I need LMDE repositories / software-sources explained!

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I need LMDE repositories / software-sources explained!

Postby jdackle on Thu Jul 25, 2013 4:51 pm

Hello everyone,

I'm not new to Linux (been using it for over 10 years now), Ubuntu nor Debian (amongst other distros), but I am new to Mint and started out with LMDE.
I understand Debian's stable, testing and unstable releases.
But I'm having a bit of trouble understanding exactly what the Software Sources application's releases stand for, as well as how does the "Distribution" tab in Synaptic's Preferences relate (or not) to the former.

So, if there's a Mint equivalent to Debian's http://www.debian.org/releases/ , please do share the link! (I couldn't find such a clear page for Mint)

If there's no such page, could you please confirm, correct and complete what I think I understood:
Note: I have still made no changes to any software sources.

Software Sources -> Linux Mint Software (tab)
Main packages (main): Mint-specific packages (original software or Debian-based customised to the Mint project)?
Upstream packages (upstream): Remaining packages from Debian Testing (up to the latest Mint "snapshot" of them, currently UP6)?
Imported packages (import): Erm... I'm lost. Imported from where?
Backported packages (backport): Backported from Debian Unstable (sid)? Or is there such a thing as LMDE Unstable?
Unstable packages (romeo): Lost again - I blame "romeo"! :P
Source code: For you to build the software from the sources (i.e. enable the "deb-src" entries), got it! :mrgreen:

Synaptic Preferences -> Distribution (tab)
Well, the first option here is to "Always prefer the highest version" and I assume that, in this case, it all comes down to what repositories you enabled on the Software Sources.
Now the last option is a dropbox with the following options:
"stable"
"testing"
"debian"
This makes me thing there is a LMDE stable release (i.e. currently UP6) and a "testing" one (possibly composed of packages the LMDE team are testing?). Then there would be the "debian" release, which would simply ignore any Mint repositories and basically be a Debian install (with initial Mint software and configurations).
Then again, it could be that one might choose to have a LMDE based on Debian Stable (i.e. Wheezy) instead of Testing (Jessie)... and I'd be lost at what the "debian" option means in there... :P
But actually, on this "Distribution" tab, I'm guessing it's rather some residual artifact from Synaptic's original design. Or maybe it's just the distributions it automatically picks up from the Software Sources list...?

Well, as you can see, I'm rather confused about it all, and I could not find an easy explanation on these Software Sources.
Any thoughts are welcome! Thanks.
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Re: I need LMDE repositories / software-sources explained!

Postby jdackle on Fri Jul 26, 2013 9:43 am

First off, I know my OP is still young and I'm not complaining about lack of response so far.
Still, some further research I made brought the additional light / confusion over this subject, which I'd like to share (Both for my own personal record as well as to help the helpers help me! :mrgreen: Also possibly to help others with the same questions as myself.).

I think I now understand the three activated by default "sources" in the Software Sources list - main, upstream and import - make up the standard fresh-intall "stable" LMDE.
I still know - as in actually *know*, not *guess* - nothing about what each of those three actually stand for.

There seems to actually be (in principle) an "unstable" version of LMDE, made up of the additions/updates to "stable" brought up by backport and romeo. Hint:
backport romeo component is not enabled by default. It is used by Linux Mint to test packages before they are included in other components. As such it represents the unstable branch of Linux Mint.
(source: viewtopic.php?f=197&t=79533#p461982 )
Stated several times on different posts across this forum, backport was barelly ever used and romeo just a bit more.

Now checking the official source: http://packages.linuxmint.com/list.php?release=Debian
backport and romeo are comletelly empty.
So is incoming, which seems to basically be an alternative to latest - supposedly including packages a few days newer than those that'll make it to latest. Hint:
to help debugging those updates [NB: Update Packs] were created incoming and latest: basically these repos are identical, but incoming is updated a few days/a week before latest to test the UP and then it will migrate from incoming to latest
(source: viewtopic.php?f=197&t=91405#p525343 ).

Ok, so I guess you could say you had:
latest
\+-> main
\+-> upstream
\+-> import
incoming (as an alleged alternative to "latest", I would expect it to be composed of the three sub-repos that latest has, but on that LMDE page, incoming seems to be at the same level as main, upstream and import, so... :? )
backport
romeo
And this would be the full list of LMDE repositories.

BUT have a search for e.g. "claws-mail" in that page: nothing! And yet, I can see it on my Synaptic list of installable packages, origin: testing/main :?
Ok, follow one of the "Source dir" links in that same page and walk your way up through the tree til http://packages.linuxmint.com/pool/
Results (releases/distributions?):
backport - check
community - this is new... Maybe meant for Mint developers only...?
envizions - more novelty! :P
import - check!
incoming - check and apparently confirms what I said about it before.
main - check!
romeo - check!
upstream - check!

But looking in every folder, I can still find no "claws-mail" package. :?
I did see some .dsc and .tar.gz files. The former are supposedly binaries (according to Firefox) and the later, for what I could understand of their contents, do not actually point to any Debian GNU/Linux repos.
So I conclude (again) I don't have the required knowledge to understand this on my own.

More reading about LMDE tells me it's a common option to point your sources.list directly to Debian testing or unstable repositories, which will provide much more frequent updates to your system. Basically a Debian Testing/Unstable with Mint goodness! Check! :mrgreen:
Still, I was considering Debian Testing itself before trying LMDE.
I have had Debian Stable for over an year on my machine and wasn't at all unhappy with it, though some oldness did get annoying every now and then. So I thought something in between Debian Stable and Testing (i.e. LMDE) would be nice. I also like the said Mint Goodness. :wink:
But it seems the Update Packs are coming much slower than expected and, IMO the most disappointing aspect, I can't figure out where the stuff installed / to install on my LMDE comes from!

Your thoughts are still, and increasingly, welcome!
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Re: I need LMDE repositories / software-sources explained!

Postby jdackle on Fri Jul 26, 2013 9:12 pm

Wait... would the following be correct:
Mint main <=> Debian main
Mint upstream <=> Debian contrib
Mint import <=> Debian non-free
Mint backport <=> Debian backport
Mint incoming <=> Debian testing
Mint romeo <=> Debian sid (unstable)
:?:

That would be ridiculously simple!
And oddly confusing for the apparently sheer lack of such a mention, in recent times, anywhere on the Net!
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Re: I need LMDE repositories / software-sources explained!

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

AFAIK we have two different repository.
if we talk about the package here deb http://packages.linuxmint.com/ debian main upstream import incoming romeo then:
- main : mint's main repository for mint's packages e.g: cinnamon, nemo, mint-theme, etc
- upstream : packages compiled from source e.g: firefox, thunderbird, etc
- import : non-free packages like codecs etc

if we talk about this one deb http://mirror.internode.on.net/pub/linu ... n/incoming testing main contrib non-free then all of these packages are a snapshot of debian testing.
- main : free software compiled by free libs
- contrib : free software compiled by non-free libs/component
- non-free : non-free packages. codecs.
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Re: I need LMDE repositories / software-sources explained!

Postby jdackle on Sat Jul 27, 2013 10:56 am

So, even though Mint main/upstream/import components are not strictly equivalent to Debian main/contrib/non-free, they roughly follow the same kind of rational. That's good enough information for me! Thank you kurotsugi!

I'm still not sure where does Mint backport backports from and romeo looks a bit like a developer playbox to me, but for the little use they get, I guess that's not fundamentally important.

As for incoming I had a completelly different view on it. I'm actually gonna try it and see what packages are available through "apt-get upgrade" after an "apt-get update". Just *see* for now. :mrgreen:

In regards to Synaptic's Preferences -> Distribution and after reading up a bit on Aptpinning, I was expecting a change in that preference to bring about some changes in /etc/apt/sources.list or, more likely, in /etc/apt/preferences. But the changes in the said Synaptic preferences changed nothing on those files.

Again thanks for your input kurotsugi! 8)
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Re: I need LMDE repositories / software-sources explained!

Postby kurotsugi on Sat Jul 27, 2013 11:32 am

you're right. backport and romeo are kind of test packages for mint devs. after several test these packages will moved into main repository. it's disabled by defaut and it usually empty until. unless if youre a dev or a bug hunter there's no point activating these repository.

anyway. incoming repository at this time only contain same packages in up6. mint team haven't ready yet to upload new packagea.
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Re: I need LMDE repositories / software-sources explained!

Postby jdackle on Sat Jul 27, 2013 11:41 am

kurotsugi wrote:anyway. incoming repository at this time only contain same packages in up6. mint team haven't ready yet to upload new packagea.
Yeah, I concluded UP7 will still take a while to come up, after I switched to incoming and checked for new packages... :mrgreen:

Thanks for the followup!
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summarizing LMDE repositories / software-sources explained!

Postby TomRoche on Sat Jul 27, 2013 2:01 pm

Thanks for this thread, which raises information which (if correct :-) really should (IMHO) be documented elsewhere. (If this is already documented, please post a link on this thread!) For now, I'd just like to update jdackle's previous summary for the benefit of myself and others who may have interest:

Code: Select all
http://mirror.internode.on.net/pub/linuxmint-debian/incoming repositories, all sourced from debian testing (currently jessie)
main     == non-Mint free software compiled entirely using free sources and binaries
contrib  == non-Mint free software not compiled entirely using free sources and binaries (i.e., with one or more non-free binaries)
non-free == non-Mint non-free packages (e.g., codecs)

packages on http://mirror.internode.on.net/pub/linuxmint-debian/incoming (hopefully) graduate to http://packages.linuxmint.com/ after QA (e.g., user testing)

http://packages.linuxmint.com/ repositories:
main     == stable versions of Mint packages (e.g, cinnamon, nemo, mint-theme)
backport == Mint development/test repo, feeds Mint main
romeo    == Mint development/test repo, feeds Mint main
upstream == non-Mint free software compiled from source
import   == non-Mint non-free packages (e.g., codecs)


Is that correct? If so, remaining questions include:

  1. How does Mint backport differ from Mint romeo? Or, as jdackle asked, where does Mint backport backport from?
  2. From where do non-Mint packages in http://packages.linuxmint.com/ come? Since packages in http://mirror.internode.on.net/pub/linu ... n/incoming explicitly come from debian testing, my guess is that the non-Mint packages in http://packages.linuxmint.com/ source from the current debian stable (currently wheezy). Is that correct?
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Re: summarizing LMDE repositories / software-sources explain

Postby jdackle on Sat Jul 27, 2013 3:05 pm

TomRoche wrote:Thanks for this thread, which raises information which (if correct :-) really should (IMHO) be documented elsewhere. (If this is already documented, please post a link on this thread!) For now, I'd just like to update jdackle's previous summary for the benefit of myself and others who may have interest:
Thanks for the compliment. Like I said on my first post, I still haven't seen this clearly outlined anywhere; it's bits and pieces picked up on the Net, but mainly here on the forum.

TomRoche wrote:
Code: Select all
http://mirror.internode.on.net/pub/linuxmint-debian/incoming repositories, all sourced from debian testing (currently jessie)
main     == non-Mint free software compiled entirely using free sources and binaries
contrib  == non-Mint free software not compiled entirely using free sources and binaries (i.e., with one or more non-free binaries)
non-free == non-Mint non-free packages (e.g., codecs)
If I may, instead of saying "non-Mint" you might prefer to say "Debian" as those packages from Debian are part of the Mint Debian Edition. Just my view on it. :mrgreen: Other than that, that's basically it. For Debian's view on it, one source of information might be: http://www.debian.org/doc/manuals/debia ... e_software

TomRoche wrote:
Code: Select all
packages on http://mirror.internode.on.net/pub/linuxmint-debian/incoming (hopefully) graduate to http://packages.linuxmint.com/ after QA (e.g., user testing)
Minor correction/amendment to possible typo:
Code: Select all
packages on http://mirror.internode.on.net/pub/linuxmint-debian/incoming (hopefully) graduate to http://packages.linuxmint.com/[b]latest[/b] after QA (e.g., user testing)


TomRoche wrote:
Code: Select all
http://packages.linuxmint.com/ repositories:
main     == stable versions of Mint packages (e.g, cinnamon, nemo, mint-theme)
backport == Mint development/test repo, feeds Mint main
romeo    == Mint development/test repo, feeds Mint main
upstream == non-Mint free software compiled from source
import   == non-Mint non-free packages (e.g., codecs)
Essentially correct I think.

TomRoche wrote:
  1. How does Mint backport differ from Mint romeo? Or, as jdackle asked, where does Mint backport backport from?
I like your wording better. :wink:
TomRoche wrote:
  1. From where do non-Mint packages in http://packages.linuxmint.com/ come? Since packages in http://mirror.internode.on.net/pub/linu ... n/incoming explicitly come from debian testing, my guess is that the non-Mint packages in http://packages.linuxmint.com/ source from the current debian stable (currently wheezy). Is that correct?
Well... part of this is not entirely clear to me either and the other part could be corrected:
The packages from "incoming" come from Mint who gets them from Debian (and if you replace "latest" on your default Mint sources.list with "incoming" (and also add "incoming" to the list of components in the first line fo the file), you will have the same as the internode link. I think... :roll:
The LMDE packages come not from Debian Stable but rather from Debian Testing. But the confusion is perfectly understandable as the current LMDE packages came from Wheezy, not Jessie! But this can easily be explained with two dates:
December 19th, 2012: LMDE Update Pack 6 (current) released.
May 4th, 2013: Debian Wheezy (former Testing) becomes Debian Stable and Debian Jessie is the new Debian Testing.
So, the current LMDE was tracking the now old Testing / new Stable release of Debian when it last was updated. The next LMDE (UP7) will (unless it lingers for a couple more years... :P ) follow the current Debian Testing. :wink:

As a side note, I am now in the process of upgrading my LMDE UP6 to Debian ... Stable. Yep, I'm tracking Stable. :lol:
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Re: I need LMDE repositories / software-sources explained!

Postby kurotsugi on Sat Jul 27, 2013 4:52 pm

i'll try to answer it.
1. mint repository is designed for both main and lmde version. on lmde backport isn't used at all. it listed there but it doesnt have any package inside it. on main edition it is used to backport some packages from new mint to an older one. for an instance, by default mint 14 have cinnamon 1.6.7. when mint 15 comes out it has v 1.8.8. this newer version then backported to mint 14 repo.

lmde doesnt have any version so that there's no backport.

2. mint packages are compiled from the source code. either from the company (firefox/thunderbird) or github. these packages are compiled for threei reason.
- debian doesnt have it (firefox/thunderbird)
- mint is using different version from debian. (cinnamon. debian have 1.7 while mint have 1.8 )
- packages from debian repo cause instability to lmde. in this case mint devs needs to built their own to fix it.

anyway, after you follow stable i suggest to remove debian stable from your repo list. up7 will based on testing. add stable on up7 might gives you unwanted problem.
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Re: summarizing LMDE repositories / software-sources

Postby TomRoche on Sat Jul 27, 2013 8:03 pm

jdackle wrote:haven't seen this clearly outlined anywhere; it's bits and pieces picked up on the Net, but mainly here on the forum.


Agreed, and IMHO it really should be clearly, definitively documented somewhere. Presumably this is critical to the LMDE package-development/maintenance workflow.

I should also, on reflection, change

  • "Mint" -> "Mint-developed"
  • "non-Mint" -> "not-Mint-developed"

jdackle wrote:instead of saying "non-Mint" you might prefer to say "Debian" as those packages from Debian are part of the Mint Debian Edition.


But that only applies to the "not-Mint-developed free" packages, given Debian's hardline on FLOSS (i.e., 100% free sources and dependencies), no? It Seems To Me (and I Could Be Wrong) that

  1. "not-Mint-developed non-free packages" (e.g., codecs) certainly don't come from Debian
  2. "not-Mint-developed free software not compiled entirely using free [dependencies]" probably don't come from Debian

No? Which leaves open the question of the origins of packages that are !(Mint_developed || completely_free). For LMDE, I would guess (&ICBW) they come from Mint main (i.e., the original Ubuntu-derived Mint), but I dunno from where Mint main pulls (Medibuntu?)

So from the preceding discussion, ISTM (&ICBW) that

Code: Select all
http://mirror.internode.on.net/pub/linuxmint-debian/incoming repositories, all sourced from Debian testing (currently jessie)
main     == not-Mint-developed free software compiled entirely using free sources and binaries
contrib  == not-Mint-developed free software not compiled entirely using free sources and binaries (i.e., with one or more non-free binaries)
non-free == not-Mint-developed non-free packages (e.g., codecs)

packages on http://mirror.internode.on.net/pub/linuxmint-debian/incoming (hopefully) graduate to http://packages.linuxmint.com/latest after QA (e.g., user testing)

http://packages.linuxmint.com/ repositories:
main     == stable versions of Mint-developed packages (e.g, cinnamon, nemo, mint-theme)
backport == not used by LMDE: LMDE has no version, so there is nothing to backport
romeo    == Mint development/test repo, feeds ... http://mirror.internode.on.net/pub/linuxmint-debian/incoming ?
upstream == not-Mint-developed free software compiled from sources not obtained from Debian testing
import   == not-Mint-developed non-free packages (e.g., codecs) not obtained from Debian testing ... and not compiled by Mint?


but I'd appreciate

  • answers to the questions
  • corrections to any mistakes
  • alternatives to the term "source." Above I use it in two different senses ("origin" and "human-readable code"), which seems potentially confusing, esp to non-native speakers.
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Re: summarizing LMDE repositories / software-sources

Postby jdackle on Mon Jul 29, 2013 10:58 pm

Sorry for the delay in replying.

kurotsugi wrote:1. mint repository is designed for both main and lmde version. on lmde backport isn't used at all. it listed there but it doesnt have any package inside it. on main edition it is used to backport some packages from new mint to an older one. for an instance, by default mint 14 have cinnamon 1.6.7. when mint 15 comes out it has v 1.8.8. this newer version then backported to mint 14 repo.

lmde doesnt have any version so that there's no backport.
Ha! LMDE backport repository explained: residual artifacts from Ubuntu-based Mint! Thanks for that clarification kurotsugi!

kurotsugi wrote:anyway, after you follow stable i suggest to remove debian stable from your repo list. up7 will based on testing. add stable on up7 might gives you unwanted problem.
I plan to do just that when UP7 gets to incoming. On a side-note, here's how that tracking-stable thing went: viewtopic.php?f=185&t=141043#p747629


TomRoche wrote:
jdackle wrote:haven't seen this clearly outlined anywhere; it's bits and pieces picked up on the Net, but mainly here on the forum.


Agreed, and IMHO it really should be clearly, definitively documented somewhere. Presumably this is critical to the LMDE package-development/maintenance workflow.
Ditto.
Though it seems to me the LMDE team is rather small and a small group can indeed get things done without a lot of preset organisation (rules and blueprints and the likes). Not optimal but can work with small teams.
It would sitll be good to have things outlined in the open though IMHO.

TomRoche wrote:
  • "Mint" -> "Mint-developed"
  • "non-Mint" -> "not-Mint-developed"

jdackle wrote:instead of saying "non-Mint" you might prefer to say "Debian" as those packages from Debian are part of the Mint Debian Edition.


But that only applies to the "not-Mint-developed free" packages, given Debian's hardline on FLOSS (i.e., 100% free sources and dependencies), no? It Seems To Me (and I Could Be Wrong) that (snipped by jdackle)
Yes, indeed. I was thinking package-identity in terms of, let's say, a 'diff DebianHostedPackage.deb LMDEHostedPackage.deb', rather than who authored the contents and who packaged them.

So, it is my understanding (& ICBW but I honestly don't think so! :P ) that:
  • Mint packages (originally authored by Mint or (re)packaged from some other source/organisation's work), either in stable (including main, upstream and import) or incoming (including main, upstream and import) are the Mint-specific part of a LMDE Update Pack (UP). This is what you get in the /etc/apt/sources.list with the line 'deb http://packages.linuxmint.com/ debian main upstream import' (or 'deb http://packages.linuxmint.com/ debian main upstream import incoming')
  • The remainder of a Mint UP is a frozen-in-time mirror of a given Debian Testing set of packages, as they appeared in the official Debian Testing repository at the time they were retrieved to a given Linux Mint UP. Instead of continuously mirroring the ongoing updated Debian Testing repository, Mint "mirrors" it at a given date, when it is, stable/coherent with the rest of the LMDE distribution. In sources.list, these are the three lines (latest/, latest/security/ and latest/multimedia/) that follow the first one.
This set of Mint packages + "frozen in time" Debian Testing packages was meant (when it was first implemented on LMDE, in 2011 I think, a couple years after LMDE was first started, not sure of the dates, but it was definitely not in the beginning of LMDE) to be released under the umbrella of a given UP (UPnumber) about once a month - which would be very very nice! - giving you a "rolling release" (I've seen enough discussion about the term to not say it w/o quotes and to not go into much discussion about it either :P ) that rolled in the sense that it did not follow a release cycle that required 'dist-upgrade' but merely a normal 'upgrade'. This is because when say UP7 will be released, the Mint-packaged packages will be updated/added/removed in/to/from the Mint main/upstream/import repo and so will the frozen set of Debian-packaged packages that was (will be) chosen to be released with that UP7.
But unfortunatelly, for some reason, this monthly update hasn't been done once a month, but rather several months apart. So much so that my tracking of the current Debian Stable (as opposed to the LMDE repos) actually brought in some 550+ new packages! This is because some four or five months had gone by since the release of LMDE UP6 when Debian Wheezy moved from being Debian Testing to be Debian Stable...
And this is also why kurotsugi warned me to stop tracking Debian Stable (Wheezy) before the next UP, because by then, LMDE will be based on Debian Testing (Jessie) and thus me pointing to Wheezy would most definitely bring about a lot of dependencies breakages.


TomRoche wrote:
Code: Select all
http://mirror.internode.on.net/pub/linuxmint-debian/incoming repositories, all sourced from Debian testing (currently jessie)
Yes, yes, no and no! :mrgreen:
LMDE Incoming is currently empty...
So yes, it sources Debian Testing and yes, the next incoming will be sourcing Jessie.
But no, not "all" of it (there's the Mint part of it that is not sourced from Debian...) and no as in "not yet"! But I guess you had figured that last part out yourself. Sorry for being a picker... :oops:

TomRoche wrote:
Code: Select all
main     == not-Mint-developed free software compiled entirely using free sources and binaries
contrib  == not-Mint-developed free software not compiled entirely using free sources and binaries (i.e., with one or more non-free binaries)
non-free == not-Mint-developed non-free packages (e.g., codecs)
That seems correct to me, provided you remember "main" here is for Debian main component, not Mint's main. :roll:


TomRoche wrote:
Code: Select all
packages on http://mirror.internode.on.net/pub/linuxmint-debian/incoming (hopefully) graduate to http://packages.linuxmint.com/latest after QA (e.g., user testing)
That's my understanding too, yes.


TomRoche wrote:
Code: Select all
http://packages.linuxmint.com/ repositories:
main     == stable versions of Mint-developed packages (e.g, cinnamon, nemo, mint-theme)
backport == not used by LMDE: LMDE has no version, so there is nothing to backport
romeo    == Mint development/test repo, feeds ... http://mirror.internode.on.net/pub/linuxmint-debian/incoming ?
Yes, yes and I think so. :mrgreen:
TomRoche wrote:
Code: Select all
upstream == not-Mint-developed free software compiled from sources not obtained from Debian testing
import   == not-Mint-developed non-free packages (e.g., codecs) not obtained from Debian testing ... and not compiled by Mint?
I think so and I think I'd remove the "not" in "... and not compiled by Mint".

TomRoche wrote:but I'd appreciate
  • answers to the questions
  • corrections to any mistakes
Did my best. But the funny thing is a member of the Mint staff could clear this all with one post... :o

TomRoche wrote:
  • alternatives to the term "source." Above I use it in two different senses ("origin" and "human-readable code"), which seems potentially confusing, esp to non-native speakers.
Context usually gives you the answer to those questions but you could use e.g. "originating-body" and "source-code"...?
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