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Need "apt-get dist-downgrade" or similar when Sarge comes out.

tags 115787 + sarge
thank you, control@bugs.debian.org

By the time Sarge comes out officially, some packages will have been removed from Sarge, that, at some point in time, have been a part of Sarge. For a (likely) example, see bug 267880 of apt-proxy, i.e., http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=267880 .

Personally, I really look forward to the official release of Sarge. E.g., there's this Sarge server waiting to be put into official production. One of the things I look forward to as a really valuable service is, the Debian security team's full coverage of the software I use.

Previously, I had hoped that the release of Sarge by Debian, and a subsequent

   apt-get dist-upgrade

by myself, will eventually result in a stable, security-team-covered system.

I'm not so sure about that any more.

E.g., the team will surely not cover apt-proxy, obscure version 1.9.17, just because that version has, at one point, been part of Sarge. On the other hand, apt-get is not likely to downgrade apt-proxy from 1.9.17 to 1.3.6 (assuming that version makes it into the stable Sarge release).

In my opinion, the general feature wishlisted by bug 115787 would really come in handy. See http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=115787 (and its merged equivalents) for details. (I'm not sure that it'll help much, given the bug's humble "wishlist" priority, but I have taken the liberty to tag that bug "sarge".)

Bug 158372 is one of the merge-syblings of 115787. At that bug, Jason Gunthorpe commented, some two years ago, that the required functionalty will not be provided as a feature of apt.

If that has not changed in the meantime, I would like to ask Debian to clearly announce what else can be done by a Debian Sarge user to "stabilize" her machine. In essence,

"After dist-upgrade from Woody (stable) to Sarge (stable), you have software that is covered by the security team. To achive the same effect, Sarge (testing) users need to do XXX, to change their machines to Sarge (stable)."

I very much hope there will be a better solution for "XXX", besides the obvious "fdisk/mkfs/reinstall". If so, I have not yet found it documented in any of the obvious places.

Regards, and thank you for providing fine software,

Andreas Krüger
Dr. Andreas Krüger, andreas.krueger@dv-ratio.com
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