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…so much so that he often times will hold off weeks at a time for a release just to clamp down on the final small bugs that might only effect 5% of the user base. The quality of product the dev team produces is astounding because of this.
The last thing I love about a rolling release is that updates are seamless. For many of us that had Preview .81 or .71 on our boxes in the earlier days of PCLinuxOS, we found that updating all the way to .93a was a snap. That’s right, 3-5 releases could be upated via synaptic without incident. This was a huge draw to me in the early days. PCLinuxOS was originally forked from Mandriva 9.2 and developed away from it…when we rebased this past year for 2007 it was due to glibc/GCC4 updates that our small developer team wouldn’t be able to do. This rebase would prevent a user from updating .71 to 2007 now…but the concept of seamless upgrades is still one that PCLOS developers strive for. It’s going to be quite nice as development continues to be able to do this.
Is PCLinuxOS and the rolling release perfect? No. Do others get it right with a standard release cycle? Yes. Could PCLinuxOS benefit from a standard release cycle? It depends on what your definition of benefit is. If, by benefit, you mean always maintaining a set schedule of releases and giving PCLOS a software development/business type of feel…yes, it would benefit. But if you’re thinking of benefit from the perspective of an active dev team that feels little pressure or deadline…a thriving community of satisfied users that can count on seamless upgrades…I’d say that NO it wouldn’t benefit PCLinuxOS at all.
I’d like to hear what readers think about rolling updates and how they see these as beneficial or not beneficial to a distribution. Thanks for reading!
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