Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 29th Jul 2009 09:50 UTC, submitted by kragil
Debian and its clones Most mainstream distributions, like Ubuntu, Fedora, and Mandriva, have already adopted a time-based release schedule, meaning that releases are not done on a feature basis, but according to a pre-determined time schedule. The Debian project has announced that it has adopted a time-based release schedule too.
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Mark Shuttleworth to "blame"
by kragil on Wed 29th Jul 2009 10:09 UTC
kragil
Member since:
2006-01-04

This schedule will align Debian Stable very close to what an Ubuntu LTS will ship.

It will be interesting to see if Ubuntu will ship the Debian versions of the Kernel and Gnome. That would be a fairly major shift towards stability. I would love that for LTS releases.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Mark Shuttleworth to "blame"
by mgl.branco on Wed 29th Jul 2009 14:21 UTC in reply to "Mark Shuttleworth to "blame""
mgl.branco Member since:
2009-07-22

True. Shuttleworth is the one to blame. Debian move is a capitulation to Ubuntu... and I don't think it's for the best. I just hope they know what they do and still focus on quality, not anyone's marketing needs.

IMHO, I don't think that a strict, or semi-strict like now Debian's, release cycle is productive, at least with short cycles, and I believe is detrimental first to stability and second to innovation. I wish I'm wrong here.

I say this because I think that Ubuntu has been living up until now on the fruits of Debian and not on any merit derived from decision making in the distro, aside of marketing, obviously. As an example of bad administration, language packs in launchpad are NOT sync with upstream. My upstream KDE translations, for example, are not sync back and forth in Ubuntu. This is horribly insane.

Edited 2009-07-29 14:22 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Mark Shuttleworth to "blame"
by kenji on Wed 29th Jul 2009 15:20 UTC in reply to "RE: Mark Shuttleworth to "blame""
kenji Member since:
2009-04-08

I think that desktop linux users are to 'blame', not Shuttleworth although placing blame seems too severe at this point. Fedora, Mandriva and Ubuntu all have 'regular' release intervals and that is what desktop users have come to expect. If anything this move is to bring some Ubuntu users (and other desktop users) to Debian, not to bow to Ubuntu.

Honestly the erratic release cycle of debian is the largest hurdle keeping me away from it.

Reply Score: 5

Redeeman Member since:
2006-03-23

Honestly the erratic release cycle of debian is the largest hurdle keeping me away from it.

Yes.. because.. how would you EVER be able to sleep not knowing if you were to upgrade the software on your computers in april or july? oh teh horror!

Reply Score: 2

sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

Yes.. because.. how would you EVER be able to sleep not knowing if you were to upgrade the software on your computers in april or july? oh teh horror!

Or in Debian's case, *which* April or July. This matters for corporate desktops. I know. I administer them. And Debian's cavalier attitude toward release planning is the #1 reason that we don't even consider using it.

Edited 2009-07-29 15:37 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Do you really administer Corporate Linux Destops? That's awesome. Which distro do you use then? Red hat releases are pretty slow. As are Suse ( last I checked, has this changed?). Ubuntu seems to be the most regular releases of something that might be installed on a corporate desktop.

Reply Score: 2

sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

Do you really administer Corporate Linux Destops?

Yes. Since 1999. But things didn't really start picking up until 2004. That was "the year of the Linux desktop" in my professional world.

That's awesome.

Yes. It is. :-)

Which distro do you use then?

I've traditionally used a combination of Fedora and CentOS (RHEL, by any other name.) However, I recently finished migrating everything to Ubuntu. So far, my customers and I have been *much* happier with it.

Edited 2009-07-29 16:01 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Redeeman Member since:
2006-03-23

"Yes.. because.. how would you EVER be able to sleep not knowing if you were to upgrade the software on your computers in april or july? oh teh horror!

Or in Debian's case, *which* April or July. This matters for corporate desktops. I know. I administer them. And Debian's cavalier attitude toward release planning is the #1 reason that we don't even consider using it.
"
no, it doesnt really matter to corporate desktops, unless ofcourse you need something to occupy yourself with and thus feel like upgrading peoples desktops very regularly?

Reply Score: 3

sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

no, it doesnt really matter to corporate desktops, unless ofcourse you need something to occupy yourself with and thus feel like upgrading peoples desktops very regularly?

You are presuming to tell *me* what matters to my customers, and to me as an admin? Careful. I'm the one with the experience in this particular area. (Or please present your credentials.) You don't have to deal with the user complaints about, for example, how certain business critical PDF's won't open in or print from Evince when you know that the latest version can handle it.

And just try apt-get'ing Evince from testing. It will destroy your Debian system.

It is possible to use a distro with a long release cycle, like CentOS. We've done it. But compared to what we are using now, the long release cycle distros are more pain than gain for corporate desktop use. And Debian has the longest release cycle of them all. With unpredictability thrown in just to make it even more appealing.

Edit: In the interest of fairness, I should note that as of RHEL6, Red Hat's release cycle has become even less predictable than Debian's. Which also affects CentOS, of course. Though one can't blame the CentOS guys for that.

Edited 2009-07-29 17:23 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

Creating select backports isn't terrible complicated.

Reply Score: 2

Barnabyh Member since:
2006-02-06

Just curious, but why don't you just use Acrobat Reader then in a corporate environment if .pdf's matter that much.
Seems worth it getting the proper 'original' app for this, or was it just and example and not really the only issue.
Myself, I can't find anythin wrong with a two year old system that's still receiving security updates, but then I'm a home user. Lenny is the most stable/solid I've tried though in recent months with absolutely everything working fine (even wireless and with added kernel modules for Vbox and vmware) being the smoothest experience ever, and I thought that would count for something in the business world too?

Reply Score: 2

Redeeman Member since:
2006-03-23

oh teh noes, a few applications cause you to need to have regular operatingsystem wide release schedules... no offense, but i think im beginning to understand your issues a little bit better ;)

Reply Score: 2

kenji Member since:
2009-04-08

My point was perhaps not clear. I was more pointing towards the length of time between releases and the variability of that time from one release to another.

Although it's true that a large majority of desktop linux users care about having the latest apps, I am more concerned in the case of Debian with hardware support. Stable releases use old kernels right out of the gate and then 18 months later...they are even older.

I build my own computers so a fairly recent kernel is important to me but it comes down to personal preference. Hardware support IS important to me afterall....

Reply Score: 1

boldingd Member since:
2009-02-19

For me, it's that most of the packages in stable are pretty old - and, if you want something new, maybe something that came out in the last six months (or a year), it might not be available at all. Unstable doesn't necessarily help much: it's, well, unstable, and while it's packages are a little newer, it may well not have what you want either.

Reply Score: 1

kenji Member since:
2009-04-08

For me, it's that most of the packages in stable are pretty old - and, if you want something new, maybe something that came out in the last six months (or a year), it might not be available at all.....


Exactly. The FOSS world moves faster than Debian. Nothing wrong with that; just an observation. ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE: Mark Shuttleworth to "blame"
by matej on Thu 30th Jul 2009 06:16 UTC in reply to "Mark Shuttleworth to "blame""
matej Member since:
2007-05-27

@kragil: the three-letter acronym in "Ubuntu LTS" stands for "Long Term Support" instead of "Long Term Stability".

This means users of this release will receive updates over an extended time frame compared to other Ubuntu releases. Also, commercial support can be paid over a longer time frame.

Accordingly, there is *NO* reason why an LTS release would be designed to be more stable than any other Ubuntu release. In fact, there is no guarantue that an LTS release will give you additional stability and I believe some people experienced more stability issues just after release of Ubuntu 8.04 LTS than just after release of Ubuntu 7.10.

To summarize, *all* Ubuntu releases are designed with the same quality testing procedures. Hence, the only reason why there may be differences in stability between releases is statistical.

PS: of course LTS may become on average more stable at the end of their lifetime as they receive updates over a longer timeframe. So yes, you will statistically get more stability, but only if you only install the LTS release about 16 months (*) after its initial release date.

(*I believe this is how long normale Ubuntu releases are supported?)

Reply Score: 1

v the end of Debian ?
by Phocean on Wed 29th Jul 2009 10:43 UTC
RE: the end of Debian ?
by kragil on Wed 29th Jul 2009 10:50 UTC in reply to "the end of Debian ?"
kragil Member since:
2006-01-04

Read the whole text.(Thom picked a misleading headline, I am not to blame ;) ) The release will not be time based, only the freeze will be time based. It will still be released "when it is done"(tm).

Reply Score: 6

RE[2]: the end of Debian ?
by Thom_Holwerda on Wed 29th Jul 2009 10:56 UTC in reply to "RE: the end of Debian ?"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Read the whole text.(Thom picked a misleading headline, I am not to blame ;) ) The release will not be time based, only the freeze will be time based. It will still be released "when it is done"(tm).


It's still a time-based release cycle - it's just that because Debian chose a longer timeframe, they also have more leeway between dev freeze and release. Ubuntu also has leeway between dev freeze and release, it's just shorter because the cycle is shorter as well.

Reply Score: 0

RE[3]: the end of Debian ?
by kragil on Wed 29th Jul 2009 11:40 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: the end of Debian ?"
kragil Member since:
2006-01-04

Well, what Debian is doing is not a time based release cylce like Fedora, Mandrake or Ubuntu. They will freeze Debian Testing in december and they will start fixing RC bugs. There is no real time line from there on out. Theoretically they could release in january (highly unlikely) or in june (knowing Debian it could even be september)

So time based freeze is a more accurate description of what they are doing unless you consider within +-6 month a fixed time.

Reply Score: 6

RE[4]: the end of Debian ?
by kragil on Thu 30th Jul 2009 00:49 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: the end of Debian ?"
kragil Member since:
2006-01-04

http://mdzlog.alcor.net/2009/07/29/debian-is-not-switching-to-time-...

Matt knows more about Debian than 99.99% of OSnews posters .. so for me this argument is settled.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: the end of Debian ?
by mbit on Wed 29th Jul 2009 13:59 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: the end of Debian ?"
mbit Member since:
2009-07-29

It is misleading stating that
"Debian Adopts Two-Year Time-Based Release Cycle".

The article here quotes the following
"Time-based freezes will allow the Debian Project to blend the predictability of time based releases with its well established policy of feature based releases."

To break it down, they state that they blend two things
1. Time-based release cycle
2. Feature based release

What they get is not a
Time-based release cycle, but a
Time-based freeze cycle.

Reply Score: 3

RE: the end of Debian ?
by namakemono on Wed 29th Jul 2009 14:13 UTC in reply to "the end of Debian ?"
namakemono Member since:
2009-07-01

This change does not indicate that Debian will not be "ready" when a new release arrives. Probably what will occur is that those "not ready" packages will not be shipped in their lastest version, preserving a stable one.

Having an idea of when a new version of Debian will be available - well, I can wait one year at all - is good for planning.

Anyway, if the release looks unstable for you, you can simply choose not to install it and wait for a patch or the next release.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: the end of Debian ? - well said
by jabbotts on Wed 29th Jul 2009 15:26 UTC in reply to "RE: the end of Debian ?"
jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

For the end user, it's not when the distro releases but when the current distro stops recieving update packages.

I used this approach with Mandriva for years before giving Debian it's due. When I stop seeing updates for my current Mandriva version, it's time to upgrade. 2007.1 isn't getting updates so it's time to choose between 2008.1 and 2009.#. Ok, it would have been time but Lenny has replaced it on all but my last desktop. In my current case, when 2008.1 on that stops receiving updates, I'll have already confirmed my final question; how does Lenny (or Squeeze by that time maybe) support my Nvidia GPU and Hauppauge tuner board.

(checkinstall has single-handedly taken care of anything not in the repositories that has to go in from tarball.)

Reply Score: 3

RE: the end of Debian ?
by boldingd on Wed 29th Jul 2009 15:54 UTC in reply to "the end of Debian ?"
boldingd Member since:
2009-02-19

It's a two year release cycle; they've left themselves plenty of room to get each release right. They've given themselves four times the time it takes for a Fedora or Ubuntu release, to make (what will probably be) fewer, less-radical changes.

Reply Score: 2

Why not
by jemmjemm on Wed 29th Jul 2009 12:03 UTC
jemmjemm
Member since:
2007-08-06

I'm an active Debian user (20 servers on Lenny and 10 workstations on Testing) and having more predictability is always good for planning. And Lenny -> StableAfterNext upgrade promise is wise move.

Although I must admit that planning a freeze in 4 months is pretty radical - many important upgrades (kernel, x.org, etc) have still not reached to Squeeze and it still looks a lot like Lenny (with the exception of DE - KDE, Gnome and Xfce have all been upgraded).

Reply Score: 2

v Why I switched from Debian to Arch
by ido50 on Wed 29th Jul 2009 13:20 UTC
snowbender Member since:
2006-05-04

Ever tried the command: "apt-get dist-upgrade" ?

This will upgrade packages that have been kept back because they require dependencies that were previously not installed.

Reply Score: 4

Might switch to Debian
by dindin on Wed 29th Jul 2009 16:26 UTC
dindin
Member since:
2006-03-29

I mainly use (server side) FreeBSD and for Linux had been using Debian until I switched to Ubuntu - Debian simply was too outdated for me although for what it did support, it was solid. I can live with a two year cycle and probably will switch back to Debian. I always liked Debian on the server side.

Reply Score: 2

Useful for customers
by irbis on Wed 29th Jul 2009 18:01 UTC
irbis
Member since:
2005-07-08

This new decision can be especially useful for organizations and companies that use Debian. Their IT people can predict better when their Debian installations will need to be upgraded, and reserve time for it. Or if stable itself might not fulfil their needs completely they can have a better idea whether they should maybe install some newer software from backports etc. or if they could afford just wait for the next release and so on.

That aspect, predictability, is one major reason why most commercial Linux distributions already use time-based releases. You could say that it improves the usability of a distro if you can have at least some idea of its release schedule.

Of course, it is great that at least some distribution, Debian, still emphasizes stability so much, but I don't think that a 2-year cycle will be so big a problem in that respect. The developers will just have to make certain decisions and choices in order to reach stability in a more fixed schedule from now on. Also, the main dilemma of Debian's stable releases, that of stable packages becoming outdated compared to the improved upstream versions will be less of a problem from now on, making Debian much more attractive to even many new users who may have prefered other distros to Debian before.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Useful for customers
by hurdboy on Wed 29th Jul 2009 19:59 UTC in reply to "Useful for customers"
hurdboy Member since:
2005-09-02

But it doesn't do that at all! Just having a predictable feature-freeze cycle doesn't really do anything to make releases more predictable, really, because there's still a bugfix period. In the last few Debian releases (well, ever since Woody, really), that bugfix period was quite lengthy.

Reply Score: 1

Release dates and times
by mbit on Wed 29th Jul 2009 22:20 UTC
mbit
Member since:
2009-07-29

Let's take a look at the Debian release dates and times so far:
Debian 1.0 - never officially released
Debian 1.1 - 1996-06-17
Debian 1.2 - 1996-12-12 - 6 months
Debian 1.3 - 1997-06-05 - 6 months
Debian 2.0 - 1998-07-24 - 13 months (25 months since Debian 1.1)
Debian 2.1 - 1999-03-09 - 8 months
Debian 2.2 - 2000-08-15 - 17 months (25 months since Debian 2.0)
Debian 3.0 - 2002-07-19 - 23 months
Debian 3.1 - 2005-06-06 - 35 months
Debian 4.0 - 2007-04-08 - 22 months
Debian 5.0 - 2009-02-14 - 22 months

It seems like a 24 months freeze cycle for major releases is what
they have been going for since the beginning and finally deciding
on it seems like the natural thing to do.

Looking at things in this light shows this decision won't
rock the Debian boat and affect stability in any way.
Rowing the boat will just become more synchronized.

Reply Score: 4

IMHO
by Ringheims Auto on Thu 30th Jul 2009 05:41 UTC
Ringheims Auto
Member since:
2005-07-23

I would have said:

Most mainstream distributions, like Ubuntu, Fedora, and Mandriva, have already adopted a time-based release schedule, meaning that they release whatever crap they have ready at that point in time, regardless of its stability and quality.

Reply Score: 1

RE: IMHO
by mgl.branco on Thu 30th Jul 2009 12:12 UTC in reply to "IMHO"
mgl.branco Member since:
2009-07-22

I would have said:

Most mainstream distributions, like Ubuntu, Fedora, and Mandriva, have already adopted a time-based release schedule, meaning that they release whatever crap they have ready at that point in time, regardless of its stability and quality.


I quite agree, not fully but I agree. They should at least use a 1 year time frame.

Reply Score: 1