Debian decides to adopt time-based release freezes

Michael Lauzon mlauzon-Re5JQEeQqe8AvxtiuMwx3w at
Wed Jul 29 10:30:18 UTC 2009

July 27th, 2009

The Debian project has decided to adopt a new policy of time-based
development freezes for future releases, on a two-year cycle. Freezes
will from now on happen in the December of every odd year, which means
that releases will from now on happen sometime in the first half of
every even year. To that effect the next freeze will happen in
December 2009, with a release expected in spring 2010. The project
chose December as a suitable freeze date since spring releases proved
successful for the releases of Debian GNU/Linux 4.0 (codenamed “Etch”)
and Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 (“Lenny”).

Time-based freezes will allow the Debian Project to blend the
predictability of time based releases with its well established policy
of feature based releases. The new freeze policy will provide better
predictability of releases for users of the Debian distribution, and
also allow Debian developers to do better long-term planning. A
two-year release cycle will give more time for disruptive changes,
reducing inconveniences caused for users. Having predictable freezes
should also reduce overall freeze time.

Since Debian's last release happened on Feb. 14th 2009, there will
only be approximately a one year period until its next release, Debian
GNU/Linux 6.0 (codenamed “Squeeze”). This will be a one-time exception
to the two-year policy in order to get into the new time schedule. To
accommodate the needs of larger organisations and other users with a
long upgrade process, the Debian project commits to provide the
possibility to skip the upcoming release and do a skip-upgrade
straight from Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 (“Lenny”) to Debian GNU/Linux 7.0
(not yet codenamed).

Although the next freeze is only a short time away, the Debian project
hopes to achieve several prominent goals with it. The most important
are multi-arch support, which will improve the installation of 32 bit
packages on 64 bit machines, and an optimised boot process for better
boot performance and reliability.

The new freeze policy was proposed and agreed during the Debian
Project's yearly conference, DebConf, which is currently taking place
in Caceres, Spain. The idea was well received among the attending
project members.


Michael Lauzon
The Toronto Linux Users Group.      Meetings:
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