Mycroft will be moving to a new release system in August of 2017. Our system will mirror the system used by Ubuntu and will run 2 months ahead of Ubuntu. Like Ubuntu, our releases will be numbered according to the year and the month. Until we are ready to deploy a full feature system, we will also be marking the releases with the current overall status – alpha for software that works, but still has significant issues, and beta for software that is approaching feature complete, but is still undergoing significant revision and expansion. Our first release under this system will be in August of this year and will be numbered 17.08 alpha.
When we began shipping the Mark 1 to our Kickstarter backers this past week. We included an insert card in the package that tells backers looking for a consumer quality experience: “Put the unit on a shelf until February 2018 when we will release Mycroft Core v 18.02b”. Our team got a lot of questions about this, so we thought it would be a good idea to clarify our thinking on release versions and release schedules. This notice pertains to the software releases, not updated hardware. The Mark 1 we are shipping will be able to be updated to a more consumer friendly version with software updates.
Mycroft Core is currently at version 0.88. Though we’ve been working on the stack for nearly 2 years, this software is still pre-alpha. That means we’ve got most of the critical components working, but the software is still extremely buggy. As an example – the question and answer engine phrases responses in ways that only Master Yoda would love, the user interaction is stilted, we have a huge amount of work to do around noise cancellation, our core skills need significant work… etc.
This summer, we’ve brought on a young team of developers, designers, marketers and security experts to help us move toward our first alpha release. This release will be focused on improving developer onboarding and making it easier to build, contribute and deploy new skills and abilities. Based on our experience to date, we feel comfortable with the idea of taking the software to alpha during this August’s release, so we’ll be numbering it 17.08 alpha.
Once we’ve moved to alpha, we’ll begin a six-month effort to improve the usability of the system. Our first beta release is expected to be in February 2018 when we’ll release 18.02b. This is planned to be the first release that is consumer friendly and reasonably easy to install and use.
Our plan is to stay in beta for a minimum of one year, but we may extend the beta past the first anniversary. Whether we go to production or not will depend heavily on whether the software is feature complete, debugged, instrumented, and positioned for rapid iteration and deployment, but we expect that by February of 2019, or February 2020 at the latest, the community will be ready for a production release.