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Monthly Ubuntu Releases Proposed

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the lets-speed-it-up dept.

Ubuntu 284

An anonymous reader writes "Scott James Remnant, the former Ubuntu Developer Manager at Canonical and current Ubuntu Technical Board leader, has proposed a new monthly release process for Ubuntu Linux. He acknowledges that with the six month releases there are features that end up landing way too soon, leaving them in a sour state for users. With his monthly proposal, Remnant hopes to relieve this by handling alpha, beta, and normal releases concurrently. It's unknown whether Canonical will accept the policy at this time."

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284 comments

reinstall montly (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37349336)

yeah, I don't want to reinstall montly ubuntu ;)

Re:reinstall montly (2)

NoobixCube (1133473) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349352)

This would probably end up working more like a rolling release, staying up to date would mean you ARE using the latest distro.

Re:reinstall montly (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37349368)

Apparently, it was the operating system used all over Libya. Look, if you had been the dictator of a country for 40 years, and STILL UNABLE to get promoted above the rank of colonel, you'd do some bad things too, purely out of frustration.

Re:reinstall montly (1)

Elbereth (58257) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349446)

I prefer they just went to a rolling release. Why are there even versions, anyway? It amazes me that so few Linux distributions actually use rolling releases. Maybe rolling releases are seen as too "cutting edge" for mainstream, conservative distributions like Ubuntu and Debian. I guess I'm just a ricer at heart.

Re:reinstall montly (4, Informative)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349582)

Debian does have rolling releases, it's called Testing and Unstable.

Re:reinstall montly (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349616)

Those names hardly inspire confidence for use in a production environment..

Re:reinstall montly (3, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349742)

Those names hardly inspire confidence for use in a production environment..

Quite. If they were a respectable company they'd call their test rolling release something like "Windows Update with Genuine Advantage"

If only... (2)

warrax_666 (144623) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349666)

If only it were possible to have the best of both worlds, a stable "base" and new/recent applications. I think e.g. PBI-9 [pcbsd.org] from PC-BSD may have a chance of doing that, but none of the currently popular package systems offer anything like it. (Yeah, I read the paper, so kill me.)

Personally, I think it would be interesting if the base (kernel, glibc, that kind of thing) were updated every 6-12 months, but applications were rolling release.

Ubuntu is kind of close with PPAs, but it's a bit of a crapshoot if your particular application has a (high-quality) PPA.

Re:reinstall montly (2)

SystemicPlural (1405625) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349896)

Except you don't want to boot up one day with an urgent task to perform only to discover that your user interface has completely changed. There are pros and cons to this.

Re:reinstall montly (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 2 years ago | (#37350036)

This makes it harder to hold back a release because the decided to axe a stable Gnome. Also makes it hard to hold back a week for the final beta testing.

Asa got a new job? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37349348)

When did he start at canonical?

Re:Asa got a new job? (1, Insightful)

Elbereth (58257) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349486)

Yeah, that was my first thought, too.

It seems to me that Canonical and Mozilla are off in their own little worlds. There's still hope for both of them, but they're so arrogant and far removed from their users that it seems like the slow slide into irrelevancy is almost assured. It's too bad, because both projects come up with decent enough ideas; the management and implementation leave me cold.

Re:Asa got a new job? (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349670)

As long as everyone else copies the ideas and improves upon them, everything is good!

I'm really thankful for the work that Ubuntu has been doing the last few years, but I think they should have taken more time with Unity before pushing it out to their desktop distro. Why they didn't just make an extension for something like Docky or AWN, I don't know.. Unity is completely awful compared to them. It's not even as good as the Windows 7 taskbar.

Re:Asa got a new job? (1)

datapharmer (1099455) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349962)

Yes, firefox release schedule = fail. As an admin I said "this is a PITA" (from a testing and deployment standpoint). My users said "wait, I just updated firefox, why do I have to do it again"

If they start doing this at the OS level end users are going to get pissed at the "time to update" icon or popup or whatnot and the admins are going to move to something that is stable. The only thing I want to have installed in my production environment is a well tested security patch - no UI changes, no new "features" that could compromise systems or break compatibility.

Re:Asa got a new job? (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 2 years ago | (#37350064)

Here here... The number of people on 10.04LTS and 10.10 just to avoid Unity should tell them that "more updates" is not what we are looking for.

Wasn't that going to be continuous? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349350)

Previously there was a proposal for continuous releases and for me this monthly idea is about the same. Ubuntu releases continuously anyway. But they maintain different branches and repositories. Every six months you skip to a new branch. So if you had a monthly branch and updated that on every build I think there would be some sort of longer term configuration management anyway. There would have to be experimental branches lasting for more than a month because some things take more than a month to develop. Not saying that this would be a policy, just that the community would informally organize it that way in any case.

Re:Wasn't that going to be continuous? (1)

kowala (1707988) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349662)

Each branch would have too come up with another snappy animal name. Perhaps related to the month it was being released. January JangleCat March Mancoon August Armadiller

Oh, it's clear something has to change! (2)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349358)

Oh, it's clear something has to change! The question is more like: What exactly? I have no good answers to this, but as a user I equate the 11.04 release to "Vista of Canonical". I stick fervently to the last LTS release which seems to be good. Sure, I still have two years left on it, but by the end an LTS release loses love and does get stale.

On my own desktops (So, not the desktops I support for family and friends), I usually run the latest release of Ubuntu. The experience was so bad, I personally went back to the LTS. I hope 11.10 will be better, and I'll get back to normal releases if it is.

I've heard good things of Linux Mint, which is Ubuntu based. Thing is, for my family/friends users, I really don't want to switch distributions every few years, just because one has lost my favour. That's going to hurt my credibility.

I've been thinking of switching completely to Debian, but the amount of work to get that running right as a modern desktop is daunting. I can do it, I have done it, but for example, to have a modern browser you either have to manually install it bypassing the package management (bad!) or use backports to get modern compiles of iceweasel. Neither is optimal.

What I fear, is that the proposed shorter release cycles are going to make Ubuntu break too often. That will turn off users, and they cannot afford to lose even more users after the 11.04 release.

Re:Oh, it's clear something has to change! (1)

cr_nucleus (518205) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349398)

What I fear, is that the proposed shorter release cycles are going to make Ubuntu break too often.

I believe that the solution for that would be to have different channels, one of which would be stable and thus would not break that much.

Re:Oh, it's clear something has to change! (1)

Vectormatic (1759674) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349474)

Even on 6-monthly releases, ubuntu has proven to be somewhat unreliable in terms of feature/usability/overal stability. Moving to monthly releases doesnt seem like a way to improve this in my eyes.

Mint is better then 11.04 since it just keeps gnome 2.4 as the default, not forcing its users to relearn the GUI all over again, but i have no illusions that at some point Mint will be forced down the ubuntu path to flashiness for flash's sake

Re:Oh, it's clear something has to change! (2)

GPLHost-Thomas (1330431) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349424)

I've been thinking of switching completely to Debian, but the amount of work to get that running right as a modern desktop is daunting.

What "daunting" work are you talking about here (despite the browser thing below)?

I can do it, I have done it, but for example, to have a modern browser you either have to manually install it bypassing the package management (bad!) or use backports to get modern compiles of iceweasel. Neither is optimal.

What's so wrong about using backports.debian.org? Is it so hard to add one line to your /etc/apt/sources.list? Why is this sub-optimal?

Re:Oh, it's clear something has to change! (2)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349716)

What's so wrong about using backports.debian.org? Is it so hard to add one line to your /etc/apt/sources.list? Why is this sub-optimal?

Optimal would obviously be it "just working" without having to keep multiple versions of the same package on your system. Whenever you have to change something from default, it makes it ever so slightly more annoying to do a reinstall, or set up the OS for someone else.

Re:Oh, it's clear something has to change! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37349776)

just run sid on your desktop, been doing so since 2001, never had any issues

Re:Oh, it's clear something has to change! (1)

Blaskowicz (634489) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349774)

I've been using http://mozilla.debian.net/ [debian.net] it's nice when it works but left me with an unresolved xulrunner dependancy on one machine. so it's a bit brittle and unsupported, even though I was maybe in a time window where the maintainers were in vacation and didn't keep up.

Re:Oh, it's clear something has to change! (1)

Confusador (1783468) | more than 2 years ago | (#37350038)

Optimal is what Google does with Chrome: you install the .deb, and it adds its own repository. You should never be forced to do that manually.

Re:Oh, it's clear something has to change! (2)

flurdy (301431) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349452)

Agree, something should change. I blogged about the ubuntu release issues earlier this year: http://blog.flurdy.com/2011/05/ubuntu-releases.html [flurdy.com]

Currently features that should mature more are released as default to everyone. They are stable but not enough themes, documentation, support tools etc for it to be of mature/professional enough for the average non fanboy user.

Bleeding edge but stable features should be in monthly releases so that hardcore fans can develop an community of tools, help etc around the feature so that when a more publicised LTS or quarterly release are pushed on joe average Ubuntu seems more polished. Monthly relases will mean less delta and quicker responses.

Also in my blog I state that Ubuntu should not push the latest release on Joe Average, but instead the more hardended LTS version. And never the initial 10.04 LTS but only when 10.04.01 was released for example.

Re:Oh, it's clear something has to change! (1)

GauteL (29207) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349808)

"They are stable but not enough themes [....] for it to be of mature/professional enough"

Themes and professionalism are mutually exclusive. For an office workstation, the only thing that matters is a good default one. It is very rare that an "average non fanboy user" gives two shits about themes.

Re:Oh, it's clear something has to change! (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349862)

Yes, and no... If you're used to a certain amount of polish, you rarely want to go back. I made the corporate disk image for the company I work for. It's Windows XP and I defaulted the theme to "Classic" because I like it more than "Luna". No user has kept it that way (didn't enforce it): all went to Luna. (It's a small company with +/-10 users... so it's not really representative)

So, say you're a Ubuntu user and go to Debian. Radiance and Ambiance are actually good themes (well, to my taste... this is a matter of taste after all)... Now go and look at the default theme Debian/Gnome2 offers. That's closer to XP "Classic" than you'd like to admit. The other default themes aren't much better. Which means, and that brings me back to your post, there is not really a good "default" one.

Re:Oh, it's clear something has to change! (2)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349460)

Give Xubuntu a try. I decided I didn't want to be a Unity beta-tester with 11.04, and Xubuntu has worked great for me.

Re:Oh, it's clear something has to change! (1, Interesting)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349504)

Unfortunately, the problem with 11.04 is not just Unity. There is an abundance of memory leaks and many unstable features even when running the 'classic' Gnome desktop. There are many unstable features around it as well. The weather icon crashes after a day or two. Network manager stops being able to disconnect. If I run an rsync to back up my home directory wifi eventually freezes up completely. Xfce looks nice, but I'm not sure how many problems it's actually going to fix. I'm looking at other distros as well, I'm just not sure which one to go with at this point. I may go back to the last LTS, or even 10.10, which for me was the best behaving Ubuntu release yet.

Re:Oh, it's clear something has to change! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37349692)

Wow, I run 11.04 and --- although I found bugs in it --- have none of the problems you describe. I had to disable compiz, because neither the open source ATi driver nor the Catalyst driver works well. I can play a native GL game such as AlienArena, but compiz breaks all the time, Xv support is broken and GL contexts are drawn on without any regard to overlapping windows. An nVidia card can fix all that, which is what I've used before in the past 13 years (since riva 128 actually).

Thing is, changing distro isn't going to change the kernel or X.org much. What would help is if there was some kind of hardware certification program where hardware can have a "works with Linux" label on the back of the box and then actually work (I'm looking at you, D-Link).

With wireless cards, I've picked up C1 cards which work just fine and cards C9,95 (in a box and everything) that are broken. Better buy at least 3 different cards and spend all of C3 on it.

To get the weather on the panel, there's the "weather report" applet but you can also enable the weather in the time display. Just add your location and make sure "show weather" is ticked.

And curse you, /. for STILL NOT supporting UTF-8: ââ"ÂÂ

Re:Oh, it's clear something has to change! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37349566)

Linux Mint isn't just based on Ubuntu; there's a version based on Debian Testing too.

Linux Mint Debian is a sort of quasi-rolling distro. By default it doesn't pull directly from Debian Testing's repositories, it pulls from a LM repository which releases an "update pack" once a month containing tested versions of updated packages from Debian Testing.

This might be a better fit for you than Ubuntu releases.

Re:Oh, it's clear something has to change! (1)

mvar (1386987) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349570)

I've been thinking of switching completely to Debian, but the amount of work to get that running right as a modern desktop is daunting. I can do it, I have done it, but for example, to have a modern browser you either have to manually install it bypassing the package management (bad!) or use backports to get modern compiles of iceweasel. Neither is optimal.

I've been using debian as main desktop for several years & installed it on several systems and not even once did i have to do any "work" to get it running as a modern desktop. Except ofcourse if by "modern desktop" you mean all that fancy compiz-stuff. IMO debian & gnome2 is the way to go if someone needs a stable and practical environment & any issues with outdated software were solved with the backports repository.

Re:Oh, it's clear something has to change! (3, Informative)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349764)

I might not have been clear. I use Ubuntu (LTS) as a fire-and-forget (for three years) installation for non-tech-savvy users (Read: my mom, my mother in law... You know *those* kind of people). Personally, I do manage to run a Debian installation and once you do set it up like you want it, you'll be fine. However, you can't use Debian as a fire-and-forget installation if you want things that people require from their modern day desktops. This is mainly due to the "free-at-all-costs" stance.

That's fine, I understand that it's a good thing, and I can live with it. Try to see it from a user perspective though. I trained them for years (even while still on Windows) that they should use Firefox for browsing and Thunderbird for email. The migration to Ubuntu was easier because of this knowledge. My support calls are next to nothing ever since I switched them to Ubuntu LTS. That's how I want it, and I know the distribution will keep itself healthy. Do I have the guarantee with Debian backports? Does it get as much "love" as the main branch? I sincerely doubt it. Going with official Mozilla downloads is a no-go, as I'd have to login remotely to their system to update it every time I hear of a greater security issue.

There are other things, like for example the only large support call I had this year. That was Ubuntu, so it probably wouldn't have been avoidable at all. My mother in law had a big issue with a PDF. Turned out it was a PDF with a form and the built in PDF reader (evince, I think) didn't handle that. At least, I could remotely login and install Adobe Reader from the repository. I know Ubuntu has it. Debian might in the non-free section, but I'm not sure.

Sometimes it's the small things. I happen to be multi-lingual. In Ubuntu there is a great tool in "System"-"Administration" called "Language Support". It's basically a hub for anything language related: Want the interface in Dutch? Only want the German spellchecker? It's there, it's a click or two and it's installed. Debian simply doesn't have an equivalent (or I didn't find it).

While I agree that Gnome2 is great and Unity and Gnome3 are definite steps backwards, the Debian themes do look a bit dated. I can live with it. It's fine, I found that the "Shiki" theme is great even though I prefer a light-theme. On Ubuntu Radiance is what I use and I love it. Still, for me, lacking compiz and a bit dated theme is okay. However, my users are used to the polish Ubuntu gives. I'm, pretty sure my users won't miss compiz if I'd take it away, but the polished themes are something else. We know it's just eyecandy and not important, but how would you feel if you're used the the Windows 7 interface (which I dislike, but that's not important) and gave you a Windows 2000 interface (Which I loved). You'd probably wouldn't be happy (I'd be, but put yourself in the shoes of a non-IT user).

It's lots of these little things. I'm certain it's completely because of my inability and incompetence. I'd be glad to read a how-to for achieving just that: have a modern multi-lingual, proprietary-software, friendly, Linux desktop that doesn't look like made in 2000 which I can install and forget for three years.

I actually wrote a bit about trying to achieve this. Feel free to read it: You don't realize how much polish Ubuntu provides... [slashdot.org] and Backports is the magical word.... [slashdot.org] and finally I have to give Ubuntu 11.04 some slack. [slashdot.org], which I need to include because it shows that the problems I had with Ubuntu aren't limited to Ubuntu itself.

Use the PPAs (2)

Artemis3 (85734) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349632)

If you think your LTS starts getting stale, take a look at the various PPAs. For instance you could keep a current stable Firefox (v6 atm), by adding the firefox-stable [launchpad.net] ppa to your Ubuntu 10.04 LTS.

I personally switched to Xubuntu [xubuntu.org] (XFCE) because i don't like gnome3/unity/kde4, had no problems using 11.04.

Re:Oh, it's clear something has to change! (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349698)

I switched to Mint after a few weeks of 11.04. You should definitely give it a go. It feels even more polished than Ubuntu IMO :)

LMDE perhaps? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37349736)

I've heard good things of Linux Mint, which is Ubuntu based. Thing is, for my family/friends users, I really don't want to switch distributions every few years, just because one has lost my favour. That's going to hurt my credibility.

I've been thinking of switching completely to Debian, but the amount of work to get that running right as a modern desktop is daunting. I can do it, I have done it, but for example, to have a modern browser you either have to manually install it bypassing the package management (bad!) or use backports to get modern compiles of iceweasel. Neither is optimal.

quote>

It sounds like you might be a good candidate for Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE). Basically, it is Linux Mint 11 but on top of a Debian base. It is a rolling release based on Debian Testing.

Re:Oh, it's clear something has to change! (3, Insightful)

vtcodger (957785) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349926)

"What I fear, is that the proposed shorter release cycles are going to make Ubuntu break too often. That will turn off users, and they cannot afford to lose even more users after the 11.04 release."

That's not unreasonable or irrational.

If you folks will forgive a geezer, I was doing software release management, testing and version control long before most of you were born. I've watched with interest and occasional amusement while you kids have managed to relearn much of what we learned rather painfully in the 1960s. And I'll give you credit. PC software works better than I would have thought possible given the way you approach it. And by "you" I don't mean just Ubuntu, or just open source, Microsoft has quality problems also.

Nonetheless, I gave up on Ubuntu and its spawn years ago -- mostly because of quality issues. Apt-get is wonderful ... if the stuff that is apt-gotten works. Too often it didn't. It appears to me that the problem is that software gets captured, locked down, and released without adequate testing.

Anyway, three thoughts:

1. Rolling releases probably are not a good idea except for really critical fixes. My experience (which I agree may not apply to your world) is that you really, really need to consolidate a release, then test it thoroughly before inflicting it on users.

2. It is perfectly possible to do releases in parallel with several in different states of production. Developers don't like it. So what? What matters is user experience, not developer inconvenience. But there is a limit to how many parallel products you can keep straight. And it is not a large number.

3. In the world I worked in, there was a minimum time required to consolidate and test a release. For us, it was 8 weeks. We tried 6 weeks (once) and couldn't do it. Your world is quite different, but I'll bet you have a minimum time also, and it may well be longer than one month.

In world you lived in there was no wifi (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349986)

No, carrier pigeons do not count as wifi.

Currently wifi is the make or break of many a linux install. Laptop builders love to add the latest for no very good reason that barely works under windows, let alone linux.

Often by the time a new piece of hardware makes it to the consumer a driver will be out there but getting it involves going cutting edge... and then a 8 week test window starts to look bloody long.

There really is no middle ground unless you want to spend an absolute fortune on release management.

Wait till everything you want to put into a release is stable and tested and you will be obsolete and unable to add patches some users need NOW.

Doing a rolling release and you are a tester and will just have to rely on people not breaking things on purpose like Gnome 3 or KDE4.

For Ubuntu, 11.04 was a mistake, they released new projects that were in an early beta state at the best as critical packages for any desktop. You can make available a beta package as an optional replacement for an established package but to go Unity Gnome3 full hog when neither was or is ready... no.

Why they wanted it 11.04 and no say in 99.10 when it might be functional (it isn't right now) I don't know. Why other distro's copied them, I understand even less.

Sometimes you need the cutting edge and sometimes you don't. But going cutting edge on a critical piece... that is just silly.

There were gnome 3 packages for the fans in 10.10. They should have kept it that way.

Mint so far seems to be only distro with the sense to keep the basics that work.

Great .... (0)

foobsr (693224) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349382)

... now things will be broken on a monthly basis. Improvement all around.

If the trend continues, I will a day end up with an Apple.

CC.

Re:Great .... (2)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349744)

Really, it's not a nice way to go. I switched from Windows to OSX to Ubuntu, and I wouldn't go back the way. If you like using open source software or development tools, it's a lot easier to install and maintain everything under Linux than OSX.

Try out Mint - it's what I used after they released 11.04 and it screwed up my workflow, and I like it even better than Ubuntu.

Seriously? (1, Funny)

DarkHelmet (120004) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349386)

They must be smoking the same crack cocaine that Mozilla is.

Well, for what it's worth, free drugs may incentivize people to switch to using Linux on the desktop sooner.

Re:Seriously? (2)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349560)

Mozilla isn't doing more releases, it's just calling them differently. You already had point releases on a regular basis.

Re:Seriously? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37349724)

Mozilla isn't doing more releases, it's just calling them differently.

The amount of rage this meaningless change has caused on /. really does show how many users here struggle with OCD. :)

Great for devs, bad for users (4, Interesting)

subreality (157447) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349400)

Rolling releases are great for devs because it lets you put your new feature into the release cycle when it's ready instead of locking it down in whatever state if you don't want to miss the 6 month cycle.

The trouble is that this is terrible for users. The 6 month cycle is already a little aggressive (but tolerable) on support forums. Monthly releases would cause so much confusion when you're searching for other people who have experienced your problem.

Also, how does the support cycle work? Are you going to provide parallel support for 24 releases for two years? If not, do I have to upgrade monthly? I support too many computers for that to be a realistic option.

Support only LTS (2)

Artemis3 (85734) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349526)

I'd say no support for rolling, support only LTS. With support meaning "backport bug/security fixes to the specific version you deployed" oh, and the actual corporate support of course... With true rolling, as soon as a fix is ready, there is a new version from upstream which would only need to pass the distro requirements (alpha/beta etc) to go in the official repos.

This might even relieve Canonical from supporting that many releases in a given 2 years time frame (1 instead of 4 + the previous LTS...)

Re:Great for devs, bad for users (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349558)

What people fail to realise is that having users on versioned distros (as opposed to rolling release) is bad for devs. It means that when you release software you need to make sure that it's compatible with all the versions of all the libraries all the distros are currently on. This means that when QT for instance comes out with a new framework/library/whatever that you need to way AT LEAST 6 months before the major distros are all compatible with it. Look at gnome 3, It's been available for archlinux since around February, but ubuntu won't have it until mid-October. This means that nobody is writing gnome 3 widgets/apps because only devs can RUN the bloody things.

I've been using a rolling release distro (archlinux) for about a year now and I have encountered a LOT fewer total "breaks" in that year than most individual 6-month updates on ubuntu. When you have a rolling release, each "change" happens at a different time, so the developers/packagers/bug-testers can focus on THAT change at that time. With a versioned OS, they are testing them all simultaneously, and usually all the testing happens in the last 1-2 months. And then people wonder why stuff breaks...

Re:Great for devs, bad for users (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349624)

So devs have a longer time to develop their apps and get rid of bugs. And that is a bad thing?

Re:Great for devs, bad for users (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37349678)

Its really bad.
The 1-2 month dev time of the distro realease is suppose to be the "test and bugfix" phase.
And after that all bugs will be left open, and all apps will refuse to fix their bugs because there is a new version out in 6 months.
And then you are forced to upgrade, regardless of how broken the new distro is.

Re:Great for devs, bad for users (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349720)

In other words, releases are bad for bad developers. Because a developer who doesn't want to fix bugs for an existing release is a bad developer.

Re:Great for devs, bad for users (1)

GauteL (29207) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349860)

"In other words, releases are bad for bad developers. Because a developer who doesn't want to fix bugs for an existing release is a bad developer."

What you mean is that releases are bad for bad development managers. The developer will fix the bugs they are tasked to do. The manager makes the decision as to whether to fix bugs in existing releases.

But, you are missing the point. It may be completely sensible to wait until the next release for a bugfix. Unless the problem is urgent, you don't want to risk the possibility of regressions in an existing release just to fix a small problem. This all depends on whether you have to support old versions or not.

Canonical does not have the resources to support EVERY release beyond their 6-month cycle. They support the LTS releases and if you use the 6-monthly ones, you are expected to upgrade if you want non-essential fixes. Seems sensible enough to me.

Re:Great for devs, bad for users (2)

myurr (468709) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349640)

Completely agree. With the decent package managers at our disposal this is also good for the majority of end users - as long as they keep their system up to date. ISO downloads then just become a point in time snapshot of the current repositories.

The LTS releases also just need to pick a point in time, say every two years, and effectively fork at that point. They'll apply security updates and so on, but they just work on that system from there on in. That way the corporates that are writing their own software and don't want to move to continuous releases can rely upon stable versions of libraries etc. by developing against those LTS releases.

Simple solution, rolling channels PLUS releases (1)

grahamtriggs (572707) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349650)

The easiest / best approach would be to have alpha, beta and release candidate channels, offering various levels of recency and robustness.

These are all unversioned, and simply update to the latest set of packages available in the each. Then, every 6 / 12 / 18 / whatever months, make the current state of release candidate a versioned release.

Re:Great for devs, bad for users (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349792)

What people fail to realise is that having users on versioned distros (as opposed to rolling release) is bad for devs.

Depends on the dev. On my main dev machine I prefer a non rolling release to prevent API changes spoiling my day.

I've been using a rolling release distro (archlinux) for about a year now and I have encountered a LOT fewer total "breaks" in that year than most individual 6-month updates on ubuntu.

I wouldn't know... I've got an arch laptop and a SuSE desktop which is well out of support (though it's firewalled and firefox is up to date).

The rolling release is a mixed blessing. It is fantastic to always have the latest version of software at my fingertips. Breakage is blessedly rare, though it does happen.

About 3 years ago, Xorg underwent major modularisation, which causesd some fun times (before modularisation, there was no keyboard module. Afterwards it wasn't installed by default).

A while ago, a new kernel had a regression where it would often crash coming out of suspend on an eee. That was annoying for a few months.

Recently I had an old kernel deleted under me duing an update, so I had to reboot since I needed a module which had gone missing.

I live pdftk, which requires gcj, neither of which are in the main repos. Some minor faff (recompiling gcc on an eee, using a fixed PKGBUILD from AUR) is required whenever GCC is updated.

Most importantly, library versions change. This means that old binaries stop running (missing .so's) and I sometimes have to fix it if I've used deprecated features. This is rare, and it has the benefit that I have a test platform which ensures that my code will compile on almost any distro, old or new.

MPlayer and FVWM seem locked in an eternal duel as to whether fullscreen MPlayer will appear above or below the pager. This seems to flip on a regular basis.

All in all, I generally need to do a few hours maintainance every 6 months (if that) and I always have the latest version of all the software. It's very trouble free.

At work, I have an old version of SUSE, which is no longer updated. Since it never changes, there are never any surprises. It always works the same. Old code always runs. Old code always compiles. I now spend as much time faffing with maintainance (keeping LibreOffice and firefox) up to date as I do on arch (i.e. not much). But there are no surprises for working with code.

All in all, both systems are almost completely hassle free and "just work" compared to several other operating system's I've used, but the maintainance requirements are appropriate for different things.

I wonder if it's possible to have arch running chrooted so that I can have both a stable base system and access to all the latest stuff on the same machine.

Re:Great for devs, bad for users (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37350046)

I think the release cycle time is not the issue. The Linux kernel does well with ~3 months.

The trick is to not push out experimental features as defaults.

Put out stuff that works by default and let the fancy new features be power user enabled (in some settings panel) to try and play with. For example: Unity would have been a good candidate for this. It's in a state where many people like to play with it, but it was released too soon.

As the LTS releases are already in place, I don't see problems for the very conservative people either. Maybe make LTS even more stable, but otherwise it's fine.

Debian releases 3 times a day... (1)

GPLHost-Thomas (1330431) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349410)

If you need faster releases, just use Debian unstable.

Reminder: "unstable" doesn't mean "crashes often", it means that it's a moving target.

Re:Debian releases 3 times a day... (1)

HJED (1304957) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349580)

last five times I tried to use dabian unstable on two different computers it has rendered it unbootable. I often see this claim, but in my experiences that is not reality.

Re:Debian releases 3 times a day... (1)

Robert Zenz (1680268) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349604)

So, what did you expect from a Release labeled "Unstable"? He said faster updates/releases, not more stable system.

Re:Debian releases 3 times a day... (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349656)

He explicitly said:

Reminder: "unstable" doesn't mean "crashes often", it means that it's a moving target.

OK, granted, an unbootable operating system doesn't crash often. :-)

Re:Debian releases 3 times a day... (1)

True Vox (841523) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349838)

Well, yes, but right below that he said:

Reminder: "unstable" doesn't mean "crashes often", it means that it's a moving target.

Re:Debian releases 3 times a day... (1)

GauteL (29207) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349922)

This is not the answer. With Debian Unstable, the occasional break seems acceptable. This is at least what it was like when I used Debian Unstable regularly a few years ago. If you wanted something more "stable" the answer was always, "use testing/stable".

What we are talking about here are rolling releases where breaks are unacceptable. This requires more than just a change of release timings, instead you basically need a different development culture.

For one thing, the changes you make have to be more carefully chosen and certainly a lot less risky than what Debian will do to Debian Unstable. They ought to be regression tested before you allow them in and you should never/rarely allow more than one major change in at a time.

Why so... (1)

impaque (517317) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349418)

...Gentoo? One of the reasons why I have switched from Gentoo to Debian were stable, more rounded-up releases, with more bugs fixed and issues straightened out between them. Constant upgrading means constant stress over what could have possibly break. I believe people can handle a few broken things on Ubuntu desktop at home, but for Ubuntu servers and for Ubuntu desktops in the enterprise, this is a disaster waiting to happen.

Please dont (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37349436)

The last two Ubuntu releases have been unusable from me for months after the release, due to bugs or regressions.

I wonder how they would be able to do monthly releases when it seems they can't even do them in 6 month cycles.

Re:Please dont (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37349496)

Sooooo, you didn't RTFA, did you?

AWESOME! (2, Insightful)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349464)

And each month, please change to a new window manager! And add some new wonderful default settings that are SO MUCH BETTER than whatever some idiot user like me might have customized to what he mistakenly thought fit his needs best! Particularly when it comes to the default internet applications, please reinstall the Evolution mailclient because the last three times I removed it I was obviously being STUPID.

Oh, and please make sure to break the WiFi and graphics drivers each time, because, you know, dist upgrades are BORING if everything just works out of the box. I really look forward to spending an entire weekend on fixing my broken system every month rather than twice a year!

Re:AWESOME! (1)

HJED (1304957) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349610)

I have to agree. I upgraded to 11.04 soon after it came out and very quickly changed back to 10.10 (and on one computer I switched to debian) due to lack of support for multiple screens, boot issues and Unity.
Recently I have been forced to upgrade, due to needing newer versions of various apps. Whilst it does boot up now and two screens is working (after I reinstalled the nvidia drivers, why do they get removed every upgrade?) it shuts down at random intervals and samba 4 is installed by default which required a purge and reinstall to actually work (and stop giving me errors every time I use apt).
Unity is still terrible, but after installing gnome 3 and a dock it works quite well, however I can't seem to persuade apt that I don't need evolution as I have installed Thunderbird (to remove evolution it seems you have to remove half of the default install.)

Re:AWESOME! (2)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349630)

Bingo. This is not hyperbole. 11.04 did indeed break WiFi and graphics drivers for me, again. I mean, actually regressed. Well, screw that, I'm going to need a whole lot of reassurances before moving beyond 10.04 LTS again. I wonder if we'll look back on that as the XP SP3 of the Ubuntu releases - the best it ever got.

Re:AWESOME! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37349680)

And that's what happens when people ridiculize debian "when it's ready" release policy. Karma's a b*tch.

Re:AWESOME! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37349822)

I guess I'm not the only one.

First thing I do after installing Ubuntu: Fire up Synaptic and go through the menu's. Evolution, Ubuntu One, the default players and image sorting crap gets removed.

I've found my own alternatives to those. I haven't done much work on any other Linux distribution, but I can remember the installation for one perfectly. I was asked what to install and what to remove. Pretty much you could go with the bloated install or the completely essentials only. This is what Ubuntu needs, a choice.

Time to switch back to Fedora (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37349494)

Ordinarily, I might even find reasons to agree with the idea of a more rapid release cycle, but with Ubuntu's proven track record of "successful" releases, I'll have to give this one a pass. I always dread major version updates on Ubuntu, since it always takes me a day or so to figure out how to fix all of the new stuff that broke, and get my desktop working like it was before. It always seems that new user interface configurations make it in, not based on what users want, but on what whatever the current developer happens to prefer in his own environment, rest of the world be damned... Still running 10.04 LTS, and probably will until it's EOL'ed.

i know! (3, Insightful)

lkcl (517947) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349512)

i know what! let's go back to releasing "when it's ready"! that would be great! oh wait... that's what debian do.

Slow it down. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37349548)

Why is everyone in such a hurry anymore, doesn't anyone care about getting it done right!?

What after the unity fiasco ? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37349574)

After the utterly dreadful inept crap that was Unity I don't even use Ubuntu anymore. The idea that you would let these completely irresponsible clowns foist their shit on you every month is so far beyond a joke I don't know what to say.

Forget Ubuntu.

What'll be after Zippy Zebedee? (1)

unixisc (2429386) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349578)

Shouldn't they use the Mandarin alphabet to start naming their releases, if they're going to do it so frequently? Or will they simply use MMYYYY?

Re:What'll be after Zippy Zebedee? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349638)

Shouldn't they use the Mandarin alphabet to start naming their releases, if they're going to do it so frequently? Or will they simply use MMYYYY?

After reaching Z, they will have alienated enough users that it won't make sense to have another release.

Re:What'll be after Zippy Zebedee? (1)

Artemis3 (85734) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349748)

Well, if you do the heresy of RTFA, you'll find the proposal includes dropping the code names... and sticking to: alpha, beta and release.

The official version scheme is already YYMM. if anything, it should be changed into YYYY-MM as per the ISO 8601 [wikimedia.org] standard.

And thus dies support, and corporate usage (4, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349602)

Because who is going to work on last month's version? "Oh, just upgrade you'll get all the new fixes." And all the new bugs.

Bleeding edge is fine for hobbyists, but grown ups? We need a version that's going to start solid and get steadily better.

Re:And thus dies support, and corporate usage (1)

transporter_ii (986545) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349756)

Mozilla should learn from Ubuntu and release a Long Term Support version. Bleeding edge available? Check. Solid and stable version for businesses and less adventures people available? Check.

Seriously, this is being typed on an Ubuntu LTS version now and it's worked the same since I installed it.

Re:And thus dies support, and corporate usage (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37349810)

You mean like 3.6.xx?

Yeah right (2)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349612)

Users can now be confident of always receiving a stable operating system, because of the multiple testing and QA passes each change continually receives. Updates come in monthly, two-weekly or dailyish batches depending where in the main series they chose to run.

I've heard this before, the alleged continuous testing and QA won't happen. Things that are in change aren't stable, that's why we end up in release cycles to begin with so we can have development periods where we're flexible and testing periods where we stabilize it. The "be everything, all the time" development method doesn't work.

In theory, this doesn't sound so bad - it sounds like Agile on a 4 week sprint. But in such a project you should have damn good control over your production environment. When you have tons of people using it on tons of configurations then you will break things this way.

In a distro, the whole thing about gradual changes is a lie anyway. Chances are that every month some package or the other will decide now's the time to make radical changes. It's completely unintuitive to the users what packages made major changes the last month, you just have to test everything each month instead of twice a year.

If this goes though, then I think by far most people will stick with the LTS releases. Which probably means they'll get too little testing and it'll all go crap. The only point I really agree with if true, is that Ubuntu developers should get a better way to run a project that's not for the next release, but for the one after that.

Re:Yeah right (1)

discord5 (798235) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349700)

If this goes though, then I think by far most people will stick with the LTS releases.

Goddamnit, how am I supposed to keep up with firefox that way? I don't want to miss out on the next major firefox version increase. The changelog says they've added a new feature nobody cares about!

Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37349804)

Hm, I don't quite understand what happens there to cause so much change! I mean, it's really hard to keep up with all this!

Removal Company [removalcompany.co.uk]

Stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37349826)

I can't even begin to convey how bad an idea I think this is. A typical user wants to install an operating system and have it work the same way for a period of at least a year or two. The six-month release cycle is bad enough; introducing feature changes and potential breakages (e.g. to software not installed via Ubuntu's package manager) on a monthly basis is pure insanity.

You have to remember that most people who use a computer actually have work to do and need it to stay consistent for relatively long periods of time to avoid unnecessary interruptions. I much prefer the Microsoft/Apple model of a major release every 2-3 years, and only bug fixes and security updates in the meantime. That way the user only has to deal with the inevitable changes that occur with major releases once every 2-3 years.

I was a dedicated Linux for years but it's things like this that caused me to eventually switch to a Mac.

End of the line (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349936)

If Ubuntu does this, I will finally be switching to straight up Debian. Cannonical seems obsessed with turning a great Linux platform with the highest visibility into nothing more than Apple Too.

How about a longer cycle instead. (1)

jdkc4d (659944) | more than 2 years ago | (#37349952)

...Already I don't keep any files on my ubuntu machine. Re-installing an OS every 6 months can make it difficult to actually use. Monthly releases will just cause a huge fragmentation issue. I would prefer a yearly release, with other substantial updates throughout the year that can just be downloaded. We could call them service pack's or something. The proposer's proposal actually makes sense though...it's not so much the release schedule that needs to change, but the way that canonical's developers have to get their not truely stable code into a release before its ready so that they can get paid. If the dev's need more time, then canonical should give it to them. After all, isn't the point to build a great working OS and not a semi-working one?

So, Debian testing/unstable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37350044)

I now understand why he left Canonical:

Canonical’s own performance-review and management is based around [the 6-month cadence]. The Ubuntu developers so employed (the vast majority) have such fundamentals as their pay, bonuses, etc. dictated by how many of their assigned features and work items are into the release by feature freeze.

So, the dream team sets both targets and deadlines, and developers get paid depending on how many dreams they make come true? Sounds like a great idea. Do the targets include usability directives, or do they only specify the "ooh! shiny!" factor?

How is this proposal any different than Debian testing/sid with a monthly flag day instead of the 10-day gestation period?

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