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Re: aptitude synaptic gnome to be removed?

Paul Smith wrote:
> Erm.  No, don't think of "dist-upgrade" as a command you ONLY use to
> upgrade to a new version of Debian.  Perhaps part of the confusion is a
> naming issue.

It hindsight it would be nice if 'upgrade' did what 'dist-upgrade' now
does because that would make sense.  But you still need the current
'upgrade' behavior so perhaps 'stable-upgrade' or static-upgrade'
would be a better name to match the behavior.

> The dist-upgrade command can (and maybe should) be run regularly, even
> if you don't change versions.

Agreed with the qualification that you are running testing or
unstable.  If you are running stable then it should not matter but
running 'upgrade' is safer for the reasons you mentioned.  I requires
that the names of installed packages no be changed.  It cannot add new
packages nor remove old package.  When running a stable production
system I only use 'upgrade' to keep the system up to date.

I hate to add complexity to the discussion, but sometimes this fails
because a security update is built using a newer library.  For example
see woody DSA-694-1 which produced an xloadimage depending upon
libpng3 instead of the original libpng2.  This caused 'upgrade' to
fail because it needed libpng3 not previously installed.  This is not
supposed to happen but slips in sometimes because there is no
automation to deal with this problem with security updates.  libpng2
was current when xloadimage was uploaded to sid originally and it
migrated to testing that way.  But later libpng3 was uploaded to sid
and became current for the final release of woody.  There was no need
to roll all packages that depended upon libpng2 in woody and so any
security updates for any of those packages get a new dependency of
libpng3 added.  If you already have it installed then fine, upgrade
works.  But if not then upgrade fails because it is not allowed to
change the topography of packages installed on the system.

> _Usually_ "dist-upgrade" is what you want, especially in unstable
> where lots of dependency info, etc. is changing around.

Agreed.  You almost always want dist-upgrade.  If you are looking at
what it is doing then you almost always want dist-upgrade.

> The problem with dist-upgrade in unstable (or testing) is that
> SOMETIMES, if the packages are laid out just right (or wrong),
> "dist-upgrade" will decide that in order to bring your system as
> up-to-date as possible is has to remove large swaths of packages,
> because of versioning conflicts.

Right.  I like to say it finds a different local minima in the problem
of optimizing installed packages.  :-)

I think this would be easier if there were no choices.  It is the OR
(e.g. firefox | mozilla | www-browser) and the complexity that arises
from thousands of packages and choices that cause the trouble.  But I
doubt users would prefer Debian if there were no choices.  The other
distros specialize in that market.


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