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Re: Componentized linux?

On Mon, Mar 01, 2004 at 12:28:17PM +0100, Ondřej Surý wrote:
> I think this goes farther then CDD, that proposal is about making base
> distribution smaller and making releases in each areas dependant only on
> "base" debian (lsb-1.3 in progeny).  For example if I have desktop with
> XF86 4.3 and gnome, then I don't care how much RC bugs has apache or
> postfix.  And when upstream makes new stable release of gnome 2.6 I
> don't have to wait for release of debian as whole, but only for new
> release of component 'gnome'.

But, actually, you do sometimes. To take one of your examples, both
Apache and GNOME have Perl interfaces, and when the version of Perl in
the base distribution changes (e.g. from 5.6 to 5.8) then all modules
need to be rebuilt and both Apache and GNOME need to be updated in sync
for everything to continue working. That's far from the only example of
this sort of thing: Debian is rife with it.

My feeling is that, with the exception of isolated leaf subsystems,
trying to release components separately in a system as deeply
interlinked as Debian is doomed to combinatorial explosion of developer
support effort (e.g. apache-x.y.z/perl-5.6, apache-x.y.z/perl-5.8,
apache-x.y.z+1/perl-5.6, apache-x.y.z+1/perl-5.8, with an extra set of
combinations for every piece of the distribution that joins two
interfaces together). If we were in a situation where old and new
versions of subsystems were more frequently installable in parallel,
then it might be feasible, but we just aren't there: and often
parallel-installability is a difficult problem in itself, although
policy advocates it for at least libraries.

(Yes, this makes release management in general a very difficult problem,
since you lose most of your degrees of freedom in the versions available
for release.)


Colin Watson                                  [cjwatson@flatline.org.uk]

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