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Re: Dangers of "stable" in sources.list

On Fri, May 04, 2007 at 12:18:37AM -0400, Greg Folkert wrote:
> On Thu, 2007-05-03 at 21:44 -0400, Max Hyre wrote:
> > Gentlefolk:
> > 
> >    The discussion of `stable' vs. `etch' vs. `lenny'
> > vs. ... got me to thinking.  Is there any reason to offer
> > `stable' as an entry in sources.list?  Its drawback seems to
> > be:
> > 
> >     o Every so often `stable' whacks you with about
> >       seventeen million updates, with the chance that you'll
> >       be left dead in the water.
> > 
> > Using the name (`sarge', e.g.) has the drawback that:
> > 
> >     o Eventually a named distro will drop off the end of the
> >       world, and get no more security updates.
> > 
> > OTOH, `unstable' is a necessary warning sign:  Here be
> > dragons.  Someone starting with Debian needs to know that
> > unstable has more surprises.  (Though, in my experience,
> > they're mostly like the ones you find in a box of Cracker
> > Jacks.)
> > 
> >    So, my modest suggestion is that `stable' as a name
> > should be eradicated.  Roughly no downside, only closer
> > adherence to the principle of least astonishment.
> Okay, so let me get this straight.
> You propose to eliminate "stable" as a release. To keep people from
> hurting themselves. Especially unwitting "auto-updating" ID10Ts. Ok, let
> me get this straight... How is this a good thing?
> Anyone that is an Admin worth the salt they have in their body, will not
> have ANYTHING auto-updating, but "auto-staging".


In fairness to Max, he surely did not have in mind possible confusion
by an experienced Admin who is new to Debian, but rather a simple user
who is working in an environment where he must act as his own Admin.
For many new users of Debian, Debian is their first opportunity to see
'under the hood' of a real OS. For such users, Debian stable is good
enough to be miles ahead of what they had before. The issue is the use
of the word, 'stable', in a special jargon sense that is peculiar to
Debian. The idea of suppressing 'stable' seems reasonable, except that
it will be very difficult to do. So, these new users will soon see
references to 'stable' all over the place, and will be put off trying
to actually learn how the Debian system works. (Think of project
Ministry of Truth, rewriting all the old emails to the debian-user
list that mention 'stable'.)

> My definition of "Auto-Staging" means:
>      1. Check for "updates"
>      2. Update for "updates"
>      3. Download all of those updated packages
>      4. Checksum verify those packages, just downloaded re-get the ones
>         not verified properly
>      5. Send off an e-mail to me every hour or two telling me I need to
>         pay some attention to it.
>      6. goto #5 every one or two hours
>      7. goto #1 every six or twelve hours
> I then login to said machine and "do the right thing"
> I've done this for years with HP-UX, AIX, OSF/Tru64/WTFitis when each
> company finally put patches and stuff in a internet reachable
> repository. I really haven't done Solaris, so I dunno about it, but I
> suspect it could be done similarly.
> Now as far as Windows... blahahaha. Yeah whatever.

Paul E Condon           

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