While Dream Studio continues to support our 10.04 and 10.10 releases, many of you may be wondering what's happening in regards to our next release, based on Ubuntu 10.04. There are major changes on the way, so let me walk you through them.
New Release Schedule
From now on, Dream Studio will adopt a release schedule that is staggered in contrast to Ubuntu's. This means that July and January will be our projected release dates, and these distributions will be based on Ubuntu's April and October releases respectively. There are a couple of reasons for this. First of all, Ubuntu 11.04 brought with it many changes, not the least of which was the Unity interface as default. While making Dream Studio 10.04 packages run on 10.10 was fairly simple, for the most part being a simple copy, the change to 11.04 has been much more involved. Some packages continue to refuse to build for 11.04 (like Cinepaint), with the result being that functional replacements must be found (in this case, Gimp Animation Package). As I tried to get Dream Studio out the door on the same release date as Ubuntu 11.04, I found myself chasing a moving target. Now that 11.04 has been released, there are hardly any changes taking place (apart from security updates), and as such, Dream Studio will be easier to develop, and as a result, new features can be added. What this means is that each new version of Dream Studio will actually contain new features, as opposed to just new point version of the relative software.
On a related note, LTS releases (starting with 12.04) will now become the supported stable releases of Dream Studio, while regular Ubuntu releases will become the base for what we'll call betas. The reason for this is that not only is it easier to support an official release every two years as opposed to every six months, but also that we'll be backporting all new versions of Dream Studio software to the LTS releases. What this means is that you won't need to upgrade to the latest version of Dream Studio every six months just to get the latest Cinelerra or Ardour, for instance. I believe that this is the best solution for Dream Studio's target market, as I see Dream Studio as an alternative to Windows/Adobe CS or MacOSX/Protools, rather than an operating system competing with the likes of Ubuntu and Fedora. By all means, those who want the latest xorg or linux kernel will still be able to install the betas if they so choose, but the average user need not worry about breakage of low-level software just to get new features in their creative software.
Personal Package Archives
All Dream Studio software is currently being moved into PPAs. This will allow users to get the source code for our custom software right from the repositories (which currently can't be done). Not only that, but the nature of PPAs on Launchpad.net makes it much easier to port software to new releases, and to port newer software back to old releases. As an added bonus, the PPA system makes it easier to add packages that others have on their PPAs, so you can expect this move to aid in the inclusion of all the latest and greatest software the Ubuntu ecosystem has to offer. Once all Dream Studio software is on the PPAs, both existing versions of Dream Studio will be transitioned to the new repositories via an update to the dream-repository package, making the switch seamless for current users. I should mention that this move has taken the most work during the current development cycle, and was a major contributing factor in the decision to push back the release dates.
Hopefully this post has cleared up any mysteries concerning the ongoing development of Dream Studio. Stay tuned for more exciting news!