Posted Mar 15, 2005 10:10 UTC (Tue) by Duncan
In reply to: Debian to drop most architectures
Parent article: Debian proposes dropping most architectures
Very good points about the Gentoo archs. There's another to be made in
this context, however, that being that even the various main Gentoo archs
aren't "release locked" to each other. That is, each arch can release on
its own schedule. In practice, Gentoo x86 sets the main release schedule
and the other archs normally target the same schedule, but there's nothing
saying it /has/ to be that way. The individual archs can release as they
see fit -- it's only the benefit of the larger PR draw of the coordinated
releases that keeps most of the others (by choice) to the same schedule.
An example is my own arch, amd64. Where Gentoo main, that is x86, went
from four quarterly releases in 2004, 2004.0-2004.3, to a semi-annual
release cycle for 2005, 2005.0 and 2005.1, amd64 had originally planned to
stay with the four release schedule. As it so happens, a release-stopping
hiccup with 2005.0 (on amd64) has it delayed to only now getting close to
formal release (I believe there was a similar one for x86, but haven't
tracked it as closely so don't know its current status, and with a 6-month
window, it's still safely within window and will be for some time yet),
now, in mid-March, which means they'll likely only get three release
snapshots out this year, but anyway...
Of course, the other even BIGGER difference is the emphasis placed on
releases. With Gentoo, "releases" are fairly stable and well tested
snapshots of the living release tree taken at a specific time, with any
changes necessary as discovered during testing, with binary packages
available and designed to be convenient starting points for a new install.
Once a Gentoo installation is accomplished, the system is designed for
more or less constant updating as the packages become available and marked
either stable (arch) or unstable (~arch), as chosen by the local
installation admin. Other than occasional profile updates where somewhat
larger changes may be instituted (a switch from gcc-3.3 to 3.4, as the
default, or from a default 2.4 to 2.6 kernel and headers), if said changes
are considered disruptive on a normal install and therefore likely profile
masked, the system is designed to be kept up to date on a more or less
weekly basis, daily being possible for those that want it. Even profile
changes are generally less hectic than release upgrades on most binary
targeted distributions, where almost the entire system changes at once.
With Gentoo, once installed, there's really little reason to worry about
releases at all, because the updates are done on a routine basis, not as
part of a massive release update.
That is of course one of the reasons I like the Gentoo system.
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