News from Clem ! Future of LMDE, snapshot system, etc...

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News from Clem ! Future of LMDE, snapshot system, etc...

Postby TinyTony » Fri May 27, 2011 11:10 am

Hello everybody,

Clem has accepted to answer per mail a series of questions about the future of LMDE and let me publicize them. The "interview" was conducted in French, the following is a quick and dirty translation in english, but you could find it interesting. Enjoy ! (original mail in french follows)


Clem : Hey,

Let's start, my answers follow ;)



TinyTony : Hey Clem & whole team,

I'm gonna write it in french, it will be simpler [note : and now I have to translate it all]... I've got some questions and suggestions about Linux Mint Debian.

First topic. Lets start up again on the topic about updates : viewtopic.php?f=141&t=67502&start=0 For the moment, updates using mintupdates are not working properly and it is advised to use apt-get dist-upgrade. In this case, why not write it clearly in version notes ? In the Known Problems page ( we get a vague warning about mintupdate being not completely adaptated to LMDE. In my opinion, it should be clearly said on this page that it is recommended to use apt-get dist-upgrade until the "snapshot" system is implemented. Perhaps it would be even better not to include mintupdate in the ISO to avoid problems. When mintupdate will be changed and adaptated to LMDE and the snapshot system will be implemented, mintupdate would be reintegrated as a dependency of mint-common package. What do you think of this ?

Clem : Humm... Mintupdate as it is right now in LMDE is not a bad solution in itself. Security level filtering is answering to an Ubuntu problem. Is it more useless than harmful on Debian. Of course, it is the snapshot system that would be useful on Debian, but untill then the actual version of mintupdate is there for use.

TinyTony :
About this future snapshot system. If I understood well, you propose to set up on your own repositories defined and stable sets of packages, copied from the Debian repos, with the "tap" of updates opened at regular intervals defined by the Linux Mint team. The sources.list of LMDE would then point on your own repos instead of the Debian ones.

Clem : Yes, that's exactly the idea.

TinyTony : in this case, I have various questions :
How will you manage to update the sources.list of people having already installed Linux Mint Debian ?

Clem : A priori, as it is traditionnaly the case with /etc/ and /home/, we will not touch it. We should change the next ISOs to point directly on our own servers and we should announce to the community the different available options (Debian Testing, our own repos, and probably a testing repository between the two).

TinyTony : Will your snapshot and your repositories contain the whole set of Debian packages (more than 40k...) or only the heart of the system, letting LMDE to take from the Debian repos stock for the other packages ?

Clem : Really good question. I'm not really sure for the moment. It will depend on implementation. We need also to decide between complementary repositories (using apt pinning as it is the case currently) or integral copies (which consists on giving the choice to the user to point here or over there).

TinyTony : Wouldn't that risk to overload your servers ?

Clem : Yes :) That's the main problem, but we can go back with load-balancing and several servers. We can also use mirrors... etc. It won't be simple, for sure, but it is a challenge we can overcome.

TinyTony : On the forum, I saw that Ikey account, who was in charge of Linux Mint Debian Edition, was removed. Does it mean that no one is anymore specifically in charge of LMDE ?

Clem : Ikey will be rarely on the net from now on and his situation is not really stable. He left the project for personal reasons.

TinyTony : Apart from the snapshot system and the adaptation of Mintupdate, what are the scheduled changes for LMDE ? Ikey had spoken about a lot of stuff (like graphical installers for drivers and supported languages, a specific graphical theme...), is it still scheduled now he is not around anymore ?

Clem :
Yes, but it will be less ambitious. Improvements for the installer are also foreseen.

TinyTony :
How do you plan (in a far, far away future ;)) to manage the transition towards Gnome 3 ? The day when Gnome 3 will replace Gnome 2 in Debian Testing, what will happen ? Will there be a more or less official port of gnome-panel for GTK3 in the Testing repos, or will it mean a mandatory transition towards Gnome-Shell ? In this case, no more Mint-Menu ?

Clem : Debian pushes an automatic update of Gnome 2 towards Gnome 3, so also from GTK+ to GTK3. For this moment, we'd really like to have the snapshots and the tap implemented... Because when it will occur, we'd like to close the tap, resolve all the incompatibilities due to GTK3 and document the changes that will impact you. Unfortunately, this system is not already implemented and we are heading right towards a potentially drastic situation...

TinyTony : Last question. Do you authorise me to publicize anwers to this mail (on the forum per example) ?

Clem : Yes.

TinyTony : Oh, yeah, last thing. As there is no official LMDE manual, I've started a small "beginner's guide to Linux Mint Debian Edition" (yeah, in english) to answer pre-installation questions, detail the installation process (like partitioning) and a small user's guide (post-install, keyboard shortcuts, updates). I do not now yet the extent it will take (not even if I will finish it ;)), ideally I should use a collaborative solution (pad, wiki) once advanced to let people correct and supplement it. In short, it was to know if you'd be interested by this project.

Clem : yes, definitely :)

Tiny Tony : See you !

Clem : see ya ;)

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Re: News from Clem ! Future of LMDE, snapshot system, etc...

Postby TinyTony » Fri May 27, 2011 11:13 am

French original mail exchange :

Salut Gaston Lagaffe :)

Allez c'est parti.. on la fait en Francais, mes reponses plus bas ;)


Clement Lefebvre
Linux Mint

On 09/05/11 11:08, Lagaffe Gaston wrote:
> Salut Clem et toute l'équipe,
> Je vais la faire en français, ça va être plus simple... J'ai quelques questions
> et suggestions sur Linux Mint Debian.
> D'abord pour rebondir sur ce sujet du forum concernant les MAJ :
> viewtopic.php?f=141&t=67502&start=0. Pour l'instant,
> les mises à jour via mintupdate sont foireuses et il est conseillé d'utiliser
> apt-get dist-upgrade. Dans ce cas, pourquoi ne pas l'afficher clairement dans
> les notes de version ? Sur la page Known Problems
> ( on a un vague avertissement comme quoi
> mintupdate n'est pas complètement adapté à LMDE. A mon avis, il faudrait à la
> place clairement afficher la recommandation d'utiliser sudo apt-get update&&
> sudo apt-get dist-upgrade d'ici à ce que le système de "snapshots" soit
> implémenté. Il faudrait même peut-être, ne pas inclure du tout mintupdate dans
> l'iso pour éviter les problèmes. Quand mintupdate sera adapté à LMDE et que le
> système de snapshots sera en place, il serait alors réintégré comme dépendance
> du paquet mint-common, ce qui provoquerait son installation automatique lors de
> la mise à jour. Qu'en pensez-vous ?

Hmm... mintupdate tel qu'il est disponible dans LMDE en ce moment n'est pas une mauvaise solution en soit. Le filtrage par niveau de securite repond a une problematique liee a Ubuntu. C'est plus inutile que nefaste sous Debian. Bien entendu c'est le systeme des snapshots qui serait utile sous Debian, mais en attendant cela la version actuelle est la.

> Sinon, concernant ce futur système d'instantanés. Si j'ai bien compris, vous
> vous proposez de mettre à disposition sur vos propres dépôts des ensembles
> stables définis de paquets, copiés des dépôts debian, avec le "robinet" de mises
> à jour ouvert à intervalles réguliers et définis par Linux Mint. Le sources.list
> de LMDE pointerait alors sur vos dépôts aux lieu de ceux de Debian.

Oui c'est exactement cela.

> Dans ce cas,
> j'ai plusieurs questions :
> - comment ferez-vous pour mettre à jour le sources.list des gens qui ont déjà
> installé Linux Mint Debian ?

A priori, comme c'est traditionellement le cas dans /etc et /home on n'y toucherait pas. On changerait les prochains ISOs pour pointer directement vers nos serveurs et on annoncerait a la communaute les differentes options disponibles (debian testing, nos propres depots, et probablement un depot de test entre les deux).

> - votre snapshot et vos dépôts contiendraient-ils l'ensemble des paquets Debian
> (près de 40k...), ou seulement le cœur du système, laissant LMDE aller piocher
> dans les dépôts Debian pour le reste ?

Excellente question. Je ne suis pas sur encore pour le moment. Cela depend de l'implementation. Il faut aussi decider entre des depots complementaires (via apt pinning comme c'est le cas actuellement) ou des copies integrales (qui consistent a donner le choix a l'utilisateur de pointer ici ou la-bas).

> - est-ce que ça ne risque pas de surcharger vos serveurs ?

Si :) C'est le probleme principal, mais on peut repartir la charge avec du load-balancing et plusieurs serveurs. On peut aussi s'appuyer sur des mirroirs...etc. Ce ne sera pas simple, c'est sur, mais c'est un challenge qu'on peut surmonter.

> Sur le forum, j'ai vu que le compte de Ikey, qui était en charge de Linux Mint
> Debian, a disparu. Est-ce que ça veut dire que plus personne ne s'occupe
> spécifiquement de LMDE ?

Ikey est rarement sur le net desormais et sa situation n'est pas vraiment stable. Il a quitte le projet pour des raisons personelles.

> A part le système de snapshots et l'adaptation de mintupdate, quels sont les
> changements au programme pour Linux Mint Debian ? Ikey avait parlé d'un tas de
> nouveautés (en vrac : des installateurs graphiques pour les pilotes et les
> langues supportées, un thème graphique propre...), est-ce que c'est toujours au
> programme après son départ ?

Oui, mais ce sera moins ambitieux. Des ameliorations pour l'installeur sont au programme aussi.

> Comment comptez-vous (dans un futur lointain, très lointain ;)) gérer la
> transition vers Gnome 3 ? Le jour où Gnome 3 remplacera Gnome 2 dans Debian
> Testing, que se passera-t-il ? Y aura-t-il à votre avis un port plus ou moins
> officiel de gnome-panel pour Gnome 3 dans les dépôts Testing, ou ça voudra dire
> le passage obligé vers Gnome-shell ? Du coup, plus de mint-menu ?

Debian pousse une mise a jour automatique de Gnome 2 vers Gnome 3, et donc aussi de GTK+ vers GTK3. C'est la qu'on aimerait vraiment avoir les snapshots et le robinet en place... parce que quand ca va arriver, on voudrait pouvoir fermer le robinet, resoudre toutes les incompatibilites liees a GTK3 et documenter les changements qui vont vous impacter. Malheureusement, ce systeme n'est pas encore en place et on se dirige droit vers quelque chose de potentiellement drastique ...

> Dernière question : est-ce que vous m'autorisez à rendre publiques les réponses
> à ce mail (forum ou autres) ?


> Ah oui, dernier truc. J'ai commencé un petit "begginer's guide to Linux Mint
> Debian Edition" (oui, en anglais) pour répondre à des questions
> pré-installation, détailler le processus d'installation (notamment le
> partitionnement) et l'utilisation (post-install, raccourcis clavier, mises à
> jour...), vu qu'il n'y a pas de guide officiel concernant LMDE. Je sais pas trop
> encore l'ampleur que ça va prendre (ni même si je le terminerai ;)) dans l'idéal
> faudrait que je le mette sur un pad collaboratif ou un wiki une fois avancé pour
> le faire corriger et compléter. Bref, c'était pour savoir si c'était un projet
> qui vous intéressait...

Yes, definitely :)

> A bientôt,
> Gaston
A bientot Gaston ;)

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Re: News from Clem ! Future of LMDE, snapshot system, etc...

Postby malligt » Fri May 27, 2011 11:27 am

Great Post!

I was wondering if and when we would be seeing a 2011_06 LMDE re-spin, or "snapshot" now that Mint 11 has been released.

With well over 1,000 updates to the last re-spin, now is the time to release it.

Thanks to you and Clem.

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Re: News from Clem ! Future of LMDE, snapshot system, etc...

Postby eric k » Fri May 27, 2011 11:56 am

Wow, quite a lot of ambitious plans for the Debian edition!

Thanks to everyone who contributes to the project; if your past efforts are any indication, your future goals for improved implementation and refinement will be extremely successful.

GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3L LGA 775, Xeon 3.0 Ghz Core 2 Duo, 4 GB DDR2-800, EVGA 8800GT, WD Caviar 250 GB SATA-2

Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, Crunchbang Waldorf, Mint 13 w/Cinnamon, Elementary Luna Beta, Puppy

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Re: News from Clem ! Future of LMDE, snapshot system, etc...

Postby Pranaone » Fri May 27, 2011 12:39 pm

Eagerly waiting for a new lmde spin.. Really tiresome to reinstall lmde all the time when i mess up :P

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Re: News from Clem ! Future of LMDE, snapshot system, etc...

Postby TinyTony » Fri May 27, 2011 1:03 pm

One thing I thought after I sent mails... It would be nice to have a Debian Stable Linux Mint (not "rolling"). The elegance of Linux Mint with the stability of Squeeze. I figure that's not so difficult to build, "just" change repositories to point towards squeeze + backports (to keep it more up to date) + LM repo with a pinning and make the .iso. For a newbie (that doesn't seek the "latest software"), it would be perfect : an easy to install, already configured, beautiful Debian stable. Ok, software a little bit outdated, but there are people that do not care.

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Re: News from Clem ! Future of LMDE, snapshot system, etc...

Postby m.keane » Sat May 28, 2011 6:22 am

fwiw Ikey's on the net all the time..

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Re: News from Clem ! Future of LMDE, snapshot system, etc...

Postby phollox » Sat May 28, 2011 2:11 pm

In my case, I installed a "rolling" distro, to avoid the clean reinstall process every 6 months with Ubuntu. I don't mind not having cutting edge 3 days old release packages, I car about stability. But when you have a application installed, that the official supported version in your distro is 2 yrs older that the official one, that will cause issues. So far, LMDE has offered me a balance between stability and up-to-date-ness.

One example: my computer at school has Fedora 13. The official version now is the 15. In Fedora 13, the inkscape version is 0.47, while the most recent is 0.48. Not a big deal, but one of the several improvements implemented between the two versions was the improved export from SVG to EPS and PDF, avoididng the rasterization of the images. I don't want cutting edge software, RC candidates, Beta versions, etc. I want stable and up-to-date stuff, and when the stability compromises the up-to-date, I normally prefer the 2nd one.
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Code: Select all

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Re: News from Clem ! Future of LMDE, snapshot system, etc...

Postby msuggs » Sat May 28, 2011 2:50 pm

I haven't been in touch with lmde for a while. This snapshot system sounds excellent. Here's hoping it's up and running before Gnome 3 hits the repos. It would be good to get the bugs ironed out (mint style) before switching over :)

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Re: News from Clem ! Future of LMDE, snapshot system, etc...

Postby TinyTony » Thu Jun 09, 2011 11:07 am

Up ! For those who are interrested.

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Re: News from Clem ! Future of LMDE, snapshot system, etc...

Postby tdockery97 » Thu Jun 09, 2011 11:53 am

TinyTony wrote:Up ! For those who are interrested.

What is?

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Re: News from Clem ! Future of LMDE, snapshot system, etc...

Postby gotjazz » Thu Jun 09, 2011 12:55 pm

hrm while the snapshot system does sound interesting it also sounds like something that might need lots and lots more manpower - the one thing that mint in general has a lot less of than other popular distros - depending on how much of the system is being on mint repos then it might be hard to keep things at least somewaht close to up-to-date especially as far as important security updates go.

Also - again depending on the severity of the snapshot system - it might somewhat work against the whole rolling release character which migh tmake at least some people jump over (or back) to pure debian....

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