First, while knocking around UDS, it occured to me in a bit of a flash that all of the effort that we invest in freezing the archives to make Alphas and Beta releases for Ubuntu is wasted work that slows down our velocity. We have daily quality and we have started using -proposed in the development release, so the chance of having an uninstallable image is greatly reduced.
(you can read the discussion on @ubuntu-devel)
So, why do we have Alphas and Betas? After some discussion, it seems to come down to:
- Because we want to encourage widespread testing by community members on a variety of hardware at a regular cadence
- Because we want targets for features and bug fixes
- Because we need to test our ISO production capabilities
- Because we always had them
Does all the effort in freezing the archive actually help? I don't think so. In fact, I think it is counter-productive.
- We can do the same testing with daily images. Furthermore, we can do that testing at a cadence of our liking, or even out of cadence if we want to squeeze in a special test run at some point. The ISO tracker nicely accomedates this now.
- Freezing the archive, by definition, *stops* packages and therefore bug fixes and features from getting uploaded.
- Surely we don't need to slow down everyone's work so that we can try producing ISOs, and surely we don't need to do it so often and early.
- Of course, "because we always did" is not much of a reason.
It seems that what is needed is a regular cadence of deep and broad testing by the community to augment our automated tests, along with trial runs to ensure that our ISO building tools and process are working. Thefore, I propose we:
- Stop with the alphas and betas and win back all of the development effort
- Increase the cadence of "ISO testing" to whatever we want or whatever the community team can manage
- Spin a trial ISO near what is not beta time
- Spin ISOs for release candidates