A new true rolling release LMDE repo

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A new true rolling release LMDE repo

Postby martijn.niji on Thu Jul 25, 2013 11:51 am

Hey all,

I was wondering if the LMDE maintainers would be willing to allow for a new LMDE rolling release repository that would contain the most up-to-date versions of applications with a proven "won't break things" track record?

Let me explain.. I've been using LMDE for quite a while now and like many people I was attracted to it from Ubuntu based on the "rolling release" promise (and other differences like no Unity), only to discover it using "update packs" which can be even more rare than a regular Ubuntu release. So... I started updating certain applications from their source directly. I've found this practice to give me a stable platform which is far more up-to-date than the actual LMDE.

For example: Libre Office supplies debian packages, which have never broken anything for me. So in cases like this, I'd love for those packages to be made available in a true rolling release repository. Any application which is able to supply non-breaking packages for at least 4-6 consecutive times would be included in the rolling release repository. If a package breaks 2 or more times in a row, it's status is "downgraded" and as a consequence removed from the rolling-release repositories. This way, consistently stable applications like Libre Office would get the latest and greatest pushed out to users while frequently broken applications only get upgraded through the update packs. (and are as such tested by the upgrade pack team)

This would have (in my opinion) the following benefits:

  • Stability
  • A true (at least partially) rolling release
  • Less pressure on the update pack team, so they can get more done where it counts

I believe applications like Libre Office and Firefox for example would be good candidates for such a rolling release repository.

I for one would be happy to help vet / keep up-to-date such a new rolling release repository.

Edit: I added a blueprint in launchpad for this (https://blueprints.launchpad.net/linuxm ... repository)
Last edited by martijn.niji on Fri Jul 26, 2013 9:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A new true rolling release LMDE repo

Postby Monsta on Thu Jul 25, 2013 1:20 pm

This is not a "true rolling release", this is more like PPA-style thing for Debian :)

I don't really see how this can be "less pressure on the update pack team", but I suggest contacting Clem directly and offering some help with setting up the repo, maintaining it, updating the packages, etc.

Side note: Firefox and Thunderbird are already delivered like that (independently of the UPs) by the Mint team, though the reason is different: they're not available in Debian repos.
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Re: A new true rolling release LMDE repo

Postby martijn.niji on Fri Jul 26, 2013 9:14 am

@Monsta

That's a fair assessment, but its a lot more "rolling" than update packs. :) I don't really care for the whole PPA idea because they are (usually) short-lived, highly personal and unsupported. Generally causing potential headaches with upgrades of the rest of the system.

My reasoning for the "less pressure" argument is mainly due to how I would approach maintenance of such a repository. New releases of applications in that repository wouldn't be checked, they'd just be placed in the repository. Only applications with a proven track record of stability and no/low impact would be admissible to the repository. That approach should free up time for the update pack teams to concentrate on the more complex application updates.

Anyway, good point about contacting Clem. I'll do that right now. :D

As a side note: I would make the repository an optional one that would allow people to choose stability+update packs or slightly more risk but many more updates. The really adventurous people could still add the core Debian repositories like Sid's.
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Re: A new true rolling release LMDE repo

Postby Monsta on Fri Jul 26, 2013 9:58 am

martijn.niji wrote:I don't really care for the whole PPA idea because they are (usually) short-lived, highly personal and unsupported.

Transmission, Back In Time, Clementine, Mercurial - to name a few PPAs which are properly supported and often maintained by the developers themselves.

martijn.niji wrote:Generally causing potential headaches with upgrades of the rest of the system.

Usually not, unless you decide to upgrade to the next Ubuntu release, which can be a headache by itself (that's why Clem & the team advise to install a new distro version instead of dist-upgrading). Returning to the topic - here we have a semi-rolling release. Are you absolutely sure your repository won't cause headaches on dist-upgrade? :)

martijn.niji wrote:My reasoning for the "less pressure" argument is mainly due to how I would approach maintenance of such a repository. New releases of applications in that repository wouldn't be checked, they'd just be placed in the repository. Only applications with a proven track record of stability and no/low impact would be admissible to the repository. That approach should free up time for the update pack teams to concentrate on the more complex application updates.

The team still has to do the usual work of preparing and testing the next UP repos, so I don't see why this would get them more free time.

martijn.niji wrote:As a side note: I would make the repository an optional one that would allow people to choose stability+update packs or slightly more risk but many more updates. The really adventurous people could still add the core Debian repositories like Sid's.

Well, of course it should be optional. I thought it was implied. :)
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Re: A new true rolling release LMDE repo

Postby kurotsugi on Sat Jul 27, 2013 5:53 am

we already have something similar with this scheme. if we take a look into mint's repo we'll find something like this
Code: Select all
# LMDE incoming
deb http://packages.linuxmint.com/ debian main upstream import incoming romeo
deb http://mirror.internode.on.net/pub/linuxmint-debian/incoming testing main contrib non-free
deb http://mirror.internode.on.net/pub/linuxmint-debian/incoming/security testing/updates main contrib non-free
deb http://mirror.internode.on.net/pub/linuxmint-debian/incoming/multimedia testing main non-free
packages from mirror.internode.on.net are a snapshot from debian's testing and run on UP scheme. on other hand, packages on packages.linuxmint.com are maintained by mint's team and doesn't follow UP scheme. packages from packages.linuxmint.com will get updated whenever the packages are ready.
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Re: A new true rolling release LMDE repo

Postby martijn.niji on Sun Jul 28, 2013 10:36 am

I though incoming was just as unstable as Sid et all and not limited to a set of applications but also has updates to core system stuff? (which is exactly what I'd not want)

Anyway, if no one thinks its a good idea I won't pursue it much further. :) Input is always appreciated though. So far though I still think it'd be a good idea.

Monsta wrote:Usually not, unless you decide to upgrade to the next Ubuntu release, which can be a headache by itself (that's why Clem & the team advise to install a new distro version instead of dist-upgrading). Returning to the topic - here we have a semi-rolling release. Are you absolutely sure your repository won't cause headaches on dist-upgrade? :)


Sure? No. Then again, that wasn't my point. The idea was for the repo to be 95% sure of not causing problems. The reasoning being only applications that are loosely coupled to the system would be included. Not every application needs the latest and greatest glibc or ties deeply into the window manager or core system. Libre Office is a perfect example of an application that could be included without problems. I've been upgrading that manually due to the LMDE version being so old and all of the updates were effortless, causing no issues whatsoever.

Monsta wrote:The team still has to do the usual work of preparing and testing the next UP repos, so I don't see why this would get them more free time.


I guess that would be a misinterpretation on my side of the team's activities and workflow. My reasoning was that they'd have less applications to worry about because this repo (and its applications) would "prove" stability over time by people using it. They could simply copy over the applications from this repo when needed.

Like I said.. Still think it wouldn't be a bad idea. :p
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Re: A new true rolling release LMDE repo

Postby killer de bug on Sun Jul 28, 2013 11:40 am

Your idea has been implemented some time ago... that's called Debian Testing :mrgreen:
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Re: A new true rolling release LMDE repo

Postby martijn.niji on Sat Oct 12, 2013 5:35 pm

killer de bug wrote:Your idea has been implemented some time ago... that's called Debian Testing :mrgreen:


If you believe that, you've not read my proposal.. or I haven't made it clear enough. Debian Testing is huge. The repo in my proposal would only carry a small (but important) amount of applications.
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Re: A new true rolling release LMDE repo

Postby recipro on Sat Oct 12, 2013 7:19 pm

Sounds ambitious but the 2 strikes you're out deal kind of torpedoes the purpose of it (imo). If I wanted to update stuff to test if it breaks I'd be using fedora. I think firefox/thunderbird updates are already enough. The only thing I would change is force Y on keep config without asking, when doing apt-get update, or improve the detection and automation.
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