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RFC: Making apt crash safe when testing unstable...



Hi there,

after cursing my head off a few times when trying to help with debugging 
the unstable dist due to really nasty problems with rather basic packages like 
X or libstdc++ I'd like to make two proposals: 

+ Firstly, shouldn't we assign, lets say five volunteers to every maintainer
  of a base package (including X for that matter) to make sure those vital
  packages have been run sucessfully on at least five different (preferrably 
  librarywise non-tweaked) systems before upload to master ? 
  I gained the impression that the systems used by core package developers
  are for obvious reasons not quite what one would expect from vanilla 
  dpkg/apt/dselect upgrades, which might explain how the recent catastrophies
  could happen. I know X is undergoing restructuring and there's a lot of
  code turnover in glibc, but I still don't understand how packages working
  on the developer's system can fail so badly on others unless we have
  a conceptual mistake in the project here...

+ Secondly we need a crash-proof upgrading process. For instance we would need
  a dpkg option 'Install with crash recovery' which repacks a package
  to be upgraded and stores it for automatic downgrading to a working state
  if the upgrade causes severe trouble... This would be a rather lengthy
  process for large upgrades when the number of packages is large and also
  takes up substantial space but I can't think of a better approach at the
  moment. Much too often my systems were really screwed up after upgrading, as 
  the working .deb's of lower version number disappeared from all mirrors out 
  there.

I seem to remember repacking is already implemented so perhaps we should 
just write a HOWTO on safely using the unstable distribution for Dev Corner.

Regards, 
-- 
       /(__  __|\          Lars Steinke, Research Student @
      (    \/  __)_        www.fmf.uni-freiburg.de, Germany
       )   (_____  /       for PGP PKey and WWW-Page finger
      /___________/        steinke@mibm.ruf.uni-freiburg.de

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