[arch-releng] releases, snapshots and semantics

Dieter Plaetinck dieter at plaetinck.be
Mon Aug 17 07:46:34 EDT 2009

- Some users (newbies) think Arch Linux has separate releases. they think the images are more important for upgrading/installing then they actually are (they often think they need them, while they can just pacman -Syu instead)
- the notice @ http://www.archlinux.org/download/ helps a bit (I think)...
- ... but the biggest problem are news sites who are not really into Arch, see our news and call it a "new Arch Linux release with new features foo and bar" and "Arch Linux 2009.08"

It has been proposed to call the images "snapshots", but the 2009.08 announcement has shown this is of no use (http://www.archlinux.org/news/459/):  All news sites speak about the new "arch linux release" even though we called them snapshots.
Not to mention I think the word snapshot is not accurate in this case anyway (we discussed this before - iirc around 2009.02 - but here is my opinion again):

- Arch Linux (the distribution) may be "rolling" and does not have releases, but rather snapshots.
- The *images* that arch-releng produces are imho definitely releases.  The images have milestones, they are iteratively developed, tested etc.
  All images are especially crafted.  They are not just snapshots.  The only thing that is a snapshot, is the /src/core/pkg directory on core images.
I think our images are "projects" just like Xorg or pacman, so they have releases.
The actual distribution, which is made from a "mass of packages", and which is installed by using the "images project" has no releases.

So there is a subtle duplicitly going on here.
I've been thinking of simple, but clear ways to phrase this and I think it's best to make the images a separate project with a special name.
for example we could call this project "ALIMG" or something (Arch Linux images) and then talk (news items) about new ALIMG releases.  ALIMG 2009.08 etc.

I think that this would be best to separate Arch Linux from the images which you can use to install it, as it would be a better "model of the reality"

various places such as news messages on our site, on external news sites, in our installation guides etc can then be more clear.


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