[Bioc-devel] Distinction between release and devel package websites

Andrzej Oleś andrzej.oles at gmail.com
Wed Jul 23 01:10:54 CEST 2014

Hi Dan, Michael, Julian,

Thank's for keeping the links to the tarballs!

I don't argue that mixing release and devel is a good idea in general.
Rather, that for some users this might be the best compromise between
the following two objectives:
1. a stable working environment
2. the possibility to use or just quickly check a specific new feature
available in the devel version of package X

Switching entirely to devel is quite often a no-no for them because of
the unstable nature of the devel branch. And maintaining both release
and devel only adds to their frustration. As a developer I would like
to have the freedom to advise people on using the latest devel version
of my package regardless of whether they are running release or devel
if I think that this is safe for them, which is typically the case for
many upstream packages without (many) reverse dependencies. I don't
see the point of unnecessary obstructing this approach and I'm not
sure I understand why there is such an outrage about mixing release
and devel. In contrary, quite often this can be much safer than
switching between BioC branches. I personally do not want to find
myself in a position when I advice a user to switch to BioC devel
because of some new function from my package he/she would like to give
a try only to learn that this broke his/hers scripts (due to the
changes in some other packages).

To sum up, I believe that mixing release and devel might be beneficial
in some specific cases similar to the above described one and it's
important that the infrastructure allows leveraging this approach,
e.g. by providing direct access to devel tarballs.


On Tue, Jul 22, 2014 at 11:12 PM, Julian Gehring <julian.gehring at embl.de> wrote:
> Hi Andzrej,
> thank you, I see your point but I'm afraid I must disagree with you.
> I've had this situation numerous times that I have added/fixed
> something in the devel branch of a package and had to advice the users
> to use this latest version. Needless to say, they were typically using
> the release branch, and it was a relatively painless procedure for
> them to pick the tarball from the devel landing page and proceed with
> manual installation. Of course, this could be also achieved by
> installing from the svn, however, this is not very welcome from the
> user's perspective.
> I'm not sure I understand to need to mix devel and release.  If there is a
> bug in the release branch, it should be also patched there.  And if users
> need the features of the devel branch, they would have to switch to devel
> anyway.
> Best
> Julian

More information about the Bioc-devel mailing list