Gentoo: Yearly Releases -- help or hurt Gentoo?

I have been thinking for awhile now and can’t convince myself of an answer.

Does the lack of yearly releases help or hurt Gentoo?

I enjoy Gentoo because I never have to re-install my host. The “rolling release” model is great, a model shared by nearly all(?) source-based distros. However, with our new automated weekly stages – which I think are a great idea, we lose a few things. In no particular order, we lose:

  • PR – new ‘releases’ generate a buzz on the distro sites and blog-o-sphere around the world.
  • Ability to say “we no longer support base installs before 20XX.Y” – repo changes, bash versions, portage upgrades, etc.
  • The appearance of activity. (This point is debatable)

However, with that being said, I think that yearly releases are also pointless with the presence of weekly stages, because:

  • ‘releases’ mean nothing to existing hosts – the only thing you have to do is update your make.profile symlink. There is no other direct benefit unless we tie features to a new profile.
  • It is a metric ton of workload to get a stage out there that is guaranteed to work for a year.
  • Missing man-power for the release schedule. As evident by the regular occurrence of releases slipping behind schedule.
  • Obviously it is easy to script or automate. Good job release team on getting this done.
  • By the end-of-life date of the stage (normally a year, sometimes longer), you have a ton of old packages to update. Meaning, weekly stages provide a much faster complete install.

So, how do I solve the above? Well I’m not exactly sure. One idea I have is to automatically create new profiles every 6 months. This would allow PR to continue. Individual arch teams can decide how long to keep old profiles – I’d recommend one year. However, updates to the profiles would only go into the latest profile – so it would be advantageous to update the profile asap for users. One particular downside about not creating new profiles is that they will never be eligible for EAPI upgrades, only new profiles are eligible. I don’t exactly see a downside to this idea besides it being some work every 6 months for someone.

Does anyone else have opinions on this subject? Or other ideas on how to gain back what we lose as presented above?

Jeremy Olexa

Random stuff that I write and make public to the interwebs. I am a tech enthusiast, so some posts are about tech/software. However, as of late, most will be about traveling. I hope you enjoy and find something useful.