Bug#419467: Whoa, upstream wontfix?
Judging by the volume of responses, I'll assume I've hit a nerve.
You all are aware that what is happening with glibc is unfriendly but
you're not sure why.
The reason why is that libc6 is not a random package which you can
individually decide to upgrade or not upgrade, it is a critical base
package which will be upgraded due to (often spurious) dependencies
from many other packages which may be desirable to upgrade.
glibc is a C library. The job of a C library is to perform the basic
lowest-common-denominator functions in a lowest-common-denominator way.
It is bad enough that glibc contains extensive gcc-dependent code.
Worse that it contains extensive Linux-dependent code. But tying your
most basic system library to the newest stable kernel? Insanity.
Let's put it another way...my system has been stable for about a decade.
Most of my packages predate sarge. Some get updated nearly yearly.
Other packages which are at the base of many dependencies, like libc6,
will get updated practically monthly. I use Debian, and recommend it
to people, specifically because this is possible. I am not the only one
who does so. About the only thing which can happen to Debian to change
this fact is introducing spurious dependencies into libc6. I assume it
is not coincidental that the libc6 package only has one depends (tzdata)
-- it is *meant to be the lowest common denominator!*
And re: xfree86...yeah, it sucks, but upgrading X has sucked for every
Debian release I've ever used. This is acceptable because X is
"optional", but libc6 is not. If you allow the libc6 package to become
broken in this fashion, this vital functionality of smooth upgrading
disappears forever, for all users in all instances.