On Wed, Sep 21, 2016 at 10:56:10AM -0700, Russ Allbery wrote:
> If no one is ever going to look at the bug again, just close it.  It feels
> more confrontational, but it's far more honest, and it doesn't create
> unrealistic expectations.

"no one is ever going to look at the bug again" is actually impossible 
to prove for a project like Debian - some new Debian developer or even 
some new upstream developer might actually look at it tomorrow or in a 
few years.

And if you want to be honest, you have to start by telling people
that it might well be s/again/at all/ - even in many actively
maintained packages.

An example:

Even though Debian is a pretty marginal distribution on the desktop 
market, the Debian GNOME maintainers are sitting on 3800 open bugs.

For a normal bug reported against the old version of GNOME in unstable, 
chances are noone will ever look at it and the efforts of the reporter 
for creating the bug (which might have been hours) are wasted.

Note that this is not meant against the Debian GNOME maintainers.

It might be a lot of non-fun work to debug an issue, especially
if it is something like a random segfault.

The time people are able and willing to spend on Debian is limited,
and noone can be forced to work on anything.

There would not even be any realistic way to deliver a fix - updates to 
stable are handled very restrictively in Debian, and the second-best 
option of using backports is in practive impossible for software like 
GNOME where updating one package does (due to upstream dependencies) 
often require updating two dozen other packages as well.

So allowing users to report bugs against stable does often already
create unrealistic expectations like "someone will look at the bug"
or even "the bug will be fixed in stable".

Policies for updating stable can be changed, but I do not see where to 
suddenly find the huge amount of people with the skills, spare time and 
enthusiasm to properly debug all issues reported against the ancient 
software [1] the users of Debian stable are using.


[1] all software in stable is currently at least 2 years old,
    for GNOME that is 4 major releases


       "Is there not promise of rain?" Ling Tan asked suddenly out
        of the darkness. There had been need of rain for many days.
       "Only a promise," Lao Er said.
                                       Pearl S. Buck - Dragon Seed

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