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A new Priority level, ‘backports’ ? (Re: unstable/testing/[pending/frozen/]stable)

Dear Yaroslav and everybody,

the addition of new suites has the disadvantage of dispersing our userbase.
Here is a proposition that conserves the current flow of package migration for
packages released in Stable, and that makes Testing the meeting point for all
the packages. 

We could introduce a new priority level, ‘backports’, with the following

 This priority level would be lower than ‘extra’. Higher levels would not be
 allowed to depend nor build-depend on packages of priority ‘backports’. Source
 packages would not be allowed to contain a mixture binary packages containing
 ‘backports’ level and higher priorities.

 These packages would not be released in Stable, but would be uploaded to
 Unstable and migrate in Testing as usual, with the exception that they would
 not be affected by a freeze. They could be removed by default from Testing in
 case they block a transition.

 As the name indicates, the packages which prove their stability in Testing
 (and only them, as in the current backports rules) would be backported in
 backports.debian.org. The backports would be prepared by the maintainers
 themselves (this would open a way to the use of the BTS) and would be the final
 distribution medium for Stable users.

The system I propose is intended to keep fruitful interactions between higher
turnover packages and stable releases:

 - It would keep Unstable and Testing as a central point for our users who would
   like an early access to new software, therefore preserving a high number of
   testers for the packages of higher quality, which are aimed at Stable. (In
   contrary for instance to distribution outside of Debian or in the experimental

 - Since immediatly after the release the backports are trivial, it would
   motivate the interest of the maintainers of ‘Priority: backports’ packages
   for Stable and its release process, to ensure frequent windows of easy

 - By removing from testing – on a voluntary basis – a lot of packages for
   which there is no stable upstream release, or which are still in active
   development, it would reduce the load on regular operations.

Have a nice day,

Charles Plessy
Tsurumi, Kanagawa, Japan

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