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Re: pilot-link in Sid and Sarge: Much bigger question

David Nusinow wrote:
> You say you can't deal with unstable because the software is broken.
> Well, that's because the software you want isn't ready to be released.

That's not the whole truth. A _lot_ of software is ready and working, but is
held back from entering sarge due to dependency problems that other distros
simply don't have. This is an issue I have been probing the last weeks.

An example: Before gcc-3.3 and gcc-3.2 went in the other day, no less than 607
packages were stuck in unstable waiting for them. How many of those packages
actually required gcc 3 to compile and run? I'd guess not many.

While debians binary compatibility demands can be argued as more elegant or
"right" than simple source dito, they definitely are more complex and lead to
dependency problems that hold back working software.

> Sarge simply isn't ready to release.

Damn right it's not, sarge is way too _old_ for release. Mozilla 1.0.0? No
openoffice.org? Gnome 1? KDE 2.2?

One difference, good or bad, between Debian and commercial distributions is
the lack of branches above stable. When commercial distro X makes a release,
they pick the last-known-good versions of all the packages they want, compile
it all, change a few versions, compile again and ship the product. It's crude,
it's labour-intensive, it's pretty damn effective.

In Debian, it's not uncommon for a great number of packages to need to have
their latest versions bug free at the same time to reach testing and thus be a
release candidate. If any one of the required packages introduce a bug, the
whole house of cards falls down. For packages with a lot of external
references, a testing release is almost impossible to achieve without a
coordinated freeze. Look at Mozilla, it's had 16 uploads since the last one
that was admitted into testing. Why was none of those 16 accepted into
testing? It's not because all of those releases were more buggy than the
testing version is (lord knows 1.0.0 is barely usable.)  It's due to
ever-breaking, and ever-increasing, dependencies. Mozilla now even requires
gtk+ 2.0. I bet that's news to the people running it on KDE, or gnome1, or

Don't get me wrong. The current system works great. It produces some really
high-quality releases, for a truckload of platforms. The only catch is the
software in those releases is two years old.

Before brushing this aside as an uninformed rant, stop for a moment and
consider which release you'd recommend your computer-savvy-but-no-programmer
friends to use when they want to run linux at work. Then tell me there is no


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