Blog Post

RE: Regular Release Schedule Benefits

Tristan, I will have to agree to disagree on this one for various reasons.

First of all, Ubuntu needs to solidify its public image as much as possible.

As does Kubuntu. This isn’t a one pony show and it isn’t always about Ubuntu, at least that’s the way I feel, how others feel, well I can’t speak for them.

As for the whole LTS moniker, ya I think quite a few of us in the Kubuntu community would love to have LTS as well. It is obvious that people really want that LTS moniker I guess before doing business, however the French Parliament nor the Canary Islands chose that moniker, and instead went with what was fresh, so they went with Kubuntu 7.04, and they rolled it out big time. What we really need, is to see the results from Dapper upgrades before any of us not officially with Canonical, who I would guess would have such results, can stop assuming the whole LTS thing. I can see LTS being a hit in the server market for sure, but I would love to see the desktop results.

I understand why Kubuntu wants to delay their LTS release.

Actually, Kubuntu doesn’t want to delay “our” LTS, we would be happy making everyone else happy, but obviously the powers-to-be made a decision. I would really think that Canonical had some background information in order for people to make such a decision. As for Kubuntu 8.04 we are sticking with KDE 3.5.8, or if it happens, KDE 3.5.9, but we are also going to offer KDE 4.0. This was the plan from the beginning, since UDS, and if you look at the OpenWeek logs you will also see the transparent communications of such a plan.

The unfortunate timing of a moving KDE 4.0 release date is a problem that can be corrected. Mark Shuttleworth suggested at the last aKademy conference that KDE should change its release process to a hit a regular schedule. You can view the video of Mark’s keynote address on the web. The idea is a simple one: Set a hard date and modify your goals (features) to match that timeline.

This is the one that really hits a nerve really, and obviously it hit the nerves of many who were present at aKademy. First off, Mark is great, he has done so much for Free Software, Linux, and definitely Ubuntu. Ubuntu may be one of the top dogs in the Linux world, but it is still an infant in respect to both KDE and Gnome, and I have been one to always respect my elders. If KDE had a regular release schedule, I am sure someone would find it in themselves to say they aren’t doing it right, or it isn’t good for us. As it stands, KDEs release schedules have always worked well for Kubuntu. We were always able to get the latest release in for each one of our releases. Don’t know how much more regular you can get than that. I don’t believe a project should have to modify their goals just so another project can meet theirs, unless of course there is a contract involved, and I haven’t seen one of those floating around yet.

I believe that it would tremendously benefit KDE to create a regular and predictable release schedule. See the benefits that this has had for Gnome and Ubuntu.

I can honestly say I haven’t seen the benefits only because I don’t follow it. The benefits I have seen is that Ubuntu brought a lot of new users to Gnome, but Ubuntu isn’t to be thanked for all of Gnome’s success. Recently the Gnome Developer’s Kit was released, and the distribution they use is Foresight, which is also helping along with Novell, Red Hat, and many others. I don’t think Ubuntu has popped out of the ground beating its chest just yet, so I don’t think it is fair to tell another project to hop on board and follow our release cycles. I don’t think it would be fair to tell KDE to follow our release schedule either, especially since a lot of the developers are volunteers, just like every other community. There are times of the year where development is slower because of the lack of people. Honestly, Ubuntu doesn’t have the power, no matter how awesome it is, to attempt to even direct that. Would it be great if everyone had a regular release cycle, sure, and just think about how great the competition will get. It will be a market or get owned community, and with the likes of Novell and Red Hat, that is some stiff competition to out-market.

A predictable release allows external parties to prepare and plan for the release. If KDE does this, they too will reap the rewards that Ubuntu has seen.

Who is to decide the predictable release? Surely not Ubuntu. And it also goes to show, that since KDE didn’t follow Ubuntu’s predictable release schedule, they sure as hell have been very successful and continue and strive to be excellent, with or without Ubuntu.

People leaving Debian, well that was more than just a predictable release cycle. There was that whole community thing as well, which it has been the community that has made Ubuntu excel, as well as it has been the community that has made Gnome and KDE excel.

Ubuntu is great, but it isn’t a God, and honestly has no right trying to tell another developer community how they should go about doing their releases. If Kubuntu was to sit back and not focus on KDE 4, well come time for the next release we will have this same problem with people upset because we are far behind, and we will have to hear things like “we need to catch up with Ubuntu.” I have been tired of hearing that and I appreciate the fact that Kubuntu will work now for what can only make us stronger in the future. Do I want an LTS release for Kubuntu 8.04, you bet I do. Can Kubuntu do both? I believe we can, and actually we have implemented a great majority of the blueprints that were proposed for UDS Boston. We may be a small community, but damn it we are a strong community.

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  • TheGZeus

    Now, now.
    This seems ready to escalate.
    I can see both sides of this, and while i agree more with you, I detect a bit too much venom for what was really just a bit of unwanted advice.
    The right thing to do would be to give a slightly more verbose “thanks…no.”
    Kubuntu is not Ubuntu, and I commented something to both those effects…VERY verbosely on the original posting.
    I’m actually re-using it as a post on my own blog…

    in short, lets keep this from becoming a flame war. My reader might catch fire…

  • Ahh, no venom πŸ™‚ Definitely don’t want this to turn into a flame war, especially since I have much respect for both sides of the fence. I will do everything in my power to prevent this from a flame war, because if your reader catches fire, then my reader can potentially catch fire πŸ™‚

    I would love a link to your post and your blog actually when you are finished. Thanks for the comments!

  • mep

    Thank you

  • TheGZeus

    I’ve never claimed to be subtle, coherent, or eloquent, but here’s my blog:

  • Kubuntu is definitely Ubuntu, but we would like Kubuntu to be ready for both common users and production systems. We believe KDE is a great project and we want to deliver a stable and usable distribution on top of it.

    We are really happy with the number of our home users and we’re really happy that people seem to like Kubuntu. However, we’d like to be able to find the funding to help Kubuntu grow and become an even better distribution. Therefore, we’re also aiming at the production systems.

    This recent move by Canonical to remove the “LTS” suffix from Kubuntu is a strange one. In practice, it blocks our attempts to gain more funding by gaining more support contracts for Canonical. What Canonical is (in my opinion) effectively telling us is “become a community distro for the home users, you will get less and less funding from us”. And that is not nice seeing as how much potential the new KDE4 has.

    From my point of view, this is a serious situation. In the worst case, it might cause many Kubuntu developers to “jump ship” and look for another distribution they can help with, one that wants to promote KDE and not lower the number of corporate installations by bad marketing for it.

  • TheGZeus: No venom or flames from my side either. Your call for peace sounds strange coming from someone who has a blog titled, “The Gnome Hater”… πŸ˜‰

    Richard: Thanks for responding to my post. I am not suggesting that KDE follow Ubuntu’s schedule, but that they would benefit from having a schedule.

    Martin: Perhaps it is not to late for Kubuntu 8.04 to be an LTS release. Let’s hear from Canonical about their reasoning behind this decision. Based on Canonical’s previous good treatment of Kubuntu, I don’t think they are trying to lower its standing. KDE 4.0 will not be ready for 8.04 as the default DE, but why can’t there be a Kubuntu 8.04 LTS using KDE 3.5?


  • Tristan: KDE does have a schedule. KDE has had a release schedule forever, and the KDE 4 series is pretty much the only series that has had some changing in order to comply with specifications.

    As for Kubuntu not being LTS, that was and is Canonical’s decision, it wasn’t Kubuntu’s, and release schedules had nothing to do with the dropping of LTS. Unless Canonical releases why they chose to not make Kubuntu 8.04 LTS, then all we can do is speculate, and all that does is lead to the production of FUD and rumors.

    The one great thing about going with KDE 4 this release as an option, is it allows us to stay with the curve, and to strive to get in front of the curve. One thing we do know about KDE 3, it isn’t going anywhere. Hopefully Canonical didn’t assume that it was in their decision to drop the LTS.

    Time will only tell. If it wasn’t for Gnome, there would be no Ubuntu, and if there were no KDE there would be no Kubuntu. If there were going to be a standard for release schedules, then distributions should follow the DE groups, because w/o the DE groups, Linux wouldn’t be brought up in mainstream talk for the desktop. KDE and Gnome have excelled for 2 reasons, 1) their developers are simply amazing, and 2) their user community is just as amazing as well as supportive. This is part of the reason that I don’t accept the “see what Ubuntu has done for Gnome” mentality, as it takes the award for excellence away from the work the Gnome developers have done.

    If anything by dropping the LTS moniker, Ubuntu will give up the possibility of a greater enterprise presence. You don’t see Fedora/Red Hat nor openSUSE/Novell dropping their enterprise KDE environments. My gut instinct is that it is moves such as this, that will only hurt the greater enterprise community, and obviously many have provided their feelings concerning this justly.

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