Friday, June 15, 2012

OpenSUSE 12.2 Delayed For A New Development Model

OpenSUSE 12.2-Beta2 will be released next week and the final 12.2 version will be released in mid-September after certain bug fixes. 

Friday, June 15, 2012:  The Linux distribution OpenSuse is undergoing a process of change. The upcoming OpenSUSE 12.2 has been delayed by the project in the wake of a new development model. The delay is likely made in order to facilitate certain bug fixes in OpenSUSE 12.2. Next week will possibly see the release of its beta version, OpenSUSE 12.2-Beta2 and version 12.2 will be unveiled in mid-september.

Talking about the new approach, the project appears to undertake in order to increase the number of developers being put to integration work, Jos Poortvliet, openSUSE community manager, said, �The delay was caused by our growth. Right now -- and unlike other Linux distros - we have a git-like model of development. Instead of 'blessed' developers who maintain packages, we have teams (devel projects) who are collectively responsible for a number of packages. They work with contributors from outside the projects by way of the usual "branch-fix-merge" way of working that the Linux kernel has. Once everything works in the devel project the team creates a merge request for Coolo (our release manager) for Factory, our development tree.� 

Further explaining the root causes of the delay, Poortvliet said that the problem was with the increasing merge requests which could break things in the factory. He said that the developers need to see to the automated checks, which could affect the new packages if they break.
�Those breakages have to be fixed by people who can work on the whole project. They have commit rights everywhere and know about (almost) everything,� Poortvliet said.

�By the numbers, in November 2010, we had 2100 merge requests during that month. In April 2011, we had 2,400. But in November 2011, we had 3,500. Therefore, you can also say that we've had 3500 merge requests in 7 months. Additionally, we had an unprecedented peak of almost 5,000 merge requests in September of 2011. It essentially boils down to 20 percent growth year over year,� Poortvliet added.

He suggested that introduction of one or more 'staging projects', the approach Linux-Next tree or the MM tree follow, could be a solution to the problem. 

Talking of the Tumbleweed distribution, which can be the future model for OpenSUSE, Poortvliet said, �That's certainly one of the options on the table - and already mentioned a few times in the discussions. Part of the issue with this specific idea is that currently, the way Tumbleweed works makes 'big plumbing' really hard, if not impossible. Basically, Tumbleweed is set up to be re-based every now and then - that's when the big changes happen. Doing them more incrementally is much harder.�

On certain bug fixes needed in the OpenSUSE 12.2 and its release, Poortvliet had to say this, �Next week, openSUSE will be released as 12.2-Beta2. After that, the project will split away openSUSE 12.2 from factory to put it under deep freeze for pure bug fixes. In the middle of July, we'll have RC1 and it will be released in the middle of September.� 


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