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Lucid ruminations

A few months ago, I wrote about changes in our development process for Ubuntu 10.04 LTS in order to meet our goals for this long-term release. So, how has it turned out?

Well, the development teams are still very busy preparing for the upcoming release, so there hasn’t been too much time for retrospection yet. Here are some of my initial thoughts, though.

  • Merge from Debian testing – Martin Pitt has started a discussion on ubuntu-devel about how this went. For my part, I found that Lucid included fewer surprises than Karmic.
  • Add fewer features – This is difficult to evaluate objectively, but my gut feeling is that we kept this largely under control. As usual, a few surprise desktop features were implemented that not everyone is happy about, myself included.
  • Avoid major infrastructure changes – I think we did reasonably well here, though Plymouth is a notable exception. It resulted (unsurprisingly) in some nasty bugs which we’ve had to spend time dealing with.
  • Extend beta testing – This will be difficult to assess, though if 10.04 beta was at least as good as 9.10 or 9.04 beta, then it will have arguably been a success.
  • Freeze with Debian – Although early indications were good, this didn’t work out so well, as Debian’s freeze was delayed
  • Visualize progress – The feature status page provided a lot of visual progress information, and the system behind it allowed us to keep track of work slippage throughout the cycle, both of which seemed like a firm step in the right direction. I’m looking forward to hearing from development teams how this information helped them (or not).

A more complete set of retrospectives on Lucid should give us some good ideas for how to improve further in Maverick and beyond.

Update: Fixed broken link.


Written by Matt Zimmerman

April 20, 2010 at 09:23

8 Responses

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  1. Interesting.

    I tested early Lucid alphas and I found them to be really stable. I think merging from Debian testing is the way to go. Is there any chance UDS will decide to merge from testing again?

    BTW: The Karmic link is broken.


    April 20, 2010 at 12:08

  2. On one hand Lucid has been absolutely the most boring devel cycle I think I’ve ever used. Very few “oh crap, don’t reboot whatever you do” moments, I didn’t even once have get dpkg stuck on some unsurmountable wreck-heap of a maintainer script, I didn’t even get hardly a handful of uninstallable packages. I’ve been running Lucid for day-to-day “production” since I think Alpha 3 and it’s been as solid (maybe more so) than many stable releases.

    On the other hand Lucid has been one of the most exciting devel cycles to follow. Watching the artwork/branding go in an entirely new direction, getting the social-from-the-start desktop going along, the Music Store, and all the day-to-day improvements, this seems to me to be one of the more game-changing releases.

    Oh, and importantly to me, Edubuntu is looking to be in *fantastic* shape and is really had a turning point during Lucid. I’m excited.

    I wonder though, if the reasons that this release has been so good is not so much the technical things (syncing from testing, for instance) but more getting developers on the same page and focusing effort. The Desktop Team seemed really well run/managed/coached.


    April 20, 2010 at 12:35

    • Same here, but isn’t that what Ubuntu is surposed to do? Polish Debian and add a lot of things.

      Syncing with Sid means that Ubuntu and Debian are doing the same thing (fix unstable packages). Which I find really stupid.


      April 20, 2010 at 16:37

      • Ubuntu can’t expect Debian to fix all the bugs while at the same time
        converting ever more Debian users to Ubuntu users. Debian developers,
        unfortunately, do not grow on trees.

        If Ubuntu wants their development model to be sustainable they should,
        on the contrary, encourage Ubuntu users and developers to give back to
        Debian, for instance by submitting patches to the Debian BTS.

        Michael Goetze

        April 21, 2010 at 11:26

  3. The sync linux-2.6 wise with Ubuntu helped although more direct conversation with the teams would be nice. For 2.6.32 we have a very good stabilized result and lots of fixes via stable@kernel.org.

    Also the Ubuntu linux-2.6 tree no longer seems to be the big mess, but stepped up code quality wise.


    April 20, 2010 at 20:42

    • I’m glad to hear that things are improving in your view. What kind of conversation would you like to see between the teams, and what have you tried so far? I’m happy to help facilitate this if I can.

      Matt Zimmerman

      April 21, 2010 at 10:26

  4. PS Concerning freeze it is a trouble that Debian and Ubuntu have a very divergent definition of such. Also long freezes have heart Debian in the past.


    April 20, 2010 at 20:44

    • It is true that our freezes are very different, owing mainly (I think) to our differing release processes. I think these differences also result in long freezes in Debian. Some of them are unavoidable, due to the different goals Debian and Ubuntu have, but there is definitely room for tweaking.

      What do you think we can/should do about this?

      Matt Zimmerman

      April 21, 2010 at 10:27

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