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Re: (Beware helix packages) Re: [CrackMonkey] The right to bare legs

G'day Joey,

I'm not subscribed to debian-devel, but wanted to add some comments on this
issue after reading the web archives. Because I'm not subscribed, I dunno if
my Cc to the list will work, in which case you can forward this to the list
as you see fit.

IMHO, the entire reason Helix exists as a seperate apt'able source is
because debian doesn't have package-pools and "testing" distribution(s) yet.
Untill it does, people like me will only be hurt by moving the helix
packages into unstable. Helix is too stable for unstable, and too unstable
for stable.

As an end user, I use stable because I want stability. However, I also want
almost-bleeding-edge of primarily destop stuff (Gnome) because what exists
in stable is pretty weak, and all the useful stuff in that area is rapidly

I use dselect and apt-get to do my installations and upgrades. If I stick
purely with debian, to get the good Gnome stuff I need to add unstable to my
sources.list. This means I need to either do a full unstable upgrade, or
manualy pick and choose, package by package, what I want upgraded to
unstable and what I want to hold back. In the first option, I end up with
unstable everything, busting basic system stuff that I can't afford to bust.
With the second option, I have the major headache of tracking stable _and_
updating manualy selected parts from unstable, editing sources.list and
changing selections each time.

By putting debian stable and helix in my sources.list, I get the best of
both worlds in a headache free apt-get cronjob; a stable base with the 
latest-almost-stable desktop. Helix have done a damn good job of making
their packages fit nicely onto my stable potato desktop machine. 

I believe the infamous "aalib" affair actualy came out of a wishlist
bugreport submitted to them by a user; the then frozen potato aalib was too
low a version to meet all the helix dependencies. This meant people like me
had to pull aalib from unstable before I could install helix. By putting an
updated aalib into helix, debian potato users could apt-get helix without
that small hickup. It sounds like Helix made their own package rather than
grab the one from unstable... probably an un-necisary mistake. Dunno why
they did that, maybe so all the helix packages had a "helix" version number
for consistancy?

People like me need the helix distribution... as a way of conveniently
upgrading our "desktop" packages to a "testing" rather than "unstable"
state, while keeping the rest of our system to "stable". Package pools would
be the easiest way to roll helix into the formal debian distribution and
still retain the benefits of treating it like a sepearate apt'able source. A
"testing" distribution would certainly be a step in the right direction, but
maybe "testing-desktop", "testing-webapps", "testing-..." would be better.
Just a few ideas, but these can't happen without package-pools.

Migrating to package pools can happen right now... just create the pool area
and put any new packages in there that come and simlink to them in unstable.
A testing distribution can happen as simlinks to stable, unstable, and
pkgpool. As packages get updated, they migrate into the pool area. By the
time we release woody, we'll be fully pkg-pooled with no extra load on

Just my 2c, probably already fully discussed by now :-)

ABO: finger abo@minkirri.apana.org.au for more info, including pgp key

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