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Re: [vox-tech] Debian Woody Officially Released
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Re: [vox-tech] Debian Woody Officially Released

On Sat, Jul 20, 2002 at 12:06:39PM -0700, Rick Moen wrote:
> Quoting Matt Roper (matt@mattrope.com):
> > I'm well aware of how Debian releases work, but you're overlooking a
> > couple of important points when you say that the woody release means "no
> > change at all."  The stable branch of Debian _is_ widely used by people
> > running servers because those people need to be up to date on security
> > fixes, but don't want to be following a moving target.
> I distinction that makes no difference:  The stable branch was only
> incrementally changed from what it was the day before, exactly as the
> testing branch was.  From the perspective of a running system's admin,
> it was Debian-stable one day, and still Debian-stable the next day.
> The fact that it automatically followed the symlink from stable = potato
> to stable = woody is intellectually interesting, but the admin probably
> wouldn't even notice unless he read Slashdot.

No, the change of the stable label is *not* an incremental change.  I
suspect you might be a little confused about how Debian's stable
distribution works.  Unlike testing, which receives package updates two
weeks after they go into unstable (sid), the stable distribution
receives absolutely no updates/changes at all *except* for security
fixes.  It's also worth noting that the security fixes are almost always
patches applied to the version of the program that was originally in
stable, not a new upstream version that fixes the bugs (the recent SSH
fix was an exception).

Potato was released just under two years ago.  That means that before
last night, all packages on a server running stable were two years old
version-wise (with some security patches applied).  Today, the packages
on a stable server are probably a month or two old.  That's a *big*
difference -- almost every package on the system will have seen a new
upstream release in the last two years and the upgrade will be very,
very obvious to any sys admin.

> > Debian's testing branch does have an excellent track record, but since
> > it is constantly changing, it is not the appropriate choice for many
> > server admins.
> Irrelevant to my point.
> > I run sid on all of my desktops....
> Braver than I am.  I used to, and _boy_ was I glad when "testing"
> emerged as a third alternative.   ;->
> > ...but I also had some servers running potato....
> In a functional sense, you had them running _stable_.  Guess what?
> They're still running stable.  Get the point?

You're missing the point.  Stable is just a name.  The system itself is
much different now.  It would be like saying that when someone upgrades
from Windows 3.1 to Windows XP they're running the same operating system
(called Windows).

> > But even if you don't run any servers under the stable branch, this
> > release is still something to be happy about because it will make it
> > easier to attract other people to Debian.
> Non-sequitur, I'm afraid.  I'll elaborate:
> > I know a lot of people used to reject Debian because they saw how
> > horribly out of date stable (potato) was compared to other
> > distributions.
> Guess what?  Stable will always be "horribly out of date".  It's a
> consequence of stable's defining characteristic.  Those people who
> "rejected Debian" should have run "testing", not "stable".

Right now, Debian stable isn't really out of date compared to other
distributions.  As of yesterday, it now has X4, KDE2, Python2, and a
trillion other packages that most Linux users today would expect to find
in any distribution.  Potato had none of those; it was at a level
comparable to Redhat 5 or 6.

> My point?  If you advised such people to "wait for woody to be
> released", you did them no favour, in my view.  You should have advised
> them to use whatever media will install onto their hardware, then
> apt-get directly onto the "testing" track, since that's the sort of
> balance between leading edge and stability they're looking for.

This is exactly what I did do -- and why they never tried Debian.  You
and I both know that the process is simple and gives you an excellent
system in the end, but someone who has never used Debian before doesn't
want to take the time to learn how.  It's just hard to convince people
who have never tried it.

> The obvious installation media would have probably been one of the 
> woody / 3.0 CD images or boot-floppy sets.

Yes, if a Debian user finds one and burns it for them.  A non-debian
user won't know that these exist or where to look for them.

> > Even when it was explained to them that they could upgrade to woody or
> > sid very easily, they still thought the process sounded convoluted and
> > rejected Debian without giving it a try.
> The cure for stubborn ignorance is education, not a substitute delusion.
> > This will finally change now that Woody has inherited the "stable"
> > title.
> Wanna bet?  "Stable" has _always_ been out of date, and will always be
> out of date, as an automatic consequence of the Debian Policy criteria
> for package release on that branch.

As I said earlier, at this moment, stable is actually up to date
compared to other distros.  As time goes on, it will fall out of date
again because of the way Debian handles its releases.

> > Finally, some maintainers haven't even been putting packages in sid
> > while waiting for woody to stabilize (I think KDE3 might fall into this
> > category--the KDE maintainer is only making debs available at an
> > external location).  
> That is _not_ correct.  KDE3 official packages are awaiting release of
> XFree86 4.2 ones, which have build problems on some of the 11 supported
> architectures.  You may want to check from time to time near the bottom
> of my Debian Tips file, http://linuxmafia.com/debian/tips .

I think you're right on this one, I remember hearing this somewhere.
X4.2 is probably the thing holding back KDE3 right now, but I know that
when KDE3 was first packaged, the upcoming release of Woody was the
justification for keeping it out of Sid.  It seems likely that other
packages might be holding out for this release as well.



* Matt Roper <matt@mattrope.com>                *
* http://www.mattrope.com                       *
* PGP Key: http://www.mattrope.com/mattrope.asc *
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