Ubuntu considers huge change that would end traditional release cycle
In the nine-year history of Ubuntu Linux, a new version of the operating system has come out every six months. But Canonical, Ubuntu's developer, is considering ditching that model in favor of one that produces an entirely new version only once every two yearswhile speeding up the overall pace of development by adopting a "rolling release" cycle in between.
14.04 in April 2014 could be the last version released after just a six-month development period. 14.04 is also the next "Long Term Support" or LTS edition. Every two years, Ubuntu is sort of frozen in place with a more stable edition that is guaranteed support for five years. If the change Canonical is considering is adopted, every future edition starting with 14.04 will be an LTS, so the next version after 14.04 would be 16.04 in April 2016.
Canonical kernel team manager Leann Ogasawara explained in a Google hangout [video - around the 42-minute mark] today that this proposal is on the table because Canonical thinks it can deliver both stability and cutting-edge features with rolling releases. For the two years between LTS releases, there would be no new versions but there would be lots of updates.
Nothing is "set in stone," but "when we hit the next 14.04 release it could go from 14.04 to 16.04, and everything in between is what we consider a rolling release. You're going to be pushed and following the latest package releases, not only from the kernel but also from the entire distribution."
ExtremeTech weighed in with some good analysis of this possible change today.