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Re: apt-style updates vs. git-style full-tree snapshots

On 26 May 2012 08:21, Kelly Dean <kellydeanch@yahoo.com> wrote:
> /etc/apt/sources.list talks about squeeze, and squeeze-updates,
> and squeeze/updates. It also talks about http.us.debian.org and
> security.debian.org. The manifest for an update includes only the
> updated packages, not all of squeeze. This gets very
> confusing. In contrast, the manifest for a git update includes
> the entire project (though just the updated parts of the manifest
> are sent over the network), so instead of specifying both
> branchname and branchname-update, you only have to specify
> branchname (and if you want a specific version rather than the
> latest, you can specify branchname-versionnumber).


I'll attempt to address your query using my amateur knowledge ;-)

The purpose of security.debian.org is to make security updates
available as quickly and easily as possible.[1]

Any user, regardless of which full mirror they use, can add a
stanza requesting updates from security.d.o and be assured they
receive all security updates as soon as they are available.  In
order to provide this, the bandwidth, storage, and processing
requirements for the service must be keep extremely low, otherwise
it would be overburdened by the regular requests from countless
hoardes of Debian systems.  Reducing those requirements means it
can not provide a full mirror, but only a subset – those packages with
security updates – which is not technically squeeze, so it is
called squeeze/updates.

The updates available on security.d.o do eventually make it to
the squeeze archive on the full mirrors.  It is possible to run
without using security.d.o, but there is no guarentee that such a
system receives security updates as soon as they are available.

So best to think of squeeze/updates not as fundamentally a separate
branch (in the git sense), but really a service providing a timely
and reliable source of security updates – something not offered by
an arbitrary full mirror.

[1] http://www.debian.org/security/faq

> (and if you want a specific version rather than the
> latest, you can specify branchname-versionnumber).

Specifying squeeze is like "branchname-versionumber" and keeps you
on the "debian-6.0" branch.  By requesting stable instead, for
example, you will always have the latest version of the stable
branch, which at the moment is "Debian 6.0 Squeeze" but will soon
change to "Debian 7.0 Wheezy".

> Would it make sense for apt to work more like git in this regard?

With regards to squeeze/updates, I don't believe so.  With regards to
"branchname-versionnumber", I think it already does :-)


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