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Re: Stability and Release Cycles - An Idea

anubis iinet net au wrote:
Hi folks. I've been a Redhat/Fedora user since RH9. I like it, but I wish there was an option that was a tad less aggressive whilst not being as stagnant or relatively featureless as RHEL (or CentOS). As I understand it, I'm far from alone in that wish.

I have an idea that may improve stability whilst limiting any downside. A brief description follows.


To keep Fedora's identity and purpose, Fedora should maintain the aggressive 6-month release cycle and policy of upstream inclusions - that's no change from now. BUT, with every second release (I'll assume every even-numbered release), produce a re-spin at the 6-month mark, call it Fedora "stable" (or some such) and change the policy for updates and quality assurance at that point to maintain improved stability through to EOL - this may translate to fewer new features from that point to EOL but only within that release. Shorten the odd-numbered release EOL to 7 months after release - that's one month after the next release. BUT, lengthen the even-numbered release EOL to 19 months - that's one month after the next "stable" re-spin is produced.
The main advantage is that it puts choice back in the hands of the user who can now choose to go from stable re-spin to stable re-spin (every 12 months) without ever touching the "bleeding edge" of Fedora, yet still gain the advantage of relatively new upstream inclusions that occured in the "aggressive" phase of that release cycle (the first six months) plus the progress gained from the previous odd-numbered release. And, the user can switch from aggressive to stable to aggresive, or any permutation thereof, at will, often (hopefully always) using upgrades.

Doing it this way, Fedora maintains its audience of thrill seekers and Red Hat retains its testing ground for potential inclusions. Uber thrill seekers still have Rawhide and a new release every six months, while more mainsteam users can upgrade to, or install, a "stable" re-spin annually while still doing things "the Fedora/Red Hat way". I expect newer users will be more attracted to the stable re-spins.

This might, and hopefully will, improve user-base growth. Based on my experience and interaction with other users, a sizable proportion of users would be pleased with the additional choice and option of enhanced stability. I expect newer users would be less likely to become frustrated (and possibly switch to another distro or OS) if they have that choice. It also might improve the result for Red Hat with higher conversions from Fedora users to corporate Red Hat users (I'm guessing that a larger and more satisfied user community must be a good thing).

By my thinking (which, of course, I can't promise is right), the workload placed on the Fedora Project shouldn't be much larger than today, if at all. The extra effort applied to even-numbered releases should be roughly cancelled by reduced effort on odd-numbered releases.


So, over to the experts who actually build Fedora. Does the idea have merit?

This has been discussed many time on the list, the problem is that you cant have it both ways, you cant have a LTS release with the latest and greatest. The only way a LTS release make sence is to freeze the code, test, test and test. And then backport security related fixes.
RHEL/Centos does this well and Fedora does  the latest and greatest part.


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