Zsh Mailing List Archive
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Re: Zsh on Debian is beginning to rot

On 09/09/12 05:16 PM, Axel Beckert wrote:
Hi Mark,

On Sun, Sep 09, 2012 at 08:38:08PM +0200, Mark van Dijk wrote:
Squeeze is about 1.5 years old, Squeeze's feature freeze was in the
beginning of August 2010 and zsh 4.3.10 was the uptodate zsh
developement (!) release back then.
Yeah, so it's 2 years old and it did have some minor fixes since then.
The word 'rot' was chosen poorly sorry about that, if I pissed you
off too much I apologise.
Ah, civility triumphs.

Gentlemen, this brings up a meta question of mine that I can't find the
answer too anywhere.  It's off topic, but since we have a genuine Debian
  packager at hand, maybe he can answer it, or perhaps point me to some
doc that does explain it.

Why are Debian packages often so far behind?--vs, say, Arch, who often
have packages out the day after they are released from upstream?  This
is not a bitchy comment, it is an honest question--I'm sure there is a
very good reason, I'd just like to know what it is.  What is involved in
  making a package?  I'd have thought that when someone releases
something, it would take five minutes to just 'wrap it up' into the
package format and that would be that.  When I download something as SRC
  and build it, it often seems 'that simple', yet packaging things seems
to be quite a chore and to take years.

Take Xfce.  I'd like to try 4.10.  Now, I know I can build it from SRC,
but why is it that (at least last time I checked) it is not available in
  Testing?  Arch had a package of it out, literally a couple of days
after it was released.  What is it that Debian packagers do that takes
so long?  I get the feeling that somehow software packages need to be
customized and tweaked for a year or two before they can be included.
Why?  Slackware makes it a point of pride that they don't customize or
tweak stuff at all, and yet, they too seem to take their time getting
packages together, and they release a monolithic distro like Debian as
if (so it might seem) all the parts have to be carefully checked out and
  mated to all the other parts to avoid disaster.  OTOH, Arch seems to
feel that you can put things together any way you want and it should all
  work like lego.  It should all work like lego.

Or take the current thing, Debian/zsh.  It sounds like Axel has put his
heart and soul into Debian/zsh, but what on Earth does that involve?
I'd have thought that zsh is zsh is zsh regardless of the distro.  If
anyone can help me to get a ground level understanding of this whole
subject I'd be very obliged.

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