A grumpy editor's calendar search
Posted Mar 10, 2004 20:37 UTC (Wed) by socket
In reply to: A grumpy editor's calendar search
Parent article: A grumpy editor's calendar search
We're talking about slightly different senses of the word 'upgrade', I think.
When I was running Debian testing, I'd use 'apt-get upgrade' most of the time, until I had a situation where nothing more would get installed despite new packages being available unless I used 'apt-get dist-upgrade'. On one occasion, I think python had to be ripped out and replaced with python#.# packages and a whole raft of other packages depended on the old python instead of python#.#. Lots of things needed to be deleted, and many of the same had no newer version to provide a smooth transition to python#.#. The new python packages conflicted with the old ones. Thus, a normal 'upgrade' would say, "Ah. I'll spare your system -- better to upgrade nothing than to remove anything." Perhaps a wise choice, for many.
This makes sense for people running the stable branch of debian. But if you're running testing or unstable, things are going to change a lot, and users want to continue to get new packages, they will have to accept some amount of bridge-burning in the form of removing old packages responsible for a conflict. The newer packages of Python conflicted with the existing one specifically to encourage users to move with the times.
I think there was also some confusion in what I meant by 'handling dependencies correctly' -- in one sense, it just makes sure that Depends: requirements are satisfied, no other conditions necessary. In another sense, (the one I meant,) it means that Depends: requirements are satisfied, and that you don't get into a state where you can no longer upgrade your system to newly available packages on account of the importance of keeping old ones around. For developers, the latter is a pretty important dependency.
I'd be surprised if I ever made it more than a week with Debian Testing without the normal 'apt-get upgrade' process simply refusing to install new packages. I'd also argue that 'dist-upgrade' is for both unusual circumstances, and running a suitably modern system.
We're both right, I think. You're right, for people running Stable.
But the issue of which sense of the word 'upgrade' we mean is really at the core of this. I'd argue that most people consider a system upgrade (in the generic, non-debian sense) to be something that modernizes the system. A user running testing or unstable and only using 'apt-get upgrade' will eventually be making no changes to their system at all, and that doesn't constitute much of an upgrade.
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