Ubuntu developers discuss rolling releases at UDS
At the first day of the inaugural online Ubuntu Developer Summit (UDS), the developer community discussed several topics regarding the next release of the Linux distribution, Ubuntu 13.04 "Raring Ringtail". The discussion attracting the most outside interest was undoubtedly the session titled: "Should Ubuntu adopt a monthly cadence/rolling release?" Ubuntu developers also discussed the new Mir display stack, the planned Ubuntu SDK and several cloud-computing-related topics. Alongside the UDS proceedings, Canonical announced a Mir backend for Mesa, and the developers of Ubuntu's social media client Gwibber unveiled a new version of the application based on QML and targeted at Ubuntu on mobile devices.
The discussion about implementing a rolling release schedule for the distribution didn't reach a definite conclusion, but Kubuntu project leader Jonathan Riddell seemed convinced that a rolling release model would not happen before the planned release of Ubuntu 13.04 in April. Ubuntu contributor and former Canonical employee Allison Randal voiced concerns on the Ubuntu developer mailing list that the proposed rolling release model was simply another way of shifting the distribution to a two-year cadence instead of the current six-month period between releases. Under the discussed plans, Ubuntu would roll out upstream updates to applications as they happened, while releasing a supported LTS version every two years.
On Monday, Christopher James Halse Rogers posted code as part of an RFC to the Mesa development list that implements a Mesa backend to the display server. Canonical is seeking input from the Mesa developers on this implementation as it hopes to make it compatible with as many existing graphics drivers as possible, including the open source Nouveau drivers which are being developed by the X.org team. Mir currently supports open source drivers from Intel and for AMD's Radeon cards.
The new Mir infrastructure, like Ubuntu for Phones and Tablets, is based on Qt and QML and the first results of efforts to port existing Ubuntu applications to these technologies are beginning to appear. Gwibber developer Ken VanDine posted a preview of a new version of his social media client on Google+; Gwibber is built into Unity to provide access to various social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. The new QML-based version of Gwibber will be compatible with Ubuntu on mobile devices and should also be easily portable to Mir. The new version from Gwibber also uses a new backend called friends, which supports Twitter, Facebook, the soon-to-be-defunct identi.ca service, Facebook, Flickr and Foursquare.
The online Ubuntu Developer Summit will wrap up later today; Ubuntu Community Manager Jono Bacon has asked for feedback on the proceedings. The next summit is planned for May, following the release of Ubuntu 13.04 on 25 April.