From the Canyon Edge -- :-Dustin

Saturday, May 15, 2010

When was the last time your operating system released EARLY?

Seriously, when was the last time any software project used by millions of people released early? I simply can't think of a one...

If you haven't heard Robbie Williamson's announcement yet, Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat) will be released on the 10th day of the 10th month of this year. That's 10.10.10 (in both European and US calendar notation). And what's a bit more fun for the well-read geeks among us, 101010 in binary is 42 in decimal -- yep, the ultimate answer to life, the universe, and everything!

Ubuntu's release schedules are extraordinary within the expansive landscape of software development. In reverse chronological order, have a look at each of our historical release schedules:
Not to pick on our friends too much at Microsoft, Fedora, or Debian, but delayed releases are simply the status quo in the software world. It was the same story with most software projects at my former employers as well. That's just the expectation in most project management circles, it seems. Pick a date, and start working on a contingency plan almost immediately.

But Ubuntu, I contend, has pioneered something special in world of software development processes. The only reason that we can even consider releasing Maverick 3 weeks early is that we have an outstanding track record, adhering to our time-based release schedules and releasing perfectly in cadence 11 out of the last 12 Ubuntu releases, over the past 6 years. The lone hiccup being 6.06 (Dapper Drake), which introduced a 6-week delay in establishing the first Ubuntu LTS release.

Ambitious? Perhaps a bit. Don't Panic. Share and Enjoy. I'm looking forward to it!