So I have to speak out on this whole issue. I work for Servergy, and for almost two years I've been working on Ubuntu's PowerPC port in order for our new hardware platform, the CTS-1000, to have an out-of-the-box solution for our customers. We've been hedging on Ubuntu, since it was able to provide us a known quantity for release dates and an open community that we could participate in (especially being able to take advantage of my core-developer status).
Now, after so much work, so much planning, we are worried about 13.04 never being properly released. This would leave us with no stable Linux distribution for our hardware, basically yanking the rug out from under all of our work. Having a stable release every two years also enlarges the support gap for our followup platforms. Now I realize most hardware vendors are x86-based, and their issues are likely limited to supporting peripherals, so this affects us more than most. The issue we face is supporting entirely new hardware platforms and SoCs with a completely new kernel (likely requiring lots of supporting patches). This is the type of thing that, historically, isn't allowed to be added to an LTS release.
So I have to wonder, if Ubuntu does adopt this rolling release schedule, how viable is it for us? I would still be happy if Ubuntu had one release per year, with every other release becoming an LTS. However, the two year window is just entirely too large to depend on for quick moving hardware bring up and release.
Won't your new kernel make it back to the LTS because of HWE?ReplyDelete
Not very likely, because it's PowerPC, which isn't "supported." I don't know the whole routine, but I would hope that Canonical loosens things up to make the HWE process more amenable for vendors such as us.Delete
Don't you have a person at Canonical that you talk to, since you based your business on them?ReplyDelete
That sounds like a great idea.Delete
We definitely didn't "base" our business on them. We have several alternatives (mainly commercial based Linux dists), but they are one-off. Ubuntu is where we wanted to have a native install and kernel, and it's where we wanted to focus our community efforts.Delete
We will definitely have several flavors of Linux for our customers to choose from. It's just sad that all of our work on Ubuntu may be for naught.
You definitely should get in touch with them however, so they're aware of this issue. Otherwise, their decision making will not include your case if its not known.Delete
Maybe IBM should pony up some cash to get POWER properly supported in Ubuntu, like they did with RHEL and SLES.ReplyDelete
Then, you can just do like Mint and kinda "fork" ubuntu. Sure, that's a lot of work to stabilise everything, and do the SRU by yourself, but what are the alternative ?ReplyDelete
Either Debian, which is not that good at fixed release ( at least for now ), or Fedora, which may requires you to learn new packaging convention.
However, both solutions bring you a community of coders to help you and both are friendly and open.
Thanks. Yes, Fedora is an alternative for us, as well as openSUSE.Delete
Wrong approach! Do what HP did and work upstream with the GCC, Linux kernel and other folks to get your hardware supported properly on all distributions! For bonus points, do it before the hardware even exists, like ARM are doing for ARMv8. That way you can let your users choose what they install and run.ReplyDelete
Our hardware is supported upstream. It's a matter of getting the kernel built for the right target and the installer setup to recognize it.Delete
Even Debian has a repository for backports, which includes backports of Linux.ReplyDelete
Ben Collins, as part of longer (5y on both server and desktop) support of precise 12.04 LTS we introduced backporting _complete_ kernel & X stacks into precise-updates pocket by taking latest kernel from quantal release. That included all flavoured kernels. It's called HWE stack (hardware enablement stack). The 12.04.2 images are built with the -lts-quantal kernels and X by default. And they have lts support with them. Thus you can have your platforms supported in 12.04.3 and/or 12.04.4, if the hw support is in raring and baked for sufficient amount of time. See: https://blueprints.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+spec/foundations-1303-hwe-stack and the related google video. Also https://blueprints.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+spec/foundations-1303-rolling-kernel-maintenance should be of interest. We understand that hardware vendors are important and we are trying to keep up LTS relevant on new hardware platforms. Enabling new hardware has always been one of the legitimate excuses to publish SRUs: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/StableReleaseUpdates#WhenReplyDelete
The HWE stacks will continue to be pushed into LTS even with rolling release model.
We'd very much like to continue excellent powerpc support on ubuntu. And you know that like half of foundations team, unconditionally loves powerpc ;-)
Are there other pieces of the puzzle, besides kernel/X/drivers, that is missing for your hw support in LTS? Toolchain, libc?!
Dmitrijs, that is really good to hear. How often does this occur? Raring powerpc kernels are from a different package (linux-ppc) so would require some coordination with the proper linux kernel package. Would this cause some issues in allowing it to be pushed back to an LTS release?Delete
Also, supporting packages such as qemu 1.4 would be needed to fully take advantage of KVM in this new hardware. Does HWE extend to supporting packages?