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Re: A prescription for release anxiety


As most of you know, using software takes time and energy to learn the functions and usage of a program you would like to use on a daily basis. This involves reading docs, experimenting with various options, attempting a few of your own projects to see how well you understand what the documents are saying and then starting to use it in your daily life once you feel comfortable with the actions and reactions of the application with and to your requests. 

So too, with development, does this cycle take place. You, the user, are in fact doing a type of development cycle yourself with all of the above steps. Debian takes the time to ensure that those very same types of processes are applied against the code and source which make up the applications you use on a daily basis. Just as you have no way of knowing how long it will take you to become comfortable with an application to the point of using it daily, so to do the developers not know how long it will take to go through all these same steps in order to ensure that when you click on say the Context Sensitive Help button or menu option that you actually GET Context Sensitive help.

Nothing would please the Debian project Leader and the myriad of developers who help develop, test and maintain Debian GNU/Linux more than to be able to say "We will release the latest version of Debian on such and such a date.". Unfortunately, this is not always possible. You're probably sitting there wondering "Well why not?", or even possibly so what are the criterium for Debian to decide that it's time to officially release. There are a number of issues involved and without going into the technical details of such things, those that need them can find them strewn throught the Debian mail lists, it's basicly a combination of developers testing their code and givng the thumbs up, other develoeprs reviewing that code for potential errors (not every error is easy to find even for the most experienced of us), maintainers ensuring up to date packages are installed, managers ensuring the packages conform to policy like the DFSG, DSC, and other guidelines, and some sort of security net put in place so that the inevitable security hole can be patched quickly and efficiently and the fixes rolled out to you the user. After all we're doing this for both ourselves and you. Debian developers keenly feel all of the pain involved in getting this massive infrastructure in place and things going along smoothly.

Finally, not everything always works according to plan. Sometimes that insane guy Murphy pops his head up in places not even *we* expect him to! So in closing, if you hear the statement "Debian releases when it's ready", or "Woody will release when it releases" is not a lame attempt at a cop out, or some comment we throw out to passify the masses. It's simply meant to say that when all of the above is met and the Release manager feels that the internal Debian infrastructure is ready to handle the millions of people who will install the latest release and find things that every developer has worked hard to locate (but let's face it they're human too), then and ONLY then, will the next version of Debian be released.

Until then, sit back, relax, smoke em if ya got em, and rest assured, Debian is doing everything in it's power to ensure that when you DO install the official rlease, your experience will be an enjoyable one.


Would something like this work? I personally would have no problem with cleaning it up, making it syntactically correct, and fleshing out whatever anyone felt was needed. (I'm also trying to take a view from a generic user's point of view, someone like maybe that 22 year old non computer geek sitting at home jsut looking at things and wanting to play with Linux for the moment to see what it's all about, all the way to the techies.)

On Fri, May 17, 2002 at 01:52:58PM -0300, Ben Armstrong woke up, and decided to spew forth:
> On Fri, May 17, 2002 at 01:36:53PM -0300, Daniel Ruoso wrote:
> > IMO, transparency is always a good behavior. Why not officially say to
> > everyone that making a release is a painful process? Why not officially
> > say that the release is waiting for this, this and this (and we don't
> > know how much time it will take)...
> Because it just sounds like waffling?  Because we get tired enough of
> saying it *unofficially* and *still* not being understood?
> Ben
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David D.W. Downey <david-downey@codecastle.com>
Upstream - libpam-pgsql.codecastle.com
Debian - Woody: 0.5.2-3 Sid: 0.5.2-5
State - bugs.debian.org/libpam-pgsql
"The price of Free Software is Eternal Literacy."

"I'd rather die on my feet, than live on my knees."
		Deloris Clayborn

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