Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 23rd Jan 2013 18:21 UTC, submitted by Anonymous
Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu "For the longest time Canonical has slapped an LTS moniker on some of their Ubuntu releases. Currently, a new major release of the operating system happens every six months, and is supported for 18 months after release. Whereas in the past when LTS versions received two years support or more, the current model - starting with 12.04 - supports new LTS releases for five years. However, a recent public Google Hangouts session revealed that Canonical has been thinking about switching from the venerable LTS model to a rolling release, starting with version 14.04."
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Comment by Drumhellar
by Drumhellar on Wed 23rd Jan 2013 18:44 UTC
Drumhellar
Member since:
2005-07-12

They believe they can maintain stability during the rolling release process.

They are the only ones that believe this. Too many people have gotten burnt by faulty updates, even within the same release. I haven't had problems, but I have little confidence in their ability.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by Drumhellar
by kragil on Wed 23rd Jan 2013 19:48 UTC in reply to "Comment by Drumhellar"
kragil Member since:
2006-01-04

Most likely they will follow Debian Unstable or Testing, by doing that they get lots of testing for free ... that would be the Canonical way of doing things. They would just need to add their Unity/Upstart/UbuntuOne stuff on top.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by Drumhellar
by bassbeast on Fri 25th Jan 2013 08:26 UTC in reply to "Comment by Drumhellar"
bassbeast Member since:
2007-11-11

Yeah if they switch to rolling doesn't that mean that pretty much ALL you'll be getting from Canonical is unstable?

The whole point of LTS was to give you a Linux with a support cycle similar to Windows instead of being so bleeding edge that the OS has stigmata and a rolling release is exactly the opposite, you'd be better off with one of those yearly releases as then you only risk breakage once a year.

Honestly I don't think its gonna matter much in the end, Canonical's Ubuntu is gonna end up joining Xandros and Linspire and Mandriva in the dead OS bin in 2 years, probably less. I mean between Unity and giving all the searches to Amazon to begging on the download page its pretty obvious they can't figure out a way to make enough money at this to keep the lights on.

If you look at their history almost from the moment Shuttleworth gave that interview where he said he wasn't sinking any more money into Ubuntu and its been one desperation move after another trying to find a revenue model, from Ubuntu netbook Remix to Ubuntu Server (remember when Shuttleworth said they were a DESKTOP company and wouldn't be getting into the server market?) to Ubuntu TV to Ubuntu Phone its just been one trend hop to the next just trying to find a revenue stream.

Looking at it from that perspective it makes perfect sense, supporting a Linux distro for 5 years with backports when Linux is traditionally bleeding edge has GOT to be expensive and this is a way to get rid of that cost without admitting that the reason is they are running out of money.

Reply Score: 2

Might as well
by darknexus on Wed 23rd Jan 2013 19:10 UTC
darknexus
Member since:
2008-07-15

Ubuntu's already the most unstable Linux distribution out there, might as well go all the way with that. They've got nothing to lose, except for their users. It's not as if anyone else takes Ubuntu seriously.

Reply Score: 0

RE: Might as well
by ssokolow on Wed 23rd Jan 2013 19:25 UTC in reply to "Might as well"
ssokolow Member since:
2010-01-21

Ubuntu's already the most unstable Linux distribution out there, might as well go all the way with that. They've got nothing to lose, except for their users. It's not as if anyone else takes Ubuntu seriously.


Trust me. It's NOT the most unstable distro out there.

As a skilled Gentoo user, I can honestly say that a rolling-release, build-from-source distro which encourages end-user customization of compile-time flags will always be more unstable on average.

...if for no other reason, because each Gentoo user makes half of the set of decisions an Ubuntu maintainer does and there's no tooling in place to allow us to share information on which configurations will cause instability under which circumstances.

Reply Score: 8

RE[2]: Might as well
by Morgan on Wed 23rd Jan 2013 22:21 UTC in reply to "RE: Might as well"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

I have to agree, though my experience is with Arch and not Gentoo. They share a similar problem with occasional breakage though, from what I understand.

I will say, however, that the Arch maintainers always warn before breaking things and always have a fix either already in the pipe or at least on the way. When I ran it as my main OS, I tried to hold back the urge to type sudo pacman -Syu until I saw the fixes had been implemented.

So if Ubuntu goes for a rolling release model, I hope they are ready for the surge of hate from users too lazy or simply unaware of the need to check release notes before updating.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Might as well
by orestes on Thu 24th Jan 2013 01:40 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Might as well"
orestes Member since:
2005-07-06

I've always found Arch remarkably stable, provided one pays attention to what they're doing. I can't really think of the last time something unexpected has happened that I couldn't trace back to being my own fault.

That said, rolling doesn't necessarily equate to Arch's bleeding edge style. If Ubuntu's smart it'll take a much slower and more measured pace.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Might as well
by Neolander on Thu 24th Jan 2013 05:57 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Might as well"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

I've always found Arch remarkably stable, provided one pays attention to what they're doing. I can't really think of the last time something unexpected has happened that I couldn't trace back to being my own fault.

That said, rolling doesn't necessarily equate to Arch's bleeding edge style. If Ubuntu's smart it'll take a much slower and more measured pace.

I stopped using Arch, and in fact gave up on rolling distros altogether, around the time where a pacman update that trashed the package management database (the first v3 release IIRC) was pushed to the stable repo. Before, I had been trying Gentoo, which self-destructed in a similar way after a few months though I don't remember exactly how.

At this time, I figured out that I know of no rolling release distribution which has a rigorous software testing procedure in place to prevent such things from happening. It seems to me that in most cases, new packages are just put in a testing repo for a while, then moved to stable if no serious bug report emerges. This can be sufficient in some cases, but obviously isn't enough for a primary machine that must keep working for an indefinitely long period of time.

If someone knows of rolling distros that offers stronger package testing guarantees, even if it's at the cost of a bit of package freshness, I would be interested to know about them.

Edited 2013-01-24 06:06 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Might as well
by BvdW on Thu 24th Jan 2013 19:01 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Might as well"
BvdW Member since:
2013-01-24

FreeBSD might work for you. It has a solid base OS -which is already quite functional- with discrete releases which won't self destruct on you while at the same time the ports tree offers you rolling updates of installed packages.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Might as well
by zima on Mon 28th Jan 2013 23:01 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Might as well"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Debian testing? ;p (mostly rolling, except for the freeze periods)

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Might as well
by darknexus on Wed 23rd Jan 2013 23:34 UTC in reply to "RE: Might as well"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

"Ubuntu's already the most unstable Linux distribution out there, might as well go all the way with that. They've got nothing to lose, except for their users. It's not as if anyone else takes Ubuntu seriously.


Trust me. It's NOT the most unstable distro out there.

As a skilled Gentoo user, I can honestly say that a rolling-release, build-from-source distro which encourages end-user customization of compile-time flags will always be more unstable on average.

...if for no other reason, because each Gentoo user makes half of the set of decisions an Ubuntu maintainer does and there's no tooling in place to allow us to share information on which configurations will cause instability under which circumstances.
"
Fair point, I don't really think of build from source distributions in the same way I think of pre-built ones like Ubuntu, Debian, etc, so I wasn't including them. On the flip side though, if you know what you're doing, you can get those to be rock solid stable.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Might as well
by n0b0dy on Wed 23rd Jan 2013 20:12 UTC in reply to "Might as well"
n0b0dy Member since:
2009-09-03

I don't think Google would choose the 'most unstable Linux distribution out there' as their GoogleOS.
I use Ubuntu most of the time and I honestly think it's currently the best free user experience out there. As a power user you might like better this or that distro, but for the common person, Ubuntu is as stable, polished and well integrated a desktop can be. I've met a few Mac zealots who converted to Ubuntu and in my book, that means quite a bit.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Might as well
by crhylove on Thu 24th Jan 2013 07:33 UTC in reply to "RE: Might as well"
crhylove Member since:
2010-04-10

You mean besides Linux mint, right? I love how that distro constantly fixes canonical's garbage. LOL

Reply Score: 1

RE: Might as well
by Soulbender on Thu 24th Jan 2013 02:59 UTC in reply to "Might as well"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Wow, don't you ever get tired of spouting this nonsense in every item about Ubuntu?
Although I guess you do know what it means not to be taken seriously.

Reply Score: 3

Yes
by judgen on Wed 23rd Jan 2013 19:34 UTC
judgen
Member since:
2006-07-12

Oddly enough i like the idea.

Reply Score: 5

ubuntu mint debian edition
by stabbyjones on Wed 23rd Jan 2013 20:42 UTC
stabbyjones
Member since:
2008-04-15

Sound likely it will follow the lmde path of releases in update packs.

Reply Score: 3

RE: ubuntu mint debian edition
by SeanParsons on Thu 24th Jan 2013 10:18 UTC in reply to "ubuntu mint debian edition"
SeanParsons Member since:
2011-01-11

Sound likely it will follow the lmde path of releases in update packs.


As someone that ran lmde on two different boxes for a little over a year, I hope no one goes that route. They were only really updated every six months (even ignoring major security fixes) and the updates always left me with many hours worth of work to try and fix the plethora of broken packages. A rolling release should probably see more frequent updates, although I expect a broken package here or there along the way, and I wouldn't even mind fixing a package or two each month if I could be kept closer to bleeding edge and have Ubuntu's huge software repository.

By the way, both of those boxes that were running LMDE 32-bit Xfce edition have since been switched to Ubuntu 12.10 and I am currently quite pleased with the release.

Reply Score: 2

tessmonsta
Member since:
2009-07-16

I'd respond, but I need to tend my bruised side from falling out of my chair, and my throat from laughing too hard.

Okay, Ubuntu *might* be able to pull off a well managed stream of updates between two years of major releases. Even so, this may not be the best for all users. On Windows 7 and lower, it's easy to stick to what works and only update the minimum you need. Most package managers under Linux can handle this too, but it can become extraordinarily sticky when you're talking shared libraries. Most Rolling Release distros take an all or nothing approach to updating. You update *everything* or you don't.

I don't see Ubuntu pulling this off well...

Reply Score: 1

Way to go, please do it !
by torturedutopian on Wed 23rd Jan 2013 22:17 UTC
torturedutopian
Member since:
2010-04-24

IMHO, it would be better for everyone.

- Regular releases are too frequently beta or even alpha quality : the Joe user should always use a well tested LTS

- Now that the LTS benefits from drivers updates (12.02.2) and important apps such as the web browser are backported too ; commercial apps are easier to support if tested against the LTS : overall, it shouldn't be an issue to have the LTS and most important apps up to date

- There would be 1 rolling release to support instead of several intermediate releases. Of course, regressions would be more frequent and quickly fixed. The "rolling release version" should be advertised at people who really want to test / help developers. The "Joe" user should NEVER download a 6-months release, especially just after it's made available anyway. Also, it should be easier for people to get involved in the development if there was a single rolling release.

(and developers would be more eager to sell their apps for Linux if there weren't 50 versions to maintain / support at the same time but "just" the few last LTS).

- Also, there could be some cooperation between the debian "CUT" team, the LMDE team and the Ubuntu rolling release team.

The BIG point IMHO is : the regular Ubuntu versions (6 months needing several additional months to stabilize) do / will damage the image of Ubuntu. Canonical cannot risk this anymore now that they have "big names" partners.

Canonical cannot continue to release distros that needs several more months polishing when they're aiming at the consumer market ! Hence the LTS / Rolling release strategy. Way to go !!

Reply Score: 7

Comment by woegjiub
by woegjiub on Wed 23rd Jan 2013 22:49 UTC
woegjiub
Member since:
2008-11-25

The text here says that they would be ditching the LTS model; that's simply not true.

It would mean keeping LTS versions, and replacing the intermediates with a rolling release.
IMHO, this is absolutely excellent.
The LTS releases are quite stable, in my opinion, but there are nasty things like my radeon 5000 series no longer being supported which bit me for the 12.10 release, meaning it has a lot of potential hostility for Joe sixpack.

Dropping the intermediates and only offering up the LTS to entry users makes sense, and a rolling release is basically what the power users who constantly upgrade want anyway.

Reply Score: 8

RE: Comment by woegjiub
by jessesmith on Thu 24th Jan 2013 01:22 UTC in reply to "Comment by woegjiub"
jessesmith Member since:
2010-03-11

Agreed, the summary above does not match the description in the article. Canonical isn't talking about ditching the LTS releases, they are talking about making their test releases (the ones which occur between LTS releases) rolling. This makes sense since people who use the testing releases want more cutting edge development and should be able to handle the odd breakage. People who want to run Ubuntu on servers or who want stability can continue to run LTS exclusively. Really, very little will change, except the people on the cutting edge won't have to perform a major upgrade every six months.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Comment by woegjiub
by Luminair on Thu 24th Jan 2013 03:42 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by woegjiub"
Luminair Member since:
2007-03-30

Yeah, this. I never understood the Ubuntu releases because they never delivered quality. What is the point of releases when they offer no benefit over debian whatever its called. From my limited testing, Mint regular and lmde and Ubuntu have broken just as often as a rolling debian

Reply Score: 3

v Ubuntu who?
by cmost on Thu 24th Jan 2013 00:50 UTC
RE: Ubuntu who?
by zima on Tue 29th Jan 2013 19:14 UTC in reply to "Ubuntu who?"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Compare Ubuntu to other Linux distros on http://stats.wikimedia.org/archive/squid_reports/2012-10/SquidRepor... (also, check out trends http://stats.wikimedia.org/archive/squid_reports/ ). Ubuntu looks like pretty much the only non-Android Linux that is really growing.

Reply Score: 2