[arch-dev-public] For how long should we support a smooth update?

Dieter Plaetinck dieter at plaetinck.be
Sun Dec 12 05:40:04 EST 2010

On Sun, 12 Dec 2010 11:28:12 +0100
Dieter Plaetinck <dieter at plaetinck.be> wrote:

> interesting question.
> Isn't it already in our guidelines/recommendations somewhere that
> Arch users need to update their system regularly (at least weekly or
> so), and if they don't like that, Arch is not for them?
> I would say we only stretch this support period for the maximum amount
> of time needed, not a timeframe we just make up.
> As far as I know, the biggest bottleneck are release media.
> So I would say: we support upgrade paths from system as old as the
> latest official release media, or newer.
> In this case, the newest release is 2010.05, so if a users system was
> last updated in April, that's too old to still support upgrades.
> There is a potential edge case / race condition when new, breaking
> features are released shortly after a media release. (or in other
> words: users would need to upgrade right away when new official images
> are released), maybe we should take oldest release + 1 month, or so.
> If we'll ever be at a point where we do frequently official
> releases (like each 3 months), we probably don't want to force users
> to download the new image if they have one of 3 months old.  We can
> capture that in our statement as well by saying something like "we
> support upgrades on systems as old as the oldest release media whose
> age does not exceed 6 months (unless the latest release media are
> older then 6 months, in which case we support from then and onwards)"
> Dieter

Also, something I implied, but I should probably say explicitly:
I think there's nothing inherently bad about being relatively strict in
what we support.
Currently, a lot of systems already have something unsupported about
them (packages from aur, unofficial mirrors/repos, recompiled from ABS,
ignorepkg/ignoregroup/noupgrade settings, etc).  If you know what
you're doing there's no problem.  This is why I think we shouldn't
stretch the support period needlessly, those who know what they are
doing can keep an old system if they want that.


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