[Samba] Samba 3.2.0 in Debian "lenny"

Christian Perrier bubulle at debian.org
Wed Aug 6 06:04:22 GMT 2008

(sorry, long reply....but it contains many ideas about handling stable
releases both for distros and for upstream software...That answer is
BCC'ed to our package development list)

Quoting Jeremy Allison (jra at samba.org):

> As you wish, but there are several significant bugs
> (with printing for one) that have been fixed for the
> 3.2.1 release.

Yeah. I definitely know that. But, in that case, I'm just one of the
dozens Debian developers and I have no power to enforce a new release
of my pet software in Debian stable if this is something that's not
"allowed" by our work method.

Other vendors do indeed the same choice when they freeze a release of
theirs. They're maybe less strict in the way they freeze software
versions...or often provide updated packages for their stables
releases as a service to their customers. Or maybe they're just not as
big as Debian is...:-) (I mean when it comes at the number of proposed

The difference lies there: commercial vendors *can* afford to spend
some resources in doing this (or in doing *design choices* to limit
the scope of what they support and what they do not support). Debian
developers only rely on themselves and the volunteer resources to do

Indeed, Debian has such service, namely backports.debian.org, which is
a non-official service from the project where some motivated
developers provide up-to-date packages for Debian stable. If we (the
maintainers of samba in Debian) have enough time for this, we might do
it.....The main problem is that both "main" maintainers of samba in
Debian, namely Steve Langasek and myself, have many other commitments
in Debian, that eat our time (which is only volunteer time).

And, anyway, such backports are not as supported as stable versions
are, particularly security-wise, of course. Here, I don't think you
have something to learn from me, Jeremy, of course...:-)

If we could commit ourselves to release backported packages at the
same rhythm you guys are releasing upates, that would be OK, still...

> You have to start thinking of Samba as the Linux kernel,
> we are now on a 6-monthly upgrade cycle, with minor bugfixes
> inbetween every 2 months or so.

That's something we could actually discuss with some of the Stable
Release Managers in Debian, indeed.

Maybe you're not aware of this but we recently introduced, in Debian
Etch, the concept of "half" releases. "Etch and a half" was just
released 2 weeks ago: it is an update of Debian Etch (which was out in
April 2007) that contains an updated kernel and updated X.org
packages, as well as an updated installer.

That "etch and a half" release was aimed to answer the frequent
problems of users having unsupported hardware. It *is* supported by
our security team, contrary to backports.org packages.

It would maybe be pushed a little by providing updates for some "key"
packages (problems: "define key"...every Debian developer will want to
include his|her pet package there!).

> Remember, most people didn't test 3.2.0 at all before it
> was released, so I'm actually quite pleased with the
> quality of the release (congratulations to Karolin for
> that !), but there are several issues that need a bugfix.

Another way to go should probably be to provide updated .deb packages
for Debian stable, and the LTS Ubuntu versions, on samba.org...

This was one of the reasons I began working on our (Debian) packaging
*and* packages provided by Sernet (which were at that time the closest
thing to "genuine" packages) to make them converge together, back in
April 2008.

Apart from the remaining few controversial changes needed (from our
POV) for FHS compliance, that seemed to be fairly easy.....as long as
someone with enough knowledge on .deb packaging takes a few days to
re-work on these issues....

(/me wishes to have 36 hours per day)

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