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Re: When stability is pointless

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Sam Kuper wrote:
> 2008/11/5 Douglas A. Tutty <dtutty@vianet.ca>:
>> 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
>> Ubuntu?
> Essentially correct. But not just any old set of psad instructions:
> the instructions provided on the psad website and in the developer's
> book on Linux firewalls. In other words, pretty much the most
> comprehensive set of instructions I could find.

So what do you think that debian can do about it? For most packages I
know, debian includes the correct version of the documentation. For git,
as an example, the documentation at /usr/share/doc/ always corresponds
to the version of git installed on the system and is upgraded along with
git. (No need to search the web;-) ). Of course this is only possible,
if the license of the documentation matches that of the software (ie. is

If it is important for you for special cases, there is also
backports.org from which you could install newer versions of certain
software without compromising on stability for the rest of your system.

>> 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.
> Define "working" (or "tweaking"). My experience with some packages in
> Etch suggest that Debian sometimes has problems like this too.

Just report a bug and the problem has a chance to get fixed for lenny.

>> I've never used psad but I would be very surprised if the problem you
>> experienced were to happen were you running Debian Stable.
> You may be right. Perhaps I should go back to Debian Stable. But one
> of the reasons I switched to Ubuntu was to minimise the gap between a
> package being deprecated by its developer and deprecated by its
> maintainer, in an effort to avoid precisely the sort of problem I
> outlined in my post.

I think this shows the point where you misunderstand how debian works:

There are three levels any package can reach:

 - unstable/sid: frequently updated from upstream, latest software

 - testing: software has been tested some time and should contain less
changes and bugs than unstable

 - stable: software has been extensively tested to work. It is rather
unfrequently updated (about 1.5 years between releases) and hence you
get a 'stable' system to work with.

Pick whichever suits you. You obviously can't have stable software and
frequent updates at the same time...

It is also impossible to predict the right level of stability for
everyone and for every package...

... or to predict which version of a package will be featured in a book
or in some other documentation...


>> 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.
> Ubuntu has LTS (Long-Term Support) releases, which roughly translate to Stable.

Yes, but IIRC it is still based on debian sid. Ie. it never transitioned
debians unstable - testing - stable queue. IIRC it just means that the
developers made a commitment to extend security support. (I hope someone
will correct me, if I'm wrong)


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