How to convert Ubuntu into a rolling release

Have you ever wanted to convert Ubuntu Desktop into a rolling release? Thanks to lead developer, Martin Wimpress, you can. Jack Wallen shows you how.

How to convert Ubuntu into a rolling release

If you're a Ubuntu fan, you know that particular flavor of the Linux desktop and server is a fixed release. What does that mean? Well, there are two types of Linux releases: Fixed and rolling. A fixed release is one wherein only security updates are released on a frequent basis. All other software updates are held back for a fixed period of time. With a rolling release, on the other hand, every piece of software is immediately updated, as soon as the developers release a new version of a specific package.

SEE: How to become a software engineer: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)

With fixed distributions, you get releases like Ubuntu 20.04.1. That .1 means there have been numerous updates to the installed packages. With rolling releases those point upgrades aren't necessary, as the software is in a constant state of being upgraded.

The pros and cons are obvious: With a fixed release, software has more time for vetting, so it might tend to be more stable. With a rolling release, your distribution always has the latest software.

Thing is, with Ubuntu, you don't have a choice, as it is a fixed release.

Unless you follow Ubuntu desktop lead developer, Martin Wimpress, who has created an easy means to turn Ubuntu into a rolling release. If you're a developer, this might be a great way to work with the Ubuntu desktop and have the latest, greatest software installed, without having to jump through a bunch of hoops.

Let me channel Wimpress and show you how this is done.

What you'll need

The one caveat to making this transition is that it does not support LTS releases. You must be using a development release. Because of that, I will demonstrate using the daily version of Ubuntu 20.10 (Groovy Gorilla). Do note: This process is only designed for the desktop version of Ubuntu and will not work on the server (unless you've installed a desktop environment on your server).

How to install the necessary packages

The first thing you'll need to do (if you're using the Desktop version of daily) is to install git. Open a terminal window and issue the command:

sudo apt-get install git -y

Once that installs, clone the Rolling Rhino directory with the command:

git clone

Change into the newly created directory with the command:

cd rolling-rhino

Run the included installation script with the command:

sudo ./rolling-rhino

You will be asked if you are sure you want to start tracking the devel series. Answer yes to this question, and the process will begin.

This script will take some time to finish its task (2-5 minutes), so you probably shouldn't mindlessly stare at the monitor. Instead, go off and take care of some other admin task that's on your list. When you come back, you'll see the success message (Figure A).

Figure A


Rolling Rhino is now ready for you.

Reboot the machine, and enjoy the rolling goodness of Rhino.

That's all there is to converting the fixed daily Ubuntu Desktop release into a rolling release. Do note this is a development series, so you probably won't want to use it as a production machine (at least not until you use it enough to discern if it is stable enough to meet your demands). 

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Image: Jack Wallen