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Re: When Debian 4.1 will arrive... will anyone care?

Craig Sanders <cas@taz.net.au> wrote:

> On Fri, Apr 20, 2007 at 12:21:39PM +0200, Frank Küster wrote:
>> > 1. why is this allegedly a 'benefit'? what's so special about libraries?
>> > why is a new libc6 or libssl etc more scary than a new apache or php
>> > etc?
>> - because it's much harder to go back
> are you talking theory or practice here? because IN PRACTICE, it isn't.
> i've upgraded and downgraded packages at will with no particular
> difficulty. even libc6 on occasion.

I must admit that I don't have much experience in downgrading.  But at
least in theory it must be easier if it involves less packages...

>> - because if there's a bug, or an unknown incompatibility, it's not just
>>   apache which breaks, but the whole system (in case of glibc, or other
>>   central libraries)
> and the same is true of packages in backports. a serious bug can break
> your system (or, at least, require significant effort to get it back to
> a known good state).

I argue that the probability of a serious bug in testing, and hence in
backports, is less than in unstable.  Moreover, there's an additional
check built in, a person has to decide "this package is fit for a

> but if you want to delude yourself that backports is magically safer
> than testing or unstable then go right ahead. there's no law against
> being mistaken.

For sure it's not safer than testing.  But I think it's safer than
unstable.  And it's also safer than running a mix of "stable" with
partially upgraded libraries.

> AND, as i said before, anyone with any sense whatsoever will test
> *ALL* upgrades, even the most trivial, on another machine first BEFORE
> applying it to their production servers. anyone who doesn't do that
> should be blaming themselves before they blame either unstable or
> testing or backports.

There are users who do not own a production server, instead a single
computer, and still feel the need for newer packages.

>> > 2. backports has new/updated libraries too. it may not be the exact same
>> > set of updated libs as in unstable, 
>> Sorry, did you ever care to read the backports.org policy?  Or even try
>> to use them, or work with people who do?
>> I guess no, since of course "it may not" is plain wrong: backports.org
>> only has packages from testing.
> english obviously isn't your native tongue. "it may not" is, in context,
> a softer way of saying "is not" with the added implication that whether
> it is or isn't is basically irrelevant.
> if you're going to attempt lame grammar flames, then at least do so only
> in languages in which you are proficient.

The fact that you compare backports libraries to *unstable* still makes
me wonder whether you know what you are talking about, grammar or not.
If you'd used "testing" up there, I would not have wondered.  And you
won't deny that there are serious breakages in unstable every now and
then, and that they affect testing much less?

> sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't. it may or may not happen.
> that's besides the point. the point is, you can't count on it. tex may
> have had the upgrade path tested. apache or php or whatever may not
> have. the point is, that the upgrade path from backports is far less
> tested than either 'testing' or 'unstable'.

That's all true.  But this only means that running stable is safer than
running stable+backports.  It doesn't say anything about
stable+backports vs. testing (or unstable).

Regards, Frank
Dr. Frank Küster
Single Molecule Spectroscopy, Protein Folding @ Inst. f. Biochemie, Univ. Zürich
Debian Developer (teTeX/TeXLive)

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