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Debian Bug

Bugs Delay Release of Debian Lenny 227

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the better-late-than-buggy dept.
A. B. VerHausen writes to tell us that over 200 release-critical bugs continue to push back Debian Lenny's release date. Originally slated for a September release, there is still a long road to be traveled before Lenny sees the light of day. Project leader Steve McIntyre says they may consider dropping some packages for the release if they continue to cause problems, and while an end of October release is the goal, only time will tell.
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Bugs Delay Release of Debian Lenny

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  • What else is new? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by martinw89 (1229324) on Monday October 13, 2008 @01:59PM (#25358661)

    Shocking!!!

    Seriously, this doesn't seem unusual. I'm happy that the team is waiting until all the bugs are squashed.

  • Good! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bjourne (1034822) on Monday October 13, 2008 @02:00PM (#25358681) Homepage Journal
    This is good news. There are many distributions that just take the latest and greatest of every package without doing proper quality control (Ubuntu, Gentoo, Fedora, etc). The price they pay is regressions and stuff that doesn't work. There needs to be distros like Debian which, while always delayed, has all the important bugs ironed out.
    • Re:Good! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Meshach (578918) on Monday October 13, 2008 @02:10PM (#25358813)
      Obviously you have never worked in software QA. There are always bugs that make it into released project. The art of good project management is deciding which bugs can be allowed into the final project (ie which will actually impact users).

      Also I am pretty sure that Ubuntu is based on Debian.
      • Re:Good! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 13, 2008 @02:16PM (#25358923)
        Obviously you suck at reading comprehension.

        There needs to be distros like Debian which, while always delayed, has all the important bugs ironed out.

      • Re:Good! (Score:5, Informative)

        by WK2 (1072560) on Monday October 13, 2008 @02:31PM (#25359087) Homepage

        There needs to be distros like Debian which, while always delayed, has all the important bugs ironed out.

        Debian is like Debian. Seriously, how many Debian distros do we really need? 1 is fine with me.

        Also I am pretty sure that Ubuntu is based on Debian.

        Ubuntu is based on Debian Unstable. Their release processes are entirely different. Ubuntu includes buggy packages that Debian would reject in a stable release.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Firehed (942385)

          I thought Linux was supposed to be to OS X as OS X is to Windows in terms of stability (ie, not just rock-solid, but it will punch you in the gut if you try to crash it)... is this not the case?

          • by swillden (191260)
            Which Linux?
          • by RAMMS+EIN (578166)

            Depends on the version of Linux and what software you use with it. There are a mind-boggling number of different versions of the kernel out there, in various distributions, and sometimes in custom-made operating systems...and then we aren't even getting to the applications, yet. Among all those, I am sure you will find everything from rock-solid to "crashes at the drop of a hat, or even without that".

          • Re:Good! (Score:5, Informative)

            by stevied (169) on Monday October 13, 2008 @03:55PM (#25360285)

            Depends. "Linux" in general usage = Linux kernel + critical userspace stuff (glibc, etc.) + apps / services.

            Stable kernel versions are generally very, very stable. Ditto the critical, foundation userspace stuff.

            As on most other platforms, the apps vary. Because we're talking open source here, unstable test versions are usually available, and often the bleeding-edge stuff the developers are still editing is available, too. Different distributions choose what to ship, depending on what their target audience is.

            Also, regardless of the stability of individual components, there are often issues that arise from the interactions between the components. That's actually where Linux distros are a huge win over other OSs: the developers test, patch, and integrate a huge swathe of free software alongside the core OS, in a way that commercial OSs don't (they may do the testing bit, but that's all.)

            Ubuntu, AIUI, made a deliberate decision to be slightly less anal about rock solid stability and nailing every last bug, in order to be able to ship more up-to-date versions of the applications that most people use day to day. Crashes are undesirable, but having features missing that you want to use is also undesirable. And having said that, Ubuntu is usually pretty bomb-proof too.

            "Linux" is a complex ecosystem, but it offers choice, and switching between different flavours once you've found your personal "sweet spot" is still much less painful than migrating between other OSs.

          • I thought Linux was supposed to be to OS X as OS X is to Windows in terms of stability (ie, not just rock-solid, but it will punch you in the gut if you try to crash it)... is this not the case?

            That's a huge generalization. Even Windows can be made to be stable under some circumstances. There are many Linux distributions, and some are less stable than others.

          • You don't assemble 30 thousand packages toghether without bugs. The kernel + default libs + GUI are a quite stable bundle.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        Sure, based on Debian Sid - a little ways back on the scale of stability vs current versions. So while, yes, Ubuntu is based on Debian, its choice of where to branch off cuts out some of Debian's QA process. How you feel about the advantages and disadvantages of that choice is of course a matter of taste.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Hognoxious (631665)

          How you feel about the advantages and disadvantages of that choice is of course a matter of taste.

          It's nice to be able to make that choice.

      • Obviously you don't know Debian.

        Debian does have bugs when released. As another poster have mentioned, you missed the "important" qualifier word. Many software are released with bugs that practically make it unusable for its stated purpose, but this is rather rare* in Debian.

        * Note: "rare" does not mean "non-existent". I have encountered non-trivial showstoppers but with much less frequency than other distributions.

        Ubuntu is not "like" Debian with respect to its bug tolerance. It has a fixed release schedul

    • by mpapet (761907) on Monday October 13, 2008 @02:14PM (#25358885) Homepage

      For production quality operating systems there is *nothing* better than release when ready. Given the sheer number of packages and diversity of platforms, all the Debian volunteers do a great job.

      It remains the corner-case user who needs the latest and greatest release of any given package.

      As an fyi, I've been running Lenny for at least 6 months as a clean-install desktop with no issues. Upgrading from stable to Lenny had issues for me. I've got two servers running Lenny without show-stopper bugs right now.

      Lenny's got a really nice KDE4 in an unofficial repo at deb http://kde4.debian.net/ [debian.net] . I encourage users to check it out. Don't enter bugs against these packages in Debian though.

      • by X0563511 (793323)

        I've been using Ubuntu for a while, the Sarge release was just poor timing relative to some newer versions of packages (in my case).

        Assuming Lenny has what I need, would you say putting Lenny on now would be OK? I'm using Ubuntu 8.04.1 now.

        I'm not afraid of hackery or bug reporting, so as long as it won't explode on me, I should be fine.

    • Re:Good! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Hatta (162192) on Monday October 13, 2008 @02:17PM (#25358939) Journal

      Exactly. And if you're too impatient to wait for them to get all the bugs out, that's what Sid is for. I've been using debian unstable since it was lenny, and it's always been very good. It's very rare that there's actually a bug in a package I use, so it's plenty stable for my purposes.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by JshWright (931399)
        Lenny was never Unstable. Unstable is always Sid.
        • by Hatta (162192)

          Really? I thought they changed that each release. I dunno, I just use "unstable" in my sources.list.

          In any case, I've been using unstable since 3.1 was current. It's never done me wrong.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            "testing" changes each release

            currently, stable points at etch and testing points at lenny

            unstable always points at sid

            oldstable, btw, currently points at sarge

          • You're thinking of "testing".

            Stable == current release (etch)
            Testing == next release (lenny)
            Unstable == bleeding edge (sid)

          • by ari_j (90255)
            It is much more correct to say it the way you just did - "using unstable since 3.1 was current." The reason is that there is never an instant in time when the current snapshot of unstable will become a release. Individual packages (or versions of them) migrate from unstable into testing, and at some point testing is frozen for release and then becomes stable so that it can be unfrozen for new packages to come in from unstable. That's why unstable is always sid - it's constantly changing and never frozen.
    • by gparent (1242548)
      If you think Ubuntu has the latest and greatest packages, maybe you should try it once. Most of the packages are outdated and I don't rely on the package manager if I want the latest version anymore.
      • Re:Good! (Score:5, Informative)

        by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Monday October 13, 2008 @02:38PM (#25359201) Homepage Journal

        If you think Ubuntu has the latest and greatest packages, maybe you should try it once. Most of the packages are outdated and I don't rely on the package manager if I want the latest version anymore.

        To be fair, Debian does do quite a bit more testing than Ubuntu. OTOH, Ubuntu does a lot more spit-and-polish integration than Debian and is unafraid to take controversial stances on things like binary drivers or distributing Firefox with Firefox branding (as opposed to Ice Weasel or whatever) or distributing some codecs that may be violating patents or using code from other distros (like system-config-printer).

        Debian is more about stability and reliability, while Ubuntu is more about the end-user experience.

        When you make a Linux distro, you have to make a few tradeoffs. The differences between Ubuntu and Debian are mostly about differences in decision-making regarding these tradeoffs.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Sancho (17056) *

        Ubuntu tends to have the latest and greatest packages up front. For example, 8.04 was released with a Firefox 3.0 release candidate. The trick is that they don't upgrade packages arbitrarily--they'll upgrade or backport for security fixes, but not for the newest version. You'll have to wait for the next major release if you want that.

        It's a nice compromise between bleeding-edge and stability. I'm sure that the process is only made more difficult by upstream developers mixing bugfixes with new features.

      • Re:Good! (Score:4, Interesting)

        by andrikos (1114853) on Monday October 13, 2008 @02:48PM (#25359353)
        In Ubuntu, the trick I do is to use binary packages of the latest stable version and source packages from the upcoming (yet unreleased) version.
        When something is missing you can download the source package of the new version, make the compile, generate a binary package and install it in an automated way.
        An extra plus: during the process you can also patch the source.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by X0563511 (793323)

          An extra-extra-plus-good bonus:

          If a new binary package comes along since your last build, the package manager will notice and suggest you update. You don't need to worry quite so much about your build getting stale.

    • by ari_j (90255)
      Debian used to release when they felt like the system was in a good enough state to release, with no set schedule. This is exactly why that's a good idea - now, they have to choose between being buggy or being behind schedule, whereas before they did not have to make that trade-off.
  • Meanwhile, in the 'unstable' tree, the changelogs aren't getting updated.

    In 'aptitude', I pick through the packages with updates available and look at the changelogs to see what got changed to see if it's one I want to take. About a week ago, a bunch of updated packages showed up, but the corresponding changelogs seem to have gone AWOL (examples: there is no changelog for smbclient 2:3.2.3-3, or iceweasel 3.0.3-2).

    I've seen this sort of thing before, but never understood why it was happening. Can anyo

    • Which changelogs are you referring to? These [debian.org]? Or the changelogs within the package?

    • by MasterOfMagic (151058) on Monday October 13, 2008 @02:27PM (#25359053) Journal

      If this is happening, first check the changelog for the affected package in /usr/share/doc. If it is out of date or missing, you need to file a severity minor [debian.org] (with the following rationale [debian.org]) against the packages missing the updated changelog. This is not a violation of Debian policy (which would warrant a severity of serious), but it's suggested by policy and trivial to add.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by WK2 (1072560)

        The above user does not want to install the packages unless they have a change he would interested in. Changelogs are only available in /usr/share/doc AFTER the package is installed. Although, I suppose he could manually download the .deb, unarchive it using ar, tar, and gz, and then see if it would have a changelog in /usr/share/doc that way.

        I have noticed something similar as the above poster; it might have the same cause. I will sometimes browse packages.debian.org/sid/package-name, and then click on cha

        • The changelog presented in aptitude should be up to date as well. It's pulled from the package. He can likely file the same bug as before mentioning the fact that the changelog isn't showing up in aptitude (which could be an aptitude bug, after all), but having never done that, I'm not sure what the response would be.

          Weird about the problem on p.d.o before. I've had problems recently with apt-listbugs not being able to connect to the bug tracking system to check the bugs before an install or upgrade on u

          • The changelog presented in aptitude should be up to date as well. It's pulled from the package.
            That seems unlikely to me since it would require the package manager to download the whole package to show the changelog.

            • From the aptitude documentation [algebraicthunk.net]

              changelog
              Downloads and displays the Debian changelog for each of the given source or binary packages.
              By default, the changelog for the version which would be installed with "aptitude install" is downloaded. You can select a particular version of a package by appending =version to the package name; you can select the version from a particular archive by appending /archive to the package name.

        • by Lennie (16154)

          It's not just in Debian, I've seen the same in Ubuntu.

  • 1. Release is as is 2. Call it Ubuntu 3. ????? 4. ENDLESS PROFIT!!!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Be careful. I hear Mark Shuttleworth has a patent on that.

    • by mweather (1089505)
      These packages are older than the ones in Ubuntu. Ubuntu comes from Debian Unstable. Lenny is Debian Testing, soon to be Debian Stable.
  • by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Monday October 13, 2008 @02:26PM (#25359033)
    Seriously.
  • Stop seeking .0 releases. Debian 4.0 Etch users want Debian 4.1, not 5.0, because a .1 release can come out much more quickly and with less potential for bugs than a .0 release. What I would like to have is a 4.1 release, followed by a 4.2 and 4.3, and potentially a 4.4 release, which will all make small incremental improvements and risk-free popular package updates within short timeframes, and only then a 5.0 release with lots of new but more riskier package updates and maybe also architectural changes i

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I am laughing very hard that RHEL tried to say there's no such thing as a '.0' or '.1' release, and it's all 'RHEL 4' or 'RHEL 5'. Take a look at the available media, though, and you'll see that they're really still doing what they did with the old RedHat 6 and RedHat 7: .0 is unstable, .1 has bugfixes, .2 is stable.
    • by Slashdot Parent (995749) on Monday October 13, 2008 @02:43PM (#25359263)

      What I would like to have is a 4.1 release

      Well, don't project what you want unto the rest of the world.

      Debian stable is a server distro. Every time there is an upgrade, a full regression test must be done to the server. This is expensive and time-consuming. The whole idea of Debian stable is that it is stable and doesn't change often. No one running stable wants the latest and greatest. We want stability and security fixes. That's it.

      Clearly you already know about the testing and unstable releases, but did you know about backports and volitile? Volitile is great for things like anti-virus and anti-spam software that you really do want and need upgrades. Backports is a little different--it's basically upgrades for popular packages in stable, and you can pick and choose which ones you want.

      Stable means stable, and backports and volitile are great tools to help you. If you want the latest and greatest, that's what the testing release is for.

    • "Debian 4.0 Etch users want Debian 4.1, not 5.0, because a .1 release can come out much more quickly and with less potential for bugs than a .0 release. What I would like to have is a 4.1 release, followed by a 4.2 and 4.3, and potentially a 4.4 release, which will all make small incremental improvements and risk-free popular package updates within short timeframes, and only then a 5.0 release with lots of new but more riskier package updates and maybe also architectural changes if any."

      So you know personal

    • by jgrahn (181062)

      Please, Debian, give us a stable 4.1 now, a "mini-lenny" just to keep ourselves (for the server side at least, as I expect most of us to run lenny on the desktop) an the rest of our userbase and potential new users happy with updates popular packages.

      I suspect it's too late for that. The Debian developers would have to dig up suitably old versions (yet fresh enough!) of their packages from months back.

      Also there is the domino effect: if foobar-11.0 is a package version which everyone wants, and the foobar

    • by fritsd (924429)
      As the saying goes: (sorry no attribution known; it came from linuxjournal.com [linuxjournal.com] apparently)

      "Windows: Where do you want to go today?

      MacOS: Where do you want to be tomorrow?

      Linux: Are you coming or what?"

      So, I wish you all the best with your project to make a new release, convince other people to make a new release, or pay people to make a new release.

  • Debian has no release date. It never had, and doesn't seem to have any plans on adopting release dates. Thus, Debian can't be "late", since being late implies on missing a release date, and Debian doesn't have that. Or, maybe I didn't repeat that enough, so let me tell you: Debian never made a compromisse on releasing any version on any exact day.

    What Debian does have is a list of bugs. Everytime testing is frozen, it is created a list with the showstopper bugs, and release happens when that list becomes empty. The list can increase if more bugs are found, or decrease if bugs are solved or some functionality removed.

    Debian also do have people betting when it'll be out. Those people give specific (or sometimes not very specific) dates, but that isn't a release date for the team, just a guesstimate.

    • by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Monday October 13, 2008 @03:05PM (#25359599) Homepage Journal

      While I don't dispute the claims you make, I would like to point out that

      1. Debian does make announcements about prospective release dates. These aren't firm promises and shouldn't be interpreted as such, but it is disappointing when they miss those dates by months.

      2. Releases aren't only made when the bug count drops to zero. First of all, there are bugs that aren't considered "release-critical". Secondly, sometimes (I think this happened with etch) releases are made with known issues and a promise to fix those issues Real Soon Now. Thirdly, the way the bug count is brought to zero usually includes simply throwing out packages that have known bugs. If many people want such a package, that isn't very helpful.

      3. Bugs that would have been "release-critical" are often discovered after a release is made. The current stable release, etch, had more release-critical bugs pending against it than lenny (the upcoming stable release), last time I checked.

      What all this means is that Debian will _not_ generalyl be released at any date that has been mentioned, and will _not_ generally be bug-free when released.

      Having said all that, it's still my favorite operating system, as it takes less of my time to use and maintain than anything else I have tried (and that is quite a lot).

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by dedazo (737510)

      Some of those bugs are trivial (some are even documentation-related), so I doubt they are *all* blocking at this point.

  • "Not Lenny!!!!"
  • It looks like there aren't any floppy installation images [debian.org] for Lenny i386 . This is a real sore point for me since the Etch floppies wouldn't properly boot from a USB drive on my laptop and I had to fall back to Sarge to bootstrap a fresh installation. I was hoping they'd have this fixed but apparently they just decided to lazily drop support altogether.

    It's really frustrating that Debian is letting floppy installation support slip. This is a big deal for those of us with old or unusual hardware that can't b

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by petermgreen (876956)

      The problem is the kernel team aren't cooperating :(. They won't keep the -486 kernel slim enough and they won't sanction the creation of a seperate kernel flavor just for the floppy installer to use it.

      With etch the kernel had grown to the point that they had to kick everything that wasn't absoloutly essential (including USB floppy support) from the boot floppy.

      With lenny a couple of bad things happened. Firstly the UPX recompressor stopped working for current kernels. And then just as there was talk of fi

    • by PitaBred (632671)

      Dude. Spend $50 and get a modern machine with an optical drive, or that boots properly off of USB. Used laptops are easy to find. [ebay.com]

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Randle_Revar (229304) *

      >fresh installation
      Why are you doing this? Just upgrade in place, like everyone else, instead of reinstalling.

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