[kwlug-disc] definition of debian's "stable"?

L.D. Paniak ldpaniak at fourpisolutions.com
Sun Aug 16 12:42:35 EDT 2009

Hash: SHA1

Robert P. J. Day wrote:
>   yet more curiosity about debian.  i'm skimming the FAQ, and i see
> the definition of the "stable" release:
> "No new functionality is added to the stable release. Once a Debian
> version is released and tagged `stable' it will only get security
> updates. That is, only packages for which a security vulnerability has
> been found after the release will be upgraded."
>   so if lenny (5.0) is the current "stable" release, what are the
> newer 5.0.1 and 5.0.2 releases?  do those simply correspond to newer
> snapshots of the stable release, which incorporate ***only*** security
> updates relative to 5.0?  (that's what it seems, i just want to be
> sure.)
>   in the fedora world, those would be called "re-spins" -- simply a
> time-saver so that people don't need to start at the initial release
> and update hundreds of packages from there.  is that what those point
> releases represent?

Yep, I believe that the only significance of a new minor in a Debian
release is that the installation media gets updated.   Looking at the
release notes for the latest update of Lenny,


there is nothing you would not see in a typical apt-get upgrade - save
for the installer "di" updates.  Maybe someone else knows of the greater
cosmic significance of a Debian update?

Otherwise, updates are just bug fixes and minor performance upgrades.
For real updates to functionality on a regular basis, look to the
testing and/or unstable branches.

Of course, there was "Etch-and-a-half", Debian 4.0r4 (minor numbering
system has changed recently), which had the option to update your 2.6.18
kernel to 2.6.24 and make functional upgrades to packages.  This was
driven by the drawn-out release schedule for Lenny - which is also
expected to happen for Squeeze.

Here is the official doc. on point releases in Debian:

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