Ubuntu has shipped a new release roughly every six months since Ubuntu 4.10 (the Warty Warthog) in October 2004. I’d say exactly every six months, but Ubuntu 6.06 LTS (the Dapper Drake) was delayed by six weeks to make sure the very first Long Term Support release was truly dapper by name and nature. So, it can be the exception which proves the rule, right? 🙂
The most important ingredient of this time-based strategy is process, and after 5 years of predictable and (mostly) high quality releases, Ubuntu’s release plan has graduated from a well informed sketch into a tightly honed operation. Originally a guesstimate based on GNOME’s six month process, the Ubuntu schedule has assimilated all the experiences and lessons learned from eleven — eleven! — rolling releases since it’s debut.
One of those lessons is Toolchain First, so it’s hardly surprising to see binutils, gcc, eglibc (you may know it better in binary form as libc6), debhelper, cdbs and friends turning up unfashionably early. This brings the toolchain up to date with Debian unstable, and while gcc-4.5 won’t be doing build duties by default for Maverick, it’s nice to see it make an appearance. There’s one very noticeable toolchain change: 32-bit x86 binaries will be built for i686 CPUs. That’ll excite the Gentoo and Cyrix fans!
After the toolchain is uploaded, the great big Debian sync begins, and developers get to work on manual merges for those packages which were changed in the previous release cycle. Many of these simply bring forward Ubuntu-specific changes to the latest versions available in Debian.
Let’s start with a few notable uploads from the first month of Maverick…
chromium-browser, the open source basis of Google Chrome, was updated to the latest beta release. After a few small changes later in the month, upstream blessed the first stable release of Chrome for Linux. Ubuntu will be tracking this stable release for Maverick, and thus far, it seems likely that Chromium will be the default browser for the Netbook edition.
Massive updates to GNOME and KDE and all the infrastructure they’re built on.
Early versions of the latest GNOME components are trickling in, such as gtk+2.0 2.21.0. By the way, Client Side Decorations has been enabled again, so watch out for amusing desktop breakage… iz GTK boog!
The ubuntu-minimal meta package (from ubuntu-meta) lost a dependency on libc6-i686, reflecting the toolchain change to build for i686 CPUs. End of an era indeed.
shotwell gained a Launchpad integration patch (which mostly just sticks Launchpad related stuff in the Help menu)… a sure sign that it’s headed for inclusion in main.
Some amusing firsts should be noted: Alessio Treglia pushed the first “proper” GUI application update to Maverick, bombono-dvd (for DVD authoring)… and I’m hardly surprised that it was Paul Sladen who pushed the first game update, openbve (a 3D railway simulator, apparently). Hooray!
Finally, one of the most important early updates… basefiles. Otherwise, how would you know you’re running the development branch? 🙂
You stay classy, Maverick Meerkat.
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