Stop bothering with Debian releases. If users want a stable Debian release, let them use Ubuntu or another Debian-derived distribution.
Debian derivatives are better than Debian itself in a number of ways, mainly because redistributors can adopt and enforce quality standards beyond the minimal technical standards that Debian manages to adopt as Policy. Given this fact, is there any point to Debian itself making stable releases?
- It solves the problem completely. If Debian does not release any more then there can't be a problem with releasing taking too long.
- It's easy.
- It could be more efficient if Debian did not duplicate the work that redistributors are already doing in order to make a polished distribution out of the rough diamond that is Debian unstable.
If DDs adopt the attitude that there is no need to release then the quality of Debian unstable might decline, eventually hurting Ubuntu too.
- Ubuntu is separate from Debian and there is no guarantee that it will continue to serve users of Debian stable even as well as it does now.
- Debian loses developers to Ubuntu. If people are using Ubuntu releases for their stable OS needs then they will tend to use Ubuntu for their developmental work too. This is harmful to Debian; however, it may be good for Ubuntu, and this may or may not be a good thing for the end user who, by hypothesis, has Ubuntu installed.
- Debian loses users to Ubuntu. If debian doesn't release any more then all ordinary users will switch to Ubuntu. Debian stops being a Linux distribution and becomes just a source repository and package maintenance tool.
- Ubuntu users don't report bugs to Debian but to Ubuntu.
- By not releasing we lose the horizons beyond which we can drop backward compatibility.
- What about the rest of the toys in Toy Story? They want to be released as well!
- Ubuntu is a small subset of Debian. It doesn't even have KDE [in the main supported repository]. So this proposal implies that packages outside that subset are never "released" at all.
- Ubuntu developers' changes won't always align with Debian's goals. E.g., Python is likely to part of Ubuntu's base system. Debian has a history of trying to keep the base system small and I think it is unlikely that this is a goal we would want to give up.
This almost feels like giving up? It is giving up
--above 3 points by Lex Hider.
- Ubuntu doesn't release for all Debian architectures.
- Ubuntu is meant for the desktop (what happens to the server side of Debian).
- Yes it feels like giving up.
--above 3 points by ?JorgeSantos
- Debian Stable for Servers is a very good, solid distro. Ubuntu cannot fill the void that would be left if stable was dropped - too few packages in Ubuntu, too fast a release schedule.
-- above 1 point by DamianMurphy
- It is giving up. The argument is that giving up is the right thing to do, because others can do the polishing better than Debian itself can. (I don't mean to say that I am convinced by that argument.)
-- above point by Thomas Hood
It seems to me that more and more people see in Debian a good starting point for a more specialized project. Examples that come to mind are: Ubuntu (of course), ?LinEx and DebianEdu. Could this be the way of the future? Of course that would mean a big change for Debian since the project would not be the "Universal OS" anymore but instead something like the "Universal Basis for ?OSes".
- Even if there is no official Debian release anymore, packages still need to be kept as close as possible to releaseable state; so, not releasing would (probably) not fix all the problems.
--above 2 points by Thomas "mercen" Paris.
- Major transitions in Debian packages and subsystems are aligned with Debian releases; we attempt to guarantee that users will at the very least be able to upgrade from one stable release to the next. Never releasing Debian proper would lose us this feature, and I suspect it would in the long run be detrimental to projects like Ubuntu as well by creating increased drift in terms of upgradeability.
--above point by Colin Watson
Andreas Barth argues against this alternative in his blog
- Ubuntu does not have the same commitment to Freedom or the DFSG.
--above point by Jonathan Niehof
See ReleaseProposals for alternatives.