Dapper delay looks likely after online meeting
By Jason Norwood-Young
15 March, 2006
Developers, users and interested parties met online last night to discuss Ubuntu Dapper Drake's possible six-week delay, proposed by Mark Shuttleworth last week. The large group had mixed feelings, but on the whole seemed to be in agreement with Shuttleworth – rather delay for a "polished" product.
To date, Ubuntu has stuck to a rigid six-month cycle in line with the release of Gnome, which has proved to be a big attraction for home users who get a major technology upgrade twice a year, but in a pretty stable distribution. So popular, in fact, that it's topped DistroWatch's Top 10 for about a year. However, the next version, Dapper Drake, is designed to take Ubuntu into the corporate market, and should have a five year life cycle. Before it's launched, Shuttleworth wants it to be very ready, since his support company, Canonical, is likely to be lead services provider offering that corporate support over the next five years.
While no vote was taken at the meeting, the Ubuntu Community Council and Tech Board was represented. It will be up to these two groups to decide on the delay.
Concerns were raised over the potential public relations backlash over the delay, as well as the knock-on effect of future releases. Most seemed keen to get back onto the original cycle by either shortening the next two to three releases by a few weeks, or by chopping six weeks off "Dapper+1" (which might be called Edgy Elephant, according to some attendees). The primary motivation for this is to get back in line with the Gnome release schedule, to ensure that Ubuntu always has the latest and greatest version of Gnome available. The KDE desktop's release cycle doesn't follow a rigid cycle, so its releases are not taken into consideration for Ubuntu.
The delay could impact on some services companies who have promised clients upgrades, and for those working on books and other Ubuntu related projects. Shuttleworth committed to getting preview CDs to online attendees who need to roll out before the six-week delay.
The Community Council and Tech Board are expected to make a decision on the delay by the end of the week. Originally billed for release on 20 April, the delay will put Ubuntu closer to the end of March.