A Historical Analysis of Debian Package Incompatibilities

TitleA Historical Analysis of Debian Package Incompatibilities
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsMaelick, C, Tom, M, Robert, DC, Jerome, V
Secondary Title12th Working Conference on Mining Software Repositories (MSR 2015)

Users and developers of software distributions are often confronted with installation problems due to conflicting packages. A prototypical example of this are the Linux distributions such as Debian. Conflicts between packages have been studied under different points of view in the literature, in particular for the Debian operating system, but little is known about how these package conflicts evolve over time. This article presents an extensive analysis of the evolution of package incompatibilities, spanning a decade of the life of the Debian stable and testing distributions for its most popular architecture, i386. Using the technique of survival analysis, this empirical study sheds some light on the origin and evolution of package incompatibilities, and provides the basis for building indicators that may be used to improve the quality of package-based distributions.

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