Debian postpones Lenny, calls for help

By   |  October 8, 2008

Debian, the granddaddy of Linux distributions, is in trouble. Its planned September release date for Lenny – its latest release – has come and gone and there is still no sign of the new product. It seems the Debian team is battling “too many release critical bugs” to make Lenny viable. And now the team is calling for help from the community to squash the remainder of these bugs.

In an email to the Debian developer list, and in a post on his blog, Debian developer Alexander Reichle-Schmehl says that estimates from the release team on how long the release candidate bugs would take to fix were “apparently … too optimistic”.

Reichle-Schmehl goes on to call on users and developers to contribute to weeding out the remaining problems in the Lenny code.

Regular users, he says, should upgrade to Lenny and file bug reports on what doesn’t work. He does warn, however, that users must make backups before launching into Lenny.

For developers and package maintainers, he says, “it basically boils down to two things: If your packages have RC bugs open in ‘Lenny fix them and take care, that the fix will propagate to ‘Lenny’. If your packages don’t have RC bugs open, fix someone else’s RC bug. Surely you don’t think, the release team will fix the remaining rc bugs, do you? And surely you understand, that your shiny rc bug free packages are kind of useless, if they aren’t released?”

Debian Lenny, at the time of writing, had 261 release critical bugs preventing it from being released.

Comments

14 Responses to “Debian postpones Lenny, calls for help”

  1. Lo que puedes hacer por Debian Lenny: Ayudar « vududevil
    October 8th, 2008 @ 10:35 pm

    [...] [Via: Tectonic] [...]

  2. David
    October 11th, 2008 @ 1:49 pm

    Debian is hardly in trouble. This is just a timeline slip, nothing more. The “release critical bugs” are spread through a huge number of packages, and the linked-to blog says over half are already fixed, but the fixes are not yet reflected in the bug tracker.

    Each Debian release cycle starts off with a variable period of inflow of new packages and package versions from upstream maintainers, along with work on Debian-specific infrastructure. At some point, the leadership decides “it’s about time” and sets dates for package freezes, with some things getting frozen after others. They then stop allowing new package updates apart from bug fixes, and when all the bad enough bugs have been addressed (by fixes or package removal), the release takes place.

    So don’t spread hype that “Debian is in trouble” because the September target was missed. Lenny is very nearly ready to go.

  3. Sharky
    October 11th, 2008 @ 10:12 pm

    Like David said, the situation is completely normal in the process of reaching a new debian stable distro. There is nothing troublesome about it, as the date set for release is always an estimate. Debian has a release-when-ready policy, not a sharp deadline. Considering the enormous amount of packages in debian, the current rc bug count is *very* low, which means that the release is close.

    This “article” is either completely ignorant of how debian works, or it is deliberately written to spread FUD about debian. Just stop it.

  4. mike
    October 11th, 2008 @ 10:51 pm

    Debian is rocksolid. I run it on all my servers and they will release it when its ready. If people are missing certain features/programs use backports to install them or install some other distro.

  5. Tony Lovasco
    October 12th, 2008 @ 4:00 am

    Agreed with prior poster — Debian is doing just fine. Remember that Debian prides itself on being one of the most (if not the most) stable distros out there, so it makes sense that they would put stability over a timetable for completion.

    Considering how many distros are based on Debian, I can’t see it going anywhere.

  6. Alastair
    October 12th, 2008 @ 7:05 am

    @Sharky and @David
    The article doesn’t actually say that Debian is in the sort of trouble that makes it likely that it will cease to exist. It does say that it is behind schedule and still has work to do to meet its missed deadline. Just because we point out that Debian is having problems meeting its own deadlines does not mean we are spreading FUD.

  7. Sharky
    October 12th, 2008 @ 7:31 am

    Look here, to anyone who knows anything about debian, it is obvious that you don’t. For starters, debian isn’t the “granddaddy of linux distributions” – it’s not even the oldest one alive (I think slackware is). Next, “it seems like debian is ‘battling too many release-critical bugs’ to make lenny viable” is a pretty duh statement, as this is what debian always does, every single time, when trying to get a stable version of the distro ready. Debian also, every time, calls out to the community. Debian pretty much *is* the community, for christ’s sake, not just its developer members. And again, you need to understand that debian *never* has a deadline like you repeatedly claim. It has an estimated release date, but is famous for its release-when-ready (i e when all rc bugs are squashed) policy.

    So what you have done is that you have taken a completely normal statement from the debian lists and tried to make news of it. Debian isn’t in any kind of trouble. Everything is like it should be.

    You should apologize to your readers, because you clearly haven’t researched this “news” piece at all. I think 5 minutes of google would have been enough.

  8. Alternageek Tech Show 50: With Bells On | Alternageek Tech Show
    October 14th, 2008 @ 2:44 pm

    [...] Tectonic – Debian postpones Lenny, calls for help [...]

  9. milomak
    October 21st, 2008 @ 8:40 pm

    I would agree. You should take time to research the background of the product you are writing about. Since before September if you had gone to the official Debian site you would have seen that there never was a release date posted for Lenny. And that Alastair is where the FUD lies.

  10. milomak
    October 21st, 2008 @ 11:13 pm

    A great graph of the distro timeline: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8c/Gldt.svg

  11. Alastair
    October 22nd, 2008 @ 6:39 am

    @milomak:
    Thanks. Nice perspective.

  12. Freedom Socks » Episode 9 - Evil Urghhh Liberty Attack
    October 22nd, 2008 @ 7:20 pm

    [...] Debian Stalled [...]

  13. FLOSS Buzz » Debian Lenny takes big step forward
    November 18th, 2008 @ 3:18 am

    [...] month we wrote about how Debian was having some problems with its latest release, Lenny. Which, perhaps predictably, was met with much [...]

  14. Tectonic » Debian plans Valentine’s Lenny release
    February 2nd, 2009 @ 1:45 pm

    [...] in October last year Debian developers called on community members to help out by fixing a large number of outstanding bugs which was holding up the release of [...]

Comments are closed