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

On Thu, 5 Nov 2009 01:57:05 -0600
Dave Sherohman <dave@sherohman.org> wrote:

> 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.

And from the software engineering side, every software has bugs.

Also a LOT of the changes are bug fixes and security enhancement so I could
claim that newer software is likely more stable.

Also, you are ignoring the fact that unstable is not developed by the debian
maintainers. They are taking TESTED software (although not by debian track
record but by the software developers and other users) and putting it into
debian. The stability is a function of the maturity of the software you are
using. If it is unstable due it being new in unstable it  probably didn't even
exist in stable or was so featureless as to be unusable in stable.

Big leaps in unstable are rare, the move of X to hal is one example but it is not often.

> 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).

No, the bugs in stable are just know, well documented and NEVER fixed unless
they are security bugs. Ran in quite a few of these bugs and/or missing

> 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
> worse.

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