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Re: On Sid and Experimental

On Sun, Oct 2, 2011 at 7:16 AM, Josselin Mouette <joss@debian.org> wrote:
Le dimanche 02 octobre 2011 à 02:36 -0400, Manjul Apratim a écrit :
> And now a lot of software in Sid is no more the latest that the FOSS
> world has to offer - to cite a few, Sid still has rhythmbox-0.12 while
> I have been using rhythmbox-2.90 in both Ubuntu and Arch without
> problems for quite some time and needless to say it is present in
> Experimental, and Sid still does not have gnome-shell, which has also
> been present in Experimental for quite some time (I concede the need
> to build on all architectures and not just selfishly on mine, but
> isn't that the purpose of Testing?).

So basically your mail boils down to “why isn’t GNOME 3 in sid yet?”.

It has absolutely nothing to do with the number of architectures we
support. You can see experimental is built for all of them, and that
includes GNOME 3 packages.

What you see is an unfortunate consequence of the way we manage
releases. New sets of packages that have to be introduced together
(these are called “transitions”) can only enter unstable when they are
ready to not break anything and migrate to testing. This is what ensures
the quality and stability of our releases.

Most of the time, this is not a problem. However, right after a freeze,
there is a backlog of packages that have not been uploaded, and the most
complex ones (here, the GNOME 2 → GNOME 3 transition, which involves
more than a hundred packages) get delayed, despite being ready in

An obvious solution to that problem is to stop freezing testing at
freeze times, or at least to freeze it for a smaller amount of time. The
release team argues that people will stop working on stabilizing the
upcoming release if we do that, and you can’t blame them for being
afraid of such a situation.

Another thing that should help prepare transitions better is the
availability of a PPA-like solution. But I’m not sure it addresses this
specific bottleneck.

 .''`.      Josselin Mouette
: :' :
`. `'

Thank you everybody for the clarifications! I clearly understand now that the software transition from Experimental -> Sid has more to do with the way the release system works than all the architectures the packages are compiled for! As I said before, being completely agnostic about the level of work that goes into the development process and having but a vague idea, I was merely musing from my own perspective. It is indeed strange on my part that I had never before noticed the existence of Experimental, and I stand corrected! (I guess I was too happy running Etch, and subsequently Lenny). Certainly, the many layers of extensive testing that software in Debian goes through is the reason Stable turns out to be the rock-solid distribution it is. I don't really mind that gnome3 is not (at least completely) in Sid yet - for I know that when it shall be, it shall be of a quality I have come to expect from Debian.

At some point of time (after I am done wrapping up my thesis), I would like to get myself involved in the Debian development process. To do so it only fits/is necessary that my views and ideas are concurrent with Debian's philosophical views as well!

Manjul Apratim

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