[PC-BSD Testing] Rolling release criticism

Josh Smith joshms at pcbsd.org
Wed Dec 18 08:12:07 PST 2013

On 12/18/2013 11:07 AM, Kris Moore wrote:
> On 12/18/2013 07:44, Claudio L. wrote:
>> On 12/17/2013 14:55, Joe Maloney wrote:
>>> This also seems like a good idea to me if it doesn't cause too much
>>> overhead or slow the project down a bunch I suppose.
>> Good point, we don't want to increase overhead. But if it's done in an
>> organized way it can actually be done without putting too much extra
>> work.
>> For example:
>> * Let's say the 1st of each month they do a "package freeze", where
>> they select the packages that will be pushed in the next cycle.
>> * The 15th of the month they finish preparing the set of packages and
>> it gets pushed out to one branch.
>> * There's 1 and a half months to fix any problems with this set of
>> packages. And if a package can't be fixed within this time, it is
>> removed from the set.
>> * The last day of the second month, they push the package set out to
>> the more stable branch.
>> * ... and it loops ad infinitum...
>> So they reduce the frequency of packages to a 2-month cycle, that
>> should help Kris et al. to pace themselves (vs. the frenzy they have
>> today with a monthly cycle or even faster), and we get a second branch
>> with relatively low effort and a more polished set of packages.
>> The 2-month cycle would introduce a delay of up to 2 months for the
>> bleeding edge packages and up to 4 months for the stable one (this is
>> a worst case scenario, for a package that comes out the day after they
>> do the package freeze). I think it's reasonable.
>>> That's why I was suggesting security and critical updates for RELEASE
>>> only.
>> But that would essentially freeze that branch for its life cycle,
>> which goes against the idea of a rolling release. In my opinion it
>> should lag behind the other one, but still roll. The static nature of
>> FreeBSD gets a lot of criticism and it's one of the differentiating
>> reasons to use PCBSD (or TrueOS) versus plain FreeBSD.
>>> That way things like VirtualBox don't get borked when that package
>>> get's updated. Like it is now. :( I know what you mean about spending
>>> extra time fixing little things on what should be a production
>>> system. Perhaps this every 2 months idea could work. I'd still say
>>> apply the idea you just mentioned about the every 2 months to STABLE,
>>> and roll a CURRENT release with the more current packages instead
>>> that can trickle down into STABLE after they have recieved testing.
>> That's slightly different from what I proposed above, it could work as
>> well.
>> Well, the ideas are now out there. I think we did our part, now it's
>> up to the team to decide if and how they want to implement any of
>> this. I'm positive that in 2014 we'll get back the stability we need.
>> Claudio
> I think these ideas are great. I also agree 100% with the renaming,
> since RELEASE/STABLE is confusing, and I think those terms are best left
> to the FreeBSD world/kernel portions. So here's what I think we will do:
> 1. As mentioned, create new PRODUCTION / EDGE set of packages.
>    - Update EDGE every 2~ weeks, depending upon breakage of ports upstream.
>    - Update PRODUCTION every quarter
>      * One month before release, freeze the most recent EDGE set of ports
>      * Begin testing / fixing major ports  - Desktops/VirtualBox, etc
>      * Once testing is finished, push out new PRODUCTION set and unfreeze
> EDGE again
>    - Add selection mechanism to system manager GUI, letting you switch
> between these sets
> Does this sound like a reasonable timeframe for us to work on?

Sounds fantastic.  I completely agree with the name change and time 
frame.  When I moved over from being a windows sysadmin to BSD I have to 
admit I found the release naming system pretty awkward. This seems much 
more clear.

Best Regards,


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