Popular Linux-based operating system Ubuntu will be moving to a substantially different release schedule, Canonical QA coordinator Nicholas Skaggs announced yesterday.

Skaggs made the announcement at the Ubuntu Development Summit in Copenhagen yesterday, following it up with a blog post detailing the prospective switch, which will see the end of alpha testing and a reduction in milestone builds - one beta and one final release will be all that come out in a release cycle.

"Rather than milestones, a bi-weekly cadence of testing will occur with the goal of assuring good quality throughout the release cycle. The cadence weeks will be scheduled and feature testing different pieces of Ubuntu in a more focused manner. This includes things like unity, the installer, and new features landing in Ubuntu, but will also be the target of feedback from the state of Ubuntu quality," Skaggs said.

Part of the reason for these changes, he added, is that automated testing is being more frequently used in the Ubuntu development process. One such process is the new automated "smoke" testing of all install images released by the company, to reveal obvious flaws quickly.

Skaggs also highlighted an improved flexibility in the Ubuntu release cycle - code "freezes" are to be pushed back later, allowing for ongoing testing and development. Moreover, "flavoured" versions of Ubuntu - like Kubuntu, which replaces the Unity interface with KDE, or Xubuntu, which uses the XFCE environment - will be able to set their own pace for updates and testing.

According to Skaggs, efforts to provide high-level overviews of the "state of Ubuntu quality" and work on a hardware testing database will continue, as well.