Ubuntu 13.04 Will Be Released, Rolling Fate Unknown
Written by Michael Larabel in Ubuntu on 5 March 2013 at 11:05 PM EST. 14 Comments
At the first day of Canonical's inaugural virtual Ubuntu Developers' Summit, it was decided to release Ubuntu 13.04 as scheduled. The fate of turning Ubuntu into a rolling release distribution for non-LTS releases is undecided.

Jonathan Riddell of Kubuntu shared that Ubuntu 13.04 will go ahead as planned rather than just turning Ubuntu into a rolling release model straightaway. "Of all the nutty things Canonical has done in the last week wanting to drop 13.04 four months into development and two months before release is one of the more anti-social to the community who have been working on it. Fortunately at the 'UDS' session today I poked enough and we seem to have consensus that it'll go ahead on the schedule we agreed at UDS last October."

Allison Randal meanwhile posted to ubuntu-devel about a problem with the rolling release model. System76, the premiere IHV shipping Ubuntu on their PCs, doesn't want two-year LTS releases and only rolling releases in between. They fear that the rolling release model for their customers will be put into question. Allison ends up having some interesting comments:
The biggest was at the very end when System76 said that two years is too long between releases for their customers, but that they were willing to at least *try* the new rolling releases. The reply was that the rolling releases weren't expected to be stable enough to deliver to customers. This surprised me, since "stability" is exactly the purpose of rolling releases.

If the "rolling releases" really aren't intended for end-users, then we should just drop the fiction, say the change is from a 6-month cadence to a 2-year cadence, and be done with it.

Yes, it has all the problems we've come to know-and-hate with stale applications. So, either allow SRU exceptions for more applications like we do for Firefox, or start really supporting Backports for the LTS.

It's a waste of everyone's time and effort to rework the whole project around talk of "rolling releases" when it's really just the same old development release on a slower schedule. (Remember how we used to call monthly images alphas and betas? That was ages ago, like 4 whole months.)
Looks like there's some more planning to happen, but Canonical is really wanting to do away with the non-LTS releases to free up extra resources for Ubuntu Touch, Mir, and other new developments.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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