Packaging wine-development on Debian

Kyle Auble kyle.auble at
Fri Jul 24 03:27:47 CDT 2015

On 07/23/2015 04:29 PM, Nathan Schulte wrote:
> On 07/23/2015 05:23 PM, Kyle Auble wrote:
>> Sorry for the goofy formatting. One day Thunderbird doesn't wrap 
>> anything for me, the next it's cutting my lines short. I'm resending 
>> my message, hopefully with better formatting this time.

> As a fellow Icedove user, I can say that you're not the only one who 
> runs up against this.  It's especially hairy for me around re-wrapping 
> quoted content; I think I just don't understand how it works.

I think that sometimes the packagers or developers change default 
settings between releases; I used to have that all the time with Firefox 
on Ubuntu. Apparently by default, the current Jessie version of Icedove 
wraps plain-text emails at 72 characters once you send them, but 
automatically unwraps them if you read them. You have to go to the 
config editor if you want to change that.

>> If I understand everything, I think the main reason the wine team 
>> still bothers with a stable release is for distros like Debian Stable 
>> or Redhat.

> Does Wine treat Stable this way?  In that it receives 
> bugfixes/security updates (from Development, mainline) that are 
> applicable to making it more stable/secure?  From the release log, it 
> looks like Stable is basically dead; the last release was well over a 
> year ago.

The impression I get is that the wine project itself treats stable a 
little differently. Unless someone finds an egregious security issue in 
wine itself, it seems like the consensus is to keep wine-stable as inert 
as possible and let packagers apply their own minor patches on top.

It could be because so many features are still being improved, and 
there's still an expectation that the development release is more likely 
to work for your program anyway. Also, since wine works with so many 
other components on the system, it might be hard to assign blame to wine 
or the environment alone in a lot of cases. In that situation, it kind 
of makes sense to delegate minor, post-release fixes to the distros.

>> I wonder though why the maintainers went with a separate 
>> wine-development package instead of just pointing the wine package in 
>> testing & unstable to the development release, then offering that to 
>> stable through Backports.

> We can always loop them in and ask: 
> pkg-wine-party at
> It seems like the packaging in Debian of both Wine Stable and Wine 
> Development as different "packages" in their own right was the wrong 
> choice.

So I looked into it a little more, and it's arguably not so much a 
choice as the natural result of an improvement to the packaging on 
Debian. Apparently, there was traditionally a wine-unstable package in 
testing & unstable, it would conflict with an install of stable wine, 
and its packaging code is separate from the stable wine package's. The 
Debian packagers decided in the past year or so to change the name of 
wine-unstable to wine-development. At the same time though, someone put 
in a lot of work and managed to make the two packages capable of 
coinstallation via update-alternatives. This bug report gives a pretty 
good overview:

I guess after doing that, they figured, "Why not offer both packages for 
Jessie? They don't conflict." I'm still going to ask on the mail-list 
about possibly having a Backports version though (plus I have some other 
questions related to multi-arch). While the difference between 
wine-development and wine is a little confusing at first, I don't think 
that's the real problem. In my mind, putting wine-development in the 
stable repo is self-defeating; you lose most of a development branch's 
value if it doesn't track upstream closely, and wine-development on 
Jessie is still stuck in last October.

- Kyle

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