Rolling releases, such as openSUSE’s Tumbleweed, provide a regular stream of package updates, keeping users on the cutting edge of software. One of the drawbacks to using a rolling release distribution is there are a lot of updates and an upgrade in one dependency can trigger the upgrade of many related packages. Jimmy Berry is working on a solution which maintains the benefits of a rolling release while providing a snapshot of recent packages to cut down on the number of upgrades required when installing a new package. “Tumbleweed, being a rolling distribution, is constantly changing and packages are constantly being rebuilt against one another and updating requirements. As such it becomes necessary to update even when undesirable. For example, one is running snapshot 17 and the next day snapshot 18 contains a Qt update that rebuilt a large number of packages. When attempting to install an application that depends on Qt one is greeted with an ugly unresolvable error. It is then necessary to run a full update, likely very large with many unrelated changes, in order to simply install an application as would have been possible yesterday.
If a remote repository containing historical snapshots was available one could simply install the application and perhaps the handful of new dependencies it requires rather than having to update the entire system. This provides one with the benefits of a rolling distribution without requiring the constant change. A week later when a new kernel and DRM stack provides an exciting feature it is still easy to update everything and be running the latest code, but the user is not interrupted by having to update when it should not be necessary.”