Testing the bleeding edge
Posted Mar 4, 2006 18:07 UTC (Sat) by job
Parent article: Testing the bleeding edge
One problem with the culture around the various Linux distributions is that new versions of packages are added to the 'unstable' tree. Now a distribution can be unstable, especially when changing the X subsystem, moving to UTF8, a new gcc or whatever it may be that distributions do from time to time.
But a new version of some pretty self-contained end user software, let's say Mozilla or something, already is rather stable when it is released. And most end users probably want the new version as soon as possible. Given the choice of compiling a lot of software themselves or running the unstable tree of their respective distro, many probably chooses the latter.
Many distributions have a backports tree, porting all new software back to the stable tree, but that's not perfect. It's not often an official tree, and may present a challenge when upgrading the distribution to the next release later.
I'm not saying having a stable tree is bad in any way, it's perfect for servers and large deployments. But there is definitively room for a "moving" tree, which tracks most software while still offering a stable base and security fixes. The only distribution I know of that does this is Gentoo, which sort-of hardly has a stable tree to begin with and doesn't fit all home users very good.
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