openSUSE Roadmap Propoal Open for Comment

Next release -- "Fichte" 11.2 -- scheduled for November 2009.

Last week openSUSE’s releae manager, Stephan Kulow, posted a proposed roadmap for openSUSE to the project’s mailing list.

The roadmap lays out a schedule for the next four releases of openSUSE, extending into 2011. At the top of the list, however, is 11.2, queued up for a possible November 2009 launch. Features being considered include Ext4 as the default filesystem, a web interface to YaST, and improved Netbook support.

Full email below and a link to the thread here.


As you may have noticed, we have yet to publish a roadmap for 11.2. The reason is simple: There are a lot of moving pieces at the moment, and we don't want to commit to a schedule we can't keep -- or keep a schedule that doesn't fit the project's long-term needs. 

To give us something to plan around, we would like to propose a fixed release schedule. As a six-month release schedule is not something we consider feasible to maintain high-quality standards, we are proposing a fixed eight-month schedule. We have spent a considerable amount of time asking if we should go with a September release for 11.2 and then adopt an eight-month release schedule, or begin with an eight-month release schedule right away. And we came to the conclusion that it's best to adopt the eight-month schedule right away.

A six-month release cycle is interesting because you "only" have to find two months in the year for a release. Eight months makes it slightly more complicated, as you have a rotating schedule, and lose a month in the summer and winter for holidays.

So, what we're proposing is this -- the next openSUSE release in November 2009, with the next releases in July 2010, March 2011, and so forth:

November 2009: "Fichte" 11.2
July 2010: "Rousseau" 11.3
March 2011: "Voltaire" 12.0
November 2011:  "Lessing" 12.1

This gives us a single release in 2009 and 2010, and two releases in 2011. The version names and numbers may change, of course.

Public releases would happen on the Thursday before the 15th of the month, and the gold master (GM) would be finalized one week prior to that. We are planning a strict four-week release candidate (RC) phase. 

This means that the last chance to change _anything_ but really urgent fixes would be the check-in deadline of RC1, which would be released in week 41 in 2009. The schedule would leave us with whatever software we have at that point. For example, we'll miss KDE 4.5 for 11.3 or the spring version of GNOME for 12.0. If missing these releases is a problem, let's discuss this _now_. 

Of course, this doesn't mean we can't publish supported or unsupported addons or updated live CDs with the respective desktops or similar software: We just need people willing to do it. 

Why such a late release date? Releasing 11.2 in November has some advantages over releasing in September:
 - We don't rely on contributions during the summer months that much.
 - We can easily integrate GNOME 2.28.
 - We are more likely to have working drivers for hardware released in early
  summer is higher. (This is a weak advantage since the summer release of
  Intel's graphic chips didn't work out with a December release either.)
 - We simply have more time for everything.

The features we have in mind for 11.2 center around these top features:
 * Newer and better software, including:
   - KDE 4.3
   - GNOME 2.28,
   - Linux kernel 2.6.30 or higher
 * Ext4 - possibly even as the default filesystem.
 * Provide YaST Web interface for easier remote adminstration.
 * Netbook support
    - Offer USB images - possibly even with deployment tool if someone writes it.
    - Include free drivers necessary for the netbook support.
 * Officially support live updates - we need way more people to use factory and report problems though.
 * Quicker, Faster and more Colourful

OK, I better stop here. This is already a pretty long mail - looking forward to your feedback. The last time we discussed schedules, the feedback was very good - and got us thinking quite a long time. ;)

Greetings, Stephan

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