Benjamin wrote a comment on my last post, and I’ll share my answers here because those questions come up every now and then, so it’s better to try to inform everyone. (That and I never write on this blog, so this is a perfect excuse to do so)
If you assume compile problems, why is that thing unmasked?
Xorg-server 1.7 is not getting stabilized, it’s just getting unleashed onto unstable. Unstable means exactly that. Of course we try to do our best and we won’t release something we know will break. The idea behind unstable is for users to test the new and shiny stuff before it hits stable.
If you don’t want to help fix bugs, use stable. It’s as simple as that.
I’ve always been irritated by the way the xorg team handled masked/unstable/stable releases, as even rc’s were unmasked at times.
Releases in X-land are tough. The numbers almost mean nothing. For instance, the last stable version in the 1.5 series was 1.5.3-r6. And despite the apparently stable version number, it currently has 80 patches to make it run smoothly.
On the opposite side, the current stable server is 220.127.116.111-r2, which is indeed a “pre point release” only has a couple patches. And 1.7.1 doesn’t have any patches.
So don’t let the version number fool you, they mean almost nothing.
As for what we put in portage, well X is a complex piece of software. It used to have more than a million lines of code and it’s been getting some tough love these last 2 or 3 years. And up until recently, drivers were a mess. I had shivers every time a new driver was released : “How many systems will this break?” was a question I asked myself over and over.
There are probably a lot of people who put the xorg-server in package.keywords because they needed/wanted feature X/Y or because it fixed some bug for them (it did for me). So now I get a release that possibly breaks build in unstable?
Again, unstable is for power users who are not afraid of filing bug reports if something breaks. We try to make sure that things don’t break every day, but Gentoo being a source distro with billions of possibilities (USE flags, CFLAGS, arches, packages, …),you can’t reasonably expect us to try every possible combination.
So we ask for you help (via bugzilla) in return. Gentoo is a community distro, after all.
So there, that’s it for today, I hope y’all know a bit more about how we manage X and unstable packages.