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Re: Curious thing about 1.1 -> 1.2 upgrade problems

> One reason may be that I just don't have as many packages installed,
> but I was wondering if anybody had any other explainations as to why many
> small incremental upgrades over the months seems to be more stable (in the
> sense of installations not breaking) than making larger leaps from
> point release to point release.

A lot of the problems seem to be dependency related.  By upgrading, we
need to install packages A, B, C, and D, but C needs to be installed
before B, and D before C.  So but if some of the depends don't catch it,
the installation may fail the first (or second times) until D is install,
and then C is installed.  I had a problem with tcsh and csh.  Both were
scheduled for upgrade, but the old versions conflicted with the new.  I
ended up deinstalling tcsh, so that csh would upgrade, then reselecting
tcsh to be installed, which seemed to work.

In addition, by upgrading slowing, you would have installed D when it came
along, around the same time as the package maintainer of C installed on
his machine to make the new package for C.  You won't run into this
problem since by the time C comes out, you had already installed D.

> I'd really like to hear that my observation is indeed false, since
> upgradability is, of course, one of our major claims for Debian.

This is one of the biggest problems with Debian, but it is inherent with
any system with interactive programs, especially with the large number of
different people working on packages that affect several other packages.
Some of this can be fixed with beta upgrades, but hopefully the xxx-fixed
will be able to help keep it staight(er).

One other reason, by upgrading slowly, if a package fails, the error
and what has changed may be a little more obvious.  With a large upgrade,
the interaction be less obvious.  Also, some of the 'obvious' errors are
less obvious when other errors are concurrent.  Hence some of the 'Never
mind, I answered my own stupid question posts'.   

Mark W. Blunier

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