PR: Significant Change in Mandrake Linux Development Process

MandrakeSoft today announced a major evolution in the way that
future Mandrake Linux distributions will be engineered and
released. The purpose of this new development process is to provide
the highest level of new features, as well as maximizing the
quality of new products. This new release road map will be
effective for the upcoming Mandrake Linux 10.0.

The old development way:

Since 1999, Mandrake Linux has been developed through the
“Cooker” development process. Cooker is an experimental
distribution that is constantly being updated and modified. Cooker
is publicly available in real time through a network of FTP
mirrors, CVS servers, translation tools, a Wiki website, and
various mailing lists. Currently more than 1,000 contributors are
involved in this process.

Traditionally, when a new Mandrake Linux release is approaching,
the state of Cooker is frozen and goes through a Beta/Release
Candidate cycle that leads to a final release which is then
provided as a free Download version and also used for commercial
retail Packs. This development scheme provides a dynamic and
innovative development process. With this system, Mandrake Linux
became one of the first Linux distribution to introduce a
partitioning utility during the installation process, a journalized
file system, dynamical device management, the CUPS printing system,
and so on. All of these developments were introduced and tested in
Cooker before being selected as new features for the official final

Although this development scheme is an improvement compared to
other traditional development models, it still can be improved.
Even though Cooker boasts a large testing audience and long
beta-testing cycles, it remains impossible to test all of the
various hardware and software configurations that are available on
today’s complex PCs. As a result, unresolved issues are regularly
discovered *after* an official release when the new product is most
widely used. Even worse, critical issues may then be discovered,
such as the LG CD-ROM drive incompatibility problem in Mandrake
Linux 9.2, which was discovered and reported only after the final
release was made. After each new release an errata page (which
contains problems and resolutions) is soon made available, so it’s
often useful to wait 1 or 2 months after an official release to be
aware of all identified issues.

As a result, MandrakeSoft has decided to extend its Cooker Open
Source development model to improve the quality level of its
products. The new development scheme will answer the needs of both
those who want all the best innovations as soon as available, even
at the risk of minor glitches, and those who don’t mind to wait and
prefer an improved reliability.

The new release road map:

The spirit of the new development road map is to keep providing
a release similar to what was released in the past, which will now
be called “Mandrake Linux Community.” This is the regular Mandrake
Linux distribution, based on Cooker, which goes through the
traditional QA process. But from now on, a second ‘rock-solid’
version titled “Mandrake Linux Official” will be released two or
three months after Mandrake Linux Community. This new version will
include all Erratas applied to the initial release, and as a result
will be particularly solid and problem-free. The Community release
will be ideal for those who want the ‘latest and greatest’ features
as soon as available, while the second release will be perfect for
those who prefer to wait and avoid any potential glitches.

What follows is the development process for our next major
release, Mandrake Linux 10.0:

  1. After the traditional debugging of several Beta and Release
    Candidates, the final version of “Mandrake Linux 10.0 Community”
    will be released in February/March. This version will be available
    for download and as a DVD-set through e-Commerce.
  2. Then a Mandrake Linux 10.0 Stable branch will be opened, based
    on Mandrake Linux 10.0 Community. Security updates and bug fixes
    will be applied to this tree and will be publicly available in real
  3. Two or three months later, in April/May, “Mandrake Linux 10.0
    Official” will be created from the Mandrake 10.0 Stable branch. It
    will then be packaged for several products such as the Mandrake
    Linux PowerPack. Mandrake 10.0 Official ISO images will also be
    available for all contributors and Club Members; then, after a
    short delay, Mandrake Linux 10.0 Official Download Edition will be
    made available on public FTP mirrors.

Regarding product support:

  • During the time between Mandrake 10.0 Community and Mandrake
    10.0 Official, all updates will be available for download through
    the official Mandrake 10.0 stable branch.
  • Beginning with the release of Mandrake 10.0 Official, updates
    will be available as usual from the official update tree and will
    apply both to Mandrake 10.0 Community & Mandrake 10.0

Please note that this schedule is subject to change, depending
on its completion and results.

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