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Ubuntu To Turn Into A Rolling-Release Distribution?

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  • #11
    I moved away from Ubuntu to go Arch because I was annoyed of the update scheme.... that would be a great reason to go back to Ubuntu if it was to be on a rolling release model.


    • #12
      Not gonna happen, just marketing.

      I think Shuttleworth is playing with words. As usual, sadly.

      Not in so distant past, Linux Mint has announced that it will provide a version based on Debian Testing Rolling-release packages. They do so, by disabling signature verification and masking multitude of packages from possible upgrade(also disabling Synaptic and using own updater, that basically is instructed which package should be in, instead of autocalculation).

      Rolling release may only happen if user is not changing the system. If system changes, upgrading configuration files, user software etc may pose great problem, unless user is knowledgable enough to real fine manual pages, something the majority of Ubuntu users ever does.

      Imagine Wayland is pulled replacing Xorg. I dont think anyone will be able to upgrade flawlessly, breakage will happen. Especially considering the "always-beta-testing" condition of all current Ubuntu releases.

      Another thing is because of binary nature, package breaking will happen with higher possiblity; and rolling release will only give less chances(to already lacking amount) to thorough testing.

      In short, it is very very probably a no go and Shuttleworth marketing as usual.

      The best thing that makes me dislove(well, almost hate) Ubuntu - is about features being announced before they are implemented, whilst the hacker spirit is to announce changes in (already finished) changelog and great amount of bugs with no solution, yet the owner is a multi-millionaire.

      News like this make me feel Ubuntu being "some kind of dirty Windows variation from Africa" instead of "leading Linux distro from Africa".


      • #13
        It would be great if they made rolling optional. For some applications it should be default while others could be non rolling. For instance if you wanted the latest stable kernel you would just need to start synaptic and select rolling for the kernel.


        • #14
          I think rolling release on a binary distribution is quite tricky. Of course advantages are great, but that will require a _lot_ more work.
          email: [email protected]


          • #15
            Ubuntu needs a good snapshot / backup roll back system now.

            It needs this ready before going rolling. The best scenario would be to have btrfs ready to substitute ext4 and also finish integrating the snapshot system with grub.

            Finish what we've already seen in Fedora:

            This should had been done already...

            Another alternative if btrfs is not ready, is to make reverting changes easy with some kind of backup utility that makes auto-snapshots upon updating packages.

            In this day of age where the minimum people carry around is 250GB, having 1 to 5% for snapshots, is not only intelligent but the best solution.

            Your 300gb collection of mp3s is going to be no good when your system breaks, because you're a cheap-ass that cant even give your OS a few megabytes for making backups..

            Old / unused snapshots would get deleted in the queue in favor of new ones, so you will always have 1, 2 or more to go back to depending on the space you assign.

            Instead of this utility i would prefer the built in btrfs way, but lets see if its ready by then.

            Also it would be great if in the software center you could choose versions. For example if a plugin for firefox only works on ff3 and not ff4, i should be able to choose and not be obligated to upgrade to ff4.

            Other than that i think this is a great move that users and hardware vendors like Dell will appreciate. It was to expensive and inconvenient for them trying to keep up with the 6 months upgrade mill and always lagged several versions behind, which no one wanted anymore, making ubuntu computers unattractive.

            and no need to wait for ATI or NVIDIA either! keep the drivers that work for you much longer.

            This move could be far more important for the whole ecosystem and adoption of ubuntu, than unity or wayland!

            Now that they switched those 2 big parts of the system, will ubuntu go ahead and also need to deploy a modified kernel fork to expand support to hardware ABIs and maintain things at their own pace and for longer time?


            • #16
              Originally posted by Silverthorn View Post
              It would be great if they made rolling optional. For some applications it should be default while others could be non rolling. For instance if you wanted the latest stable kernel you would just need to start synaptic and select rolling for the kernel.
              This is what Gentoo and source-based do.

              Imagine Glibc is upgraded and you have 1000 packages currently installed in your system. A lot of packages from the tree must be rebuilt or will break with segfaults! In case of Gentoo the system will do this automatically. In case of Ubuntu(and binary based), in order for your wish to happen, there should be 2x1000 amount of packages - the same versions compiled with glibc_old and same versions compiled with glibc_new. The tree will expand greatly. Then, some packages change requirements and bindings upon upgrade. They change configuration files upon upgrade(grub0.98->grub1.98 for example).

              The more changeable you want your system to be, the more times complex tasks package manager, maintainers and testers will have to do and the more packages will have to be merged into the system.

              For this case, distros either:
              - minimize the end target variation spread (either release type or rolling release with strictly defined packages), or
              - provide a flexible build system, which is capable to build any version to any version(provided they are not outdated, maintainable and allow this combo). This is something source-based and Gentoo does.
              - provide prebuild system with own settings and possibility to upgrade in binary way and possibility to get off the mainline and start doing it your way. Calculate Linux.
              - provide a hybrid with standard, base system provided as binary and strict; and other part able to build from source - Archlinux, Slackware to some extent.
              - or well, no package manager, your build and manage everything yourself by reading manual pages. Slackware.

              Thing is, if you want every possible option, every possible option should be precalculated, pretested, prebuilt and checked for compatibility against every new package entering the repo. Great amount human/hours.


              • #17
                Originally posted by [Knuckles] View Post
                This is a great idea! The system core might be kept in a locked version, but for most user-visible apps there's no problem in having the latest version also available.

                Why should I wait months to get a new version of my IM client, or my music player?

                You can already kind-of get this with the openSUSE build service, but that's pretty unsupported and you have to tread carefully. (I run various openSUSE versions, but all have latest KDE and Firefox, for example.)
                You all know I have to chime in on this with my usual, so..

                None of this would be a problem if Linux had proper universal package management, something no distro company is interested in pushing for because they each want app development for themselves only, and want users suckling off their own app store tits.

                Sure, moving to a system where you get basic app updates sooner would help alleviate this need some, but users would still be stuck in that walled garden for the most part.


                • #18
                  This is going to be like riding Fedora Rawhide perpetually.


                  • #19
                    i also see this better for canonical's own commercial/tech support and mass amount updates and security fixes across releases.

                    Right now they are supporting a bunch of different releases.

                    6.06s, 8.04lts, 9.10, 10.04lts, 10.10 and working rapidly on 11.04 (plus all other remixes, spins, etc like different kubuntu versions)

                    maybe with this they'll be able to cut down the support of the number of future releases in half

                    More people to focus on one main version.

                    bugs that were fixed in an older release, not suddenly reappearing.

                    a lot can improve if done right.


                    • #20
                      Version freeze + security/bug fixes is good for server OS, nothing else. Gentoo and Arch proved that rolling can be stable too for end users. Ubuntu would probably freeze kernel gcc and glibc, but all other packages could be in rolling mode without too many drawback if packages are tested before going in the main loop.