So, the release team announced yesterday that squeeze will freeze in december 2009. This decision was motivated by several things (TTBOMK):
- while time-based releases are not a good idea for Debian (“We release when it’s ready”), time-based freezes make a lot of sense, and gives every team the opportunity to do its own scheduling
- freeze in december / release in spring work well (no freeze during debconf, longer nights to hack on Debian)
- Ubuntu releases LTS versions every two years. Freezing in december 2009 will allow to synchronize with future LTS releases, provide many packages with the same version, and leverage that for support.
Now, this decision raises several questions:
- will there be attempts to overrule it? Strangely, the discussion at debconf was quite calm. Of course, there are counter-arguments, but nobody has mentioned the willingness to overrule the decision. This has been mentioned by people who are not at Debconf, who might have a different POV.
- will we manage to freeze in a reasonable state? We will need to rely on fully functional infrastructure: working buildds, short NEW queue, transitions that don’t block stuff for too long, etc.
- will we manage to leverage collaboration with Ubuntu? Releasing with about the same versions is one thing, but how will we work together while preparing those versions?
- after the releases (both Ubuntu’s and Debian’s), users will get to choose between two very similar distributions. We need to think about how Debian will differenciate itself from Ubuntu: what should we emphasize? How are we relevant?
Anyway, it seems that we have gone a long way in just a few years. In january 2006, while I was not a DD yet, I prodded Raphael Hertzog about sending his famous “For those who care about their packages in Ubuntu” email, where we described the Ubuntu release process for their first LTS release. The goal was to give interested DDs a chance to take a look at the status of their packages in Ubuntu, so Ubuntu would release with the best possible version. 3.5 years later, we are talking about synchronizing releases.