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Re: how to make Debian less fragile (long and philosophical)

On Sun, 15 Aug 1999, Justin Wells wrote:

<design discussion deleted>

> I would like Debian to be the most stable, most reliable Unix, with
> the smallest cost of ownership. In order to achieve that, this kind
> of fragility must be exorcised from the distribution.
> Does anyone here take this seriously?
> Or is stability, reliability, and therefore cost-of-ownership a 
> non-issue with the Debian group? 
and have we stopped beating our wives?

It seems to me that you have missed a fundamental point:

Potato is unstable. Unstable is, by definition "fragile". No one running a
production machine is ever encouraged to use packages from unstable.

That said, lets look at your idea:

While staticly linked binaries would have avoided the recent brokenness in
bash. It is not the solution to a "fragile" development process. How
different would the situation be if the staticly linked bash (upgraded
first to "guarantee" success of the rest of the install) was subtly broken
such that certain crucial install processes fail. Now you are in the same
boat as with dynamic linked brokenness.

Debian's normal upgrade process typically involves installing "core"
packages first. In several of our previous releases it has been necessary
to upgrade dpkg as the first step in the upgrade, as its new features are
needed to install some of the new packages. This may very well require
some of those "core" supporting programs that dpkg uses to be upgraded as
well. These "safe" static programs may still be broken in suble ways that
breaks the install.

The "problem" you are trying to fix is the frailty of human developers who
don't always do the "right thing". Debian deals with these problems by
having a publicly available "unstable" distribution, so that such problems
may be discovered by those willing to risk breaking their systems to find
them. It is not intended to provide the general user with the most
up-to-date packages, as some folks seem to want to believe.

If you still think there is need for an on-root rescue package, see the
recent discussion on the rescue package. It was finally decided (at least
this is the message I got from the discussion) that sash was already
delivered staticly linked and provide all of the tools necessary to
recover from most broken situations.

Install sash and you should always be able to recover:

ln -s /bin/sh /wherever/sash

and the tools should work.

Can anyone think of a reason this would not be adequate?

Waiting is,

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