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Re: What is consensus for meaning of stable/unstable? (Re: Does everything depend on everything?)

On Thu, Nov 05, 2009 at 01:10:37PM +1300, Chris Bannister wrote:
> On Sat, Oct 31, 2009 at 09:46:20PM +0200, Micha wrote:
> > My experience over the last 12 years or so is that stable, testing, 
> > unstable talks more about how volatile the distribution is rather than 
> > how stable it actually is.
> AIUI, that _is_ the meaning. Think, stable - unchanging. esp in resp to
> API's etc.
> unstable - changing frequently at random.
> Not to be confused with "buggy ness" or "more likely to crash" etc.

That's a false dichotomy.  Every change made to a piece of software has
the potential to introduce a bug.  Therefore, more volatile code is also
more likely to crash.

Stable isn't unchanging because people hate new features and want to run
a two-year-old codebase for fun, it's unchanging because those packages,
at those versions, have been tested to hell and back, both individually
and when used together, to identify and eliminate as many bugs as
possible.  Testing and unstable are buggier and more likely to crash
because they haven't been as thoroughly debugged (and, indeed, they
can't be as throughly debugged because they're more volatile).

All that said, it's still all just relative.  I haven't used any other
distros lately to compare, but it's long been the common wisdom that
"Debian's 'unstable' is as stable as anyone else's 'stable'."  I don't
know whether that's true today or not, but, if it isn't, that's probably
because everyone else has gotten better.  Debian clearly isn't getting

Dave Sherohman

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