openSUSE Chairman Richard Brown: Regular Releases are Wrong, Roll for your life

openSUSE Chairman Richard Brown made a really compelling argument for why a rolling release model is better than using “stable” packages that have to have fixes back-ported to them in a 35 minute video presentation at the joint openSUSE+LibreOffice Virtual Conference 2020 taking place this week.

Richard Brown’s main arguments for using a rolling release model are:

Upstream packages change fast

Upstream support is typically short, shorter than the life-time of some LTS distributions

SUSE (and others) maintain a large number of distribution variants that need to be updated regularly

Upstream projects are getting larger and larger

Using stable release and trying to back-port security fixes isn’t safer than using the latest versions with all the security fixes

The closer you are to upstream the better it is for everyone

It’s easier to work with upstream

It’s easier to contribute and submit patches

Slow and conservative updates models don’t work

Slow update models are not more sustainable

Slow update models undermine “Open Source”

“Partially Slow” is “Totally Broken”

His arguments are, as you will see if you watch the 35 minute video above, quite compelling.


Linux distribution projects have for decades worked days, nights, weekends to carefully download, compile, and maintain thousands of software packages. And they often do this in

carefully curated distributions which release once every few years, and then gather endless amounts of happy users while that version is supported for half a decade or more.


This talk will cover precisely why this model we’ve been doing for so wrong is fundamentally flawed, puts dangerous strain on the communities and the companies doing the work, and fail to deliver what users actually want, often misleading those users into a false sense of security.


Richard will then discuss how Rolling Releases are a naturally healthier, self-sustaining model for distributing complex software stacks like Linux, and how the approach better delivers the promises and benefits expected by users from open source software.


Finally the session will give examples of how with Tumbleweed and MicroOS, openSUSE already provides everything anyone needs to leverage the benefits of a rolling life and escape the false comfort provided by traditional regular release software”




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