Home > Desktop User > Ubuntu…Please Don’t Release on Time!

Ubuntu…Please Don’t Release on Time!

The update process in Ubuntu has …. well it has gotten out of control. There is no doubt that updates are a necessity for security patches and bug fixes…no argument there. However, Ubuntu seems to want to build the operating system as they go… having you download huge numbers of updates, often daily. Many users have complained bitterly about this as they do not have the bandwidth to justify the updates and they do not enjoy the experience being forced to update almost daily.

I believe this whole issue is forced on the developers because of the release schedule which is rigid. Now Canonical may be proud that they release on time but they should be ashamed in releasing too soon.

Take a look at the LTS version of the server. When it released it did not have LVM2, it did not have all of the updated software raid tools, it did not have acls installed either. Each of these is a standard option that any administrator would want available, especially in the LTS version. They could be installed manually once you installed 8.04 but they were later installed via the update process. The point is, Ubuntu should have released a solid up to date server version in 8.04, not build it as you go with updates. Administrators depend on their servers being up to speed when they install. In addition, adding LVM2, raid tools and acls at a later date after the installation are problematic.

The LTS version of the Desktop was even worse. In fact, there were so many updates that the 8.04.1 version had to be released. Canonical created many angry users over the fact that since 8.04.1 many users thought it was a whole new version so they wiped out there system and installed new. The process was confusing to users and unpleasant. In fact, if users kept up with the updates they had 8.04.1 already installed.

The 8.04 or now 8.04.1 version was supposed to be the long term support version that was more stable and would be a solid foundation for a long time. Unfortunately the constant updates has put that in question.

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  1. October 28, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    One of the most fun things to do in Ubuntu, is updating your system. I love it. It’s like Christmas Eve, every day.

  2. Sephi
    October 29, 2008 at 4:26 am

    I don’t think, as you say, that you’re “forced to update almost daily”.
    You can just wait until you find the update you want to come out, and then update. Or if you really need a package that’s not in the repos, compile it.

  3. Ryoga
    October 29, 2008 at 11:48 am

    Enable only the security, main, universe e multiverse repositories, and disable updates and backport repositories.

  4. October 29, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    Hi,

    I think you’re a bit confused here. 8.04 had all the capabilities that you mention as part of the release: RAID and LVM for example. Some of these things are not turned on by default, so when you installed them on your system Ubuntu started offering security or bug fixes for those applications. So this statement is not correct:

    “They could be installed manually once you installed 8.04 but they were later installed via the update process”

    I don’t know about “too many updates” but there are certainly a lot of updates to the LTS (Long Term Support) release. This is because the LTS receives a point release three months after release (8.04.1) and then every six months after that (8.04.2, 8.04.3 etc). The reason is that lots of users run the LTS release on stable systems that they want to keep in production for a long time. So the point releases provide a way for the Project to provide all the bug-fixes with support for any new server hardware: this means you’ll be able to install the Ubuntu 8.04 release on new hardware in 3 years time!

    Stability for production systems is very important and lots of people value that, so the LTS releases aim to satisfy that need. Equally, developers and faster moving technologists want the latest and greatest free software, the standard six month releases (maintained for 18 months) meet this need. So there should always be a choice of Ubuntu that suits your needs!

  5. FranMichaels
    October 29, 2008 at 7:40 pm

    Hmm. This sounds like a bit of bullocks…

    “In fact, there were so many updates that the 8.04.1 version had to be released. Canonical created many angry users over the fact that since 8.04.1 many users thought it was a whole new version so they wiped out there system and installed new. The process was confusing to users and unpleasant. In fact, if users kept up with the updates they had 8.04.1 already installed.”

    Wow, many users thought 8.04.1 was a brand new version, requiring a reinstall?
    Who are these people, what can be done to prevent them from thinking a 0.0.1 increment in version doesn’t require anything but standard upgrading, just like all the other ubuntu releases…

    That aside, I would go out on a limb and say that because 8.04 was released, some people who never used it during the testing phase, found bugs. As such they get resolved, and then updates.

    As for the bandwidth, as someone who has used 56k (at like 2.3 kBps because of crap infrastructure), all the way back to 300 baud in the 80’s.

    The downloads Ubuntu procures, can be resumed, don’t interfere with the application you are using. I.E. You can update OpenOffice, while you using OpenOffice.
    So you could leave the downloads going on in the background as you work, with zero trouble. Even if takes a few days at these speeds, how did they manage to get a 700mb iso in the first place.

    Bugs need to be fixed. This article doesn’t make sense. Let’s say Ubuntu holds it’s release some arbitrary amount of time. These people that never help during testing due to bandwidth constraints or what not, find bugs. They get fixed.

    That’s software.

    Ubuntu release on time please. Don’t listen to people who say otherwise, unless they can formulate a more robust opinion than um, too many updates… Sheesh.

  6. October 29, 2008 at 8:12 pm

    Well the point about LVM, raid tools and acls is not that they could not be installed later, they could. What most people do not want to realize is that if Ubuntu wants to compete with CentOS that offers, LVM2, ACLS, Software RAID as well as SELinux (all installed)….Ubuntu is going to have to offer those. Oh…by the way your cannot properly run SELinux on Ubuntu as you must also rewrite the whole OS for the extended file attributes and rewrite the commands to use SELinux…and Ubuntu has not done that yet.

  7. Supportive
    October 29, 2008 at 10:16 pm

    For me it is a legitimate excuse in the office to “take a day off from daily routine” for installing a new version of Ubuntu once every six months. So I really like that Ubuntu releases are scheduled.

  8. November 2, 2008 at 2:47 pm

    Linux evolves constantly, unlike most proprietary offerings. A benefit of this evolution is the opportunity to update your system on an ongoing basis. If this bothers you, let me suggest Windows 98. Simply switch to Win 98 and you will never be bothered with updates again.

  9. November 3, 2008 at 12:09 pm

    Use Debian Stable. They release when it’s ready.

    Of course, then people complain that releases are late. You can’t have it both ways: either you get releases which are like clockwork and have the latest software but have problems like broken PulseAudio (Ubuntu); or you get releases that happen when they’re ready and with few bugs, but with unpredictable release dates and older software (Debian).

    A better alternative to telling Ubuntu not to release on time is to use Debian.

  10. November 3, 2008 at 12:15 pm

    Thanks for your input Massysett… Your right on about Debian.

  11. PutLinuxOnEverySystem
    November 3, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    Reminds me of my nursery rhyme. Pease porridge … , some like it hot, some like it cold, some like it in the pot three days old!! Chacun a son gout!

  12. Rodrick
    November 3, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    Hmm…I strongly agree with the article as soon as 8.04 was released there were about 3 updates to the kernel in a matter of one month… And who said that they have the latest software? openoffice 3 is not visible in the 8.10 release and only now the latest version of Azureus(Azure) has been included. (I was in fedora 6 months ago)… But Ubuntu is great to get you started in the linux world since it has an extensive support for drivers

  13. r_a_trip
    November 4, 2008 at 8:21 am

    Canonical created many angry users over the fact that since 8.04.1 many users thought it was a whole new version so they wiped out there system and installed new. The process was confusing to users and unpleasant. In fact, if users kept up with the updates they had 8.04.1 already installed.

    This is not Canonicals fault. This is simply a lack of knowledge on the part of the users. If they wiped their installations to get a newer version, they never grasped the way the update system works of the OS they are using.

    Just because Canonical releases a respin, which is not uncommon in the Linux world (Fedora does it too), doesn’t mean that they released an unfinished product. A respin is a service; it saves people who download the LTS at a later point the hassle of downloading all of the released updates. It can not be seen as an admission that the previous version wasn’t good.

    Another thing is the confusion about stable. Stable means that the base system won’t change software versions. It doesn’t mean that bugs in software won’t be fixed and that the release will remain static till the next version.

    If Canonical did add new software through updates (don’t know if they did), than that is expanding the OS after the release. Then again, when did that software get released upstream and how essential was that software for users? You can’t release software before it exists and you can’t wait forever for all the pieces to be ready. Maybe it wasn’t tennable either to go five years without it.

    It’s one of the drawbacks of the GNU/Linux model. Your system is built from many pieces from different places. There is no monolithic entity in GNU/Linux building every piece at the same time and then doesn’t release anything big for a while. If that is your thing, go MS, Apple or *BSD.

  14. Toretto
    April 25, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    I agree with this post… Just yesterday, I decided to go and upgrade Ubuntu on a server which we use to virtualize servers for testing purposes (also Ubuntu servers). Back when the server was set up… in december or so, I installed 8.0.4. When I started updating I realized that I was not ONE but two versions behind; so I had to spread the update in two days. Can’t really risk to have the virtual machines running when updating the box.

    When this update is behind me, I’ll have to see if I’m going to update the virtual machines as well; they’re also all Ubuntu machines with the “outdated version” which needs two updates… *sigh*

  1. October 28, 2008 at 1:48 pm

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