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Thread: openSUSE Has A Problem, Is Seeking New Direction

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  1. #1
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    Default openSUSE Has A Problem, Is Seeking New Direction

    Phoronix: openSUSE Has A Problem, Is Seeking New Direction

    Stephan Kulow, the release manager for openSUSE, has publicly acknowledged this morning that this community distribution to SUSE has found itself in a problem and they're now looking to the community to seek out a fundamentally new direction for this Linux distribution...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=MTExOTU

  2. #2
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    First he mentions limited manpower.
    Then he mentions they've grown and their current way of working don't scale anymore.


  3. #3
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    Good for them. I'm glad someone is seeing the rolling-release light. Canonical, take note.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanL View Post
    Good for them. I'm glad someone is seeing the rolling-release light. Canonical, take note.
    Indeed.

    Quote Originally Posted by ArtKun View Post
    I think moving to rolling-release model is the best solution to all problems.
    Yes!

    Waiting 6+ months for a new release to get software updated sucks.
    This is the days of lightspeed Internet where you need to keep on innovating and developing or you become irrelevant.
    6 months in the computer industry is a very long time. Too long time.

    I want my software updates now.
    I want GIMP 2.8 now, not in 6 months when Ubuntu 12.10 is out.

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    Rolling releases will be great to end users, but a complete pain in the ass for the developers. When the ABI or API for a shared library like libPNG changes, EVERYTHING that directly depends on it has to get updated as well. If the developers don't catch a broken package due to changes in the shared library, they're going to have tons of angry users breathing down their neck. It's much easier for developers to push back shared library changes to the next release so they have more time for testing.

    Distributions like Gentoo or Arch don't have to worry about this because it's a community, not a company that has to (absolutely) worry about keeping everything stable. Further more, Gentoo has tools like revdep-rebuild and python-updater that can detect broken packages and Python libraries and will do its best to automagically fix them for you, taking the work off the developers. I don't know if other communities or companies use tools like this, it'd be nice to know how they handle broken packages.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vax456 View Post
    Distributions like Gentoo or Arch don't have to worry about this because it's a community, not a company that has to (absolutely) worry about keeping everything stable.
    openSUSE is a distribution run by community for the community. SUSE Linux Enterprise is completely different story.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vax456 View Post
    Rolling releases will be great to end users, but a complete pain in the ass for the developers. When the ABI or API for a shared library like libPNG changes, EVERYTHING that directly depends on it has to get updated as well. If the developers don't catch a broken package due to changes in the shared library, they're going to have tons of angry users breathing down their neck. It's much easier for developers to push back shared library changes to the next release so they have more time for testing.
    Well, they could do a semi-rolling release where application software gets updated, but libraries and system components does not.


    Quote Originally Posted by ninez View Post
    Out of curiosity, though - if you want gimp-2.8, isn't there a PPA in Ubuntu for that? and even if there wasn't, you do know you could build Gimp yourself, right?
    Building yourself sucks; you must download tons of development libraries, read instructions, take long time, install and then you cant uninstall and handle it and it seem difficult and dangerous.
    Yeah, I could use PPA. But then I have to use a third-party non-trusted PPA add it myself and stuff. Takes effort, isn't safe and can break stuff.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by uid313 View Post
    Well, they could do a semi-rolling release where application software gets updated, but libraries and system components does not.
    It doesn't work that way because sometimes newer versions of applications require newer versions of libraries, so you either update everything or nothing. That's why distros are either rolling release or stable release. Well, theoretically it should be safe to keep an old kernel around, but everything else will spell trouble eventually.

    PS: I also thought that the rolling release model was a good idea, and it was for some months (Arch) but then things started breaking and the breakage just kept growing and growing... granted I was using KDE which may explain all the problems.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by uid313 View Post
    Well, they could do a semi-rolling release where application software gets updated, but libraries and system components does not.
    Quote Originally Posted by kraftman View Post
    Then just update some important applications. Ubuntu already provides upgrades to Firefox.
    I'm not an expert and this is just speculation.

    Both of these could solve a lot of the problems with rolling releases, but the big issue that they won't solve are libraries that have API/ABI changes, but can't install side-by-side. For example, libPNG and OpenSSL sometimes change their API/ABI, but the package manager might not let you install both versions side-by-side.

    As an example that really happened to me on my Gentoo box, I wanted to install Firefox 4 as soon as it hit the portage tree and it depended on the new Xulrunner. However, Eclipse depended on the old Xulrunner, and the two versions couldn't be installed side-by-side. It's easy for me to handle that because Portage allowed me to turn off the USE flag in Eclipse that depended on Xulrunner.

    Other distributions/package managers can't manipulate dependencies as easily as that. If Eclipse in other distributions depend on Xulrunner, the user wanted to install Firefox 4, and the two Xulrunner packages can't be installed side-by-side, the user is shit-out-of-luck until that dependency issue is solved. This is just an example (I'm pretty sure Eclipse in most distributions don't depend on Xulrunner), but it's universally true for any package.

    This isn't so much a shared library issue as it is a package manager and quality-assurance issue. The shared library issues can be easily fixed. The limitations in the package manager and repository aren't so easy.

    Assuming that the package manager can be flexible enough to upgrade/downgrade as the user wishes, how do you handle quality assurance? Surely newly released packages can't be fully tested in a fixed environment, there's going to be SOME problems.

    I think the best course is to do pretty much what Gentoo does. Mark packages as follows:

    Bleeding edge -> Be warned that this can possibly break your system. The faint of heart are not welcome here.
    Unstable -> It's been tested, but it might still have a couple problems or simply hasn't been in the repository long enough to be considered stable. Tread lightly.
    Stable -> Knock yourself out.

    Never install non-Stable software unless the user explicitly tells the package manager to.
    Last edited by Vax456; 06-14-2012 at 07:09 PM.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vax456 View Post
    Rolling releases will be great to end users, but a complete pain in the ass for the developers. When the ABI or API for a shared library like libPNG changes, EVERYTHING that directly depends on it has to get updated as well. If the developers don't catch a broken package due to changes in the shared library, they're going to have tons of angry users breathing down their neck. It's much easier for developers to push back shared library changes to the next release so they have more time for testing.
    Then just update some important applications. Ubuntu already provides upgrades to Firefox.

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