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Re: How to make Debian more attractive for users



"Jesús M. Navarro" <jesus.navarro@undominio.net> writes:

> Hi, Ben:
>
> On Thursday 22 July 2010 08:09:44 Ben Finney wrote:
> > Which of the above uses of “stable” refers to stability (“slow rate
> > of change”), and which refers to reliability (“high likelihood of
> > working when needed”)? Too many conversations conflate the two, and
> > in this case I think the distinction is important.
>
> Why?

Because they are quite separate descriptors, and unless we keep them
distinct in conversation we'll have to re-hash the “system Foo is
unstable because it frequently doesn't work”, “no, it's stable because
it changes slowly” misunderstandings.

> With my user hat on the only stability I care of is "it ain't break".

By that description, then, you are seeking reliability. Debian's testing
process is, at least in part, designed to address reliability by giving
a chance for bugs in programs and in integration of packages to be
shaken out.

I was asking whether Russ meant this connotation, or whether he's
actually talking about rate of change (which is closer to the proper
meaning of “stable”). Debian's “stable” suite is quite famously stable:
it changes only a few times a year.

There are indeed a great many users of Debian who want stability, even
if it means a loss of reliability. They choose Debian precisely because
they can deploy it, set it to receive updates, and know it will change
only rarely and in very specific circumstances; not even for most bug
fixes.

Stability and reliability are partly correlated, but only partly. Hence
it's good to keep the two distinct when discussing how to please users.

-- 
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Ben Finney


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