The Ubuntu LTS and rolling release conversation is going in the wrong direction. LTS should die. I have a very hard time choking down the idea that System76 may be forced to ship our customers twenty month old features. Twenty months is a lifetime in today’s age of agile development. I hear death by a thousand cuts.
Sure, System76 can offer LTS and the rolling release. But we sell products. We sell Ubuntu. Now, I have an option for Ubuntu LTS and Ubuntu Rolling Release. When I’m selling Ubuntu, which one do I sell? Which features do I highlight? How do I demonstrate that Ubuntu is better than Windows and OS X and you should therefore choose Ubuntu and, subsequently, System76. We can only clearly sell the LTS release. The lowest common denominator. It quickly becomes old. Look at Ubuntu 11.04. That was twenty three months ago and we’d be shipping it today. That must sound absurd to others.
Two years is a lifetime in technology. LTS is the old idea. LTS is used by very large OEM’s because they’re told to use it. Change the message. Two year old software is old. Period. Very large OEM’s have slow moving processes which are difficult to maneuver. Slow release cycles fit their rate of execution. Users should not suffer from their lack of agility.
So run the rolling release! So re-install Ubuntu because you can’t have the latest and greatest from an OEM? Nonsense.
Enterprises use LTS because they’re told they should. Since Unity in 12.04 – not 12.04 itself but Unity – enterprises now have a solid, common user interface moving forward. End user support is so similar that it doesn’t matter if they’re running 12.04 or 12.10. We know this. We support tens of thousands of Ubuntu users. Furthermore, the iPhone, Android and Ubuntu have fueled the bring your own device trend in enterprises. It’s the management and security tools that matter. Not the device or the OS release. This is where Landscape can shine and why LTS doesn’t matter.
It’s not a six month release cycle that’s old hat. It’s the LTS idea. The question should be, does LTS make sense? How do we deliver the newest features faster and with exceptional quality?
And yes, please don’t worry too much about the guy that doesn’t want his computer to change for two years. He’s fictional if you really think about it.
Microsoft is moving to an Office subscription model. They are trying to change the conversation. They’re talking about quarterly releases. Subscription means no holding back features. Could Windows move to a subscription basis? Features are released as they’re ready not held back for the big upgrade pay-day. That’s why features are held for a major release. How else are proprietary vendors to coax upgrades? If Windows moves to a subscription basis, we’re now working to shift out of a two year release cycle.
Today’s Ubuntu LTS and rolling release proposal leaves users with the choice of development release or old software which is unacceptable in today’s technology economy.