New branch on Debian?

Written by
Date: 2010-10-05 11:36:30 00:00

Today I have read a post from Raphael Hertzog, taking about the possibility of a new Debian branch to be created.

Debian already has three branches for those not familiar with it, O.K. maybe four branches.

  • Old-Stable
  • Stable
  • Testing
  • Unstable

From Wikipedia we have:

stable, currently aliased lenny, is the current release that has stable and well tested software. Stable is made by freezing testing for a few months where bugs are fixed to make the distribution as stable as possible; then the resulting system is released as stable. It is updated only if major security or usability fixes are incorporated. After Debian 6.0, new releases will be made every two years. Stable’s CDs and DVDs can be found in the Debian web site.

testing, currently aliased squeeze, is what the next major release will be and is currently being tested. The packages included in this distribution have had some testing in unstable but they may not be completely fit for release yet. It contains more modern packages thanstable but older than unstable. This distribution is updated continuously until it enters the “frozen” state. Security updates for testing distribution are provided by Debian testing security team. Testing’s CDs and DVDs can be found on the Debian web site.

unstable, permanently aliased sid, repository contains packages currently under development; it is updated continuously. This repository is designed for Debian developers who participate in a project and need the latest libraries available, or for those who like to “live on the edge”, therefore it will not be as stable as the other distributions.

Well, so why the need of a new branch besides these ones?

It is well known on the Debian Community that the Stable version, is aimed for production environments mainly focused on stability and security, but not in having the latest packet versions. Therefore desktop users usually use Testing version for desktop environments, but this leads to some problems, as it is not intended for normal use, but for development and testing of the new stable version. Some of those problems as Mr. Hertzog states are that some packages could just dissapear, or broke the system, among other problems. Do not think this happens a lot, but it could happen.

The solution, a new branch that being based on Testing, there are two ways of doing this, according the Hertzog they are: 'Among all the ideas, there are two main approaches that have been discussed. The first is to regularly snapshot testing at points where it is known to work reasonably well (those snapshots would be named "cut"). The second is to build an improved testing distribution tailored to the needs of users who want a working distribution with daily updates, its name would be "rolling".'

So, as you can see, any of these two options will lead to a Desktop oriented Debian version, with the latests versions of packages, and stable enough for Desktop environments.

This could also make possible to other distributions like Linux Mint Debian Edition or Cruch Bang Linux to base their offers on this new branch.

I prefer the Rolling release aproach, what about you?.

The original article can be found here