they do not get a lot of software updates. So if you favorite application gets a major update after the LTS release you are out of luck. (Of course, you can fiddle something together on your own, but that's not really a low-maintenance solution.) Also, from my experience the LTS do not have less bugs than regular releases.

So if they can make rolling releases working with a high level of quality and testing, this would be really awesome from my point of view.

COCK (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34332072)

you can. No, You can. no,

Maintainability, competing with Debian Testing (1)

Khopesh (112447) | more than 3 years ago | (#34332500)

Maintainability:
It's hard to maintain a system that has billions of different iterations — "billions" might be an understatement; your typical system has one to two thousand packages installed. If half of them get a nontrivial update every month (which is a pretty conservative estimate), that's still 125 million (500^3) combinations each quarter. The easiest solution to this isn't a very user-friendly one; make internal 'milestone' markers and force upgrades that would push beyond them to incrementally hit each one before coming up to speed (this also has the pleasant side-effect of leaving a system stable at a more updated place than where it was rather than chunking through an upgrade that fails part-way through). Ubuntu could move to this model immediately (it's already there; each milestone would merely be an unannounced LTS [ubuntu.com] (long-term support) release ... Server Edition would probably move to publishing LTS exclusively).

The big hurdle is how to determine that an update failed; just because the software looks intact and post-install scripts succeed doesn't mean that hardware support wasn't retracted or that things don't play nice. Some smoke-tests are needed, compatibility must be itemized, and a big decision must be made about what to do with people who can't (or won't) upgrade past a certain point. I think the milestones are a good solution there, but that's assuming the LTS model will be continued.

Debian Testing:
Unless Debian is frozen for an upcoming stable release, Debian Testing is a rolling release. I often wish that Debian would fork the Testing repo with that freeze rather than once it's fully released as stable (which would create a new name, perhaps "beta"), though I understand the limited resources for both developers and testers (those of us using Testing). Given the relationship between the two projects, I wonder what Ubuntu Rolling v. Debian Testing will do, and how they'll differentiate themselves...

Isn't Linux supposed to be modular? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34332570)

When will they stop pretending that apps are part of an operating system? Ubuntu confuses an OS with a kitchen-sink app. Desktop backgrounds, specific customized version of a specific browser, instant messaging, graphics editor -- none of these belong in an OS. None of these should be part of (depend on) an OS upgrade. An OS should provide a stable basis for all versions of all programs to run. If they could achieve that, there would be no need for frequent updates, except for the adventurous.

I hope they try..don't expect a gentooish solution (1)

wedgeshot (862462) | more than 3 years ago | (#34332606)

I've had my server running on gentoo since 2003 and never once had to put a CD/DVD in my drive to upgrade. Heck, I even started out initially on x86 and then went to ~x86 for some time and then back x86( lots of cruft to clean up but I managed ).
You just need to keep up with instructions given during emerge runs, running revdep-rebuild and perl cleaner also when instructed.

It's great the way it is! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34332734)

As an Ubuntu user for many years, I absolutely agree that the distro suffers from a pile of problems, but the release cycle itself is not one of them! To me, Ubuntu's choice of a non-rolling 6 month cycle (with exceptions for Firefox since upstream is making things hard for them) is perfect and fills a much-needed role as a distro.
  • It's non-rolling, so for 6 months at a time (or longer, if you want) things don't change. Everybody knows changes can break things, and this way I can deal with possible breakage once or twice a year, instead of at any instant. This makes Ubuntu better for me than Arch.
  • The releases are rapid enough. With releases every 6 months, I get fresh dose of the latest and greatest at a pleasent frequency. Debian's two-year cycle doesn't give me this.
  • It's Debian compatible. Whenever I need a super-new version of some package, I can pull it from Debian Sid.

Objectively, I wouldn't consider myself in Ubuntu's main target group, but I really, really like it (despite stupid decisions all the time, and horrible, disastrous bugs such as https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/mountall/+bug/616287 [launchpad.net] ).

Welcome to Debian SID (unstable) (1)

gfolkert (41005) | more than 3 years ago | (#34332866)

I've been using Debian Sid for years, on all of my servers that aren't under contract.

I've also been using it on my desktops since *forever*

I've been using it on my laptops since about 2004.

I've had a total of a couple of hours of limited functionality, between my laptops and desktops. X barfs or my primary Desktop (Gnome or KDE) gets horked for a bit. I move to XFCE or andother Window Manager.

Servers have been rock solid except for a short time when the whole udev/hald/something changed its rules on how my NICs were named... no longer were they eth0/1/2 but eth4/5/6... Hurrah. Debian Sid is going mainstream.

Et Tu Brutal Bobcat? (1)

DannyO152 (544940) | more than 3 years ago | (#34333016)

You know what is really starting to get on my nerves?

Updates and how.

Really, I am a grown-up. I do not expect perfection. I do not hold update counts against developers, in fact, the opposite, shouting huzzah whenever problems get fixed.

But here's what has happened in the past few months. There's something I want to do, and I fire up the software, and I'm greeted with an update available modal box which has to be addressed, probably with a "later" because at that moment I hadn't planned to be sys-admin dude.

With regards to Kubuntu, which I have installed in many places, I have had the occasional bit of bad luck in which a kernel updates seems to wack something for a few days until other packages catch up with their updates.

I contrast that with the iThings where updates are indicated quietly, download and install is neatly done, and I'm real sure that the update won't gum up the other apps or the gui.

I'm all for updates as long as they don't interfere with why I'm running a system, which is to do something that gets me paid or enjoyment, not administration and definitely not whack-a-mole dependency roulette.

It's not the frequency, it's the friction.

Bad for the server room (1)

bagawk (925499) | more than 3 years ago | (#34333026)

If ubuntu wishes to keep a presence in data-centers, they cannot move to a rolling release. Servers depend on a stable configuration. If a security update came along, most likely you would have to update many packages just to get the security fix and then be possibly be left with many broken things.I would however be supportive of a hybrid release with an LTS branch that only get updated for security and bug fixes.
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