Debian Gets GNOME 2.6

I know it’s a bad thing to say, and I’ve talked about it before, but Debian Linux seems to be far to slow getting software to their users. Example… GNOME has a six month release cycle, and yesterday they released GNOME 2.8. That means that six months ago (about) they released GNOME 2.6. I saw an old post today about GNOME 2.6 entering Debian unstable. This means that almost six months after a major release of a new desktop environment, in fact, one of the major Linux desktop environments, it enters into their unstable tree.

I can only imagine when GNOME 2.8 will go in. Hell, I can only imagine when GNOME 2.6 will hit stable (last I heard they were thinking that they could release the latest stable distro not in 2005, but this year.

I know of course that when it does go in it will be rock solid stable and bug free, but the problem is with the impression it leaves on the community. Sure you can add unstable or experimental to your sources list, but then you run the risk of your system being blown up by some other errant problem. You can use apt-pinning to mix stable, unstable and experimental trees, but lets be honest, no newbie is going to do that. However, a newbie is going to install Debian (their installer, while still sucky compared to others (but not nearly as sucky as some), is getting better) and is going to look at what is presented and go “wow, this is old school!”. Of course, right now the version of GNOME in Debian stable is still 1.4, which is 6 major releases old (by my count: 1.4, 2.0, 2.2, 2.4, 2.6, 2.8).

I realize that Debian is trying to be stable and give no surprises to users, but the end result is that people don’t want to install old software. They may not want to be on the bleeding edge, but most major linux distributions have mostly modern software. I can’t see anyone using Debian as a workstation using anything but unstable based on the age of the software that is installed by default in stable. That all said, Debian is a community volunteer effort and I respect those who contribute hugely, it’s more than I do.

One Comment on “Debian Gets GNOME 2.6”

  1. Well….
    Debian testing has KDE 3.2.2 and unstable has 3.3.0, which is the latest version. Why would anybody want to use an environment like Gnome anyway, when more mature/sophisticated/feature-rich/good-looking/etc ones are available? [grin]
    Actually, take a look at the CVSWeb trees for both projects. I’ve noticed that the various KDE sub-projects are much more likely to contain integrated Debian package meta data (the debian/ sub directories, used to build packages) then the Gnome sub-projects. Hence, it’s easier to have current Debian packages – there’s no need to have big patches that need to be reapplied to upstream releases to make them Debian compliant.
    In general, OSS projects that co-operate with a distribution (whether it’s Debian or Redhat (cough) or whatever) will tend to have more current and better packages for it.
    Here’s several hours of good reading on Debian vs. Gentoo: 🙂
    Just some thoughts