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Re: Backports upgrade policy (ButAutomaticUpdates:yes)

On Thu, Jan 24, 2013 at 12:39 AM, martin f krafft wrote:
> Hey folks,
> For a while now, the backports archive sets "ButAutomaticUpdates:
> yes" in its Release file, causing packages in the archive to be
> pinned with priority 100, rather than 1 (which was previously the
> case).
> The effect of this is that once a backport package is installed and
> a new version appears in the backport archive, APT will treat it as
> an upgrade candidate. Cf. apt_preferences(5):
>   100 <= P < 500
>       causes a version to be installed unless there is a version
>       available belonging to some other distribution or the
>       installed version is more recent
> While this might seem like a good idea at first — like when
> a security fix reaches the backports archive — I think this actually
> counters our stable policy, and backports are destined for stable
> systems after all.
> Our stable policy says that we don't upgrade packages with the
> exception of pure security fixes or other fixes that are guaranteed
> not to remove functionality or introduce big changes (and bugs).
> Backports, however, may very well track a package in testing,
> especially if the backporter has a vested interest in keeping up to
> date with a package's releases even on a stable system, and
> introduce major changes. Therefore, backports hold no guarantee that
> they do not remove functionality or introduce gross new bugs.

Simple answer: backports != stable.  Users that want a system that
adheres to the stable release policy should certainly plan to avoid
backports.  Just as well, backports users should automatically receive
the updates that uploaders have decided are useful enough to put
there.  Finally, those backport users that want to stick with a
particular backported version of a package always have the option to
pin it.

Best wishes,

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