[OT:] Re: [texhax] Re: easy update of teTeX on Linux?

Roberto Sanchez rcsanchez97 at yahoo.es
Mon Oct 6 10:55:25 CEST 2003

Pavel Minev Penev wrote:
> On Mon, Oct 06, 2003 at 02:19:57AM +0200, martin f krafft wrote:
>>also sprach Roberto Sanchez <rcsanchez97 at yahoo.es> [2003.10.06.0210 +0200]:
>>>Actually a better alternative is to use Debian instead (which is far 
>>>easier to maintain).  In that case, all you need to do is (as root):
>>># apt-get update
>>># apt-get upgrade
>>>Incidentally, that upgrades ALL packages on the machine.
>>I fully agree. If you only want to upgrade tetex, then you do this:
>>  apt-get update
>>  apt-get install tetex-bin tetex-base
>>and you are done.
> Hi, Martin (I think you are Debian developer).
> One little point I would bring is that the Debian teTeX contains some
> rather old packages, some containing already fixed bugs ...
> There is no simple way around this: you package your own teTeX, or put
> things in place by hand every time you upgrade the tetex-bin package...
> What I am wondering is why don't the maintainers come up with an
> automated setup for building the teTeX packages from CTAN.  A script to
> do that should not be that complex (and I am willing to help with code
> on either such a setup, or another one that will lead to up-to-date
> packages).
> Disjointed message?  Choppy free time...
> Have a nice fun,


Please don't let the version numbers fool you.  The way that Debian 
distributions work is that the newest stable upstream packages are 
placed into the unstable (codenamed Sid) distribution.  It is called 
unstable not because the packages themselves are unstable, but because 
not all the packages may cooperated well or there may be other issues. 
Once a package in unstable is sufficiently stabilized (i.e., it won't 
break the rest of the distribution) it is moved into testing (currently 
codenamed Sarge).  Periodically (every 12 - 18 months) the testing 
distribution is frozen and after a couple of months of freeze (where 
only bug fixes are allowed in and the distribution is prepared for 
release as stable) testing is declared as stable (currently codenamed 
Woody) and a new testing distribution (with a different codename) is 
created from the current unstable.

Once a distribution goes stable, no new packages are allowed in (but you 
can always get the source and install them yourself or find people at 
www.apt-get.org who have created Debian packages for certain new 
programs).  Only bug fixes are allowed, which makes for excellent 
stability in a production server environment.

Of course, I am certain that you are still wondering about bug fixes. 
As bugs are reported, the maintainers of the various packages work vary 
hard to backport fixes into the various stable packages.  For example, 
the recent exploits in OpenSSH and OpenSSL saw new versions released. 
But rather than disturb the stable distribution, they carefully backport 
the security fixes.  A quick glance at the changelog.Debian file for any 
Debian package will show what fixes and changes have been incorporated.

So, to make a long story short, those bugs have probably already been 
fixed.  I hope that this has helped you understand the Debian system a 
little better.  Also, for a personal machine at home or non-mission 
critical server, it is perfectly OK to run the testing or unstable 
versions.  I do, and so do many other people.  In fact, it has been my 
experience that Debian Unstable is about as stable as RedHat's consumer 
version and most other operating systems, including a well known OS for 
the northwerstern US.

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