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back to article Ubuntu support periods slashed

Ubuntu's Technical Board has decided nine months is long enough to support some new releases of its operating system. In an online meeting noticed by Phoronix (and available for all-text IRC replay here), the Board decided that “regular” Ubuntu releases will only receive food, water, warm lodgings and security updates for nine …

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This will only effect the terminally stupid

Since anyone with a brain using ubuntu on a production system that requires support will be using an LTS release anyway.

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Linux

Re: This will only effect the terminally stupid

I switched from a straight Debian to Ubuntu LTS for my 8 server VMs primarily because of the 5 year cycle, but I have to say I am not impressed. It seems like there is a kernel update almost every week requiring a reboot, making any kind of uptime laughable in comparison to my Debian servers, throwing the quality of the kernel itself into doubt. I have a feeling the next time I upgrade I will go back to a straight Debian release or something else.

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@Phil W (was: Re: This will only effect the terminally stupid)

"Since anyone with a brain using ubuntu on a production system"

Oxymoron of the first water, that ...

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Re: This will only effect the terminally stupid

ksplice is your friend you are looking for. The huge majority of the changes for these updates is just driver fixes and fixes from the upstream fixes for that kernel, I don't think the quality of the kernel itself is in doubt.

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Unhappy

Re: This will only effect the terminally stupid

I've just gone the other way, replaced an install of Ubuntu 12.04 with Debian Squeeze. I'd been running Ubuntu on my server since 6.06 but well, it just doesn't fit my needs anymore.

I guess it's not so bad what they did, I mean if I install Linux Mint (derieved from Ubuntu) on machines for anyone I'll tend to go for the LTS releases (as these folks are the type who may still be running Windows XP SP2, heck one I did yesterday was running Windows XP SP1!). On my own personal machine I'll run the normal versions and just upgrade or reinstall every 6 or 7 months (I guess that's the tinkerer in me).

Rob

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With Unity being pushed down the throat, who cares

These days it is much more interesting what Mint is doing.

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Re: With Unity being pushed down the throat, who cares

yes, that's Mint... dependent on Ubuntu.

Time to use a proper distro like OpenSUSE with 18 months on standard version.

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Re: With Unity being pushed down the throat, who cares

It's been a while since I played with Mint but is there not a version based on Debian?

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Re: With Unity being pushed down the throat, who cares

I am evaluating a version of Lubuntu that seems to combine the best of Ubuntu and Lubuntu. It is called LXLE 12.04LTS. It is a distro of Lubuntu that has 5 year long term support. It runs well in 512 mb VM. It uses much Ubuntu flash such as Libre office, has samba installed and has a nice desktop among many other features. If you want to check it out it can be found at:

http://www.lxle.net/index.php?x=about

The nice part is that it is Lubuntu with 5 year lts just like Ubuntu 12.04LTS.

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Re: With Unity being pushed down the throat, who cares

@The lone lurker

"It's been a while since I played with Mint but is there not a version based on Debian?"

Yes, Linux Mint Debian is here

"Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) is a semi-rolling distribution based on Debian Testing."

So it depends on whether you are happy using the Debian Testing stream. I had a brief try and I might have been unlucky with the timing but I had several things breaking due to that.

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Windows

Re: With Unity being pushed down the throat, who cares

"Time to use a proper distro like OpenSUSE with 18 months on standard version."

Desktop meant here I presume as opposed to server. Shutleworth has served notice; if you want stability go for LTS or another distro.

I'm posting this from a recycled PC running Scientific Linux 5.9. 2.6.18 kernel and support until 2017, or just after my retirement date. Firefox ESR channel. Opensuse is indeed fine with KDE on the laptop. Looks vaguely Windows 7ish so the students can get the idea.

I want that dock-able Ubuntu-phone for when my blackberry stops working.

Linux = choice. Make one (or several).

The Tramp: might not need to buy new hardware for a bit.

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Coat

I read 13.04's codename as...

...Raging Ringpiece.

Mine's the one with the haemorrhoid cream in the pocket.

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Holmes

Hey, here's a stupid idea: Ask us what we want!

Would you donate to pay for continued support for your OS? Well, if so, Ubuntu don't care. Just like the honey badger, eh?

Here's the situation. I actually have a number of computers. One of my old projects runs on a particularly old computer that is not able to take newer versions of Ubuntu. I could barely get it to upgrade to the old version it is running now. That version has been outside of support for a while, but for all I know, there are many people in similar boats.

More to the point, it's also for all Ubuntu knows. No support, no care.

What if Ubuntu offered a project to support my old version of Ubuntu? What if a lot of people agreed and were willing to each put down a few bucks for that purpose?

I think everyone would win, but I guess that's because I'm not as rich as Shuttleworth. In the big-donor financial model Ubuntu uses, he gets to call the shots, and too bad if you don't like it. Even worse if you think he is calling such bad shots that you lose interest in Ubuntu (as I have).

I used to be an enthusiastic user of Ubuntu who could recommend it as an alternative OS to Microsoft and Apple. That was a LONG time ago. (I've still been running later versions in virtual machines on some of my newer computers, but that's just to make sure Ubuntu hasn't recovered from being turned into a newt. I do not actually use Ubuntu for anything serious these days. (In my specific situation, the worst problems actually involved the Japanese support, but again I had no meaningful way to vote with my money.))

Here is one alternative financial model. No matter how bad the software produced by Microsoft or how much Apple's software restricts your freedom, you have to agree that their financial model works. I think Linux will always be a bit player until it has at least ONE good financial model.

http://eco-epistemology.blogspot.jp/2009/11/economics-of-small-donors-reverse.html

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hey, here's a stupid idea: Ask us what we want!

"Would you donate to pay for continued support for your OS? Well, if so, Ubuntu don't care. Just like the honey badger, eh?"

Next version of Ubuntu should have been Ruthless Ratel.

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Re: Hey, here's a stupid idea: Ask us what we want!

Shuttleworth doesn't have such a huge influence over Ubuntu as you would think, he is no longer CEO and he is no longer serving on Ubuntu Technical Board that made this decision! While I don't completely agree with their direction in some ways, at least they are trying something different, and succeeding.

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Why not just release a new version every other week like Firefox. (sarcasm)

Thank God there are a number of Linux choices out there. I dearly hope the other distros don't follow this nonsense.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why not just release a new version every other week like Firefox. (sarcasm)

your criticism is a little ridiculous. I don't use ubuntu for my daily driver anymore but (i still have several ubuntu machines around for various purposes) most people who were using the normal releases were upgrading every six (or 8) months to the new normal release anyway. Why, if you were on a normal release track would you sit around on an 13 month old normal release while a new LTS release just passed you by? If you're that slow you should be on the LTS anyway. I think it may have made more sense to shorten it even further to 2 normal releases per year and one LTS per year.

I would prefer three rolling release tracks at varying degrees of stability. One bleeding edge, one largely stable and one super stable. All with the option to auto download and install all recommended and security updates. To me, the release process and versions should largely be invisible to the end user. Just explain and seperate the differences between the versions well and make all package version and compat info for the different versions easy to find/use. People should just be able to pick how stable they need it to be and then it should be able to update and resolve all issues itself with preferably no babysitting.

i just don't think they are there yet. I know it is around the corner though because i run arch on my main workstation and i update every day and i have to make a minor adjustment once every few months. besides that it's autopilot.

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Re: Why not just release a new version every other week like Firefox. (sarcasm)

"Why, if you were on a normal release track would you sit around on an 13 month old normal release while a new LTS release just passed you by?"

Because you are waiting for hardware support for a peripheral?

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Meh

You can't go home again

Debian never recovered from Canonical poaching its best developers, and most of its core packages are now cross contaminated by Ubuntu gunk because nobody else is doing the heavy lifting. If you are unhappy with Ubuntu, then you will be disappointed by Debian too.

Apple did exactly the same thing to FreeBSD, and today any feature on that platform lacking direct corporate sponsorship is withered or dead. Debian is doomed to be the next Darwin underneath whatever Ubuntu Unity mutates into.

Debian might have a chance if they can attract some new talent, but they are recruiting too much from the IRC channels and web forums. The organization has lost its cultural spark for hardcore engineering excellence and is now staffed by college students that want an @debian.org email address on their resume for their first real job application.

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@PushF12 (was: Re: You can't go home again)

Debian's just fine. BSD is just fine.

Want to learn a stable, for the ages, un*x that will allow you to comfortably ::yawn:: when corporate idiots try to change BSD and/or GNU/Linux? Learn Slackware. Sorted.

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IT Angle

Canonical poaching Debian developers?

"Debian never recovered from Canonical poaching its best developers"

Where, how, who? According to this Canonical is either hiring or not-hiring Debian developers.

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WTF?

Re: @PushF12 (was: You can't go home again)

"Debian's just fine. BSD is just fine."

FreeBSD is fine, just trying adding a binary package in version 9.1... What were they thinking when they released this version, they are in the middle of converting to PKGNG without a convenient way to add packages in the meantime except for building them from ports of which some are broken anyway. No wonder PCBSD have decided to do things their own way.

And as for Slackware, it has its place but never as a modern distro to lead the Linux world - reality check done.

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Meh

Could be too short

I'm running an LTS Version, and the jump to the most recent is huge, with all the changes around the graphical UI which have happened.

With two versions per year and the chance of some real crud in whatever the latest version is, nine months feels too short. I hear what people are saying about sticking with LTS versions for serious use, but if this change reduces usage of the intermediates, is the development process going to get enough feedback?

It is, alas, possible to see this as a sign of Canonical becoming rather uncomfortably arrogant. Those big changes to the graphics: there is a reason Mint is out there. Are Canonical listening enough to the users?

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Re: Could be too short

Yes, there IS a reason Mint is out there...and about 2 million other distros : the 'freedom of choice' has everyone that's unhappy with any detail setting up their own distro.

Shuttleworth has cleverly deduced that there actually is something as 'too much choice' and is frantically pedalling under the surface to keep the duck afloat. I do not know if he will succeed, but I think he has decided to actually try and take Ubuntu mainstream. This could mean the 6 month cycle disappearing altogether.

There will always be people 'rolling their own', but I don't think such an effort can be sustained over time on a voluntary basis while creating a stable environment.

Still, good luck to them all the same.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Could be too short

"Are Canonical listening to the users?" Haven't you been paying attention? THAT stopped a long time ago.

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Go

Whatever

I am a Ubuntu user for a long time. And I don't care if they shorten the support cycle for regular versions to 9 months. At home, I use the latest version of Kubuntu (no, no Unity for me). Upgrading every 6 months, but hey, it is just a desktop, and the upgrade process is (almost always) smooth and quick. At work, of course you should only use LTS versions. No need even to bother upgrading - after 5 years I install a new server and migrate the applications/data off the old one. Why would anyone run 18 months on a regular release anyway?

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Anonymous Coward

too short...

After having been burnt once or twice upgrading too soon, I usually wait about 3 months for the new release to settle down before upgrading.

So after 3 months, here are my choices:

1. unsupported working release

2. potentially dodgy new release

3. LTS

4. Another distro or OS altogether

hmm...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 3. LTS

number 3 has 5 years support. Sounds like the one you want.

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Where is the problem here?

People who use the 'regular' release do so because they want the latest and greatest as soon as it is available while the "security-conscious and otherwise careful" use the LTS version, which still has the same 5-year support. I do not see any logical reason for sticking with a particular 'regular' release once the next has come out. If anything, this change should improve the quality of each release as people are freed up from supporting four or five versions in parallel.

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Unhappy

Re: Where is the problem here?

First we must distinguish between servers and desktops. Most server admins value stability over everything else. At the OS level the changes over 5 years are not great. Stepping from one LTS to the next is usually the most logical policy. I agree only idiots would do leading edge on a production server.

BUT .... five years on a desktop is a very long time. Remind me what version of LibreOffice/OpenOffice(?)/Firefox/Thunderbird was running. The xUbuntu policy of a release every six months over Debian was why most of us chose xUbuntu in the first place. Most stuff out of the box was reasonably up to date and adding extra stuff from the repository straightforward.

However there are glitches. KDE4 first time round was challenging. The same could be said of Unity. There are times when it is sensible to skip a release until a major component has had time to mature. That s why I rolled my eyes at 9 months. Why that only gives a 3 month gap to do a supported upgrade. Skipping a release is now a no-no for some of us. I can understand the financial imperatives in reducing the 18 month figure. But taking it the short side of 12 months is decidedly uncomfortable. A botched new release (we've had 'em and we will have 'em again no matter what they say) will cause more mayhem at the user and support level if it has to be diagnosed, fixed, proven fixed and implemented company wide inside a 3 month window.

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Boffin

Re: Where is the problem here?

"BUT .... five years on a desktop is a very long time. Remind me what version of LibreOffice/OpenOffice(?)/Firefox/Thunderbird was running. "

Delta releases. 10.04.1, 10.04.2 and so on...

So we have the bleeding edge of Ubuntu with Shuttleworthian UI changes. And we have a slowly changing LTS with modest package updates and new hardware drivers.

I'm posting this from a recycled PC running Scientific Linux 5. Up to minor version 5.9 now, so Firefox on the ESR track (v17), and nvidia drivers up to 310.40 from the Elrepo repository. Covers my use cases.

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Doesn't matter

Going through the Ubuntu upgrade process once was enough for me. I don't care if it's every five years, I don't want to do it again ever.

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Thumb Up

Re: Doesn't matter

IME (YMMV), the upgrade process has become smoother every time.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Doesn't matter

i haven't seen a borked upgrade since 8.10 and i'm talking about users who thought they were just installing updates. I'm sure it happens, but not to most people.

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Call me a perl coder, but

I thought this article would be about

$Ubuntu::support =~ s/\./\//g;

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Whingers

Never ceases to amaze me how many people come out of the woodwork to slag off Ubuntu (and Canonical and Shuttleworth) at every opportunity. Ubuntu has done more than any other Linux distro to get it closer to the global desktop. It works, it's easy to use, it's easy to upgrade (despite what people here seem to be saying ). Of course, there will be some for whom it's not their perfect OS, fair enough, there are plenty of alternatives to chose from. But WHY the continual sniping? Just because YOU don't like Unity, or had some obscure upgrade problem in the past, doesn't mean that everyone else has the same issues, or that Canonical are idiots. I am perfectly happy with Ubuntu/Unity. It just works, and get's better with every release. I don't suffer Amazon adverts, and I'm not bothered with a 9m upgrade cycle.

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Devil

Re: Whingers

"Never ceases to amaze me how many people come out of the woodwork to slag off Ubuntu (and Canonical and Shuttleworth) at every opportunity"

Yes, everyone should move to Gentoo, the only distro for the purists ...

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Anonymous Coward

<rant>

I doubt this will be popular here but I just about had enough of Ubuntu. Given my very strong aversion to MS and lately Apple and a being a long time UNIX person, I * desperately* want to have a desktop Linux solution so I installed Ubuntu 12.04 LTS. But after a year so 'sticking with it' I just don't have the time to tinker with continual s/w installs through a variety of paradigms (synaptic, s/w centre, apt-get) which are now broken with no info about how to fix them, learning and comparing a myriad window managers (lxde, unity, kde, gnome, kbuntu, xbuntu etc. ad nauseum) which are all broken in their own peculiar ways, getting a nVidia dual monitor setup to work and with the correct screen resolutions, and the list goes on and on and on...

Ubuntu have made great strides to producing a desktop solution for Linux but it is still far from being something I can install, use and forget about. Too much tinkering. Too much reading forums on a trail to fix some obscure bug. I've got better things to do.

It's a real pisser because I seem to have run out of options. The competition :

Microsoft - bloated, cumbersome, registry always seems to be broken somehow, viruses; and to cap it all Windows 8. And don't start me on IE.

Apple - Started well but now are a closed, arrogant, patent trolling monolith supplying out dated h/w at ridiculous prices. OS/X memory management is broken to the point where my Mac Mini is unusable despite being jam packed with memory.

If only there was a fourth way.

</rant>

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