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Managing Backports and Package Updates With Sarge

Posted by a3ulafia on Wed 1 Mar 2006 at 10:38

I stick to the mantra that the stable branch is for production servers and unstable/testing is only for people who know how to fix things when they break or can afford to take a box offline. But stable gets old fast. Its security updates are only for issues that effect, well, security and not application stability.

For example, there was a recent update to the Asterisk PBX with many Changelog entries fixing memory leaks. This is not a security issue but is most definitely a stability one.

For my production servers running Asterisk, this is an essential update.

Short of packaging all updates to a package oneself, what kind of backport strategy do you use?

Where are good places to go to get updated packages or to work with other people doing the same kind of work?

 

 


Re: Managing Backports and Package Updates With Sarge
Posted by Anonymous (62.6.xx.xx) on Wed 1 Mar 2006 at 12:49
you could try searching apt-get.org lots of backports and stuff there

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Re: Managing Backports and Package Updates With Sarge
Posted by cheaven (72.38.xx.xx) on Wed 1 Mar 2006 at 13:24
While it doesn't apply to Asterisk volatile.debian.net is invaluable for keeping our production Sarge boxes current for ClamAV, Spamassassin etc..

http://volatile.debian.net/

Also, in the past we have used backports.org to keep our Woody systems current and I just noticed they have backported Asterisk for Sarge.

http://backports.org/


Regards,

C.

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Re: Managing Backports and Package Updates With Sarge
Posted by cswd (195.172.xx.xx) on Wed 1 Mar 2006 at 15:32
Old is not always bad. I always stick to stable, however old it is.

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Re: Managing Backports and Package Updates With Sarge
Posted by a3ulafia (216.254.xx.xx) on Wed 1 Mar 2006 at 16:14
Thanks all for the links above. cswd, you miss my point. There are times when packages in stable are...cringe...not stable. My memory leak example I think fits this criteria. This usually applies to new and popular packages that are growing fast. Updates by the upstream sources might be critical but those updates won't be in stable until the next release, which in the example of woody->sarge could be years.

The various backport sites do fill this gap and I wasn't aware there were more than backports.org. After writing this article I though of another method I've seen only rarely, which is to include a debian/ directory in the source tarball. Mplayer and Icecast do this. It requires a development system to build the package but after the build-deps are installed it is automated and one can set up their own simple apt repo on even a shared web server.

cheers
-l

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Re: Managing Backports and Package Updates With Sarge
Posted by cswd (195.172.xx.xx) on Wed 1 Mar 2006 at 16:32
I see. Fortunately I've not had this problem! I tend to stick to VERY minimally built systems with well known packages (same as what I do with Windows ironically). They tend to work properly in the first place or be fixed quickly. I also keep desktop stuff away from Linux as all DT environments are buggy as anything.

As for Asterix PBX, I have an Avaya unit doing all that. Phones are phones, computers are computers and never the twain shall meet (apart from via the serial port and a perl script for departmental billing!).

I'm a glutton for simplicity.

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Re: Managing Backports and Package Updates With Sarge
Posted by stoffell (81.83.xx.xx) on Sat 11 Mar 2006 at 20:10
A day will come.. (oh boy.. ;) ) And your Avaya just won't fit anymore.. If it does, lucky you. However, for many companies (thousands/millions) asterisk will be a "logical" next step in "evolution". So, i understand the concern of the original poster on the stability of those packages.

Maybe it's more important to know "how" one can build it's own packages, so you can make your 'own' repository to keep your own systems up-to-date?

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Re: Managing Backports and Package Updates With Sarge
Posted by Anonymous (62.255.xx.xx) on Sat 11 Mar 2006 at 21:09
I'll go Cisco VoIP then ;-) (already done it at two places - one with 1500 seats!)

I don't have time to build packages (my motto: life is too short to compile - let someone else do it!). I'd use Gentoo if I did!

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Re: Managing Backports and Package Updates With Sarge
Posted by Anonymous (147.8.xx.xx) on Thu 2 Mar 2006 at 10:22
So there is Ubuntu. Debian is not designed for you, who think that a 2 year old version is unacceptably old.

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Re: Managing Backports and Package Updates With Sarge
Posted by a3ulafia (216.254.xx.xx) on Thu 2 Mar 2006 at 15:04
That doesn't make much sense. How does using another distribution help with finding and managing backports for Debian? I think you're bluffing.

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Re: Managing Backports and Package Updates With Sarge
Posted by tsykoduk (63.230.xx.xx) on Thu 2 Mar 2006 at 15:59

I think what Anon was trying to say is that Ubuntu is kept more 'up to date' then Debian Stable - and is just as stable for their core packages. However, if it's not an itch that they have, your package might not be in their core repository. 6 one way, 1/2 dozen the other.

Since Ubuntu is a Debian based system, it's - um - close?

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Re: Managing Backports and Package Updates With Sarge
Posted by Steve (82.41.xx.xx) on Thu 2 Mar 2006 at 15:43
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I pretty much agree with the other comment(s) on apt-get.org, or backports.org.

The only difference is that I never leave those sources in my sources.list file. I always download the package sources, rebuild them myself and then upload them to a local repository under my own control.

That is partly to make sure they really are backported versions with no suprising dependencies, and partly to make sure that the repository will never "disappear" leaving me stranded without the option of installing the packages elsewhere.

It also allows me to test the packages on one or two machines before pushing them out to the LAN, etc.

When it comes to backports I'm very conservative. When Woody was the stable release I used maybe four or five specific packages which were backported. (I think OpenVPN was the major one).

Since Sarge is still so recent I'm not using anything other than a backported version of Xen 3.x. As time goes by I might upgrade clamav, and other "volatile" packages - but otherwise I'm happy enough to stick with the stable packages.

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Re: Managing Backports and Package Updates With Sarge
Posted by a3ulafia (216.254.xx.xx) on Thu 2 Mar 2006 at 16:27
Good idea about rebuilding and uploading yourself. Do you just enter the source dir, install the build-deps and run dpkg-buildpackage -rfakeroot?

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Re: Managing Backports and Package Updates With Sarge
Posted by Steve (82.41.xx.xx) on Thu 2 Mar 2006 at 16:31
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Pretty much, yes.

I tend to use the debuild script though just out of habit.

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Re: Managing Backports and Package Updates With Sarge
Posted by undefined (192.91.xx.xx) on Mon 6 Mar 2006 at 19:19
pfft. the truly paranoid use pbuilder for building packages (which even allows building for stable servers from unstable/testing workstations). ;-)

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Re: Managing Backports and Package Updates With Sarge
Posted by w1d3 (147.32.xx.xx) on Fri 3 Mar 2006 at 22:59
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Re: Managing Backports and Package Updates With Sarge
Posted by Anonymous (84.133.xx.xx) on Sun 5 Mar 2006 at 11:23
Includes qmail?

I thought qmail's license only allows distribution as source...

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Re: Managing Backports and Package Updates With Sarge
Posted by Anonymous (84.133.xx.xx) on Sun 5 Mar 2006 at 11:18
Totem on Sarge eats up all memory until the system freezes...

Ok... I have enough systems to install 10 other distributions, but I'd prefer to have a working totem on Sarge.

Kopete (the IM my gf prefers) on Sarge suffers from that ICQ protocol change. I'd like to have a solution without installing a complete KDE-backport on Sarge and without telling her to switch to a different IM...

I really want Sarge on the systems I must rely on...

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Re: Managing Backports and Package Updates With Sarge
Posted by mverwijs (85.144.xx.xx) on Tue 7 Mar 2006 at 10:50
"I really want Sarge on the systems I must rely on..."

Based only on these 2 software packages, I'd say that this is not a system that I would rely on.

Sarge is all fine and dandy, but it is /not/ the holy grail of (desktop) stability, imho.

Don't get me wrong. I run about 60+ Sarge Desktops at the site I'm working. And I do as little backporting as possible. But if my users would come to me with those 2 problems you've just mentioned, it'd be looking into backports.org right now. (Or at least for Kopete, as I have no love for Totem.)

Kindest regards,

mverwijs

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