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Re: Bits from the Release Team - Kicking off Wheezy

On 01/05/11 at 22:48 +0200, Pierre Habouzit wrote:
> On Sun, May 01, 2011 at 10:36:07PM +0200, Lucas Nussbaum wrote:
> > It's clear that we are not going to stop doing stable releases anytime
> > soon. However, there seem to be some interest in the "rolling release"
> > concept. The question is: can we (Debian) provide a rolling release
> > with an acceptable increase in workload, and without compromizing the
> > quality of our stable releases ? If yes, why shouldn't we do it?
> Well, if you hadn't guess, I think it will increase workload

I agree. The question is: will the increase of workload be worth it?

> and worse divert attention from what I think is a more important goal.

Your point is basically "we should discourage developers to do something
else than working on getting the next stable release out".  I don't buy
it. I'm sure that we are all very good at procrastinating the things
that we don't want to do, whether the "excuses" are provided by Debian
or by other projects/hobbies.

Developers who are not interested in helping with the release will just
do something else. We can send a clear message to developers that
getting the stable release out should be considered more important than
working on rolling or on one's other pet projects, but besides that, I
don't think that there's much more to do.

> But really what I'd like to see is numbers and compelling reasons to
> start all that CUT/rolling thing, because that's missing completely from
> the thread, I'm still not understanding why we need anything like that.
> You don't do something like that because it's hype, you do it because
> it's badly needed, and well, why?

There's a clear user demand for rolling releases. For evidence, one can
look at the usage of Debian testing or unstable which clearly goes
further than the DD community. Or at the quickly growing market share of
ArchLinux. Or at the interest in LinuxMint and Aptosid.

Personally, I'm surrounded by [advanced] Ubuntu users who would be
interested in something *slightly* harder to use, with more recent

I think that Debian is in a perfect position to provide a rolling
release with marginal additional work, since we already have testing to
build on.

Benefits for Debian:
- attract users who think that testing is only a development branch, and
  want newer software than what one finds in stable. Those users are
  likely to be rather advanced users (developers, free software
  contributors), thus interesting to work with. Some of them could
  become Debian contributors. And even if they don't, more users of
  testing/rolling means more testers of the next stable release
  [remember how the bug reporting rate of Ubuntu is higher than
  Debian's -- some areas of Debian could use more testers].
- give back to the free software world by providing a platform where new
  upstream releases would quickly be available to users. Since users
  would be able to test new upstream releases earlier, they would be
  able to provide feedback to upstream devs earlier, contributing to a
  shorter feedback loop.
- get back some attention that is currently taken away from Debian by
  derivatives. This is important to carry our /political/ messages,
  which are not necessarily carried out by our derivatives.


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