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Re: FWD: delegation for the summer of code admins

On Tue, Feb 08, 2011 at 08:04:33PM +0100, Michael Banck wrote:
> While I was quite a bit dubious about this in Travemünde, I (re-)read
> parts of the -devel thread now and changed my mind.

> > A third issue which comes to mind is the request to use *defined*
> > versions of programms and not just a version which is by chance packaged
> > in any Debian release, for instance by using packages from
> > snapshots.debian.org.
> Can you elaborate on this?  I am not sure what you mean here.  It
> doesn't sound like it would take somebody 3+ months of full-time work to
> do this in any case, though.

At Sanger Institute[1] which is one of the largest biological institutes
world wide are 3 (in words three) Debian developers working which might
be perhaps the largest DD density in institutes which do not have
software development in their main focus.  At DebConf in Edinbourgh I
learned to know them and was talking to them about Debian Med and its
possible application in Sanger.  The answer was that this is unwanted
for the scientists at Sanger which have the request to pin their system
on very specific software release combinations because only these are
guaranteed to reproduce exactly the same data they need to reproduce.

Meeting this request with a distribution is quite hard because chances
are close to zero that say a combination of

    package A in version X   and
    package B in version Y   and
    package C in version Z

are by chance assembled in this release and even if this is the case
your colleague in the neighbouring office needs package B in version Q
and package C in version R.  Even backports.org can not really match
this requirement and actually I'm personally unsure if we as
distributors of binary packages will be able to find a way to support
these kind of requests at all.  (IMHO this is a reason ... and for me
probably the only valid reason ... to use Gentoo-ish systems.)

So the problem why you can not really put a student on this task is
probably that there might be an outcome which says:  Hey, that might be
interesting but we do not really have a reasonable solution which is not
really a cool result for 3+ monthes of seeking solutions.

Kind regards


[1] http://www.sanger.ac.uk/


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