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Re: When stability is pointless

On Wed, Nov 05, 2008 at 01:26:31AM +0000, Sam Kuper wrote:
[snip long preamble]

> Sometimes, stability lets you down.
> My perception is that the greatest problems with the system of
> "stability" practised by Debian and other Linux communities arise when
> the upstream developer has not maintained the documentation for
> earlier versions of the software he has written. This leads to a
> disconnect between users reliant on package managemers and interested
> in dependability, and developers interested in making software that is
> faster, more fully featured, or otherwise different from the earlier
> versions of their software.
> An example
> ----------
> Here is my scenario. I have a server running Ubuntu 8.04 LTS: a
> "stable", recent release of a Debian-based Linux distribution. I wish
> to install a security-related program called "psad" (short for "Port
> Scan Attack Detector) on that server. However, the stable package of
> psad for Ubuntu 8.04 turns out to house version 2.1 of psad. That
> wouldn't bother me, except that??? I can't set it up!
> The reason I'm having difficulty setting it up is that the
> documentation on installing psad refer not to version 2.1 but to
> version 2.1.4, which requires setting up differently to 2.1. The
> developer's recommendation is that I upgrade to a more recent version,
> but two questions arise:

If Ubuntu is supplying documentation on how to set up psad for a version
different than the psad binary they supply, then that is a Ubuntu bug.
Or, are you saying that you are trying to implement a psad recipe from
the internet that doesn't apply to the version of psad supplied in

For all Ubuntu is based on Debian, I don't think it follows debian
policy.  The policy manual says, basically and among other things, that
installing a package should result in that package working
out-of-the-box in some fashion only needing tweaking by the sysadmin.
I've never used psad but I would be very surprised if the problem you
experienced were to happen were you running Debian Stable.

Since Ubuntu is based not on Debian Stable but on (I think) Unstable, I
don't know how one can consider any Ubuntu release to be stable.


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