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Old 10-15-2011, 06:03 PM
Michael Terry
 
Default GNOME Version for the LTS

On Sat 15 Oct 2011 03:10:42 EDT, Jeremy Bicha wrote:

Hi, I've got a strong opinion on this: I'm very skeptical about
staying with GNOME 3.2. I don't think GNOME 3.2 is exceptionally
stable or high quality, or that 3.4 will be exceptionally buggy. My
blind guess is that 3.4 will generally have less bugs than 3.2 as 3.2
was the first release to build upon the GNOME 3 transition. Only this
fall will Debian, Ubuntu, and openSUSE users get GNOME 3 so several
bugs haven't even been reported yet (and some bugs won't be fixed in a
.1 or .2 update anyway). It would have been foolish to ship KDE 4.1 in
two Kubuntu releases in a row for stability purposes. I believe this
would be unprecedented for Ubuntu to skip packaging the latest and
greatest stable GNOME (except for last spring which was a completely
different situation).


I agree that 3.2 is not abnormally stable, nor that 3.4 will likely be
abnormally unstable. But each GNOME release does tend to focus as much
on new features and rewrites as on bug fixes. Features and code churns
cause bugs too. If they didn't, the number of GNOME bugs over time
would go strictly down.


I used to work in the OEM Services team in Canonical. We would take
stable Ubuntu releases on a specific hardware platform, customize it,
and fix bugs reported by the QA teams involved. We also sometimes would
take development Ubuntu releases and do the same thing, tracking Ubuntu
development.


When working on a stable base, the kind of bugs you can work on are not
"this feature doesn't work" but "in this corner case, the feature
doesn't work", not "it leaks 1M a minute" but "it leaks 1K a minute",
not "it crashes when I open it" but "it crashes when I press all my
mouse buttons at once". It's a matter of degree.


And of course, the Ubuntu desktop is more than just GNOME: Unity,
LightDM, Ubuntu One, Software Center, and hardware integration like
multiple monitor support and bluetooth. Those all would be able to get
more stability attention too.


Holding back would make 12.04 less exciting and fresh. But part of this
question is "What does an LTS means to us?" To me, LTS releases are
what I should suggest to friends and family across the chasm. People
that don't want to upgrade every 6 months. People that place a higher
value on things "just working" than having the latest and greatest.


I hope that holding back could let us make 12.04 feel like 12.04.1, if
you know what I mean.



There's a vocal segment of the open source community who believe
Canonical is forcing Unity on them and doing a terrible job at making
GNOME available. Regardless of the (in)accuracy of that belief,
deciding to stick with GNOME 3.2 will be a PR hit and we need to have
a very easy-to-understand reason for that decision if it's necessary.
I don't think GNOME developers would be very happy with the decision
either and it's good to keep upstream as happy as possible.... :-)


I agree that holding back would create a messaging problem, in both a
"not fair to GNOME Shell" and a "not an exciting release" sense. But
first, I think we have to decide if it's a good engineering decision.


As I said above, I'm happy if an LTS is not exciting. And I think the
GNOME concerns are misplaced. Projects need people looking after the
"long tail" of stability as well as new features. The bugs we fix make
it back to GNOME. That was actually what I liked best during my time at
OEM Services (
http://mterry.name/log/2010/09/15/what-i-do-in-oem-services/ ).



The GNOME 3 PPA on Natty was honestly sort of horrible. Not to say
that it didn't have benefits: I used it and for me and others it was
quite nice to have. It was also good in encouraging new contributors
to volunteer. And I am appreciative of the work it took to produce the
PPA (which of course also really helped our GNOME 3 transition early
in the Oneiric cycle). But it broke the normal Ubuntu desktop in quite
a few unavoidable ways.


I hope that a 3.4 PPA would be less broken, because it's not such a
crazy transition as 3.0 was.


-mt

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Old 10-15-2011, 06:46 PM
Jeremy Bicha
 
Default GNOME Version for the LTS

On 15 October 2011 14:03, Michael Terry <michael.terry@canonical.com> wrote:
> I agree that 3.2 is not abnormally stable, nor that 3.4 will likely be
> abnormally unstable. *But each GNOME release does tend to focus as much on
> new features and rewrites as on bug fixes. *Features and code churns cause
> bugs too. *If they didn't, the number of GNOME bugs over time would go
> strictly down.

I think what you're saying is that 3.4 won't necessarily be any more
stable than 3.2 and I agree with that too.

> And of course, the Ubuntu desktop is more than just GNOME: *Unity, LightDM,
> Ubuntu One, Software Center, and hardware integration like multiple monitor
> support and bluetooth. *Those all would be able to get more stability
> attention too.
>
> Holding back would make 12.04 less exciting and fresh. *But part of this
> question is "What does an LTS means to us?" *To me, LTS releases are what I
> should suggest to friends and family across the chasm. *People that don't
> want to upgrade every 6 months. *People that place a higher value on things
> "just working" than having the latest and greatest.
>
> I hope that holding back could let us make 12.04 feel like 12.04.1, if you
> know what I mean.
>
> I agree that holding back would create a messaging problem, in both a "not
> fair to GNOME Shell" and a "not an exciting release" sense. *But first, I
> think we have to decide if it's a good engineering decision.

It's also a bit unfair in that GNOME developers might have considered
3.4 to be the Ubuntu LTS. One particular bug that would need to be
backported is that Vinagre's bookmarking is broken and the dev doesn't
want to push for the various freeze exceptions to fix it in the 3.2
series.

One problem with trying to target 3.2 is that we won't actually be
shipping 3.2 but part 3.2 / part 3.4 / part 3.2 with backported 3.4
features and fixes. And I don't think that is more stable than plain
3.4.1. For instance, I think we likely want g-c-c 3.4. And if we
delegate 3.3 to a PPA for "safe testing", then we won't get as many
testers as having 3.3 in the main archives.

> As I said above, I'm happy if an LTS is not exciting. *And I think the GNOME
> concerns are misplaced. *Projects need people looking after the "long tail"
> of stability as well as new features. *The bugs we fix make it back to
> GNOME. *That was actually what I liked best during my time at OEM Services (
> http://mterry.name/log/2010/09/15/what-i-do-in-oem-services/ ).

> I hope that a 3.4 PPA would be less broken, because it's not such a crazy
> transition as 3.0 was.

Yes, I agree that 3.0 was a big exception and we already have some 3.2
stuff in the GNOME3 PPA for Oneiric users. I haven't heard any
complaints yet but we've not advertised it either.

Jeremy

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Old 10-17-2011, 05:49 PM
Sebastien Bacher
 
Default GNOME Version for the LTS

Le samedi 15 octobre 2011 à 03:10 -0400, Jeremy Bicha a écrit :

> stable or high quality, or that 3.4 will be exceptionally buggy. My
> blind guess is that 3.4 will generally have less bugs than 3.2 as 3.2
> was the first release to build upon the GNOME 3 transition.

Well depends at what components you look at, there is still ongoing
refactoring and rewrites, some components will be stabler, some other
could be not be as stable.

One of the transitions I listed before was udisk to udisk2 which is a
rewrite. How can we ship a total rewrite (with the corresponding changes
to gvfs, gnome-disk-utility, etc) in a lts without having feedback from
stable users. How do we know it will not screw lvm setups, ntfs access,
or whatever corporate usecase that GNOME unstable series don't get
testing on (corporate tend to run stable versions). What if evolution
switches to webkit next cycle and it doesn't get working great, what is
the gnome-keyring,seahorse refactoring has issues?

> There's a vocal segment of the open source community who believe
> Canonical is forcing Unity on them and doing a terrible job at making
> GNOME available. Regardless of the (in)accuracy of that belief,
> deciding to stick with GNOME 3.2 will be a PR hit and we need to have
> a very easy-to-understand reason for that decision if it's necessary.
> I don't think GNOME developers would be very happy with the decision
> either and it's good to keep upstream as happy as possible.... :-)

Well I'm sure people from RedHat and Suse will understand, those are
both distributions which have corporate users and tend to be
conservative on versions when they roll those. Look also at what
OpenSuse is doing with their 9 month cycles, they basically ship every
second GNOME version...

> in the Oneiric cycle). But it broke the normal Ubuntu desktop in quite
> a few unavoidable ways.

Right, as Michael pointed it though it was rather a lot of changes, I
don't think stayed behind on GNOME 3.4 will have that impact. For one
thing we will want to be conservative for importants infrastructure
bits, not everything, it's likely that the clutter stack and non default
installation packages will be updated. We will likely update vinagre
(which you mentioned in your other email) since that seems something
safe to upgrade in a new serie, we might take the new eog or evince or
gedit the same way. If we look at the picture the ppa if it collects the
bits we are missing should be a pretty small and limited set.

Cheers,
Sebastien Bacher




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Old 10-17-2011, 05:55 PM
Sebastien Bacher
 
Default GNOME Version for the LTS

Le samedi 15 octobre 2011 à 14:46 -0400, Jeremy Bicha a écrit :
> 3.4.1. For instance, I think we likely want g-c-c 3.4. And if we
> delegate 3.3 to a PPA for "safe testing", then we won't get as many
> testers as having 3.3 in the main archives.

Right, if we decide that we want to update a component we should land it
early in the real distro and not in a ppa only.

One thing you didn't consider there is resources. Look at Oneirc, we
worked hard but we missed bits from GNOME 3.2 (new gdm, gnome-sushi
landed late and wouldn't have landed without you, we didn't get the new
webkit or epiphany-browser, etc). We can't say we did a great job to it.
The issue is that having to deal with updating 60 packages every 3 weeks
then dealing with the bugs from the unstable versions is enough work to
keep the team busy full time or almost during the cycle. So yes, GNOME
3.4 would be as stable as 3.2 we have today. But how stable will we get
GNOME 3.2 if we focus our team efforts fixing bugs during this months
rather than playing catchup on packaging unstable versions? We did that
during the natty cycle and we did fix a lot of bugs we didn't have time
to look during normal cycle. We need to look a performances as well and
to nail the integration issues from GNOME3 we still have and we don't
have really the resources to do that polish as well as dealing with the
work coming from rolling unstable updates

Cheers,
Sebastien Bacher


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Old 11-07-2011, 12:25 AM
Jeremy Bicha
 
Default GNOME Version for the LTS

Another factor is that I believe Debian will be freezing in June which
should mean that GNOME 3.4 will get in Wheezy.

I think we should come up with a list of what apps we don't want the
3.4 versions and why. Perhaps the pad is a good place for that. I
understand that packaging all the apps in each GNOME milestone takes
valuable time but as I've already said, personally I'd like to see as
much of 3.4 as possible in Precise.

Jeremy

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Old 11-07-2011, 02:58 PM
Sebastien Bacher
 
Default GNOME Version for the LTS

Le 07/11/2011 02:25, Jeremy Bicha a écrit :

Another factor is that I believe Debian will be freezing in June which
should mean that GNOME 3.4 will get in Wheezy.

I think we should come up with a list of what apps we don't want the
3.4 versions and why. Perhaps the pad is a good place for that. I
understand that packaging all the apps in each GNOME milestone takes
valuable time but as I've already said, personally I'd like to see as
much of 3.4 as possible in Precise.

Jeremy


Hey Jeremy,

Being on the same version than Debian could be nice in theory, in
practice they will probably not start on it before we ship (see where
they are for 3.2 at the moment for example), I would argue that we would
be closer from Debian if we stay on 3.2 this cycle so we could work on
the same versions.


You could also argue that having the same version than Debian in a LTS
would mean sharing stable work but in practice Debian do very little bug
fixing work on their stable series (i.e they wouldn't update to a new
minor GNOME serie but rather handle security issues and a few important
bugs).


We should try to document what we update and not though, that's a good
idea, but we had most people in agreement at UDS that we should default
to be conservative and use the free time to fix bugs rather than playing
catching on unstable versions and I think we should stick to that.
(looking to the launchpad bugs opened since Oneiric or the SRU we did
gives an idea of the number of bugs GNOME gets in their stable versions,
we are aiming to better than that for next cycle).


Sebastien Bacher

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Old 11-07-2011, 02:59 PM
Sebastien Bacher
 
Default GNOME Version for the LTS

Le 07/11/2011 02:25, Jeremy Bicha a écrit :

Another factor is that I believe Debian will be freezing in June which
should mean that GNOME 3.4 will get in Wheezy.

I think we should come up with a list of what apps we don't want the
3.4 versions and why. Perhaps the pad is a good place for that. I
understand that packaging all the apps in each GNOME milestone takes
valuable time but as I've already said, personally I'd like to see as
much of 3.4 as possible in Precise.

Jeremy


Hey Jeremy,

Being on the same version than Debian could be nice in theory, in
practice they will probably not start on it before we ship (see where
they are for 3.2 at the moment for example), I would argue that we would
be closer from Debian if we stay on 3.2 this cycle so we could work on
the same versions.


You could also argue that having the same version than Debian in a LTS
would mean sharing stable work but in practice Debian do very little bug
fixing work on their stable series (i.e they wouldn't update to a new
minor GNOME serie but rather handle security issues and a few important
bugs).


We should try to document what we update and not though, that's a good
idea, but we had most people in agreement at UDS that we should default
to be conservative and use the free time to fix bugs rather than playing
catching on unstable versions and I think we should stick to that.
(looking to the launchpad bugs opened since Oneiric or the SRU we did
gives an idea of the number of bugs GNOME gets in their stable versions,
we are aiming to better than that for next cycle).


Sebastien Bacher

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