March 16, 2006

Ubuntu Dapper Drake delay decision due

Author: Tina Gasperson

Dapper Drake, the next Ubuntu release, is going to be different, say the developers working on the release. So different, in fact, that Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth has proposed a six-week delay for final polishing on the distribution that has captured the hearts of new and expert Linux users alike. Shuttleworth and the rest of the developer community surrounding Ubuntu call Dapper the first enterprise-level release.

In an IRC meeting to discuss the delay, Shuttleworth and other core developers stressed that Dapper was ready to go without the extra six weeks, but because of expectations surrounding the feature leaps in this release, Shuttleworth wanted to give everyone more time to fine-tune the distro in order to provide the best possible product at the enterprise level.

Some meeting attendees suggested going ahead with the release as scheduled and adding a separate enterprise release in a few weeks. To that idea Shuttleworth said, "Somewhere on the [Ubuntu] website I'm quoted as saying 'we don't do free and nasty releases with pay-for enterprise releases.'"

Others in the meeting expressed concern that delaying the release would bring a spate of negative press, but Shuttleworth said that the extra time will give them space to "get the new l10n work in." He said that a delayed Dapper release will likely affect the release schedule of some future versions of Ubuntu as well, but that they'd be back on schedule by the next "Dapper-style" release.

Shuttleworth also hinted at "bling" in the next release after Dapper. "Dapper+1 will be a fun, bring-in-the-bling release," he writes in IRC log, "and as a result intrinsically less stable than Dapper, but having Dapper lets us say to people who want super-stability, 'use Dapper, we are laying the foundations for the next big wave here, and foundations are usually a bit dirty.'"

The Ubuntu Tech Board and Community Council will take the discussions into consideration, and a decision should be announced by the end of this week, according to Shuttleworth's email.

In the meantime, eager updaters may be better off waiting for the official release rather than going ahead with the pre-releases of Dapper, or doing an apt-get dist-upgrade, even though it looks like the wait will be longer now.

Ubuntu users who've moved to Dapper report various problems with their systems, which is to be expected with a development release. Because of the differences between Breezy and Dapper, less-experienced Ubuntu users may want to hold off on using dist-upgrade. For now, it appears that patience is the key for Ubuntu users and developers.


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