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stable / backports (Re: When Debian 4.1 will arrive... will anyone care?)

On Fri, 2007-04-20 at 15:17 +1000, Craig Sanders wrote:
> contrary to popular belief and self-delusion, 'stable+backports' is NO

That is of course true.

> the only 'advantage' to using 'stable+backports' over 'stable+some
> packages from unstable or testing' is that you don't have that nasty
> label 'unstable'.(...)
> IMO, if you need a 'stable' system with some newer packages, you're
> better off learning how apt's pinning stuff works than bothering with
> backports.  it's not hard.

Backports are recompiled packages from testing, so they will run without
new libraries on a stable Debian distribution.  It is not always
possible to install a package from testing without pulling in lots more
packages from testing.

But, as you know, stable+testing is no longer stable either. :)

> to get that crucially important 'benefit', you're
> using packages from a repository with unsigned packages by unknown
> maintainers.

Last time I checked, only DD's can upload to backports.  But it is
correct that anyone can create a package for backports, and ask a
DD-sponsor to upload to backports, without consulting the maintainer of
the package in testing.  So this seems similar to an NMU.  That
introduces a slight risk that some details might be overlooked.

Anyhow, I think that the discussion is about getting newer upstream
releases into stable sooner.  The backports project is an interesting
approach, because it makes newer upstream releases available to stable
users, without putting these packages in the Debian stable repository.
Somehow I think that the stable-ness of Debian stable is one of the
strong assets of the Debian project, so policy about how stable a
package in stable should be, should not be changed too sudden.  A gentle
transition to any direction should be OK, as the project should be
allowed to evolve.  Let's not confuse this with getting the packages in
unstable/testing updated to the newest upstream releases some time
before the next freeze preparing the next stable release.

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