Ideas for separation of "base system"

News and discussion about development of the Debian OS itself

Postby BioTube » 2008-08-07 13:03

Debian is about stability. That's the whole purpose of the development model - to make sure stable is. As for backports, a quirk in apt regarding ~ and - in version numbers means that upgrading's not broken in the slightest. The delay is only good because we users of Sid and testing have already used it and found it free of major bugs(or squashed them). A point in favor of the Debian model is the fact that testing is more stable than some distros' gold releases.
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Postby ciol » 2008-08-07 13:17

Debian is about stability.


Again, the question is "who needs this stability?". And from those who need it, who needs to have ion to be maintained like the kernel in -stable?
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Postby BioTube » 2008-08-07 13:21

Again, backports offers just about everything but the system libraries. And it's not about "who needs this stability"(the answer's obviously servers), but rather "what justifies abandoning everything the distro stands for?", to which the answer is "almost nothing".
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Postby saulgoode » 2008-08-07 14:05

ciol wrote:It's not:

No new functionality is added to the stable release. Once a Debian version is released and tagged `stable' it will only get security updates. That is, only packages for which a security vulnerability has been found after the release will be upgraded. All the security updates are served through security.debian.org.

Security updates serve one purpose: to supply a fix for a security vulnerability. They are not a method for sneaking additional changes into the stable release without going through normal point release procedure. Consequently, fixes for packages with security issues will not upgrade the software. The Debian Security Team will backport the necessary fixes to the version of the software distributed in `stable' instead.


http://www.debian.org/doc/manuals/debian-faq/ch-getting.en.html#s-updatestable


I stand corrected, thanks. I join you in disagreeing with Debian's approach to providing security fixes. It would be, in my opinion, less error prone (and entail less work) to provide the newer point release of a program, rather than have a package maintainer applying his own patches to the project's stable releases.
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Postby ciol » 2008-08-07 14:09

what justifies abandoning everything the distro stands for?

Only system administrators need -stable as it is today.
They are in minority compared to the other users.
Just drop -stable and make it unofficial, like backports.org is. Those who want the stability will contribute.
I'm really tired of this sysadmin lobbying.
Every time you submit a proposal in the debian mailing lists, you have a sysadmin who says "please, please debian developers, do not change anything because everything work". They are selfish.
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Postby digthemdeep » 2008-08-07 20:44

Going back a bit:

AdrianTM wrote:Have you considered that maybe Debian Stable is not for you?


Actually I'm pretty sure that it is for me. I evaluated all the major free distros and Debian Stable is unique. 1) I love the low bug count and the "tried and true" nature of the distro as a whole. This makes a huge difference to me as a desktop user. In fact it perplexes me that no one other than sysadmins seem to appreciate the value of reliability. The fact that it changes less is also a bonus in that it reduces the amount of maintenance. My desktop is more of a workstation; I need it to get things done and every bug is a battle I don't need. I like the -stable philosophy, I think it's almost perfect. 2) Also it can be upgraded to new versions without forcing a re-install.

The stated downside to -stable is the obsolescence. My perception is that this is a necessary compromise, i.e. because system testing takes a lot of time - but this isn't necessary for ALL packages.

The backports concept makes a lot of sense to me now. I can upgrade from OO.o 2.0 to 2.4 without upgrading anything else. That is a powerful advantage, so far as it's possible, as it allows me to pick and choose which applications I am willing to sacrifice to get features. Perhaps this is even better than my original idea taken from FreeBSD, since backports is designed to upgrade on a case-by-case basis, and it is capable of reverting to -stable versions, rather than update the entire application base, which probably would lead to an unmanageable bug-tracking scenario.

However, Backports.org could stand to be improved substantially, IMHO:
1) There is a difference between making a command-line feature versus a GUI feature. I.e. backports is not presently an option for the Unix-disabled masses. For example, when I asked APT to upgrade openoffice-base, it initially guessed that I wanted to break openoffice-calc (and all others), so I had to guess and check to get my command right. Only a competent admin can use it like this.
2) Of the 3 items on my short-list for improvement, only 1 (OO.o) was actually carried in Backports. My long-list had about the same success ratio. Library problems may prevent backporting some packages, but I'm pretty sure Ardour doesn't fall in that category... so... stuff is missing?

I realize there may be practical limitations to supporting another repo - so perhaps it would make sense to limit bug response to broken builds. I'm willing to accept a Backport that comes with no warrantee but leaves me able to "downgrade" to the -stable version. This approach especially makes sense to me where the upgrade list is itemized.
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Postby ciol » 2008-08-07 21:28

There is stability and stability.
For a game, do you need to wait for the backports?
If you say "I like my games to be stable too", just don't upgrade if it works, and even if you upgrade and that it does not work, downgrade.
For instance openarena (not in Debian but whatever), has a new version incompatible when you play online with older versions.
Another example, Amsn. Amsn in Etch is too old. I know some people who can't connect.
Here is what the website of amsn says:

It is important for you to update, because this version also fixes a critical bug that prevents a lot of our users from connecting to the MSN network. This is caused by a recent change in the protocol from the MSN server which made aMSN unable to connect to the network...


There is no backports in backports.org.

Another example is ion. Ion is for advanced users, Debian does not need to maintain it as if it was the kernel.

Again, I just say that not everything need to be frozen.

Maybe Debian can stay with this development model, I don't think so, but at least make backports.org official, it will prove that Debian cares about its users.
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Postby rickh » 2008-08-07 21:36

Sheesh! The OP was dumb, and the conversations keeps expanding on that theme. This is Debian. Stable is stable. It doesn't change. If you don't like it, run Testing. This ain't rocket science.

I saw one person up there (who at least understands "Stable"), waxing enthusiastic about how few bugs there are in Stable. Might interest him to know that there are even fewer in Testing.
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Postby FolkTheory » 2008-08-07 22:00

rickh wrote:I saw one person up there (who at least understands "Stable"), waxing enthusiastic about how few bugs there are in Stable. Might interest him to know that there are even fewer in Testing.


is that true?
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Postby AdrianTM » 2008-08-07 22:05

FolkTheory wrote:
rickh wrote:I saw one person up there (who at least understands "Stable"), waxing enthusiastic about how few bugs there are in Stable. Might interest him to know that there are even fewer in Testing.


is that true?

Of course not. There might be fewer bugs discovered. An untested program has 0 bugs, stable has been tested a lot so there was time to discover more bugs. :roll:
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Postby digthemdeep » 2008-08-07 22:23

rickh wrote:I saw one person up there (who at least understands "Stable"), waxing enthusiastic about how few bugs there are in Stable. Might interest him to know that there are even fewer in Testing.


Is this what you mean?
http://bugs.debian.org/release-critical/

To some extent my opinion was formed by the FAQ...
http://www.debian.org/doc/manuals/debian-faq/ch-choosing.en.html#s3.1
Last edited by digthemdeep on 2008-08-07 22:26, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby rickh » 2008-08-07 22:24

AdrianTM wrote:Of course not.

Good ol'AdrianTM, always eager to show his ignorance.

Release Critical Bugs

Number concerning the current stable release: 823
Number concerning the next release: 378
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Postby AdrianTM » 2008-08-07 22:28

rickh wrote:
AdrianTM wrote:Of course not.

Good ol'AdrianTM, always eager to show his ignorance.

Release Critical Bugs

Number concerning the current stable release: 823
Number concerning the next release: 378

Good ol'Rickh not being able to understand things even when they are explained step-by-step like for morons.
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Postby BioTube » 2008-08-08 01:30

ciol wrote:There is stability and stability.
For a game, do you need to wait for the backports?
If you say "I like my games to be stable too", just don't upgrade if it works, and even if you upgrade and that it does not work, downgrade.
For instance openarena (not in Debian but whatever), has a new version incompatible when you play online with older versions.
Another example, Amsn. Amsn in Etch is too old. I know some people who can't connect.
Here is what the website of amsn says:

It is important for you to update, because this version also fixes a critical bug that prevents a lot of our users from connecting to the MSN network. This is caused by a recent change in the protocol from the MSN server which made aMSN unable to connect to the network...


There is no backports in backports.org.

Another example is ion. Ion is for advanced users, Debian does not need to maintain it as if it was the kernel.

Again, I just say that not everything need to be frozen.

Maybe Debian can stay with this development model, I don't think so, but at least make backports.org official, it will prove that Debian cares about its users.
Did you know that you are free to compile programs from source? Just install build-essential and compile away(checkinstall can be used to manage the installed file with dpkg/apt).
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Postby Ay » 2008-08-08 05:07

BioTube wrote:(checkinstall can be used to manage the installed file with dpkg/apt).


Oh God...not this argument again...

Also, as for people who want stability:

How about a small business that has people working in an office with several workstations? Those desktop systems need to be rock solid to maintain productivity. Windows could be a problem due to cost. So wouldn't Debian be a good choice there? I think it would be. Situations like that, and for important servers.
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