Ubuntu Considers Adopting Rolling Releases

Jan 25, 2013

Kernel team leader suggests new strategy based around LTS versions.

Ubuntu may be changing its long-established six-month software release model and switching to rolling releases, according to a recent conversation between Canonical developer liaison Daniel Holbach and Canonical kernel team manager Leann Ogasawara.

The possibility of switching to a rolling release model was brought up during a recent public Google Hangout meeting in which Ogasawara described the road to 14.04, which is due out next year. She said, “the plan was, by 14.04, we wanted to sort of target what we’re calling a rolling release and sort of go from an LTS to LTS-only model and eliminate these interim releases...”

Ogasawara said that the idea was still in the cards as a possibility when they hit the next 14.04 release. She said, “So, it could go from 14.04 to 16.04 and then everything in between is what they would consider a rolling release. You know, you’re kind of going to be pushed and following the latest package releases, not only from the kernel but from the entire distribution.”

Under this model, a long-term support (LTS) version would be released every two years with rolling updates in between. Such an approach would be “a huge task to take on from a distribution standpoint” according to Ogasawara, who also noted that the idea obviously impacts Ubuntu users and whether they would “be satisfied with only having a major release every two years.”

You can watch the complete video on YouTube at Ubuntu On Air: http://www.youtube.com/user/UbuntuOnAir; just click on the video called “Ubuntu Development with Leann Ogasawara.” The discussion of rolling releases begins around the 42-minute mark.

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