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Re: writing a release announcement

On Sat, Apr 27, 2002 at 04:28:58PM +0200, Andreas Metzler wrote:
> Joey Hess <joeyh@debian.org> wrote:
> [...]
> > Some things from the woody release notes that we could mention include:
> > - apt pinning
> [...]
> I do not think this should be advertised that widely without a
> big warning.

I was going to reply along the same lines.  I use pinning, and
believe me I want it to work, but right now I continually find it

> - I assume it won't work well for people running primarily stable
>   and tracking some packages from testing (or even unstable) - after a
>   short time (5 months) the dependency-chain is going to pull in
>   _lots_ of packages from the unstable-part, including first
>   libc/gcc*/, followed by debconf and X. The resulting mixture'd
>   probably be less stable than running testing.

It doesn't even work that well, really.  I don't know what
configurations you had in mind, but let's say you simply set
everything in stable to a higher score than everything in testing.
If you run aptitude and try to install an unstable version of a
package, which depends on the unstable versions of packages that are
also in testing, it will break because the dependencies will remain
at their testing versions.

You can mostly get around this at the command-line with "apt-get
-t", but that is only good for the initial install.  When you later
want to upgrade, you can get into the same problems.

An alternative is adding individual packages to the preferences
file, but then you will have to keep adding all dependencies.  Plus,
there is no ability to edit the preferences file within aptitude, so
you have to stop, edit, restart whenever there is a problem.
(Obviously, I'm assuming you want to run aptitude, but I think most
people want an interactive UI some of the time.)

Plus, there is minimal documentation.  I am aware of
apt_preferences(5) and the APT HOWTO, neither of which is sufficient
to use pinning effectively.

> - pinning is not integrated in dselect

Pinning and dselect are hopeless together.  Even in aptitude, the
integration is minimal.  There is no way to see the pin score of an
available version, or which archive it came from, or query which
installed packages are from unstable, etc.  Basically, aptitude will
honor your pin scores, but is otherwise stupid about multiple

> > - aptitude and deity as dselect replacements

My understanding is that aptitude is the only reasonably viable
alternative.  My brief experience gave me a poor impression of deity
(or console-apt or gnome-apt).  Is it still being developed?

And aptitude is still less mature and stable than dselect.  For
example, it lacks a conflict-resolution screen, which makes
untangling dependency issues tedious.


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