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I truly dread every time that a debian release gets close, because I dread having the testing branch eternally frozen for like almost an entire year..
Even if it is not quite a year every time, it is still months and months and months of no updates besides bug fixes.. The same versions of linux kernel and all your programs, stuck at the same version for what seems like eternity..
I usually check for updates every few days, and honestly it is kind of fun to update stuff for me.. Which makes the big freeze that much more painful..
I love debian the most still, and would never use any other distrobution.. I will probably keep using it for ever, but...it still just massively sucks every time the giant freeze comes..
I really wish they would come up with a different method of preparing the debian stable branch..
P.S. No I will not switch to any other distro like arch or any thing, so please don't recommend any distros to me..
Didn't Debian project plan on reducing the freeze period? There was a whole effort directed at it with various measures to make Debian testing close to "always releasable": http://lwn.net/Articles/550032/
Did it work out in the end? I use Debian testing myself and want it to be a truly rolling distro without such huge freezing stalls.
Basicly, the freeze period is suposed to be 6 month but the goal of the project is to make the best they can (non blocking/critical bugs) even if it means to postpone the release. Of course not for too long neither. Sometimes they make radical decicions and eliminate blocking pakages ( they go back to sid repo) to be able to publish the stable. If I remember right, Wheezy freezed period was 8 month.
There has been a talk about making Testing as a rolling release at the Debconf 2012 but many people disagred with it. I don't know if it still on the menu or not.
In my experience, I usually start to use the next Testing about 6 month after a new Stable has been released (because it's a mess during that time) and keeping the stable beside just in case.
Yeah, Wheezy freeze period was horribly long. Even 6 months is way too much. The idea of reducing freeze and ways to achieve that was reported here : http://lwn.net/Articles/550032/
I really hope Debian accepted that proposal.
You are probably right about reducing the freeze period but there is one thing that could create some problems.
I mean during that period most of the dev must be available at the same time(more or less). This could be hard in shorter period.
The idea of more automated tests is probably good too.
If you read the newsletter you'll see that many new dev are accepted in the project regularely. I guess with time there will be more experienced Debian dev (with "more power") and the global progression will increased. The result will certainly "force" the project to make changes (adaptations) in the development cycle.
I think their key idea was evenly spreading the load from the period of freeze itself to the constant keeping of packages in close to releasable state. I.e. working gradually rather than accumulating tons of bugs and rushing to fix them in a crazy sprint before the release. I'm not sure how easy that can be to achieve, but that was the proposal. So if Debian testing is always well maintained in close to releasable state, freeze period becomes virtually non existent or at least reasonably short.