Shipping Debian with GNOME X.XX.0 is an extremely bad idea

Since the freeze has slowly crept in, now is the time to revisit my pet peeve with Debian's release process: to publish a new Debian release as soon as GNOME published a new X.XX.0 version. This is an extremely bad idea: X.XX.0 releases tend to lack polish, their translations are not up-to-date and several silly bugs that hamper the user experience (what the Ubuntu guys call "paper cuts") exist. Those issues tend to be fixed later when GNOME X.XX.1, X.XX.2, etc. bugfix releases are published. However, Debian has a policy of not pushing non-security releases onto a stable distribution. In this particular case, there are only two valid alternatives: either release Bullseye with GNOME 3.38.X or change the Debian policy to allow pushing 3.40.X bugfix releases via bullseye-updates.


Tomasz said...

The policy is really wrong. Software has bugs, security is just one class of them. Users deserve to receive updates fixing all bugs.

smcv said...

Did someone tell you that Debian 11 'bullseye' was meant to ship with GNOME 40? If they did, they were misinformed. The plan is to ship with 3.38.x.

GNOME 40 hasn't been released yet (beta releases only went out during the last few days), and there's no way the release team would let us move from 3.38.x to 40.x during hard freeze even if the GNOME team wanted to (which we don't) - the risk of regressions is far too high.

There is no GNOME 3.40: the version numbering scheme changed upstream.

40.x is currently going into experimental because Ubuntu 21.04 needs it, and so that we can advance to 40.x immediately after bullseye, followed by 41.x later in the year. If the upstream GNOME release schedule and the downstream Debian release schedule stay the same, then Debian 12 'bookworm' is likely to freeze in early 2023 and include GNOME 43, which would have been released in late 2022.

(To the commenter wanting the latest versions of everything: if that's what you want, then stable Debian releases are not intended for you, and you should use a rolling release like testing/unstable.)