Ubuntu considers “huge” change that would end traditional release cycle

Ubuntu logoIn the nine-year history of Ubuntu Linux, a new version of the operating system has come out every six months. But Canonical, Ubuntu's developer, is considering ditching that model in favor of one that produces an entirely new version only once every two years—while speeding up the overall pace of development by adopting a "rolling release" cycle in between.

Ubuntu 12.10 (thus named because it came out in October 2012) has just arrived, and 13.04 and 13.10 will come in April and October of 2013. But 14.04 in April 2014 could be the last version released after just a six-month development period. 14.04 is also the next "Long Term Support" or LTS edition. Every two years, Ubuntu is sort of frozen in place with a more stable edition that is guaranteed support for five years. If the change Canonical is considering is adopted, every future edition starting with 14.04 will be an LTS, so the next version after 14.04 would be 16.04 in April 2016.

Why bother? Canonical kernel team manager Leann Ogasawara explained in a Google hangout today that this proposal is on the table because Canonical thinks it can deliver both stability and cutting-edge features with rolling releases. For the two years between LTS releases, there would be no new versions but there would be lots of updates.

Nothing is "set in stone," but "when we hit the next 14.04 release it could go from 14.04 to 16.04, and everything in between is what we consider a rolling release. You're going to be pushed and following the latest package releases, not only from the kernel but also from the entire distribution."

Ubuntu developers have been discussing this potential shift for a little while as part of talks about the "road to 14.04." But it hasn't generated a ton of attention because "the whole phone announcement came out and that took center stage," Ogasawara said.

The six-month update cycle ties Canonical's hands a little bit in deciding what features go into each release. For example, Ubuntu developers have already decided that Linux 3.8 is the version of the kernel that will land in Ubuntu 13.04. What if Linux 3.9 had some amazing new features or fixes that Canonical wanted to get into the next version of Ubuntu? With a rolling release, Ubuntu developers could do that by waiting just a little while instead of six months.

There are challenges to conquer, though. "That is a huge task to take on from a distribution standpoint, making sure everything works well together on a daily basis," Ogasawara said. "But I think we're getting there already in having daily quality from our QA (quality assurance) team. They're running daily boot tests and smoke tests."

Canonical must also consider that there would be "impacts on users of Ubuntu, and are they going to be satisfied with only having a major release every two years and only having a rolling release between," she said.

ExtremeTech weighed in with some good analysis of this possible change today. "A major disadvantage of a rolling release is that they tend to be less stable than a standard release, as standard releases have more time to be inspected and tested before they are released into the wild," ExtremeTech wrote. "Rolling releases are ever-changing, potentially creating new problems, but also providing the most current security updates, software fixes, and really whatever else is included in the updates."

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: Linux

Comments
Add comment

Your name:
Sign in with:
or
Your comment:


Enter code:

E-mail (not required)
E-mail will not be disclosed to the third party


Last news

 
Galaxy Note10 really is built around a 6.7-inch display
 
You may still be able to download your content
 
Facebook, Messenger and Instagram are all going away
 
Minimize apps to a floating, always-on-top bubble
 
Japan Display has been providing LCDs for the iPhone XR, the only LCD model in Apple’s 2018 line-up
 
The 2001 operating system has reached its lowest share level
 
The entire TSMC 5nm design infrastructure is available now from TSMC
 
The smartphone uses a Snapdragon 660 processor running Android 9 Pie
The Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) Review
The evolution of the successful smartphone, now with a waterproof body and USB Type-C
February 7, 2017 / 2
Samsung Galaxy TabPro S - a tablet with the Windows-keyboard
The first Windows-tablet with the 12-inch display Super AMOLED
June 7, 2016 /
Keyboards for iOS
Ten iOS keyboards review
July 18, 2015 /
Samsung E1200 Mobile Phone Review
A cheap phone with a good screen
March 8, 2015 / 4
Creative Sound Blaster Z sound card review
Good sound for those who are not satisfied with the onboard solution
September 25, 2014 / 2
Samsung Galaxy Gear: Smartwatch at High Price
The first smartwatch from Samsung - almost a smartphone with a small body
December 19, 2013 /
 
 

News Archive

 
 
SuMoTuWeThFrSa
    123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031




Poll

Do you use microSD card with your phone?
or leave your own version in comments (15)