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pilot-link in Sid and Sarge: Much bigger question

So I'm trying out Debian on the desktop. I'm a long-time Red Hat user
who's given up on them because of their product strategy. I bought SuSE
8.2, and it's been great. I'm saying these things not to start a
flamewar, but just to tell where I'm coming from. I'm just saying that I
expect a lot of polish on the desktop.

I have a Tungsten T. Although gnome-pilot hasn't been ported to work
with it in the latest Red Hat, I did manage to graft in support with
someone else's patch. I didn't use it to sync with Evolution much before
I gave up on RH because I was working on other things, but their
pilot-link was able to handle things just fine out of the box.

Unfortunately, pilot-link in Woody is unable to talk to my Tungsten.
Firstly, it can't do USB. Secondly, it can't sync over serial unless I
remove the password from my pilot. I am unwilling to do that every time
I sync.

So I'm reading the Debian Reference Guide, and I see how to pull in the
source from Sid and compile it for Woody. Except that I need Python >=
2.2, which is also in Sid. (`apt-get build-dep -t unstable pilot-link'
can't tell me that I need this; I only find out when I try to do a
`dpkg-buildpackage -rfakeroot'. Am I doing something wrong there?)

Anyway, I could probably live with that, if it stopped there, but I just
know that this is going to start an annoying downhill slide until I may
as well just `apt-get dist-upgrade' to Sid. I've already tried that on
two previous installs, and I'm not willing to live with broken software.
I know, I know. I've heard lots of people talk about how great it is,
but, as far as I know, the bitmapped fonts under KDE in Sid are still
messed up, and that's a show stopper for me.

I would love whatever pointers the lists may have to offer on this, but
it raises a much larger question about versions and currency in general.
I see that pilot-link is the same version in Sid as it is in Woody, and
that version is WELL OVER A YEAR OLD. That's two lifetimes in terms of
Linux. Every other distro of significance is shipping an up-to-date
version. It can't be *that* broken. To me, this doesn't bode well for
the future of Debian, or at least its viability on the desktop. Perhaps
the maintainers don't care about this. I'm new to Debian; I just don't know.

It's the same with everything else. I don't mind KDE 2.2 all that much.
It does everything I want it to do. But everyone else is shipping KDE 3.
Some distros are using 3.1. SuSE's is working great. I haven't had a
single problem with it. I see that KDE is *still* stuck at 2.2 in Sarge.
Again, KDE 3.x has been released for OVER A YEAR already. I don't
particularly want to comb through the list of release-critical bugs for
all the packages in Sid, but they can't be *that* bad, can they? I mean,
what I'm learning about the Debian project is that the maintainers use
the same upstream source as the rest of the world. If KDE 3.x is good
enough for SuSE, Red Hat, Mandrake, etc., why does this lag so far
behind in Debian?

Please don't tell me, "We'll blah, blah release blah when blah it's
blah, blah, blah ready." I know. I know. The Tungsten may be a fairly
new PDA, but it's not like it's the first USB model. Not by a long shot.
I just think it's silly that a distro wouldn't support that. Again, I'm
new here. That's why I've written this... this book. I AM NOT SEEKING TO
START A FLAMEWAR. I understand that things aren't likely to change in
the Debian project simply because *I* want them to be different. I'm not
asking them to. I just want to understand how and *why* people on these
lists use Debian on their desktops when it seems to lag so far behind
other distros. Maybe they don't. Maybe people here run something else on
the desktop. Maybe Windows for all I know! But I desparately want to run
the same thing on my desktop as on my servers, and Debian seems to be a
great distro for a server. (Unless you want to run Apache 2, in which
case it's back to the same issue.) Maybe someone can give me a good
thwack with a clue stick. Lord knows I need it!


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