The Future is Rolling

I love rolling distros.

I find the idea of continual improvement in software very appealing. If you’ve ever used a piece of software hosted on a website (SaaS), you’ve probably already experienced it. Think about it, how often have you had to go to Gmail v2 and upgrade your email?


Take that same general idea, and apply it to your operating system on your computer. Instead of receiving a major upgrade every few years, requiring a nail-biting update process and possible data migration, you get incremental upgrades more often.

Yes, you still receive security updates and small bug fixes in a standard, stable release system. But there are a lot of improvements that are delayed for years, that are just as important for users. Having become involved in KDE, I now see the daily improvements that occur. New features, enhancements, and adjustments, that someone on a stable release will not receive until they go through that upgrade process. I understand the reason for it, though.


But, again, having been involved in KDE now, I see the other side. Our code goes through a rigorous peer review process before acceptance. The odds of a bug being introduced is very slim. The risk, just isn’t there, in my opinion.

There are ways to mitigate the remaining risk.

Automated tests with systems such as Jenkins and openQA, and continuous integration can greatly assist with ensuring any issues are quickly caught.

I believe rolling Linux distros like Manjaro, Arch, openSuSE, and Solus are the future. Are they ready today? I don’t know, I’m not so sure. I’m not convinced we have enough automated tests, and quality control to declare them the only way forward. But they are a good start. I genuinely enjoy Manjaro and Solus.

Even Microsoft is on board.

Windows 10 is now intended to be (in their own words) “the last version of Windows”, with Microsoft converting it into a rolling SaaS product.

Just like a rolling Linux distro.