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Linux Business Operating Systems Software Ubuntu Linux

Ubuntu May Move To Rolling Releases 246

formfeed writes "The register claims that 'Ubuntu is moving away from its established six-month-cycle and potentially to a future where software updates land on a daily basis.' While this sounds like a sudden change, it is apparently more of a long-term thought. The Register quotes Shuttleworth: '"Today we have a six-month release cycle," Shuttleworth said. "In an internet-oriented world, we need to be able to release something every day. That's an area we will put a lot of work into in the next five years. The small steps we are putting in to the Software Center today, they will go further and faster than people might have envisioned in the past."' But given that many of Shuttleworth's thoughts became decisions later on, it might be interesting to see, where this one leads. Interestingly enough, five years is about the time when Ubuntu will run out of letters."
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Ubuntu May Move To Rolling Releases

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  • Re:They already do! (Score:5, Informative)

    by antifoidulus ( 807088 ) on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @10:06AM (#34330480) Homepage Journal
    Typically those changes are mostly bug/security fixes. New features/APIs tend to only be released every 6 months.
  • Re:Ubuntu SID? (Score:5, Informative)

    by scharkalvin ( 72228 ) on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @10:21AM (#34330650) Homepage

    Linux Mint is already doing a 'rolling release' with a distro based on Debian testing.

  • by satoshi1 ( 794000 ) <satoshi@s u g a r d e a t h .net> on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @10:43AM (#34330976) Homepage Journal
    That's really only the case if you're installing packages from the AUR that are unmaintained or have a lazy maintainer. With the recent python3 switch, everything not in AUR (since that is user maintained), was updated to point to the appropriate python executable.

    OR, the issue is that you're performing selective upgrades. Which, in that case, of course you're going to run into library issues. ANY rolling release OS is meant to be fully upgraded whenever an upgrade is performed, otherwise you risk breaking everything.

    With Arch, it only breaks if you break it, since you have total control over everything.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @12:43PM (#34333168)
    Why did you even go via 8.10? The upgrade instructions [] for 10.04 LTS clearly state that directly upgrading from 8.04 LTS is supported.
  • by zooblethorpe ( 686757 ) on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @12:59PM (#34333488)

    The problem is that if you wait six months between upgrades then that means you spend 12 hours downloading and installing hundreds of megabytes of changes and then it crashes part-way through and your system is hosed.

    It sounds an awful lot like you're installing new versions as in-place "upgrades". I've never had that work successfully, starting from RH 6.something or so around 1999. Your much better bet is to download the ISO, then install the new version in a fresh partition. Mount all your data like normal (you do have your data on a separate partition, no?), then give the new version a spin. If it hoses something, you've still got your old version on its own partition, and switching back is as easy as rebooting.

    Keeping things in separate partitions and mounting as appropriate is one of the key advantages (for me, anyway) of Unix-style filesystems. An example partition list:

    • 20GB partition - OS 1
    • 20GB partition - OS 2
    • 20GB partition - OS 3
    • 20GB partition - OS 4
    • 160GB partition - data
    • Leftovers - swap, etc.

    Create and use more or fewer OS partitions as you find useful. I have Windows XP on one (not used on the bare metal since shortly after buying the computer), Ubuntu 9.10 in the next (thinking about wiping this and replacing with 10.10), 10.04 in the third, and I keep the fourth around to play -- check out Fedora, Arch, Mandriva (when they were still viable), etc. In each OS, I just mount my data partition as appropriate -- generally just as /data, and then symlinked from the appropriate /home/[username]/data locations. (You could just keep all /home/[username] directories in your data partition, but I tend to find that this causes config file conflicts, so I just keep the equivalent of "My Documents" in the data partition.)

    This way, "upgrading" is as simple as a full install in a fresh partition. This completely avoids the problem you (and I and many others) have run into: wasting time downloading and installing hundreds of megabytes of changes and then it crashes part-way through and your system is hosed. Install after a clean wipe -- avoid that "not quite fresh" feeling!


  • Next time either a) try updating LTS to LTS or b) simply install the new distribution over the existing install. With a dedicated home partition, the latter is incredibly easy, and if offers a nice middle ground between a clean install (losing all your settings) and an upgrade (keeping all those crufty packages you installed but didn't use). Even without a dedicated home partition, it's possible, just make sure you don't format the drive you install to (and maybe manually rm everything except /home).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @03:48PM (#34335826)

    Recently I tried to upgrade my Ubuntu system from 8.04 to 10.04 (LTS to LTS) by using the bundled distribution upgrade manager. The first upgrade, to 8.10, rendered my graphics card and video card useless. Since the 8.10 version was no longer supported, I had to jump through a bunch of hoops to get good drivers installed so the system was usable again. 8.10 to 9.04 went smoothly. When I upgraded from 9.04 to 9.10, upon system reboot, I was greeted with a message that one of my I/O modules had a memory conflict error at addresses 0x400 - 0x407 with some other module.After excessive googling and internet scouring, I found that this error had happened to a few other folks, who wiped their entire system and just used a live CD with the version they wanted to get their computer running. I also found three bug reports that had been filed as something along the lines of, "Put on the backburner because this affects an old distribution."

    Upgrading from 8.04 to 10.04 can be done with a single upgrade; there is no reason to go 8.04->8.10->9.04..etc. The built-in update manager will upgrade from one LTS release (8.04) to the next (10.04) unless you specifically configure it not too.

    Your argument is invalid. Next time, try to stick to facts. This will make your argument much more believable.

    Note: I am in no way suggesting that Ubuntu upgrades are painless or without errors. I run LTS and personally find it easier to reinstall than deal with the bug-riddled hassle of upgrading. However, the OP's argument of upgrading to each successive release in order to upgrade from 8.04->10.04 is absurd.

  • by Dennis Sheil ( 1706056 ) on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @07:09PM (#34337822)
    Engineering director at Canonical Rick Spencer has replied [] to this story. He says:

    Ubuntu is not changing to a rolling release. We are confident that our customers, partners, and the FLOSS ecosystem are well served by our current release cadence. What the article was probably referring to was the possibility of making it easier for developers to use cutting edge versions of certain software packages on Ubuntu.This is a wide-ranging project that we will continue to pursue through our normal planning processes.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 25, 2010 @03:27AM (#34340444)

    This is not how LTS->LTS works. You can go from 8.04->10.04 directly without upgrading to each of those interim versions.

I've finally learned what "upward compatible" means. It means we get to keep all our old mistakes. -- Dennie van Tassel