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Old 04-28-2012, 04:01 AM   #1
mt22
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Debian Patching Philosophy compared to the Slackware/Arch one.


Hi, I'm new to the forum.
I'm principally a Debian user. However in these days I decided to try many other distros in order to achive a more wide and neutral view in the world of GNU/Linux distros.
And a question arises in my mind to which I wasn't able to find out an easy answer.
Many distros like Slackware, Arch... proclaim they patch to the bare minimum or even don't patch their packages at all, while on Arch wiki I've read "Debian patches its packages more liberally".

I suppose if that is true, Debian must have its good reasons in doing so.

Can any linux veteran explain to me why and how much Debian patches its packages and what are the advantages/disvantages of NOT doing things the Slackware/Arch way?

Thanks.

Last edited by mt22; 04-29-2012 at 12:44 PM.
 
Old 04-28-2012, 04:45 AM   #2
Randicus Draco Albus
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Quote:
why and how much Debian patches its packages
Why? - 1) So the packages will be compatible with the Debian operating system. In other words, so they will work. 2) So they will work without bugs.
Quote:
what are the advantages/disvantages of NOT doing things the Slackware/Arch way?
Distors like Arch include packages as is from the developers, bugs and all. it is up to the users to make them work if there are problems. Debian "patches" packages so users can install and use them without worry.
I doubt Slackware does things the Arch way, but I could be wrong.
 
Old 04-28-2012, 07:15 AM   #3
mt22
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Thanks Randicus.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Randicus Draco Albus View Post
1) So the packages will be compatible with the Debian operating system. In other words, so they will work.
Is Debian so different from other distros that installing vanilla software will cause malfunctionings?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Randicus Draco Albus View Post
2) So they will work without bugs.
Distors like Arch include packages as is from the developers, bugs and all. it is up to the users to make them work if there are problems. Debian "patches" packages so users can install and use them without worry.
I doubt Slackware does things the Arch way, but I could be wrong.
I guess, if I'm not wrong, since Arch is a rolling release it leaves bugs correction to upstream developers... while Debian prefers to fix bugs to deliver to the end user a stable version... I know Slackware is a good distro too with vanilla packages only... why is it so necessary for Debian to patch packages?

Last edited by mt22; 04-28-2012 at 07:18 AM.
 
Old 04-28-2012, 08:38 AM   #4
snowpine
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Debian development is completely transparent; you can join the devel list and browse the archives back to the beginning of the project, if you want to learn what goes on "behind the scenes."

http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel/
 
Old 04-28-2012, 05:02 PM   #5
Randicus Draco Albus
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Most distributions modify some or many packages to some degree. The different distros are different operating systems and do not do everything the same way. A programme written specifically for one system often will not work on other systems without modification.
Debian has another good reason to modify packages. Package management. One change that is made to packages from outside sources is to make them compatible with Debian's package management system.
If you want to know if Debian's patching activities are good or bad, look at the package lists of other distributions. How many of the packages available to users of Ubuntu, Mint and Mandriva are Debian packages?
 
Old 04-29-2012, 08:53 AM   #6
mt22
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@snowpine: Thanks for the useful link.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Randicus Draco Albus View Post
Most distributions modify some or many packages to some degree. The different distros are different operating systems and do not do everything the same way. A programme written specifically for one system often will not work on other systems without modification.
Debian has another good reason to modify packages. Package management. One change that is made to packages from outside sources is to make them compatible with Debian's package management system.
If you want to know if Debian's patching activities are good or bad, look at the package lists of other distributions. How many of the packages available to users of Ubuntu, Mint and Mandriva are Debian packages?
Ok, from your replies I got that Debian developers mainly patch packages to fix bugs, to get them working with the OS, and for package management reasons. If so I can say I like this policy.

Apart following the devel list as suggested by snowpine and I think I'll start to do so, one last question I would like to ask to Debian users is: I often heard by Slackware/Arch users they don't like the Debian "heavy" patching approach, and the fact that Debian often likes to add its own flavour on software. Can anyone confirm and/or demystify that?

From Slackware users instead I would like to know more about how it is possible to have a working distro without the patching stuff. I haven't heard any of them on this topic yet xD!

Last edited by mt22; 04-29-2012 at 12:35 PM.
 
Old 04-29-2012, 09:35 AM   #7
catkin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mt22 View Post
From Slackware users instead I would like to know more about how it is possible to have a working distro without the patching stuff. I haven't heard any of them on this topic yet xD!
As a Slackware user -- that is not somebody who can officially speak for Slackware or who is well acquainted with Slackware's policy -- Slackware do patch for security and functionality but to the minimum practicable extent.

I look after both Slackware and Debian systems. Both are stable and dependable but Debian is more complex with the result that when something goes wrong on Debian I am less confident of being able to fix it because it is harder to figure out what all the "value added" stuff does and how it works and how it has stopped working.

Same with the packaging. I needed abiword, purely to convert Word documents to text. On Slackware I installed pre-req wv and abiword. Period. On Debian installing abiword also installed packages required for using abiword interactively -- aspell gconf2-common libaiksaurus-1.2-0c2a libaiksaurus-1.2-data libaiksaurusgtk-1.2-0c2a libaspell15 libcroco3 libdbus-glib-1-2 libenchant1c2a libfribidi0 libgconf2-4 libgdome2-0 libgdome2-cpp-smart0c2a libgoffice-0.8-8 libgoffice-0.8-8-common libgsf-1-114 libgsf-1-common libgtkmathview0c2a libhunspell-1.2-0 libidl0 liblink-grammar4 libloudmouth1-0 liborbit2 libots0 librsvg2-2 libsoup2.4-1 libt1-5 libwmf0.2-7 libwpd8c2a libwpg-0.1-1 libwps-0.1-1 libwv-1.2-3 link-grammar-dictionaries-en ttf-lyx. And it loaded the dictionary into a PostGreSQL database!
 
Old 04-29-2012, 12:45 PM   #8
mt22
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@catkin: However I know many Slackware users prefer the full install, so in many cases they already have lots of libraries pre-installed... correct me if I'm wrong.
 
Old 04-29-2012, 10:14 PM   #9
catkin
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A full install is recommended and popular. As to how many of the libraries loaded with abiword on Debian that includes, I can't say.
 
Old 05-01-2012, 03:46 AM   #10
mt22
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Thanks.
 
  


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