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Re: On binary compatibility

On Thu, 23 Feb 2006, Michael Gilbert wrote:
> First of all, I think it is useful to analyze Ubuntu's motivation --
> releasing well-integrated bleeding-edge software.  The easiest way to
> accomplish this goal is by branching from sid.  This means that Ubuntu
> libraries differ from the stable Debian release.  Hence, Debian stable
> (and sid/testing) packages are incompatible with the Ubuntu libraries;

Most packages from sid and Ubuntu are compatible. 

> thus creating the need for duplicate packaging work by both the Ubuntu
> and Debian communities.

And in several cases, the work done by Ubuntu is reused by Debian and
vice-versa. There's some duplicate work done but the idea is to reduce
it and not to augment it (see reasoning below).

> The solution would be to convince Ubuntu to branch from stable instead
> of sid.  The problem is that this creates a lot of work for Ubuntu

Understand that Ubuntu is doing work on packages based on our sid
packages. This means that the changes they do can (sometimes) be applied
back to our sid packages where we *do* our work. In this way Ubuntu helps

Their work would be almost useless if they did it on our stable version,
since stable doesn't evolve in Debian.

> undertaking.  Maybe a solution would be to force the sid GNOME release
> (and hence the upstream GNOME) to use the Debian stable GTK. 

This can't work. While we can discuss with upstream, we can't force
anything. And any upstream has tons of good reasons to use newer libs...
that's how we improve free software !

> Obviously this would have some major political issues.  How can we


> backport support for newer hardware, which may involve backporting
> newer kernels or backporting support for newer hardware into the
> stable kernel.

Which also means updating lots of utilities (udev, anyone?) and in fact
your "stable" wouldn't be stable any more ...

> One final open-ended question is: which consumes more resources?
> Duplicate packaging or backporting?

Backporting is a packaging work ... a special kind of it but backporting
is not always straightforward and can't always be done without upgrading
other softwares.

So the answer is "it depends".

In the end, I doubt that your proposal could work. You said in turn "it
means more work for Ubuntu, it means more work for Debian and it requires
to force upstream to use older libs". That's simply not possible.

Raphaël Hertzog

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