Linux News Today: Ubuntu Getting Closer to the Rolling Release Model
Discussions about making Ubuntu a rolling release distro have been going on for a few years now, but a decision wasn’t made. It turns out that it might happen anyway when Ubuntu running Unity 8 and Mir become mainstream.
Canonical already has a rolling release Ubuntu distribution right now, and it’s the one running on the phone. It’s running Unity 8 and Mir, and the same underlying code will be used for the desktop edition as well.
If we also remember that Canonical wants to have a separate distro build with snappy packages, we can see that the move to a rolling release is well underway although it won’t be something new or even a milestone. It will just happen.
Rolling release is the future
Canonical will continue to provide two different versions of Ubuntu, one running on deb files and the other on Snappy packages. Also, one will continue to use the X server, and the other one will switch to Mir. This will happen for the foreseeable future, or until the hardware manufacturers like Nvidia, AMD, and Intel integrate proper support for Mir in their drivers.
Rolling Release means that you get incremental upgrades that bring major features and changes, without having to wait around six months for a new upgrade. Ubuntu Touch is getting this treatment right now. Each new OTA upgrade has a ton of new stuff, but these kinds of changes would not happen in the current state of the desktop version.
The only problem that needs to be solved is the extended support that is provided by Canonical. A lot of people still use and depend on the LTS versions that are launched every two years, so it’s unclear what would happen to those. The same LTS versions are being used in the cloud, with great success, so that’s another thing that will have to be addressed somehow.
The most probable scenario is that Canonical will want to have the cake and eat it too, meaning that they will want a rolling release for the desktop flavor similar to the mobile model, but they will also want to keep the long-term support.