back to article Jumpin' Meerkats! Ubuntu moving to daily downloads?

Ubuntu is moving away from its established six-month-cycle and potentially to a future where software updates land on a daily basis. Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth said during an Ubuntu 10.10 conference call last month that a move to daily updates would help the popular Linux distro keep pace with an increasingly complex …

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  1. Ceiling Cat

    This might be a good thing . . .

    Totally aside from Mr. Shuttleworth's desire to turn his "software center" into a source of revenue, this would prove useful for those of us whose hardware isn't immediately supported. For example - 9.10 supports my HP Desktop's temperature sensors, but not the sensors on my HP Laptop or my Gateway desktop. I have to move to 10.10 to see the temperatures on my laptop, but 10.10 doesn't support reading the sensors on my Gateway. Daily updates would mean that I could grab the modules when they come out, rather than having to wait for the next release.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      PPA's :D

      Missing kernel modules for your sensors? Install build-essential, download the source for them, ./configure, make, make install, reboot, and they'll be there. Or if that's too technical, you have the option of adding the appropriate PPA to your software sources, and installing them prebuilt. PPA's are awesome for sticking with the long term supported Ubuntu, while keeping stuff like Pidgin, GIMP, etc. on the bleeding edge. Give them a try!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        IF it's too technical?

        "...you have the option of adding the appropriate PPA to your software sources, and installing them prebuilt..."

        Right. That's the NON-technical way to do things, in the "for humans" distro...

        *rolls eyes*

        1. pbhj
          Alert

          because

          .. non technical people want to know the temperature reading on their CPU/GPU (especially as it's unlikely to give an accurate readout).

          If you're demanding a technical element then expecting you to type a few words into a console doesn't seem too much to ask.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Pint

          Sigh

          "Right. That's the NON-technical way to do things, in the "for humans" distro..."

          You are on an IT tech website, you do have a passing interest in IT and tech, right? It's really not very hard to do what he's suggesting. Honestly. Not in a snide "why don't you just use the CLI?" kind of way, it genuinely is pretty simple. If you don't want to make any effort at all, perhaps you're in the wrong game?

          1. maclovinz

            Just wanted the answer...

            He just wanted the answer himself, so he could know how to do it!

            AND, yah I remember wanting these readings like 8-10 years ago, and it took more to config GKrellm on RH9 & Mandrake 8.

            (I was a child)

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            yes, this is a tech site...

            ...But ubuntu is -aimed- at nontechnical people. You're saying there aren't any devices out there that wouldn't require such effort? I have to think there are plenty of similar situations for 'normal' hardware. And if ubuntu/linux-in-general people don't realize that their idea of nontechnical is joe sixpack's idea of 'phd in computer science', windows will remain dominant, no matter how deficient.

            I've done a lot of searches for random hardware drivers for work... Printers, video cards, external hard drives, whatever. And a good chunk of the time there are ubuntu forum he'll requests on the first page! And if you go in there, the solution, a good chunk of the time, is multiple pages of CLI acrobatics. Gramma ain't gonna do that to get her printer running.

            Either straight up say, 'this is for techies or those who want to learn', or stop the delusions of normal-person grandeur. I'm fairly technical - I program motion systems for a living and have done lots of low level wacky embedded code - but every linux distro I've tried has ended up with a "fuck it". That's not the way to win hearts and minds - and it's all the more frustrating because the tech is -so damn close- now.

            But the inability of the community to realize that 'non-technical' means 'tivo' and not 'make install" is crippling the effort. The smackdown I got for pointing this all out is more evidence of this. Linux is like someone calling and inviting you to a party, giving you its latitude and longitude, and hanging up on you when you ask for directions.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Pint

              Hmmm

              You're implying it's easier to install windows drivers for a hardware device than a ubuntu module for the same device. It kind of isn't, exclusively ... some devices will be harder than others in either o/s.

              To be quite frank, if i boot off a recent ubuntu live cd, it tends to find all my hardware and just work. Your mileage may differ. Windows 7 also tends to "just work" these days. However, if either fails, the average grandma isn't going to know to go to the manufacturer's site and download drivers. You're not selling me that people "just know" how to do that on windows, but don't if they use ubuntu ...

              I do love this paragraph though. Can't begin to guess what you meant to say;

              "I've done a lot of searches for random hardware drivers for work... Printers, video cards, external hard drives, whatever. And a good chunk of the time there are ubuntu forum he'll requests on the first page!"

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Pint

                Also ...

                Do you really think you're the only visionary to spot it would be better if hardware was easier to configure / install drivers? Really? Only, that's why it's a hell of a lot easier than it used to be on linux - because every other person in the world who's used linux figured that out and folk started making it easier. They're not holding back that process for elitist reasons, particularly ubuntu. Unfortunately it takes time to do that for EVERY piece of obscure hardware.

                In other words, you're saying nothing people don't already understand, and are working on. All you're really saying is "hurry up!" while not helping the process to hurry up in any way whatsoever. If that's the best you can do, keep your opinion to yourself.

    2. The BigYin

      What so anti-profit?

      Maybe I am reading more into it than what your actually said, but why the snide comment about mkaing a profit from the software centre? This is a business, companies need revenue. If you don't like it, then don't buy from it. And at least with Linux there are other distros that you can choose.

      As for Ubuntu going rolling-release...hmm...I started on Ubuntu and I am still a total newb, but already the lock-down and breaking away from the community is beginning to grate. Maybe I'll buy a book, magic up some time from *somewhere* and teach myself how to install and configure Arch.

  2. yossarianuk
    Thumb Up

    Good News

    I for one think this is great News.

    Ubuntu seems all new and exciting when there is a new release but 4-5 months on it starts to look pretty old in comparison to my Arch Desktop.

    In the last 2 years running Arch (at home + at work) I have only been 'damaged' once by a bad update (which I was able to fix myself), if Arch can successfully manage a rolling release distro - why not Ubuntu...

    Foe example the new desktop patch (http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/210966/tiny_linux_kernel_patch_delivers_huge_speed_boost.html) will be in kernel 2.6.38 - as it stands unless you compile your own kernel you will not get that feature..

    It is kind of mad that in many ways it is easier at the moment to get the 'latest' stable version of perl,php,mysql, etc in Windows than on most distro's - some distro's have backports (not usually the latest) or its a case of source install (arch linux is probably the easiest way of getting the latest software - useful for PCI compliance..) - It should be easier to get the latest OSS software in general Linx distros.

    1. John Bailey
      Linux

      It's a good idea.

      Mint brought out a debian based version with rolling release a few months ago. It's currently on my laptop, and working just fine so far. No reason why Canonical can't do the same.

      6 month releases with all new all shiny stuff is good to a point. Lots of new stuff to try out. But I'll be the first to admit, it is a hassle to do a clean install every time. I look forward to more rolling update distros. Install once and forget it until the hard drive wears out.

      Only problem I can see is if they need to d a major overhaul. Sometimes a clean install is a good thing. But we shall see what we shall see.

  3. bexley

    they already release updates daily

    Software updates already come though daily, you dont have to wait 6 months for a new open office or firefox, the update manager prompts you whenever a new version of an installed app hits the repo's

    if it's ubuntu incremental version updates your talking about then ok, but kernel's etc... are already updated as and when they come out, not every 6 months

    1. handle

      kernel updates

      It's only minor (presumably security) updates to the kernel that occur between releases. For instance, the last release is all versions of 2.6.32 and 10.10 will only use versions of 2.6.35.

  4. colinm

    Hmm

    That sounds rather like Debian unstable (Sid)...

    1. Demosthenese

      Yeh ...

      Except Debian Sid is a more stable distro ...

  5. K. Adams
    Thumb Down

    Bad News

    Not a fan of rolling releases, meself.

    Updates tend to break too many things, because it becomes too difficult each app's/library's interaction with every possible "other version" of the apps/libraries installed on a user's system since the last major release "code freeze" (i.e., the point at which an ISO image is released).

    What would be preferable, IMNSHO, is to make it a lot easier for users to add/subtract updates provided by LaunchPad PPAs through Ubuntu Software Center.

    This way, users can test "bleeding edge" packages and send feedback, but still be able to revert to a consistent baseline, should they so choose...

  6. Grease Monkey

    Not convinced

    Well software updates already happen when they happen in Ubuntu. I suspect this is more to do with the fact that Shuttleworth has finally realized that the six month major release cycle is unrealistic. He quite simply can't come up with major new features every six months. If he convinces his disciples that they are getting updates as soon as they are available, he can move away from his self imposed six monthly major release cycle and start releasing major updates when the ideas are there rather than trying to come up with ideas to match an entirely artificial update cycle.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Or maybe...

      They're having trouble keeping up with the nifty names?

      Naughty Narwals

      Overweight Orangutangs

      Pompous Penguins

      Qixotic Quails

      Rubenesque Rottweilers

  7. Chris Hawkins
    Linux

    Not Good enough, Mark!

    Daily rolling releases are not good enough!

    I have come to expect more of Canonical as Ubuntu is the only OS I use and love!

    I want my Ubuntu releases the day before! OK! ::))))))))

  8. The Unexpected Bill
    WTF?

    Can't say I like the idea...

    What does this mean for software quality? I'm not crazy about updating something that often anyway...what if the updater breaks or can't be tested sufficiently to assure it doesn't cause an odd data corruption bug on XYZ's hardware at 4:01 PM?

    Personally, I think there's been a downturn in software reliability "out of the box" once developers realized the benefits of flashable memories and easily delivered software updates...having to ship disks or actual ROM chips surely made product vendors think about getting it right the first time.

    1. maclovinz
      Paris Hilton

      Downturn.....

      Since when has their been an UPTURN in reliability?

      The more components you add, the more possible points of failure...esp. since their developed by humans.

      Paris, b/c I'd like to know WHY the F she's on el Reg to begin with? The "news" reminds me of her presence enough!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm already sick of getting a new kernel every five minutes

    This is a straight up terrible idea. Give me something with a bunch of components that work together every six months. Feel free to provide upgrades for key applications like firefox and openoffice when they drop, but I can generally wait for the latest cruft to hit my underlying system at least until it's not quite so full of holes. Well, I'd also like them to figure out and delete all the modules for the previous kernel edition rather than leaving a gig of crap on my system, but I guess they were too busy shifting desktop paradigms to think about that.

    1. madjr

      ubuntu-tweak

      you can remove old modules with ubuntu-tweak

      1. Andus McCoatover
        FAIL

        Ubuntu-tweak??

        Oho. Searched Ubuntu website and got this:

        http://www.ubuntu.com/search/google-appliance/ubuntu-tweak.

        Oh, right, it's probably in a locked filing cabinet in a basement with no stairs, with a sign "Beware of the leopard" nailed to the door.

        If I can't find it on the web-page with Ubuntu's search engine to search the site, what the fuc*k chance has Harry Halfwitt got???

    2. vic 4

      Uninstall them

      in exactly the same way remove any other software on your machine

  10. nyelvmark

    fault-tolerance revisited (again)

    It seems as though Ubuntu have forgotten, or never heard, the old joke about Microsoft short-cutting the long-standing race to develop a fault-tolerant computer. They developed instead, of course, the fault-tolerant user. The distinction between "release" and "update" is clear for MS - the former is an update which they feel they can get away with charging for. What's the distinction for Ubuntu? Or are they abandoning the idea of a release altogether?

  11. madjr
    Megaphone

    Butter FS

    the final piece of the puzzle would be to get Btrfs (butter fs) ready and integrated with grub, then we can revert back in case a package or upgrade messes up something.

    Of course lets see if its ready to substitute ext4 by then, it needs as much love as possible so breakage can be a thing of the past!

    1. billse10
      Thumb Down

      bitter fs

      having lost a huge chunk of work due to a btrfs bug and it taking a very long time to rebuild, the btrfs stuff needs to be kept away from 'real' systems for a very long time. Also, if the project's key sponsor believes in open source they will simply release ZFS under GPL and screw the consequences (Larry can afford to wait a year for a new yacht or a new MiG). Secondly, if btrfs is as good as various Orcl press releases would have had us believe, it would be production quality by now. It's about as production quality as a Oracle 8 was when it shipped (yeah ok I'm old - for those who don't remember, it's release notes were as accurate as Phil Woolas's manifesto).

    2. John Rose

      LTS & STS

      In my view this is a risky step. Each time there is a release, major bugs appear on previously working apps and I have had to scurry round trying to 'fix' them. I don't upgrade to a LTS until at least a month after the release. I never use a STS as the support time is just not long enough. In summary, I wish that Canonical would go to yearly releases and use the effort currently used for STS instead for fixing bugs.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Linux

        But what for?

        For servers? Yes, I can see the value in sticking with LTS and waiting that month. But why use Ubuntu rather than CentOS?

        For desktops? No, no point in worrying so much. Just shove 'em on the current one and marvel at the shinyness.

  12. madjr
    Thumb Up

    A happy Dell

    Dell will be extremely happy

    They are still selling laptops with the soon to be unsupported ubuntu 9.10 ....

    they clearly dont like full upgrades every 6 months and users dont like to buy an aging distro.

    Rolling release will mean that hardware manufacturers can now embrace fully.

    so, with a good testing of packages and btrfs able to make system snapshots and revert back in case of failures directly from the grub, then ubuntu will be pretty much perfect!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    Reboots and reliability

    Daily releases are fine if there's decent quality control on what gets released!

    Too many "developers" -- and I use the term loosely, some seem more like amateur software writers -- just rely on the frequent updates and have an attitude that they can release buggy code because tomorrow they can release something with some bugs added, some bugs removed and some altered and stuff the poor user who'se trying to use the PC. to do something useful. Greater intervals between the releases increases the chance that decent testing, both of the package and regression testing of the system, will take place.

    The other hassle to frequent updates is when its the kernel or something else critical and wants a reboot. Live updates of kernels anyone, it must be possible?

    1. maclovinz
      Thumb Up

      THIS

      "Too many "developers" -- and I use the term loosely, some seem more like amateur software writers -- just rely on the frequent updates and have an attitude that they can release buggy code because tomorrow they can release something with some bugs added"

      THIS, is my biggest fear, since I'll be trying to use Ubuntu in multiple production environments soon...

    2. Vic

      Of course.

      > Live updates of kernels anyone, it must be possible?

      It is. Search for "ksplice".

      It's been a while since I tried it, so my knowledge is somewhat out of date, but I got it to work. I also decided I'd need a damn good reason to want to try it again.

      If your uptime guarantee doesn't allow enough time for a reboot, you're probably not using enough hardware...

      Vic.

    3. Stephen Bungay

      Users and aging distros?

      What's the problem? You get the machine, spark it up and it looks for updates. Same as that other operating system that they pre-install.My biggest problem is when updates break things.

      * I dumped Windows because Microsoft's updates broke my Win2K install (yes it was that long ago).

      * I dumped UBUNTU because their updates broke a critical php app and I couldn't (easily) roll back the change.

      * I dumped KDE because they released a really incomplete & buggy 4.0 which the distros picked up as if it was a clean and functional GUI. I still don't like KDE4, but that may change.

  14. heyrick Silver badge
    Stop

    "In an internet-oriented world, we need to be able to release something every day."

    Why don't you try this:

    "In an internet-oriented world, we need to be able to release something when we need to, without artificial six-month cycles or idiotic 'dev cycles daily!' mentality."

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Negating value

    I'm okay with daily releases, but I hope that they will be at least a couple weeks behind. The whole value of Ubuntu was that they integrated all the builds and made sure that they played well together. Tell the truth, you could do that on a daily basis, given time to test. But if they are just rolling out all the nightly builds as they are released, what is the value?

  16. vaio
    Thumb Down

    Don't like it

    Having suffered the constant updates of vista I know how irritating it is for people to wait for computers doing stuff that they want to do and delay my work. If you have to do it, do it but at least keep an option for scheduling updates like on weekends or something.

  17. Gabor Laszlo
    Linux

    Linux Mint Debian Edition

    my rolling desktop distro since Sept.

  18. Scorchio!!

    X-windows

    The move to dumping X-windows in exchange for something else is a tad alarming. It's like Shuttleworth is aiming to produce a proprietary form of Linux.

    1. A Known Coward
      Boffin

      Re: X11

      It's not really alarming or surprising. X is moving too slowly, the X11 protocol is 23 years old and it's really showing it's age.

      Those media keys on your new keyboard don't work? Well that's the fault of X11, the kernel drivers support the keys and the end-user applications support them, but the X11 protocol which sits in the middle does not. I've seen kernel developers on the verge of tears when they learnt that two years of coordinated work on the native input layer was all for nothing because X silently dropped key codes that it cannot handle. I know guys at Red Hat who are just as sick at the pace of X development even though their own colleagues are the ones working on it. Most of the X extensions have been designed with fantastic new features which can't be used because the protocol has no support. X12 development is non-existent, they are still asking for input on features and those I've spoken to on the inside say that we shouldn't expect to see it finished in the next few years.

      So yes, it's actually a good thing that someone is talking about alternatives to X. Modern distros need a modern window system or at least a modern protocol. Maybe it's time for Linux to cut these final ties to it's Unix heritage.

      1. Scorchio!!

        Desktop

        Then he's dumping the desktop for something else. I dunno. I've been following the debate elsewhere and see a great deal of unease, if only because the man does not appear to be doing it as a part of the Linux community, but as a private initiative. I know that X windows has faults, but Shuttleworth's way of going about it has me unsettled. By that I mean he's doing it, not talking about it. That could be precipitate, and it could lead down a proprietary path. After all, he's a businessman, not a charity.

        1. A Known Coward
          Linux

          A little less conversation, a little more action please

          Trust me when I say as an open source developer that if you want to get anything done you don't talk about it but beg forgiveness afterwards. The product will either stand on it's own because it meets the requirements or it will fail, but at least it will get done. In the wider world when 'standards' are being put together and every party's input much be considered it can take years for them to become official, we need a solution NOW.

          Everyone and their dog has an opinion about the direction of development in open source. Most simply have no understanding, they are not programmers and have never contributed anything but their opinions. If you stop to discuss a proposed feature in the open then it quickly spirals out of all control and what was once a simple project with clear goals quickly becomes a quagmire where no-one is happy because their idea was dismissed. I've seen far too many projects die on their arse because they decided to 'talk' about their plans and not a single line of code ever gets written.

          I'm no Ubuntu fan but even if you suspect Shuttleworth's motives, you can't really object to what he is doing. Whatever they create will be open source so in that sense it cannot be wholly proprietary, more than likely Ubuntu will release the project to a cross-distro committee for future development/maintenance once they have something to show. It will either find favour with the community and therefore survive or it will not. There is no dark sinister conspiracy here, it's difficult if not impossible to pull off Gates or Jobs style Machiavellian plots in the open source world.

  19. TheWhiteIdea
    FAIL

    Sounds a bit like M$

    "We're releasing every day so if it doesn't work we can just fix it tomorrow...." - sounds like the release system used by everyone's 'favorite' OS manufacturer.

    Also, there's nothing I hate worse than needing to perform updates frequently, and my bandwidth being eaten by a computer downloading updates in the background doesn't appeal either.

    1. madjr

      update when u want

      you're not forced to update anything.

      if you want to update your packages in 5 years, than be my guest.

  20. Dave Murray
    Thumb Down

    Oi Shuttleworth! No!

    I have enough crap to deal with on a daily basis from security updates to Windows, Linux and apps without you pushing new (probably broken) feqatures at me daily. Even the 6 month release cycle is more than I can be arsed with and I usually skip every other release. If I want an app to be bleeding edge I'll update it from the PPAs.

  21. John Sanders
    Linux

    Ubuntu as a rolling distro...

    Is a good thing, it makes possible to avoid the horrible cycle of having to reinstall the OS just to upgrade a single application.

    Yes I know it can be done compiling or via PPA, but this is way better, at the end of the day officially sanctioned packages from your distro is the way forward.

    Saves a lot of headaches.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    Is there something we forgot...?

    What about the LTS releases?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Flame

      Uh-oh.

      Speaking as a hardcore Gentoo ricer, I would just like to say: 'Welcome to a world of pain'.....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Unhappy

      so you

      have never had an update break anything on your system. Ever.

      Just roll back. Yeah right. Time wasted, downloading bandwidth wasted.

      When it's you wireless that's broken by an update, it's painful, man

  23. Peter Mc Aulay
    Thumb Down

    Good idea for some, bad idea for most others

    From a support and platform certification perspective this is an absolute nightmare.

    While this might be a good thing for some end users (though on second thought any of my machines that need to reliably "just work" like the living room multimedia PC better not do this either), it also means that Ubuntu can kiss corporate approval goodbye.

    1. madjr

      stable lts

      there should be a stable LTS release for corporate and servers

      it should be similar to this:

      https://wiki.ubuntu.com/UbuntuDownUnder/BOFs/GrumpyGroundhog

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    Another Arch User

    The rolling release model is the primary reason I first switched to arch and it can work very well. Ubuntu is a great distro and if rolling updates are managed well this could be a very good move. Regarding PPAs, they're not the same as a package that has been officially tested by canonical before release in the repositories and are way too technical for most users. IMHO they should start slowly with this and focus on a few apps e.g. firefox and openoffice (or go-oo, libreoffice whatever). Two problems come to mind though, size of downloads increasing and the occasional bug slipping through. With the download size I think they will need to do something like only getting a diff of a package (I don't believe many package managers including apt have this ability yet), this would make updates to packages like openoffice less painful - and also quite important in developing countries where the internet access may be limited. With the possibility of bugs slipping through I think they'll have to make it easy for users to choose which major version of a package they are using or revert to an older package - this could be a support and usability nightmare though. In any case I wish the ubuntu devs the best of luck in managing this transition.

    1. madjr

      backup system

      a good backup / system rollback system needs to be in place.

      Something people can revert back to.

      It has to create a snapshot every time the user starts updating.

      older unused snapshots get deleted. But there should always be 1 or 2 snapshots the user can go back to.

      Btrfs would be the ideal, but they could have an alternative app that does this if its not ready for when they go rolling

  25. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Compromise?

    How about a new release every couple weeks or month? Surely there's better use for the organization's resources than trying to put out a daily release. And after a few, is there really enough that's significantly changed to warrant a daily release?

    Are there really people out there that have time in their lives to upgrade an OS every day?

  26. tardigrade

    Updates or Upgrades?

    Well update manager updates all the software that you have ppa's for as and when. For example if you add in the ppa for Chrome you can if you want have the nightly builds downloaded and updated every day. It's probably the best automatic updater around.

    I imagine what Shuttleworth is getting at is rolling the ppa's and update manager into Software Centre, so that newbies don't have to add ppa's, know what they are or even see them.

    At the moment ppa's only get into Software Centre when you add them in Software Sources or from the shell and updates aren't done from Software Centre.

    Put everything together in Software Centre and maybe that makes things simpler for new users.

    1. Vic

      Upgradin

      > Are there really people out there that have time in their lives to upgrade an OS every day?

      Yes. I generally spend less than a minute making sure it's not going to upgrade something I don't want it to, then I pish the "Install Updates" button. Some time later, it is done.

      Once a month or so, I reboot the laptop[1] to bring in a new kernel or suchlike.

      Vic.

      [1] I run Fedora on this laptop. It likes to upgrade stuff regularly...

  27. Justin Clements

    great

    Just what any normal user wants, a prompt every morning for updates.

    I don't want a box continually updating itself like this. Batch it to a month or 3 months, but not daily.

    People have other things to be doing than staring at an Update window each morning when they turn their machine on. They simply want to type a letter, surf a web page, read emails. Not wait until the updates have been downloaded and installed.

    This is techie masturbation at it's worse.

    1. Vic

      Not with you at all...

      > Just what any normal user wants, a prompt every morning for updates.

      There's no problem with that.

      Users rarely care whether or not there are updates - what they care about is whether or not those updates will interrupt their use of the machine.

      Updates on a Windows box are always intrusive - often requiring multiple reboots. Updates on a Linux box are not - you usually just hit the button and get back to whatever it is you were up to. It really isn't a big deal.

      > I don't want a box continually updating itself like this.

      I do. If there are bugs to be fixed, I want them fixed as soon as possible.

      > Batch it to a month or 3 months, but not daily.

      No, I completely disagree with you there.

      If something is broken, I don't want to wait a month to get the fix that someone has already published elsewhere - even if the bug is not security-related. It's pointless putting in arbitrary delays to improvements just to avoid an upgrade procedure that is completely painless anyway,

      My laptop is updated pretty much every day - sometimes more than once per day. I barely notice. I haven't rebooted it in weeks. Updates just aren't a problem.

      > People have other things to be doing than staring at an Update

      > window each morning when they turn their machine on.

      Sure - so we don't stare at update windows.

      I get an icon appear in one of my panels if there are updates available. I click it, have a quick look at the updates to make sure I want them (I always have done, so far), then click "Install Updates" and get back to what I was doing.

      > They simply want to type a letter, surf a web page, read emails.

      As do I.

      > Not wait until the updates have been downloaded and installed.

      But with Linux, you don't do that. An update doesn't mean the machine is unusable for hours at a time - it's predominantly a background process that just gets on with it whilst you go about your business.

      > This is techie masturbation at it's worse.

      No, this is non-users not understanding just how much simpler it is to upgrade a Linux box compared to a Windows one.

      Vic.

  28. Matt Hawkins

    OpenOffice

    "you dont have to wait 6 months for a new open office"

    really?

  29. yossarianuk
    Linux

    Another benefit of this ...

    .. Is that fixes will be applied upstream thus benefiting all Linux users of all distros...

    At the min the only distro where it is as easy to get the latest versions of the following software as Windows is Arch Linux.

    - Clamav

    - PHP

    - MySQL

    - Perl

    - Postgres

    - Apache

    - (not OSS) Nvidia driver

    (p.s I do not any longer use Windows (even at work Linux is allowed), As Linux is the 'poster boy' of FOSS the most popular distro should be using the latest 'stable' versions of FOSS software)

  30. Bruno Girin

    Let's get the facts straight

    This has been going around the Ubuntu mailing lists for some time. The idea is NOT to move to a rolling distro but to offer something in between.

    When you install a particular version of Ubuntu, it comes with a particular version of every single piece of software, e.g. Ubuntu 10.10 comes with the Linux kernel v2.6.35, Firefox 3.7, OpenOffice 3.2.2, etc. Those versions stay exactly the same throughout the lifetime of the release and the only updates are bug fixes. This is great for business where maintenance of a large park or machines is simplified if you know exactly what versions are running on every machine. On the other hand, for the casual user, it means that if Firefox releases a new version (say FF 4) right in the middle of the release cycle, you have to wait until the new release is out to get the new FF or you have to go through the shenanigans of setting up a custom PPA, installing a .deb package or building from source, all of which is not user friendly and is a good way to accidentally wreck your system.

    So the solution to this that Mark Shuttleworth is talking about is to make it possible for new versions of any software to appear in Software Centre at any point during the release cycle. So, to come back to the example above, if Firefox release a brand new version right in the middle of the release cycle, that new version should be available in Software Centre very shortly after it is released, so that users can decide to upgrade, should they wish to do so.

    This solution means that you can keep both types of users happy: if you are in an environment where version control is important, you can keep a well known version of your software on all machines; while if you want the latest and greatest as soon as it comes out, you can get it through the Software Centre.

    For Ubuntu and every other Linux distro, comprehensive and integrated package management is a unique selling point compared to Windows or Mac OS-X: it enables users to install any software and receive updates in a controlled manner with minimal risk to their system. It's exactly why Saint Steve wants to build an app store in OS-X. So what Ubuntu are doing is looking at the package management front-end and making it easier for users to install everything they want through that front-end, including the latest version of any software they use, without them having to know what a PPA is or what the command line looks like. All very sensible really.

  31. An_Old_Dog
    Flame

    Insanity / Welcome to Hell

    I don't want to wake up every morning and find little gnomes have re-arranged all my furniture and the walls of my house. The "daily 'upgrade'" idea is the computer equivalent to this.

    I don't see how devs can reproduce, let alone debug, a problem, when their program's environment is changing on a _daily_ basis.

    My #1 requirement for a desktop OS is automatic, hassle-free security updates.

    My #2 requirement for a desktop OS is stability+works-out-of-the-box, but with the option for me to go out on the bleeding edge for the apps I select.

    My #3 requirement is, "don't wire in crap I don't want. You can offer the crap, but it must be optional, or at the least, easily removable."

    Ubuntu and Ubuntu-based distros have been giving me this for years, but lately, Ubuntu has been falling down on numbers three and two.

    Ubuntu QC is being lowered in favor of "new and shiny".

    Here's a big, hearty, wet dick-slap to Mr. Shuttleworth, and I'm off to find a different distro...

  32. Richard Lloyd
    Alert

    Why not annual releases and maybe a 6-monhly update roll-up release?

    I think what all Linux distros should do is have an annual release (e.g. 2011.0 for release in the first 6 months of 2011) and then do "rolling updates" for a year. I would also suggest a year.5 release 6 months in that is just the annual release with 6 months of updates rolled in for easier deployment (i.e. no double downloads - one for the ISO and another set for hundreds of updates).

    And, yes, you need a major new feature in each annual .0 release that the previous year's release didn't have, otherwise there's no incentive to install a later annual release. Support the latest 2 annual releases on the desktop and the latest 5 (at least) on the server and then drop the pointless "LTS" releases (all annual releases become LTS releases in other words).

  33. Dennis Healey

    Why not pick an intermediate path

    Clearly rolling updates have risks as the base keeps changing. Would it not be better to release the components as and when, in a new releases category that the enthusiasts get to try. These would be "Release candidate" grade.

    These then get rolled into the "Stable" release that happens monthly.

    Those of us who are more cautious get an improved, proven system more quickly than before as there is more chance of a sensible test regime and risk is reduced because there is in effect a soft launch that will catch the minor quirks more effectively.

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