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Re: Debian decides to adopt time-based release freezes

Werner Baumann wrote:
> The two models as I can see them from the discussion so far:
> Model 1:
> Debian freezes in December
> Debian developers concentrate on fixing RC bugs
> Ubuntu developers concentrate on including newer versions of major
> software packages
> When the number of RC bugs in Debian is low enough Ubuntu freezes
> Ubuntu and Debian release at approximately the same time
> With this model Debian developers will bear the main burden of bug
> fixing while Ubuntu will use the time to integrate newer software
> packages.
> Model 2:
> Debian and Ubuntu freeze at the same time (December?)
> Debian and Ubuntu developers coordinate in fixing RC bugs
> Debian and Ubuntu release at about the same time
> With this model the burden is shared and both operating system will be
> at the same state with respect to the main components. Differences will
> be according to different philosophy (questions asked by the installer,
> components and configuration of a standard installation, what is "user
> friendly"). There may be also differences in the versions of main
> software packages, but this differences would be clear at freeze time
> and due to different philosophy.
> While I think model 2 could prove useful for Debian and Ubuntu I can't
> see what Debian would gain from model 1. I believe this discussion
> would look very different if Ubuntu says it agrees on model 2.
We certainly agree on the idea that multiple distributions, and all the
major upstreams, would benefit from a coordinated freeze. If we sit down
and agree to use the same version of the kernel, for example, that helps
the kernel community plan their merge windows and merge criteria in a
way that they have never been able to do before.

It would be substantially easier to collaborate on RC (and non-RC) bug
fixes where the base versions of major components were the same.

That said, I don't believe that any distribution should feel compelled
to go with a particular version. If Mandriva really wants to go with a
different version of X, say, then all power to them. There will be
benefits to being on a common base with others, and there will sometimes
be benefits or constraints which mandate a delta for any particular

So, coordinated *freezes* make a lot of sense for distributions *and*
for upstreams.

However, when it comes to the release, there are equally good reasons
for different distributions to take different approaches. We each have
different policies and focuses. We treat different issues as release
blockers. We are focused on different use cases. All of those will drive
differences in release dates.

So, I strongly support your Option 2 as the model, but I don't think it
leads to exactly the same freeze-and-release dates. It leads to a shared
freeze date where we establish how much common signalling we can send to
upstreams, followed by improved collaboration both with other
distributions and with upstreams, and varying release dates.

Is that a bad thing? Well, I think some people will say a distro is
*better* if it releases later. Others will say a distro is better if it
releases on a schedule. There have been so many distributions around for
so long and yet each of the majors, including both Debian and Ubuntu,
have loyal and passionate users. I don't think this is about trying to
convince users to switch - they believe in the brands they believe in,
to the credit of both groups, not to either detriment.


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