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I agree they should look at changing how they do these interim releases. Maybe they should be calling them “alpha”, “beta”, then “release candidate” so that it’s clearer that it’s not the LTS release?
The way I see it, non-LTS implies bleeding edge, which is not that far removed from beta IMHO. A rolling test distro similar to Debian testing would be a consideration. Honestly, I’ll be shocked if they don’t do that eventually.
I believe Martin Wimpress, who just left Canonical, and was the most recent Desktop Lead Developer (I haven’t heard who replaced him) did create a “Rolling Rhino” Ubuntu which is bleeding edge for Ubuntu. There are installation or upgrade instructions somewhere in the Internet. I believe it gives you a rolling based off of their successful nightly builds. This might be too bleeding edge though for use as your desktop.
Since Martin recently left Canonical as the Desktop lead at about the middle of the cycle between 20.10 and 21.04 that might be part of the reason why this release was less innovative than you might expect. I also wonder if they missed the Gnome 40 release for this one because of when Gnome 40 was released during the cycle, wanting to get Ubuntu 21.04 out in April to honor the .04, and loosing their desktop lead about the time in the cycle when they need to work on getting Gnome 40 into the release. Unlike Fedora that releases “when ready” which is sometimes a week to two weeks after the date they plan for, Ubuntu seems to try to stick to releasing in October and April, and I’m wondering if Gnome’s release schedule just doesn’t sync up well with Ubuntu’s current development cycle.
I also wonder if the interim releases provide more positives for the Ubuntu Community flavors than for Ubuntu proper. The interim releases are often times when the flavors take big strides forward in their development, and every six months it is not uncommon for the flavors to make a sweeping change or try something new or get the latest version of their desktop out to users for testing (All the flavors except perhaps Xubuntu which is much slower to change kind of like XFCE ). Of course, if this is true this would be another reason to just stick to the LTS for Ubuntu Proper, but use the interim releases if you run one of the flavors.
You gave some excellent reasons to stick on an LTS and how to get more up to date apps if you want them. All in all, I enjoyed this video, even though I’ve moved mostly away from Ubuntu and have been more in the Fedora and MX Linux worlds.
I think you have some good thoughts there, you might even be correct. I think there’s quite a few internal conversations at Canonical that we’re not privy too. I have a feeling that there’s going to be a lot of change in popular Linux distributions this year. Positive changes, and surprising changes. I don’t have inside information, the reason I feel this way is because I think we’re seeing a lot of situations where the normal way that things have been done have either reached their peak, or perhaps the status quo is starting to break a bit. That’s usually what happens right before someone that thinks outside the box comes in and changes things. OpenSUSE Leap merging binaries with SUSE Enterprise Linux is an example of this, anything that can make software deployment easier, get the users more excited, etc are all fair game.
In regards to Canonical, I wouldn’t be surprised if they announce with Ubuntu 22.04 LTS that future interrim builds will be rolling. If Tumbleweed and CentOS Stream prove successful, then Canonical will more than ever look like the “odd company out” and they’ll pretty much be forced into that style.
I’m excited to see what happens.