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Re: [vox] /etc/apt/sources.list --- testing -> woody?
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Re: [vox] /etc/apt/sources.list --- testing -> woody?

Quoting nbs (nbs@sonic.net):

> Based on what Mike said the other day when I asked him about this
> briefly, 'testing' WILL stop being woody, once woody becomes stable.
> Just as 'testing' turned INTO woody, when potato became stable.


buzz = 1.1
rex = 1.2
bo = 1.3
hamm = 2.0
slink = 2.1
potato = 2.2
woody = 3.0

Used to be, at any given time, one of those was assigned the symlink
"stable", and the next one along "unstable".  "sid" (the sadistic
neighbour kid, in the movie) was a name reserved for branches that
exist only for some special, warped purpose.

The character name is assigned to a branch the moment it's created.
Version numbers, on the other hand, get assigned only when a branch is
well along towards release.  (Point version numbers, such as 2.2r6,
are snapshot ISO images of what the package collections consisted 
of at some specific point, created as a convenience for CD vendors.)

There were problems in scaling, associated with the above scheme:  As
more CPU architectures were added (now totalling ten!), and package
count went up into additional thousands (woody having currently >8000),
running a Debian mirror started getting really expensive:  If a version
of a package existed in both the stable and unstable branches, the bytes
had to be stored twice.  And each additional branch that might be
created would expand mirror-site sizes horrendously.

So, Debian migrated to a "pools" system:  The named/numbered branch
directories now don't contain software packages at all, only metadata
that indicates where in the "pools" directory tree the package is.
Additional branches take essentially zero extra space, and can be
added at will.

At the same time "pools" went in, the rationale for "sid" as an
experimental branch name vanished, so the name was repurposed as a
permanent alias for the unstable branch.  Last, the pools system made
possible the _biggest_ win, the addition of a "testing" symlink
populated programmatically with quality-tested packages from unstable.

The "testing" branch (currently woody) quickly proved a huge success,
and the heuristic for acceptance (originally two weeks in unstable
without replacement, and successful build on all CPU architectures)
has been somewhat adjusted, but remains very reliable:

The Toy Story-derived names, version numbers, and commotion over
"release schedules" tend to mislead people, though:  For most purposes,
the substantive reality is that there are three Debian branches -- 
stable, testing, and unstable -- that incrementally advance daily, and 
don't _need_ to be "released".  That is, someone could have installed
bo = 1.3 when it was the "stable" branch and ended up with references to
"stable" in his /etc/apt/sources.list file, which defines which
development track the apt-get utility will re-sync the system to.
And, once a week or so, the user might have done the "apt-get update;
apt-get dist-upgrade" ritual, to bring his installed packages up to that
day's current versions.  He might never notice that his system gradually
transitioned up through hamm, slink, and potato without fuss:  From his
perspective, it stayed at Debian-stable, which gradually moved forward
the way it's supposed to.

The computer press -- even the Linux press -- tends to get this wrong
because it's all completely alien to their experience.  Expect to hear
lots of babbling about "finally releasing woody" and "Debian's
commitment to maintaining 2.2/potato".  Which generally reflects a
total absence of understanding of how Debian works.

Cheers,            "Please return all dogmas to their orthodox positions."
Rick Moen                                 -- Brad Johnson, in r.a.sf.w.r-j
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