UP process change

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Arjen Balfoort
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UP process change

Postby Arjen Balfoort » 01 Jan 2014 16:14

The current UP frequency, and short testing period has brought sustainability issues for our small team. There were difficulties to maintain systems that are permanently changing and we had some bandwidth concerns.

We want to emphasize the quality, and stability of SolydXK. The current frequency limits development efforts to fixes. There is little time left for other things like marketing, and matters that would increase continuity. Now that Santa is regularly building new KDE versions, the building process takes a large part of the initial testing period of 6 days. Increasing the testing period without changing the UP release frequency would leave the testing team in a perpetual state of testing (that ultimately would be reflected also in your systems) which will not be sustainable even on the short term.

That is why we introduce a change in UP frequency, and length of the testing period.

From the January Update Pack, the frequency is changed to a quarterly process. The testing period is initiated on the first of the month, and will take two weeks of testing before making the Update Pack available to the public. The following dates are planned testing periods:
  • Q1: Januari 1 - Januari 15
  • Q2: April 1 - April 15
  • Q3: Juli 1 - Juli 15
  • Q4: October 1 - October 15
During this testing period, the SolydXK testing team will test the Update Pack on breakages and security risks. The last day of the testing period is the day the Update Pack becomes available to the public.

To further increase security both Firefox and Thunderbird are being built from source if there are new versions available. These packages do not necessarily follow the UP frequency, but will be released whenever they are available.

The "SolydXK Update Packs explained" has been adapted: http://forums.solydxk.nl/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=152


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Fargo
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Re: UP process change

Postby Fargo » 01 Jan 2014 16:39

I think this will be a good change. I like that security updates will be done between UPs if needed. That should put a lot of people at ease. Hopefully this doesn't create issues with building a new security update against a 2 month old UP. I'm looking forward to the next year to see how things pan out. I think SolydXK just keeps getting better.

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dyfet
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Re: UP process change

Postby dyfet » 01 Jan 2014 16:49

I think this is a great decision. Testing as a whole is actually pretty stable and easy to upgrade, even over much longer periods of time. Only a few applications require frequent update. And critical security fixes can also be done outside of update pack releases. Quarterly seems right for this. It would be perfect if also matched with producing quarterly (or bi-annual) iso install images for new users.
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zerozero
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Re: UP process change

Postby zerozero » 01 Jan 2014 17:00

dyfet wrote:It would be perfect if also matched with producing quarterly (or bi-annual) iso install images for new users.
this was not discussed internally but at least as a bare minimum bi-annual refreshed isos we have to do
bliss of ignorance

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tdockery97
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Re: UP process change

Postby tdockery97 » 01 Jan 2014 17:07

I believe quarterly UP's makes a lot of sense. SolydXK is too good of a distro to risk losing due to developer burnout. I completely support your decision.

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Re: UP process change

Postby kobros » 01 Jan 2014 17:15

I think the change reflects a more realistic approach to "keeping the distro up to date while stabilizing the updates before releasing them".
But, regardless of the chosen interval between UP's, the procedure must allow for introducing available security updates/fixes as quickly as possible after becoming available. The release of security related fixes cannot be delayed for months. That would defeat the aim of maintaining distro stability.
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fleabus
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Re: UP process change

Postby fleabus » 01 Jan 2014 17:35

tdockery97 wrote:I believe quarterly UP's makes a lot of sense. SolydXK is too good of a distro to risk losing due to developer burnout. I completely support your decision.
I really like this idea. As I said in our previous discussion I'd hate to see our team wind up in the loony bin! :lol:

What did Heinlein say? "They didn't want it good, they wanted it Wednesday!" :lol:

Kidding aside, I really believe this is a good change and a happy medium between update frequency and available time for the myriad tasks involved in maintaining a project of this magnitude. Quality definitely comes first, and it was easy to see that the previous pace was definitely stressful for the team.

Another point was that the stress would only get worse with growth in popularity and corresponding increase in the number of users and support issues.

I'm retired and spend most of my time in front of one computer or another these days, but the days when I squeezed a whole lot more stuff into the same amount of time are not so long gone. Burnout was a serious reality for me - you really can't shovel fourteen pounds of kaka into a thimble. I welcome the surcease along with the chance to spend more time with my family, and I hope this change results in a more realistic amount of personal time for our team members.

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Re: UP process change

Postby Orbmiser » 01 Jan 2014 18:46

But..But...But I had synced "The Machine" to the "Phases of the Moon" :o

But all the kidding aside. I think it's a great plan and gives a much well deserved relief to the hard workers of Sol ;)
Glad to see the team not forgetting about taking care of themselves also!
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ScottQuier
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Re: UP process change

Postby ScottQuier » 01 Jan 2014 20:53

And, as if you needed yet another "yes" vote .... I also believe this is the right choice. In fact, I was discussing this very topic with my DW either last night or the night before and commented that I didn't see how the monthly UP process would sustain over the course of the next year.

In addition to building TB and FF from source as/when security updates become available, I do believe it would be prudent for the same policy to be applied to any other announced security issue.

So, with this decision, I guess zerozero and Schoelje will have a chance to become re-acquainted with friends and family! :)
Scott
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Dr G
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Re: UP process change

Postby Dr G » 01 Jan 2014 22:45

I guess zerozero and Schoelje will have a chance to become re-acquainted with friends and family!
A worthy goal. Hopefully, this change will reduce their stress, too.

May I also add, a very, very, happy new year to our heroes (not to mention everyone else). :mrgreen:

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Re: UP process change

Postby kbd » 02 Jan 2014 01:47

Yes, keep the distro at a pace you can keep it going. As long as security updates are coming regularly I don't mind quarterly updates.
Happy New Year!

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patzy
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Re: UP process change

Postby patzy » 02 Jan 2014 05:53

I had decided that if the next UP went well on my testing machine I would put SolydK on my production system. Under the new update regime I shall have to wait an extra week of two, but I can live with that!

As for quarterly updates, I can live with that, too. And I'm looking forward to Solyd going on into the future.

Good work and thank you!

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CjTX2
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Re: UP process change

Postby CjTX2 » 02 Jan 2014 16:33

I agree with the above comments and am glad to see the kind of focus on stability, security, development and sustainability that will see this distro into the future. This addresses those goals and provides the time needed to "have a life".

Hopefully, it will also enable you to keep the "desire" to create the very best distro alive and thriving. Thank you for all you have done and continue to do daily!

Building new machine named Garfield II & still using an old T42 Thinkpad that's old and slow, but just keeps on going and going . . . sorta like me! :lol:

tzirconia
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Re: UP process change

Postby tzirconia » 03 Jan 2014 04:43

I'm very happy to support this decision. We must make sure our founders and testing team have enough time to do a good job maintaining their normal lives in addition to our favorite distro.
Thanks to the testing team for all their hard work, and I look forward to the SolydXK community continuing to grow!
Cheers and happy new year to all,
tzirconia

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Re: UP process change

Postby kobros » 03 Jan 2014 10:05

I already stated earlier in this topic that the increase of the UP-interval to 3 months is a more realistic approach.
But -on reflection- it also seems to be one that may cause another, serious type of problem:
- the last monthly UP's were around 400+ MB each. A 3 months interval will probably mean a 1000+ MB upgrade process.
- I think this will mean that the (3) available mirrors will be overloaded and that
- the time needed (user end) will be excessive (from my point of view those mirrors are quite slow, even the dutch one).

More -and faster- mirrors will be needed to assure a smooth quarterly upgrade-process for an increasing number of users.
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ScottQuier
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Re: UP process change

Postby ScottQuier » 03 Jan 2014 11:39

@kobros - I don't think (hoping) the size of the UP will be linear function ... or any where near that. If a given package were only updated once every three months then there might be a reason for concern. But, I'm thinking (again, hoping) that many of the updated packages will be updated more than once; in which case we would only see the most recent.

Or ... I'm all wet and don't know what I'm talking about - which is a better than even chance.

Thoughts?
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systems is risky at best and entails serious compatibility
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patzy
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Re: UP process change

Postby patzy » 03 Jan 2014 11:45

kobros wrote: - the last monthly UP's were around 400+ MB each. A 3 months interval will probably mean a 1000+ MB upgrade process.
- I think this will mean that the (3) available mirrors will be overloaded and that
- the time needed (user end) will be excessive (from my point of view those mirrors are quite slow, even the dutch one).
This may not be as bad as you surmise because surely a lot of the stuff will be upgrades of upgrades - if you see what I mean. And so just the latest version of what ever it is will need to be downloaded and not the earlier versions as well.

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Re: UP process change

Postby kobros » 03 Jan 2014 13:08

Even if the size of the UP-download after 3 months would be only 50% more than the download size of a monthly UP that still works out close to 700 MB. I think this may lead to an overload on the present dowload-mirrors after the UP is synced and released. It is also not very nice to users with a monthly limited bandwidth and/or a slow internet connection.
[Note: I'm not complaining for myself; I've got a 100/100 Mbit unlimited bandwidth internet connection]

I'm going to change my sources.list to permanently reflect the dutch mirror repositories (which -for me in the Netherlands- is more than 10 times faster than the 'regular repositories' used for UP's, though still nowhere near the speed of european mirrors for debian, kubuntu, mint) and use the terminal only for the UP process.
I don't appreciate the current Updatemanager package; it's buggy. In fact I've already removed it from SolydK64. In its place I'm going to use the apt-notifier package (from the Mepis Community repository). It installs and runs OK in SolydK64 and shows up in the tray whenever updates are available.
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Re: UP process change

Postby grizzler » 03 Jan 2014 14:00

Definitely in two minds about this change. I agree it's better for the team, but like kobros I'm a little worried about the size of the update packs. However, my concern is not just about the load on the mirrors.
The main reason I gave up on LMDE was the ridiculous size of its update packs, which consistently gave me all kinds of problems. Yes, I know, a regular three month interval isn't likely to let things get out of hand as badly as that and Xfce probably isn't as much in flux as GNOME/MATE/Cinnamon, but still...
I'm going to change my sources.list to permanently reflect the dutch mirror repositories
Is there a Dutch mirror for the SolydXK testing repos? The nluug one appears to be only for production.
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kobros
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Re: UP process change

Postby kobros » 03 Jan 2014 14:20

grizzler wrote:
Is there a Dutch mirror for the SolydXK testing repos? The nluug one appears to be only for production.
After the sync operation and the UP-release /production/ is the same as /testing/. You only need /production/ to upgrade.
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