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Re: User-installable Debian packages?

On Sun, Jul 30, 2017 at 02:36:03PM +0200, Steffen Möller wrote:
> Users will not care if it is flatpak, singularity, conda or prefix -
> they want
> all the packages and the packages shall work. What I like about all of these
> efforts is that from what I grasped we will stop caring too much about
> backports.
> What it somewhat boils down to me is that we need to decide about  the
> roles a Linux distribution shall have. And if we want problem-centric
> communities (like BioConda) to come up with a pan-distributional
> gentoo-prefix-like setup. The folks that are only after the immediate
> scientific
> findings will go for the community-effort.

The main benefit of a stable release of a distribution is getting a set 
of packages that are confirmed to work, and tested to work together.[1]

Backports are a workaround for the situation when a user of stable has
an urgent need to cherry-pick a specific package from the next stable,
but every package installed from backports brings the risk of breaking
something unrelated.[2]

If a large part of the users in an area want/need the latest upstream 
code, then a cross-distribution community-effort would actually be:
- less work (only done once for all distributions), and
- remove the risk that packages installed from backports/PPA/... have
  a negative effect on the whole system.

Unless all users would consider using the versions in stable pointless,
Debian could continue to ship the software in stable.

But comparing backports with a flatpak solution for users who want the 
latest upstream code, I see all the benefits at the flatpak solution.

When it is both less work for Debian and a better result for users,
I do not see the point why Debian should compete with that effort.

> Steffen


[1] some problems always slip into a stable
[2] e.g. by also pulling in an update of some library or python module
    that might have functionality changes or new bugs


       "Is there not promise of rain?" Ling Tan asked suddenly out
        of the darkness. There had been need of rain for many days.
       "Only a promise," Lao Er said.
                                       Pearl S. Buck - Dragon Seed

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