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Re: Debian concordance

On 6/17/05, Matt Zimmerman <mdz@ubuntu.com> wrote:
> As I've said to you privately already, I do not feel that demanding binary
> compatibility between Debian and Ubuntu is the best way to address your
> concerns.  You seem to disagree strongly, as is of course your right, but I
> think that some of the comments that you've made in support of this cause
> have been misleading.

Please don't be dramatic. I'm not demanding anything. I'm expressing a
concern, and a legitimate one.
> The fact is that Hoary *was* binary compatible (in both directions) with
> both sarge and sid when it was released.  Later, the Debian glibc
> maintainers and release managers considered changing the ABI in order to fix
> a bug.  In the course of a lengthy discussion[0], including expression of
> concerns about inter-distribution compatibility, they weighed the options
> and decided to go ahead with it.  I fully support their decision, and I do
> not consider the resulting incompatibility to be a significant obstacle to
> the continuing growth and success of either Debian or Ubuntu.  Presumably,
> neither did they.

I wasn't even aware of the sarge/hoary incompatibility till it came up
in this thread. And, based on what you and others have said, I'd agree
it wasn't your fault, though it was certainly unfortunate.

I'm more worried about the future; and I still haven't seen anyone
address my initial question, which is why Ubuntu is tracking sid on core
things like libc in the first place. The value you add is around
the edges with stuff like X.org and GNOME 2.10. I'd like to see you do
that in a manner that promotes compatibility with sarge, just as we're
doing at Progeny as we move forward in these same areas. But I certainly
understand why you want to move forward in these areas.. I do as well.

The core is a completely different issue. Where at the core do you add
value? Ok, perhaps you can get a bug fix in here, better support for
an architecture here. But are those things worth breaking compatibility?
If your changes are important enough, they should be in Debian too.
If they aren't, they're not as important as compatibility.
"Debian packages just work" has been a truism for *years*, and it's been
one of our key technical selling points. I don't want to see that fall
by the wayside. This thread is a perfect example of what will happen
if we don't worry about this stuff *now*. I've seen this movie before.

If there's ever been or ever will be a perfect time for Debian and
Ubuntu to sync up, it's now. Sarge is out, and there is significant
momentum within the project behind the idea of fixing the release cycle
problem, so it seems likely that etch will be out in some predictable
and reasonable amount of time. Why not take advantage of that? Better
yet, why not help make it happen? Why not, for example, work with
Debian on putting together a plan for migrating to GCC 4 rather than
just plowing ahead on your own? Going it alone is sure to cause
compatibility problems that make the current ones pale by comparison.

Ian Murdock
317-578-8882 (office)

"A nerd is someone who uses a telephone to talk to other people about
telephones." --Douglas Adams

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