The Absent PCLinuxOS Release Cycle

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PCLOS

During distro comparisons, many call a lack of release cycle for PCLinuxOS one of its negative aspects. In my opinion, this is the most attractive and positive aspects of the small distribution. Not to take away from a distribution that sets a release cycle...I understand that normal release cycles are a must with companies and software engineering. However, I think PCLinuxOS has a unique approach to releases and updates. Allow me a bit of time to show you the method in my madness on this one.

PCLinuxOS has a rolling release cycle. With this type of cycle, updates are continuously applied to the software repository so much so that after a bit of time, a snapshot of the repository would constitute a new release...say 2007.01 or something similar. This has always been the way PCLinuxOS is released as many of us that have been with it since the early days can attest to.

The other nice thing about the rolling release cycle is that there are no set dates to releasing. This means that the release is up to the developers. As PCLinuxOS has proven many times over...it’s about perfection. Texstar doesn’t release until he feels everything has been thoroughly tested.

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Not unique

PCLOS's system is not unique. Several other distros have used similar systems for a long time, I think since before PCLOS did. For instance, Gentoo uses the same system, and so does Arch. Several of the BSDs do, as well, IIRC.

It's also not *that* far different from most distros that use stable releases. All major distros that use stable releases do so by having a rolling development distribution which is frozen to create the releases (Mandriva Cooker, Debian sid, openSUSE Factory, Fedora Rawhide). PCLOS, Arch, Gentoo etc just 'simplify' things by attempting to keep the rolling distribution stable (using small, temporary branches to test particularly dangerous new changes) and having all users use it. This has some advantages (no need to do 'release updates', good currency of packages) and some disadvantages (people who run production servers really like to have a stable base where core packages aren't getting irrelevant - to them - updates all the time).

Adam Williamson
Mandriva
Community manager | Newsletter editor | Bugmaster | Proofreader | Packager

Actually Adam, I think

Actually Adam, I think you're missing out on what I'm saying. Snapshots can be taken of the current repository and an entire distro can be made from that using remasterme or mklivecd. This is exactly how tex releases his updates...the only other distribution that can do that as far as I know is Foresight Linux.

Insert_Ending_Here

Thanks

Thanks for the blog post. Yes it is nice for the user to install once and just update to keep their desktops current. Right now we have about 530 mbs of updates that upgrade over a clean install which means we will need to provide an updated iso soon for those doing new installs. This brings in new kernel 2.6.22.10, KDE 3.5.8, Mozilla Firefox 2.0.0.8, updated Open Office and many many more applications, security updates and bug fixes. Since we are geared towards the desktop user who likes to have the latest applications, this type of rolling release works best for our users. We also use an unstable branch where experimental packages go then up to testing for normal updates. Once they clear testing we test upgrading though the Synaptic software manager. PCLOS is unique in terms of being an rpm based distro providing a rolling release.

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