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

Björn Stenberg (2003-04-27 21:17:04 +0200) :


> Actually, Debian has chosen Portability over Quality. Quality means
> a lot more than just fixing bugs, you know. A program that does not
> work with current data or devices has low quality even if it doesn't
> crash. The mere age of most packages in stable is a very serious
> quality flaw.


> How about improving Debian? Or is that heresy?

To me, you seem to express the view that improving Debian means
throwing away our release process, including the way testing works.
This process has been thought about for a long time by lots of people,
and carefully crafted to match some goals.  I happen to believe the
goals are worthy, and the process is adapted to these goals.  I was
only a prospective or recent developer when testing was brought to
life, but I do not remember much opposition to it when it was
designed, presented, discussed, then implemented.  And it seems to me
that the goals are correctly fulfilled by the process.

  From that, I infer that either 1. you disagree with the goals that
the release process aims at fulfilling, 2. you disagree that the
process is good at its job for structural reasons, or 3. you believe
the process does not work as expected for other reasons.

  In case 1, I suggest you bring up a discussion on debian-project, so
that the goals for the next release and the more general goals of
releases (in terms of what it means to release a new stable
distribution) can be discussed to death, and we eventually come up
with maybe a different set of targets for the release process.

  In case 2, I suggest you express your concerns about how the release
process is not adapted to what we want to achieve, and supply helpful
ideas to make it better.

  In case 3, please help us identify the reasons why the process does
not give the expected results.  Also, please provide help to fix those

  *Supposing* I were agreeing with you on the existence of a problem,
I would probably be of the opinion classified as case 3 above.  The
reason I could identify for the problem would be that people prefer
bitching and complaining about testing being late and stable being
old, rather than helping fixing bugs.  I agree with the goals.  I
believe the testing process is appropriate.  The problem is not that
this process requires software to be tested and declared relatively
bug-free before they are admitted into testing.  The problem is that
the software is not even remotely bug-free.  And it is so at least
partly because people try to put new versions of software into Debian,
which means the system integration and the synchronisation of programs
and libraries are an uphill battle.  And it is so at least partly
because people complain as soon as there's a new upstream release,
thus delaying the testing of the whole system.

  There's no such thing as a "known-good program".  You have to have a
known-good *system*.  Taking the last known-good version of each part
of the system, putting all that together and hoping the whole system
will work is, to say the least, idealistic.

Roland Mas

Just a little bit of you every day will surely keep the doctors away.
  -- Just a little bit of you (The Jackson Five)

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