View Full Version : Does opensource software change too quickly?

May 8th, 2009, 07:12 PM
This is not a rant, I just want to hear your opinions about this.
Opensource development is lightning fast if you compare it with most commercial products. This is a good thing because we get exciting new updates much more quickly, but I think that there are also some disadvantages.

Things really move very fast and I often find myself reconfiguring things because some config file has to be migrated or rewritten to work with a new version. With the 6-month release cycle you really have to invest a lot of time in staying up-to-date. LTS releases are nice but they are quickly outdated (no Openoffice 3, no tabbed browsing in Nautilus, ...).

If you have a problem and you google it you often find blogposts about Feisty, Dapper or even older releases, with solutions which don't work or make things worse. This is not too bad if you're an experienced user who can invest some time in their computer, but I guess it can be a bit frustrating for new users.

May 8th, 2009, 07:17 PM
I agree, it has it's advantages and it's disadvantages. Personnaly I would prefer longer cycles than 6 months.
There is some discussion on this matter by the FOSS comunity. Mark Suttleworth talks about this on his blog.


May 8th, 2009, 07:18 PM
I dont think opensource programs are evolving that quickly. Sure, KDE has done a massive rewrite, but I hope they will do that only once in 10 years or so. If you look at firefox, gnome, openoffice, gimp, pidgin or evolution the process is pretty steady.

I think what opensource is good at is producing small applications that can be used for 1 purpose, and thats great :)

May 8th, 2009, 07:30 PM
I like frequent updates, but the config file problem is kind of annoying, personally I'd like if an x.n release would recognise the config files of a x.(n-1) release, and update them to the new standard, since usually it's just some small changes, I think the tiny bit of time at first startup taken to do this would be well worth the reduced hassle.

Personally I think a short release cycle (such as the 6 month cycle of GNOME, which is now being matched by KDE since 4.0) is nice, since it doesn't force a user to go through radical changes very often, which a longer cycle would do, it gives them a few small changes regularly, instead of a huge amount of changes for them to get used to all at once.
Also it would be pretty annoying to have a feature working perfectly in the SVN build of some software, but having most users wait a ridiculously long time to ever actually use it, because they simply don't have a release planned for a very long time.

May 8th, 2009, 07:35 PM
If it's too fast use Debian

May 8th, 2009, 07:52 PM
well... I would say... if you are a developer yourself then open source applications are the best. you can just play around with them and make your desired application. and the good thing about open source is that you can find a plenty of support online through forums, blogs and communities.

So for me it is really helpful...

May 8th, 2009, 08:06 PM
If it's too fast use Debian

:) Debian, the geologists distro

May 8th, 2009, 09:13 PM
:) Debian, the geologists distro

Ever used Debian Sid? ;)

May 8th, 2009, 09:22 PM
Another shout for Debian. I used to used to have my Etch box running for weeks between reboots. In my experience the Testing branch of Debian has been much slower than Ubuntu's pace, but not quite as slow as Ubuntu LTS.

Ever used Debian Sid? ;)

Balls of steel, my friend. After using this for a few weeks, the command

~# apt-get dist-upgrade

actually made me physically scared.

May 8th, 2009, 09:41 PM
you think 6 months is slow, try arch, rolling release. Sure it might not always be stable but its more up to date than ubuntu

May 8th, 2009, 09:45 PM
or just use windows xD it`s slow,buggy and it gets shittyer with every new release (((((((:

May 8th, 2009, 10:43 PM
I think once a FOSS program reaches its plausible zenith in functionality a new version with "WHOLE NEW LOOK!" and missing features replaces it. Which is aggravating and that I see too often especially in every KDE4 thing ever.