- From: Paul J Gans <gans@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Thu, 8 Mar 2007 04:24:29 +0000 (UTC)
Chris Cox <notccox@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Paul J Gans wrote:
I've probably groused about this before, so if you've
read it, forgive me.
I've just done an on-line update and lo and behold there
was an update to Firefox pushing it to 126.96.36.199. That's
really wonderful of SuSE.
Of course the current version of Firefox is 188.8.131.52 which
I also downloaded and installed today.
First, why is SuSE so far behind in versions and security
patches. Firefox 2.0 was a security improvement over the
entire 1.5 series and 184.108.40.206 and 220.127.116.11 are supposed
to be security fixes over 2.0.
Some of this is historical. Changes in major and minor
version levels of products usually means feature changes
which change the functionality of the product and can
(and often) impact the usability of the product (that is
to say, things change... sometimes to the detriment of
the user and/or dependent products).
So... rather than making things wildly unstable for the end
user, SuSE (spelling intentional here) kept version levels
constant and ported the fixes (security fixes.. not new features)
into those levels for stability sake.
Second, why does SuSE bother fussing with Firefox? Why not
just use the versions Mozilla provides? I see nothing that
SuSE does to Firefox other than to package it into an RPM
that installs it into its usual place.
Again, historical... do you expect SUSE to support Firefox
or not? If not, then you don't really need SUSE at all.
Build your own distro. Right?
I manually install the real current versions into /usr/local/bin
because it is more convenient for me. I've *never* had any
trouble doing it.
Those versions that you have installed are not supported
by SUSE... which seems isn't that important to you. Sometimes
it's easy to maintain your own home brew Linux mods on SUSE,
other times it's difficult. Regardless, you're running on your
own once you deviate from what SUSE supports and future upgrades,
patches, etc using SUSE's Online Update (etc) may not work
correctly. Which again... may not be that important in your
openSUSE, in all fairness, has tried to move away from the
"stable" support model and is more Fedora-like (e.g. if it runs,
great! Otherwise... oh well.). With that said, users are
now encouraged to use a plethora of repositories with openSUSE,
which in turns makes for a management nightmare support wise.
And thus... if you want a stable system, you need to look
at SLED/SLES (duh). The problem with SLED/SLES is that the
version levels there are VERY static for VERY long periods
of time (it can be quite frustrating). At least with SuSE,
a new version came out every 6 months or so.... with openSUSE
it's a bit more of an iterative support model... though there
are "set" releases (again, openSUSE desires to be bleeding
edge.. emphasis on 'bleeding'... but some people like
it to bleed even more!).
Chris, I'm not a newbie. Not everyone is. I'm an oldbe.
I've possibly been using linux longer than anyone here.
My first install was an SLS distribution...
I've got lots of non-SuSE (Houghi will, I hope, forgive me,
I've always spelled it the German way) programs installed
including Mathematica. I keep all that in /usr/local, which
is what it is for.
My basic question is: what does SuSE add to Firefox? I
ask because browsers are among the easiest places to
compromise a system and SuSE takes forever to incorporate
I have no problem with them packaging Firefox as an rpm.
That's very nice. But that should not take very long, a
day at the most.
As for the version numbering, that's another issue. For
some programs, like Browsers (and Mathematica) the version
number is very important. It indicates the level of
security fixes in the browser.
Why would I download Firefox 18.104.22.168 (IIR the version
number correctly) when I *know* it is a major release
and two patch levels out of date?
I can live with the versioning policy for many programs
and I understand it. But even SuSE isn't consistent.
Look at gcc. Two versions are included in 10.2, the
old stable version and the new beta version. Indeed,
if I noted it correctly, the kernel is compiled with
the new beta version.
--- Paul J. Gans
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