Notes by Stephen Michael Kellat

Ever Onward

2013-03-07 by Stephen Michael Kellat, tagged as essay

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. -- Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (King James Version)

Well, UDS-1303 is now over. It appears that some folks in the community have been overtaken by the number of changes that have been proposed recently. That much is understandable. During sessions I participated in during UDS-1303, I kinda was a broken record talking about the need for change management.

For many this has been a time to speak. Indeed, there was much discussion during the summit. There were also many announcements of community members departing.

It is unfortunate that community members are departing. I hope they find success in their new endeavors. With the state of the technology world as of late, departures need not necessarily be permanent as paths may well cross again in the future. With new synergies erupting in the most unexpected of places it is inevitable that we may perhaps meet again.

The bumper sticker sized key to UDS-1303 is that discussion happened in a format very different from an e-mail list. For the proposals that were initially made by e-mail, this pretty much had to happen as slinging decontextualized text back and forth in that communications paradigm can be limiting. After concerns, proposals, counter-proposals, technical nightmares, fears, anticipations, hopes, and potential excitements more were expressed I look forward to seeing a more fleshed out proposal for rolling releases.

The problem is that at the broadest level it is easy to talk about rolling releases. When you get down to the nuts and bolts of it is when it gets pretty complicated and can at times resemble a Gordian Knot. As evidenced at UDS-1303, there are many possible methodologies and risk is unavoidable.

As initially proposed, I did not favor the proposal due to uncertainties and a lack of nuts & bolts details. After the discussions that have ensued, I'm ready to wait for the full proposal to be released by Rick Spencer that is fleshed out so that I can consider this further. I heard many interesting potential approaches to the nuts & bolts of doing this during UDS-1303 and eagerly await what is settled on as the proposal.

To ease getting into this, I offer a suggestion that may help with implementation of any such proposal. Since I don't have posting permission to ubuntu-devel, a proper developer might pass this along for me. A recurring issue that popped up during UDS-1303 is that systems for automated testing, package management systems, and more will need to be built to accommodate a switch in paradigm. I am not sure we should do that while also working on a release. Dispensing with the 13.10 release and instead using that period to build the infrastructure necessary to make the switch successful may be worthwhile. From the discussions that arose it did seem like that was going to be a major undertaking. Having a firm foundation prior to a paradigm shift seems like a simple safety measure to me regardless of whatever may be decided.

Happy Feature Freeze! Life rolls ever onward...