[PureOS] Fresh+Stable Debian, Upstream

Tobias Bernard tobias.bernard at puri.sm
Tue Jul 9 09:54:00 PDT 2019

Hi all,

As part of the discussions around the need for more stability in PureOS
to support enterprise use cases we agreed a few months ago that ideally
what we'd want is an OS that comes with a recent user-facing stack *and*
a reasonable degree of stability.

Currently with Debian we only have 2 choices: Follow stable and get a
new user-facing platform stack every 3 years or follow testing and get
it every day. Unfortunately, neither of these makes sense for consumer
desktop use. Testing is too unstable, and stable is almost always way
behind the current GNOME platform. We can't afford to be too far behind,
because ecosystem-wide changes (e.g. the app menu migration, the new
icon style, etc.) affect third party applications regardless of what
version of the platform we ship. This goes for both desktop and phone.

What would like is something like a yearly cycle, in sync with at least
every other upstream GNOME release, similar to other consumer-facing OSes.

I had a discussion with Jonas the other week, and an interesting idea we
came upon about was trying to change the options we have from the Debian
side, from within upstream.

Debian currently doesn't have a great branch for desktop use, so
commonly people run Debian testing for that, but everyone agrees that
this is not ideal. It would be interesting to explore if there's enough
interest in the Debian community to try and establish an additional
branch between stable and testing, which matches people's expectations
for a desktop system in terms of stability/freshness.

Seeing as we work upstream as much as possible, it seems to me that the
"Purism Way" to solve this problem would be to work with other
interested parties upstream to find a solution that will be beneficial
for all Debian desktop users, and of course require less maintenance for
us in the long run.

I know this is a complicated issue that has been discussed already in
various forms in various places but we still need a solution, so here we
go again :)


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