This brings up an important point I'd like to make to people.
In the past, Red Hat did not announce any dates for it's
products. The main reason for this, was because any form of
date, no matter how estimated or ball park, will always be
interpreted by many people as an official promise. When that
date comes and goes, and for whatever reason the software isn't
available, those people will become upset and rant and rave.
Considering now that we have announced some dates in the beta
installer screens, and we've indeed not been able to meet one of
the dates, this very much illustrates that Red Hat's previous
policy of not pre-announcing dates of things was very well
thought out and rational, because now that the date has been
missed, we are seeing people rant and rave about it.
If people want to see estimated dates for things, then they need
to also realize that such estimates are JUST estimates, and that
they can be bumped forward and backward as needed for whatever
reasons, and that a completely detailed explanation of the
reasons will not always be forthcoming.
Basically, wether or not any date is announced for a release from
*ANY* software project, any software project will be truely only
released "when it is ready" to be released. If no date has been
given, then it just sort of "happens". If some estimation of a
date has been made, and the date does get met, then the target
date was met. If an estimation date is not met, then the
software and other things that need to be done in order for the
given project to be "ready for release" will naturally by
definition be ready "when it is ready".
When will that be? That's hard to say with 100% accuracy, as
anything would at best be a complete estimation, and just like
the first target date did not get met, any other estimation date
also potentially may not be met.
Thus proves the rationality of the previous policy of not
pre-announcing release dates.
Personally, I'm not a fan of estimated release dates of anything
at all, as they almost always are never met in the software
industry, and that includes both the open source software and the
proprietary software. Look at the Linux kernel's official
projected release dates for 2.0.0, 2.2.0, 2.4.0, and 2.6.0. How
close to Linus' original estimates did the kernel come out? What
about his second and third date estimates? XFree86.org
they will release new XFree86 releases every 6 months. In
practice it is every 10 to 12 months or more. During that
process, just like with any project, they are swamped with people
asking "when is the new release coming out". And people want
The problem is that the future can never be predicted, and so it
is totally impossible to give a release date for something that
is 100% accurate. And when a date _is_ given, and that date can
not be met, it is equally impossible to estimate how much longer
it will be until a given project does get released.
So, wether or not someone wants a solid release date for some
project being developed, or even just a rough estimate of when a
project will be released, in ALL CASES, the one and only true
answer that is 100% accurate, is "When it is ready, and we can
release it.", and _ANY_ other estimate or date given, is totally
impossible to guarantee with reasonable certainty.
So dates truely do not provide people with any truely valueable
information, since the information is not something that can be
100% relied upon.
Of course, this is all just my own personal opinion, and does not
reflect any views of Red Hat.
Mike A. Harris ftp://people.redhat.com/mharris
OS Systems Engineer - XFree86 maintainer - Red Hat