Full focus on Linux Mint 5

If you’ve been reading Husse’s newsletter you probably know it by now: Don (aka Exploder) is joining the team and replacing me as the person responsible for testing our ISO images before they get released.

The first advantage of this is that we’re going to achieve better quality and have less bugs slip through. Exploder is much better than I am at finding bugs and when he’s happy to see something released as I do the releases anyway I’ll run my own tests as well on top of it. So the BETA or STABLE ISO which ends on our mirrors will have been tested by the maintainer, by Exploder and by me ๐Ÿ™‚ Of course there’ll always be bugs, don’t worry about that ๐Ÿ™‚ But at least most of them will be caught prior to the release.

The second advantage of this is that it frees me up from something which required a lot of time. So I can now focus even more on the project, the main edition and the tools we develop.

As Ubuntu is getting ready for an LTS (Long Term Support) release in April, our next release will focus on long term stability rather than on the innovation of a lot of new tools. MintBackup is coming in but don’t expect the same level of innovation as in previous releases: Linux Mint 5 is going to be a boring release ๐Ÿ™‚

What we want to achieve before this release is a better vision of how we work, how we define our editions, our tools, how we look at localization and in a very general way how we can improve not the Linux Mint desktop but the project itself and its organization. For instance, one aspect of the upcoming LTS Ubuntu base is that Mint 5 will get 3 years of security updates. This is an opportunity to create an enterprise desktop and a solution which can please companies. So we want to look into that of course. What would be the difference with the main edition? How would we go and conciliate development and updates between the new releases and the LTS one?

If we could manage to have this LTS release declined in two editions, one aimed at companies interested in stability, security, networking and another one similar to what we have now, aimed at individuals who want an elegant desktop. If we could manage to keep our 6 months release cycle, but at the same time still maintain these two LTS releases for another 3 years, and not only by providing Ubuntu updates but by also providing updates for important user tools (OpenOffice, Firefox, Thunderbird, Evolution, etc..). If we could manage to do that, we would be able to keep going on the way we are now but we would have a very interesting option for both companies and individuals. The goal here of course would be to accelerate the migration of companies to Linux and to place Linux Mint on the enterprise market. A 3 years release cycle for LTS is also very reassuring for individuals, especially if they come from Microsoft Windows and if we manage to upgrade user-level applications.

We’re also dropping minor revision numbers for our releases, so the next release won’t be Linux Mint 5.0, it will be Linux Mint 5. The codename hasn’t been decided yet.

If we look at our past releases we can see how the focus went from one area to another. After Bea was released we had a great Ubuntu base with our own tweaks and optimizations and with the necessary codecs and package selection. The focus changed from the system configuration to the development of tools in Bianca and that’s basically what we’ve been doing until the release of Daryna. Now that an LTS release is coming up and also because we’re happy with the quality of our current desktop we want to shift the focus and strengthen the project itself, make our tools more robust, revise our software selection, ensure a better level of localization, produce more documentation, work on our image and our offerings (not in terms of product as we’re not “selling” anything but in terms of what we can offer and to which audience), increase our efficiency in how we do things and let our community grow with us staying close to it.

So you see the list of planned changes for Linux Mint 5 has never been so small and at the same time we’re preparing for one of the most important releases we ever had. This time it won’t be only about the quality of our desktop but about how the project itself managed to grow with its community.

This is a very vague vision of course and as always your feedback is welcome. What we know so far about Linux Mint 5 is this:

  • It will be based on an LTS release (3 year security updates from Ubuntu)
  • We’re hoping to give it 3 years user-level application updates (OpenOffice, Thunderbird, Firefox, all important user-level apps), to maintain it, and while we’re developing other 6 months span releases to give it as much attention as the latest release gets.
  • Most tools will be translated in various languages and get minor improvements.
  • Amarok will be replaced with Rhythmbox (this might change).
  • mintBackup will be introduced.
  • We currently have a Main and a Light edition. It’s not decided yet how or if this will change but we’d like to introduce an enterprise desktop for this LTS, this might merge with Light into a DVD special edition with a radically different software selection.
  • A user-guide will come with the release and we’ll hopefully have that guide translated into many languages.

Right, enough said.. tell us what you think and how you see things happening.


PS: I didn’t realize I wrote so much.. sorry for the long blog post ๐Ÿ™‚

Posted by Linux Admin