Rename 'testing' to 'Rolling' everywhere

Currently, the repository that gets continuous releases is called ‘testing’. This creates an uncomfortable feeling among our users that this is meant for testing FreedomBox and is not meant for general consumption. I propose to rename this terminology to ‘Rolling’ everywhere. We should still keep (or make it more clear) the message that these rolling releases may occasionally break some features.


  • Update (add/keep the message the rolling builds may break working things occasionally).
  • Update Manual.
  • Update other pages on FreedomBox wiki.
  • Rename build image file names (don’t change freedom-maker) update only buildbot.

I have seen other software projects name testing as "rolling.’ I would be okay with it so long as we include adequate warning on about the occasional breakages with rolling.

Hm, I’m hesitant about this. Maybe just encouraging people to be pioneers about it would do the trick? Renaming to “rolling” seems to convey that you get only benefits, no downsides. But in the past, “testing” surely had more hickups than “stable”. I was actually hoping that with the upcoming release of Buster, more people should be fine with the more up-to-date “stable”, at least for a while.

Another problem I see is that would break the established Debian terminology. Admittedly, this is not a huge reason given that most users don’t know Debian, but I think it should be made clear that “rolling” and “testing” have absolutely identical meaning.

Finally, “rolling” seems harder to translate than “testing”, but that may be just me :slight_smile:.


After the Pioneer edition release, while people were discussing FreedomBox, I saw two separate comments where people said that our project hasn’t made a release since 2017.

How did we make 40+ releases and people checking out the project didn’t see those calling our project stale? I believe that the term “testing” played a big role in this. People go to see the downloads, pick stable because ‘testing’ is not relevant for them and see that there is no progress in the project since the last two years.

‘Rolling’ concept is being used by other distributions. Many people have expressed frustration at Debian’s stable vs. testing usage and naming. People new to Debian first pick stable due to naming and later realize that what they really want is ‘testing’. We need not stick to Debian’s naming. We can document that our ‘rolling’ is built on Debian ‘testing’ for the sake anyone looking deeper.

After the release of buster, within a few months, people seeking new features or major updates will start looking at our testing distribution. In the past we have also felt uncomfortable recommending ‘stable’ to new users especially as we were getting closer to a newer stable release cycle.

We could try to adopt the translated term for ‘rolling’ from the Linux distributions that are using it. It is also not a bad thing to introduce a completely unfamiliar term and explain it rather use a term like ‘testing’ that will scare away people.

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Testing is not what the average user should want. Naming it “rolling” just paints it in a hip colour but that does not give any benefits.

IIRC "Constantly Usable Testing ", something like a rolling release, never was more than a thought experiment and I think it just does not fit into the Debian universe.

We have put in significant effort in FreedomBox project to write functional tests that constantly check that packages needed for FreedomBox are in usable shape. This list of packages is much smaller set than Debian as a whole.

In the past, we have also worked on writing upgrade paths when an app changes in a major way.

There are areas we could identify and work on improve on top of this to make ‘rolling’ trouble free.

In terms of receiving continuous feedback and addressing it, we gained a lot by doing bi-weekly releases. It is hard to imagine making releases to all our end users only once every 2 years.

I do not feel very comfortable with this kind of renaming. Testing is testing, and there is a reason for it. If you think, this is scaring people away, maybe call it Buster and Bullseye, to stay with the debian naming convention. So, it would be clear what the release is based on.