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

On Mon, 2003-04-28 at 05:03, Björn Stenberg wrote:
> Matthew Palmer wrote:
> > I don't think your proposals will really fix that, since in my experience
> > that new version of A probably requires all sorts of new crap from B
> > anyway...
> Does it, really? Or does it simply have binary dependencies to an unstable
> version of B, imposed by B? If one version of A and B has been accepted in
> testing, chances are pretty good that the next version of A will compile and
> work fine against that old version of B. Most new versions are fixes, either
> of bugs or features. Changes that break source level compatibility are rather
> rare.

Well, I guess you haven't been burned yet, then.  Anybody who has worked
for any significant amount of time in quality control knows that there
is no substitute for testing in the *exact* environment that you plan to
release in.  Period.

Let me give you a sort-of off-topic example.  I'm building a
self-contained system for demo purposes, built on top of Debian and a
bunch of other crap.  The company purchased a Toshiba laptop (not really
what I wanted) because it was cheap and sold and serviced locally, which
has a GeForce4Go video system.  I installed (among other things) the
nvidia drivers and openoffice (they want to show PowerPoint slides at
the same time and don't want to carry two laptops); I also tested the
whole system and verified that it worked correctly with a projector
attached, but I didn't have the same model of projector attached.  When
the whole pile of gear was taken over to the customer's site for a demo,
they had a different model of projector there, but that shouldn't be a
problem, right?  Wrong.  TrueType fonts don't display as long as that
projector is connected.  I have no idea why, I just know that they don't
display as long as that projector is connected.  And now you want to
tell me that I shouldn't be concerned about some "minor changes" in a
library, and besides, it should still be API-compatible and therefore it
will work?   Sorry, but I just don't believe that.  There is no such
thing as "innocent until proven guilty" wrt system changes.  *All*
changes are suspect until they have been *proven* to work, and that
includes all of your little "but I didn't change anything important"
library updates.

The point is that we're trying for more than just "source level
compatibility".  "It compiled" is *not* the gold standard in quality.
Stephen Ryan                                        Debian Linux 3.0
Technology Coordinator
Center for Educational Outcomes
at Dartmouth College

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