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Re: bugs + rant + constructive criticism (long)

>>>>> " " == Erik Hollensbe <erik@powells.com> writes:

     > Some packages refuse to install, and of course, break apt in
     > the process.  Right now, I'm *hopefully* going to be able to
     > repair a totally hosed server that failed an apt-get because
     > MAN AND GROFF failed to install properly, ending the upgrade
     > process and therefore stopping the install of all the
     > perl/debian-perl packages except the binary, rendering apt
     > practically useless.

Try to configure the unpacked packages with "dpkg --configure
--pending". Helps a lot most of the time. Apart from that have a look
at what gets updatet. If you update 200 Packages of unstable in one go
you will kill your system with 99% certainty. Be a bit selective and
do "apt-get install <packages>" for the major components like libc,
perl, apt, dpkg before updating all the other stuff.

I know that should not be neccessary, but with unstable, being unstable,
I found that a good way to reduce the likelyhood of unneccessary
packages breaking vital once.

     > No doubt the failure of man and groff has to do with the
     > problem that i've been having with many other packages, which I
     > will detail below.

     > Please, please, please, please... Checking your shell scripts
     > for SYNTAX ERRORS is not a bad idea before you submit it to the
     > package repository!  You have no idea how many times, that I
     > have helped people in #debian on OPN fix shell script errors
     > for packages like mysql-server, which, could have easily
     > rendered a semi-production system completely dead (hopefully
     > they compile from source, but that's not the point, is it?)
     > simply because someone forgot a bracket or used the wrong 'set'
     > parameters in their script.

     > Other issues with apt in general - there is no OBVIOUS way
     > (short of reading the APT/DPKG perl classes) to force certain
     > flags.


     > For instance - install package 'realplayer', then, upgrade your
     > copy of xfree86-server or xfree86-common, and watch them fail
     > as it tries to write to a file in /etc/X11. I don't think I
     > need to go into detail about how much stuff like this pisses
     > off the average user. rpm anyone? (no, apt-get -f install does
     > not work, so don't even bother)

Did you file a bugreport?

     > And why are packages being REMOVED (lib-pg-perl for example)
     > when I dist upgrade?

RTFM, thats what dist-upgrade is for. probably a conflicts of some
package updated.

     > apt-get and it's kin need more simple getopt-style flags that
     > allow overriding of certain things, mainly conflicts. Also, an
     > option to actually view what's being upgraded before you
     > download 250 packages that are only going to break your system
     > would be nice as well.


apt-get -u dist-upgrade

Also do an "apt-get -u update" first. That won't change wich packages
are installed, but only update whats possible.

     > I dunno - I was using debian back when hamm was released, and I
     > have never seen such an utter mess of incompatibilities and
     > stupid human error even in the worst mess of unstable upgrades
     > (which happens, and is understandable). Almost all of this is
     > due to a significant lack of adequate testing by package
     > maintainers.

Your are the tester, keep testing and FILE BUGREPORTS.

Alltogether I must say that unstable has become better and better. For
the last 3 years I never had to reinstall stable after an unstable
update. For the last year I didn't need a rescue disk after an
unstable update. For the last month I didn't even had an error on
update (but I haven't updatetd for the last 3 weeks, so that might
explain it).


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