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Where are the new Arch Linux release images?

This is a question I get asked a lot recently. The latest official images are a year old. This is not inherently bad, unless you pick the wrong mirror from the outdated mirrorlist during a netinstall, or are using hardware which is not supported by the year old kernel/drivers. A core install will yield a system that needs drastic updating, which is a bit cumbersome. There are probably some other problems I'm not aware of. Many of these problems can be worked around (with 'pacman -Sy mirrorlist' on the install cd for example), but it's not exactly convenient.

Over the past years (the spare time in between the band, my search for an apartment in Ghent and a bunch of other things) I've worked towards fully refactoring and overthrowing how releases are being done. Most of that is visible in the releng build environment repository. Every 3 days, the following happens automatically:

  • packages to build images (archiso) and some of which are included on the images (aif and libui-sh) get rebuilt. They are actually git versions, the latter two have a separate develop branch which is used. Normal packages get updated the normal way.
  • the images are rebuilt, and the dual images get generated
  • the images, the packages and their sources are synced to the public on http://releng.archlinux.org
Actually things are bit more involved but this is the gist of it. All of this is now run on a dedicated VPS donated by airVM.

I never really completed the aif automatic test suite, somewhere along the way I decided to focus on crowdsourcing test results. The weight of testing images (and all possible combinations of features) has always been huge, and trying to script tasks would either get way complicated or insufficient. So the new approach is largely inspired by the core and testing repositories: we automatically build testing images, people report feedback, and if there is sufficient feedback for a certain set of images (or a bunch of similar sets of images) that allows us to conclude we have some good material, we can promote the set to official media.
The latest piece of the puzzle is the new releng feedback application which Tom Willemsen contributed. (again: outsourcing FTW). It is still fairly basic, but should already be useful enough. It lists pretty much all features you can use with archiso/AIF based images and automatically updates the list of isos based on what it sees appearing online, so I think it will be a good indicator on what works and what doesn't, and that for each known set of isos.

So there. Bleeding edge images for everyone, and for those who want some quality assurance: the more you contribute, the more likely you'll see official releases.

While contributing feedback is now certainly very easy, don't think that only providing feedback is sufficient, it takes time to maintain and improve aif and archiso as well and contributions in that department are still very welcome. I don't think we'll get to the original plan of official archiso releases for each stable kernel version, that seems like a lot of work despite all the above.

As for what is new: again too much to list, here is a changelog but I stopped updating it at some point. I guess the most visible interesting stuff is friendlier package dialogs (with package descriptions), support for nilfs, btrfs and syslinux (thanks Matthew Gyurgyik), and an issues reporting tool. Under the hood we refactored quite a bit, mostly blockdevice related stuff, config generation and the "execution plan" (like, how each function calls each other and how failures are tracked) in AIF has been simplified considerably.

Comments

I think it's a good thing they haven't released a new installation CD.
1. They should only do so when there is a major change in the initscripts that is it safer to install new packages than upgrade from 2010.5 packages.
2. There are some issues with current cryptsetup where it is easier to create luks encrypted partitions with old cryptsetup and unlock them with new cryptsetup.
3. Unless the 2010.5 iso image kernel is too old to boot some new machines, there is absolutely no no need for this.
4. This is rolling release distribution. Some people have installed 6 years ago and are still updating/running the same installation. There is absolutely no need to rush a new installation CD.
I don't agree with not releasing a new iso, you forget that there are some new things around btrfs,nilfs,grub2,syslinux,EFI

It would be nice to have support for these technologies in AIF. That's why there must be a new release any X period to keep up wit the tecnologies ( must is a bad word here, i'd say 'it would be nice' )

Another vote for periodical release is:
-newer pacman
-newer kernel

Anyway Dieter is doing an awesome job with AIF, always open for feeback and improvements.  Keep up the good work :)
@hussam al-tayeb: first time I hear about such cryptsetup problems.  I also couldn't find a bug entry on the Arch bugtracker.
This is absolutely, what I was searching for the last days. Thank you for that nice "bleeding edge" ISOs!
Though I think it's a good idea to not rush a new "release", I also think it's a great idea to still have up-to-date iso's available. In my case, as soon as the cd is finished booting, my monitor turns off. So, no way to install Arch. Apparently need newer software for my just-installed (ati) video card to work (latest Ubuntu, Linux Mint, etc. work fine). So... THANK YOU!
Great! You mustn't forget about the people with a slow connection to the internet (like me ;-) ). The last time I installed Arch i had to download ~150 MB right after the installation because of outdated packages. So -in my opinion- it's better to have more recent isos to download.
Thanks again for your work!
In my opinion a "every-X-time" image is best than a "every-allan-want" image
since new harware and changes can be fixed for newers
example LMDE is rolling but release isos every 4-6 months for prevent this borst thing

why not simple a every 6 month release for arch???


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