03.07.09

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SUSE is Slowing Down

Posted in GNU/Linux, OpenSUSE, Red Hat, Ubuntu at 7:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Turtle

Summary: OpenSUSE release cycle changed from 6 months to 8 months following layoffs

WITH the departure of some employees and concerns over the future, the OpenSUSE project will be run with less testers available. There are signs of trouble in fact, such as this horrifying experience caused by a bad update to OpenSUSE 11.1. It happened some days ago.

On Monday evening, just before calling it a night, I decided to attend to that little ‘updates available my OpenSUSE 11.1 notebook. There were half a dozen updates, one of them being a kernel update, which doesn’t happen too often. A few minutes later, I rebooted, and got nothing but a text login. Couldn’t start X or even reconfigure it. Then I noticed that there was no networking, and only a small handful of modules loaded — I looked at loaded modules to try to figure out why I wasn’t getting networking, even via my wired Ethernet port. Something had gone wrong with the update, a process that normally causes me no grief at all.

SUSE will be slowing down a bit. It intends to pace its releases differently. But the project’s leader is spinning this as the release cycle being “fixed”, not longer. It’s just a case of putting lipstick on a pig though. Ars Technica reports:

The new schedule was proposed in a message posted to the openSUSE mailing list by release manager Stephan Kulow. In the e-mail, he lists the months when releases are expected to arrive and also provides some insight into the feature plan for 11.2, the next major release.

“To give us something to plan around, we would like to propose a fixed release schedule. As a six-month release schedule is not something we consider feasible to maintain high-quality standards, we are proposing a fixed eight-month schedule,” Kulow wrote.

OStatic, which writes favourably about Novell and OpenSUSE (well, Zonker writes there), also just echoed the story told by Novell.

Yesterday, the openSUSE Project announced that it will move to a fixed release schedule after November’s release of openSUSE 11.2.

It was a similar storyline in Tectonic.

The OpenSuse development team has announced it will now follow a fixed release schedule, much like distributions such as Fedora, Mandriva and Ubuntu. In an emailed announcement yesterday, Stephan Kulow said that the community had decided to adopt an eight-month rotating cycle with the first release being OpenSuse 11.2 in November.

The real news here is not a “fixed” release cycle. The real news is that OpenSUSE will be re-released (version bump) once in 8 months rather than just 6.

Red Hat is looking to employ SUSE developers who were booted by Ron Hovsepian so that he can get bonuses for not-so-outstanding performance [1, 2, 3, 4]. Canonical might still be wooing them too, but we don’t know this for sure.

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10 Comments

  1. David Gerard said,

    March 7, 2009 at 10:35 am

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    Horrifying update bugs happen. e.g. in Ubuntu – remember the one that disabled X a few years ago?

    The cause of upgrades failing like this is a lack of testing. Note how Debian dist-upgrades are legendarily flawless, but Ubuntu ones fail more often than not (IME).

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    March 7, 2009 at 10:39 am

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    Wasn’t the Ubuntu incident related to binary graphics drivers? I remember it vaguely from 2 years ago.

    Also, Mac OS X had similar issues, leaving some of its users stranded in the command line.

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    March 7, 2009 at 10:41 am

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    Let’s not forget SP3 of Windows XP, which rendered some H-P machines unbootable. Vista had more such errors (caused by insufficient testing).

  4. Anonymous said,

    March 7, 2009 at 10:55 am

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    Of all recent release cycles the last for 11.1 with 6 months has been the shortest one, the ones before were 8 to 10 months. So it’s rather back to old traditions.

  5. David Gerard said,

    March 7, 2009 at 10:56 am

    Gravatar

    No, I don’t think it was a binary drivers issue.

    Yes – the point is that this stuff isn’t easy even with good underpinnings. Ubuntu needs to somehow make this aspect as well work as well as Debian without Debian’s looooong release cycles.

  6. Roy Schestowitz said,

    March 7, 2009 at 11:01 am

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    Anonymous,

    Looking further back, I am not sure this is true.

  7. Chris said,

    March 8, 2009 at 12:41 pm

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    Sure, cause you numpty weren’t able to find your own ass even with a map …

    As usual you are talking out of your arse (and surely will say that you didn’t have time to verify your claims cause you had to pursue some other stuff / aka spread some more FUD & libel / make false claims). But hey, don’t shoot the messanger …

    So please feel free to point out the fixed 6 months release cycle openSUSE / SuSE has been following from 2003 till now:

    11.1: 2008-12-11
    11.0: 2008-06-19
    10.3: 2007-10-04
    10.2: 2006-12-07
    10.1: 2006-05-11
    10.0: 2005-10-06
    9.3: 2005-03-10
    9.2: 2004-10-06
    9.1: 2004-03-18
    9.0: 2003-10-18
    8.2: 2003-03-12

    Then I got bored …

  8. Roy Schestowitz said,

    March 8, 2009 at 12:46 pm

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    This shows SUSE release intervals increasing after the Novell/Microsoft affairs. it used to be a bi-annual thing.

  9. Chris said,

    March 8, 2009 at 1:06 pm

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    Ok, “bi-annual” might be right, with the exception of 2007.

    Still it’s far from a fixed 6 month release cycle which you seem to claim with:

    The real news here is not a “fixed” release cycle. The real news is that OpenSUSE will be re-released (version bump) once in 8 months rather than just 6.

    And now please tell me that “bi-annual” = “fixed 6 months” …

  10. Roy Schestowitz said,

    March 8, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    Gravatar

    That’s debatable. You could argue that 2 annual releases were “fixed”. I was a SuSE user for quite a few years back then.

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