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Re: Two suggestions for woody release

Anthony Towns <aj@azure.humbug.org.au> writes:

> We're not going to release software that we don't think is suitable for
> release. It's that simple. We certainly aren't going to make up official
> unofficial extra archives for broken software. If there's some software
> you want, make sure it works. It's that simple.

However, the following *does* happen:

1) User reports bug against package stable.
2) Developer fixes bug, uploads fixed package into sid.
3) Developer tells user "your bug is fixed".
4) User says "I want the fix".
5) Developer says "wait for the release".
6) User waits 18 months.

Or, alternative ending:

6) User says "is there another way?"
7) Developer says "it's free software; download the package and build
   it yourself".

Or, another alternative ending:

5) Developer says "switch to unstable/frozen".
6) User switches, gets many problems, complains.
7) Many developers shout in unison "we don't support unstable/frozen".

What would make all this easier is if it went something like this:

3) Developer says "your bug is fixed and you can get the fix by doing:
     apt-get --distribution=sid install FOO
   but be warned that this is not released, and so it (and newer
   versions of things it depends on) might have bugs.  Or, you can
   wait for the next release."
4) User says "Thanks!  You rock!"

So what is necessary for this to work?

Two things.  First, the --distribution option for apt should exist.

Second, once the user has installed the package from some distribution
other than their default, future apt-get runs automatically track the
package in that non-default distribution.  In the example above,
updates to the FOO package in sid would automatically be tracked by
the user without the need for repeatedly giving the --distribution
option.  The user's apt configuration would remember which packages
came from which distributions.  (This second thing probably requires
some interaction with the user: "Do you want to automatically track
future updates to this package in distribution foo?" or something like
that.  Users might well have good reason for *not* wanting this
special behavior.)



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