The Open Source Advocate has an article discussing the merits of all the distros releasing on the same schedule. His main argument, bolstered by quotes from Shuttleworth is that by having them all release at the same time, they will end up with the same software and cause a massive synchronization across all major open source projects. The 2 main quotes I’d like to focus on are:
“Simply set a hard date and modify your goals to make that release date.” – Article Author
“We are just on a different version so someone else’s patch isn’t going to apply. There’s a bit of friction there.” – Shuttleworth
I think this is the main reason why doing this won’t work. Different distros have very different goals and so this may be a false efficiency they’re working towards. For example, Fedora has inherited Mandrake’s previous title as the most bleeding edge distro. This means that Feodra may want to be using a more beta program than Ubuntu might. Also, let’s say some distro wanted to be more for businesses so they would rather have older, tested packages. They may also want to release once per year or every 9 months or something like that.
Also, it may be more important to Novell, for example, to get a certain feature in, even if that makes them release late. Or, finally, some distros may not have the testing resources to update as often as others do. Sure, Ubuntu can update every six months on time every year. But perhaps another distro needs a little extra time so they don’t put out a buggy product.