Mailinglist Archive: opensuse-project (244 mails)

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Re: [opensuse-project] Don't search developers. Develop them. Events, events everywhere
  • From: Richard Brown <RBrownCCB@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 9 May 2015 19:24:52 +0200
  • Message-id: <>
On 9 May 2015 at 15:14, Martin Schlander <martin.schlander@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Torsdag den 7. maj 2015 10:23:58 skrev Richard Brown:
But technical contributions to the Regular Release are in decline.
Building 13.2 fell on the shoulders of a few people. We had something
like 14 bugs found during the 13.2 Beta phase.

You can't make too many conclusions on the basis of the 13.2 release process.

It was the first release ever based on the new Tumbleweed. It was always clear
it was going to be a bit bumpy. You had SLE12 coming out around the same time,
the testing phase was excessively short, the roadmap wasn't known until the
last moment, iirc a "13.2" product wasn't created in bugzilla, so a lot of
factory/tumbleweed bugreports will have been actual 13.2 bug reports. The
whole situation was chaotic.

If you dismiss the model of Tumbleweed based openSUSE releases on this
background, you never gave the model a fair chance.

This is a fallacy. While we did rename Factory to Tumbleweed, we
didn't revolutionise the development model for the Regular Release

In fact, we didn't change a thing

Things went into Factory, Factory had a snapshot, the release process
kicked into gear, we pumped out a release

The model for 13.2 was no different than the development model for
every release I've ever been involved in, so I think I can make
conclusions based on the 13.2 release process

and those conclusions really boil down to a few things

1. The quality of Factory/Tumbleweed snapshots are awesome
2. The vast majority of our contributors interest is in Tumbleweed,
not the Regular Release.
3. Despite every effort to remedy the situation, the amount of people
working on openSUSE Regular Releases has continued it's decline which
we already saw over the last few releases (just look at vs for a
really stark illustration of how bad it is)

We need a new Regular Release which either a) appeals to a new breed
of contributors who will invigorate the Regular Releases or b) reduces
the amount of work required so we can sustain producing regular
releases alongside Tumbleweed as a rolling release - because frankly,
right now, the status quo is not sustainable

Luckily, the availabilty of the SLE Sources, in my opinion, gives us
an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. By taking the Regular
Release in a direction that favours stability, we can use the SLE
Sources to make the work required to do that way easier.
We get to shape it based on what we, the community, are able and
willing to do, as brought up by the debate so far. Some bits will move
faster, some bits wont, the bits that move faster will be on the
communities shoulders to maintain, the bits that wont, we get to
benefit from SUSE's work in this area and not compromise on the
quality of what we actually provide our users.

A specific stable distribution for a specific type of audience that is
significantly different from our Tumbleweed user base -> Invigorated
contributors working on a targeted project -> awesome, a) is handled
A whole pile of SLE sources and maintenance updates meaning openSUSE
won't have to worry about parts of the stack which, frankly, right now
we really dont have many people maintaining heavily (eg. Kernel, GCC,
etc) -> Reduced work for the openSUSE community -> awesome b) is

Let me give you an example which illustrates my why I think our
current model just doesn't work, from both a contributors and users
For this example, I'm going to use a topical example of KDE which has
been also discussed heavily lately.

openSUSE 13.2 has at least another 20 months of life in it, based on
our Support Lifecycle, assuming we do the next openSUSE release in
November 2015 and another in November 2016
It has KDE 4
KDE 4 will be effectively end-of-life in the eyes of Upstream before
November 2015. That means no more maintenance, no security updates,
nothing from upstream. We're on our own.
In the minds of our contributors (the awesome openSUSE KDE team), this
is a very uncomfortable position. In Tumbleweed, they see it as
impossible to maintain KDE 4 any more, and so they are putting in
Plasma 5. And I think they're right, for Tumbleweed.
But look at how noisy our mailinglists have been because of it..
Quoting Raymond from the other thread "Why otherwise to upgrade from
13.2, if you get nothing newer in return." - This mindset "we must
ship the latest of everything, because that's what's awesome" is a
very prevalent mindset in our community. It could practically be the
Tumbleweed development motto. It's why a lot of us get up every day
and do stuff for openSUSE, there's this wonderful ecosystem of open
source stuff and we want to package it up in a distro so we and other
people can enjoy it. And there are certainly a good pile of users who
feel the same way. And so, I think I've just described the driving
force behind Tumbleweed
But again look at how noisy our mailinglists have been because of this mindset
We have other users who crave stability. Who pick openSUSE because we
build stuff that works, not because we build stuff that changes all
the time (and also works). These are the 'long tail' of people we know
who are still using openSUSE 12.x, or openSUSE 13.1 and looking
forward to an Evergreen release in the future.
We've seen this come up time, after time, after time. Every major
flamewar the openSUSE community has gone through, often ends up coming
back to this topic, one group wanting stuff faster, one group wanting
stuff slower. We had it with the release schedule discussions years
ago, version numbering, systemd, moving from KDE 3->4, GNOME 2->3, and
now KDE 4->5
And every time we've ended up with compromise solutions.
Compromises are great, but ultimately they're agreements which piss
off both sides equally. Using the desktop transitions I mentioned
above, this often meant the actual contributors, actually working on
the new stuff, reduced their speed of change, held themselves back, in
order to try and satisfy the concerns of others who felt things was
changing too fast. And, frankly, I dont think that's cool. It's
demotivating for the contributors, it doesn't help upstream projects,
in some cases it actually means more work for everyone involved. It's
not ideal. I like the idea of an openSUSE Project that can keep up,
and in fact lead, the open source world by having a distribution that
works, but uses everything new as soon as it's possible. This is one
of the things that really excites me about Tumbleweed, we're there
already and we're able to take it to the next level now.

So, if we're not compromising on speed because we have Tumbleweed, why
should we compromise on Stability for our Regular Release?
Why not have a Regular Release that, in November 2015, has KDE 4 still
as an option? Users will be happy. Maintaining it shouldn't be hard if
upstream aren't changing anything. The promise of 'you always get the
newest of everything' might be broken, but this is a promise that is
now fulfilled by Tumbleweed.
Maybe we also are able to ship KDE 5 *as well*, because, with a more
stable base, and an expectation from users that the openSUSE release
will move less dramatically, less often, teams like our KDE team
should be able to make sensible choices about what versions of
awesome-upstream-stuff they want to keep in the Regular Release for a

The only 'flaw' in this plan, that I totally accept exists, is that
for anyone who feels the current openSUSE regular release is
'perfect', then things might be changing for you in a negative way
However, I'd ask those people, deep down, to identify the key reason
they like the current openSUSE regular release.
If you're primarily motivated because "every release I get all the new
stuff", then please, use Tumbleweed, and if it's not perfect for you,
help us make it better.
If you're motivated to use openSUSE because "I want a Linux
distribution that just works", then please, help us with this new
Regular Release, in order to make it perfect for you use cases.

my 2c
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