How to set up Ubuntu Rolling Release using Rolling-Rhino

In this tutorial, we will see how to change your daily Ubuntu Linux installation to a rolling release version. This means that you don’t have to wait for new releases, but as long as there are the latest package updates, they can be released.

Martin Wimpress, the lead developer of the Ubuntu desktop, created a tool called Rolling Rhino. Its purpose is to convert Ubuntu’s daily build image into a “rolling release” distribution by selecting and tracking a series of changes/packages developed.

When using this tool, some precautions need to be kept in mind, for example it cannot detect PPA or desktop meta-packages and has no GUI.

In this tutorial, we will use the latest daily version of Ubuntu called Ubuntu 20.10 (Groovy Gorilla) Daily Build. You can use any other daily build to roll it out, which contains the steps that will be used later.

What is rolling release distribution?

In software development, rolling releases, rolling updates, or continuous delivery are concepts that often deliver updates to applications. This is in contrast to a standard or point release development model that uses software versions that must be reinstalled on top of previous versions. An example of this difference is multiple versions of Ubuntu Linux and a constantly updated version of Arch Linux.

Who is this tool for?

Rolling Rhino is suitable for Ubuntu developers and experienced Ubuntu users who want to install Ubuntu once and track all development updates and automatically track subsequent series.

Install daily Ubuntu Linux build

First, we must install the daily Ubuntu image. The installation is the same as any other Ubuntu version.

We can choose images from the following flavors:

Ubuntu Desktop Daily BuildKubuntu Daily BuildLubuntu Daily BuildUbuntu Budgie Daily Build Ubuntu Kylin Daily BuildUbuntu MATE Daily BuildUbuntu Studio Daily BuildXubuntu Daily Build

Download Rolling-Rhino

Once the Ubuntu daily image installation is complete, we will clone the rolling-rhino git repository to our local directory. We can do this in any directory we like, but in this example, we put ourselves in the /home directory.

But before that, we need to install git using the following command:

$ sudo apt install git
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
The following additional packages will be installed:
  git-man liberror-perl
Suggested packages:
  git-daemon-run | git-daemon-sysvinit git-doc git-el git-email git-gui gitk
  gitweb git-cvs git-mediawiki git-svn
The following NEW packages will be installed:
  git git-man liberror-perl
0 upgraded, 3 newly installed, 0 to remove and 362 not upgraded.
Need to get 5764 kB of archives.
After this operation, 41,2 MB of additional disk space will be used.
Do you want to continue? [Y/n] 

After the installation is complete, enter your home directory and type the following command:

$ git clone https://github.com/wimpysworld/rolling-rhino
Cloning into 'rolling-rhino'...
remote: Enumerating objects: 6, done.
remote: Counting objects: 100% (6/6), done.
remote: Compressing objects: 100% (6/6), done.
remote: Total 161 (delta 2), reused 4 (delta 0), pack-reused 155
Receiving objects: 100% (161/161), 249.96 KiB | 901.00 KiB/s, done.
Resolving deltas: 100% (85/85), done.

As we can see, the cloning of the repository was successful. We can also check the file by using ls to list the file:

$ cd rolling-rhino/
$ ls
LICENSE  logo.txt  README.md  rolling-rhino  snap

We can see that the downloaded file is in the rolling-rhino directory. Now, we can proceed with the scroll rhino setting.

Set scroll rhino

Now, we are located in the rolling-rhino clone directory in /home. The only thing left to set up Rolling-rhino is to execute the following script:

$ sudo ./rolling-rhino 
Rolling Rhino 🦏
  [+] INFO: lsb_release detected.
  [+] INFO: Ubuntu detected.
  [+] INFO: Ubuntu Groovy Gorilla (development branch) detected.
  [+] INFO: Detected ubuntu-desktop.
  [+] INFO: No PPAs detected, this is good.
  [+] INFO: All checks passed.
Are you sure you want to start tracking the devel series? [y/N]

We need to wait for the script to complete (this will take some time…), then we will get a success message and some nice ASCI art:

0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 2 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
After this operation, 253 kB disk space will be freed.
(Reading database ... 144631 files and directories currently installed.)
Removing libfprint-2-tod1:amd64 (1:1.90.2+tod1-0ubuntu1) ...
Removing libsane:amd64 (1.0.30-1~experimental2ubuntu1) ...
Processing triggers for libc-bin (2.31-0ubuntu10) ...
  [+] INFO: Your Rolling Rhino is ready.   

How to run rolling rhino

Output scroll rhino

in conclusion

We have successfully converted the daily Ubuntu Linux build image to a rolling version. You can use any other Ubuntu daily build image to do this.

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