Extend Support Period/Revise Release Cycle
1. Conservative users get their "super-stable" release in the respin, which will include all the official bug fixes from GNOME/KDE/Mozilla along with the squashing of most major bugs that may have cropped up in wider testing.
2. People who have bandwidth limitations would benefit from a 'maximum fixes included' iso being available.
3. Gives openSUSE consistent release months that everyone knows and can plan around, rather than the current tumbling system.
4. Provides the artists, programmers, testers and translators a longer period of time to work on things for each major release.
5. Aligns our current version number scheme with what it implies: Major and minor releases.
6. Prolongs the shelf life of all support mechanisms. Forum helpers don't need to shift their support target as quickly, manuals and wiki pages stay valid for longer periods of time.
This also means openSUSE books have a longer viability period in stores. If an openSUSE Foundation is created, perhaps we can negotiate some sort of revenue-sharing deal which will help support the foundation.
7. Given the support commitment of "two releases plus two months" the support cycle would expand from 18 months to 26 months - the respin doesn't count as a proper release since it just a collection of bug fixes for the major release.
8. Reduces the feeling of being on an "upgrade treadmill".
9. Provides us with something that makes openSUSE distinct from other distros - a good period of support for every major release.
1. There's supposedly a large segment of Linux users that want new software, but are only willing to get it through brand-new releases of the whole distro. I think this segment is misunderstood. The users who need major releases to get new software are doing so to get around their frustrations - new software is not being provided via online updates.
The presence of the OBS means anyone who really wants the newest Amarok/Chromium/OOo/whatever can get it - what we need to do is make the appropriate OBS repos more discoverable.
2. openSUSE will miss a major update to GNOME/KDE. I don't think this is that big a deal. The current 8-month release cycle already misses major versions (for example OS 11.3 will have KDE 4.4.x while OS 11.4 will have KDE 4.6.x).
Move to an annual major release with an additional bug-fix remaster.
An Example of How it Would Work:
Every June* a new major release of openSUSE is released. All the components get their usual refresh - kernel, DEs, OOo, Mozilla, etcetera. New features at the distro-level also get implemented, the sort of things that are ususally requested here on FATE or in bugzilla. This release would be like every other release of openSUSE so far.
Then in November*, a bug-fix respin would be published (aka a "service pack"). This would be the major release plus all the updates released so far through the standard update repo. Given the new update policy this would likely include upstream bug-fixes from GNOME/KDE/Mozilla plus the usual assortment of openSUSE security fixes.
Version Numbers: Our next (major) release would be 12.0. The bug-fix respin would be 12.1. If there is a second bug-fix respin it would be 12.2 and so on.
[*A different month might be considered more optimal by the community]
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Last change: 5 years ago