The question of rolling release?

mike cloaked mike.cloaked at
Tue Jan 24 12:30:11 UTC 2012

On Tue, Jan 24, 2012 at 12:13 PM, Josh Boyer <jwboyer at> wrote:

>> Fedora would appear to be out of line in not taking on board the
>> potential user base for a rolling release version.  For servers there
>> would be huge advantages in management of systems.
> Can you list what advantages there are over doing a yum upgrade to the
> next release?

The number of problems that have been reported to the lists for yum
upgrades seems very large.  Although for any rolling release there
have been occasions where unforeseen problems have arisen the day to
day updates have been largely routine and trouble free.... hence from
what I have observed from the lists rolling releases (which of course
are generally a small percentage of the package set) are much less
problematic than one giant upgrade to all packages.   Also yum
upgrades only occur once the next system version is released whereas
rolling release means that individual components can be updated as
soon as they release upstream. In Fedora for example we see systemd38
only in rawhide and not in the current f16 - so f16 users will not
have the benefit of the newest systemd until f17 is released unless
there is a major change of policy. Equally if there is a major release
of the next version of KDE or Gnome, or other major components like
the kernel there is often a delay before they are available in the
current released system.  An example is that only today does kernel
3.2.1 appear in f16 repos - in arch it has been available from almost
as soon as it was released. I have been running the new kernel without
issue from the first appearance of the package.

>> Is there any support at all within the development community for a
>> rolling release version of Fedora (and possibly ulitimately Redhat)?
>> Is there a possibility that not moving to rolling release could
>> ultimately damage Fedora in the future as other distributions increase
>> their support base?
> How is rawhide not a rolling release?  Or perhaps better asked, what
> about rawhide makes it
> unsuitable for use as a rolling Fedora release?

Rawhide is often very very very unstable and only really suitable for
experienced linux users - and not for general consumption. It can
occasionally become unbootable, things can break in very major ways
and not all that infrequently - which is fine if you want to test at
the cutting edge and when new things are being developed... rolling
release is more for someone who can rely on an expectation that the
system will almost always work except on rare occasions when some
manual intervention might be needed or perhaps a package downgrade to
get going again. With rawhide I believe the expectation is that the
system can break at any time and rawhide users should not expect
stability - so a very different philosophy.

In any event rolling release can have not only stable and testing
repos, as well as devel repos, which means it is up to the user to
then choose what level of risk there is in their system - but in
choosing stable that the rolling release system it can still be much
more up to date than for many distros that release periodically, and
yet not have a major "upgrade" or re-install every 6 months - but a
much gentler path to pretty up to date major packages with only
smaller bumps most of the time and the really really nice feature that
you do not have the major hiccup of complete installs/upgrades on a
regular basis.

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mike c

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