Re: this question

When a bug is reported against a package in a released version of Ubuntu and a fix is being developed, a tentatively fixed version of the affected package may be uploaded to the -proposed section of the repositories (e.g., disco-proposed) for testing purposes. Because such packages are still under development and not officially released, questions about them should be treated similarly to questions about development releases of Ubuntu (i.e., as off-topic).

In the linked question, the reason why linux-image-generic cannot be upgraded to version is that that version depends on the package linux-image-5.0.0-22-generic, but for some reason that package is not available. (More precisely, a 64-bit version of that package is not available.)

firas@itsuki ~ $ sudo apt --dry-run install linux-image-generic=
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
Some packages could not be installed. This may mean that you have
requested an impossible situation or if you are using the unstable
distribution that some required packages have not yet been created
or been moved out of Incoming.
The following information may help to resolve the situation:

The following packages have unmet dependencies:
 linux-image-generic : Depends: linux-image-5.0.0-22-generic but it is not installable
E: Unable to correct problems, you have held broken packages.
firas@itsuki ~ $ apt-cache policy linux-image-5.0.0-22-generic
  Installed: (none)
  Candidate: 5.0.0-22.23
  Version table:
     5.0.0-22.23 500
        500 http://fr.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu disco-proposed/main i386 Packages

This problem and many others like it are inherent to the development nature of -proposed; they also occur regularly in development releases, but virtually never in supported releases with only officially released packages. Therefore, because -proposed causes the same sort of issues as development releases, it should be off-topic for the same reasons development releases are off-topic.

Note that the linked question, where a package is so spectacularly broken it can't even be installed, is merely an example of the sort of issues that can happen when one uses -proposed as if it were a normal section of the repositories (and not for its intended purpose of testing individual packages). More generally, if you always install everything in -proposed, you end up with a system that contains development, unreleased versions of some packages, sometimes critical ones (disco-proposed currently contains development versions of, among others, dpkg and openssl, not to mention the broken kernel), and you may not even know it.

If we reject as off-topic any question about development releases just because they are development releases, there is no reason to not do the same about systems where -proposed is enabled.

  • 4
    But why not just post this as an answer to the question instead? The question wasn't about installing this package, the OP was trying to understand why it wasn't possible. So this question would essentially be precisely the answer they were looking for. – terdon Jul 25 at 7:01
  • @terdon I believe that the question is off-topic (for the reasons stated) and that off-topic questions should not be answered, but of course anyone is free to disagree and post the answer if they wish. Would you have answered the question if it was abut a dev release? – fkraiem Jul 25 at 7:13
  • @terdon Incidentally, disco-proposed also has a development version of dpkg (among others), so since the OP of the linked question seems to have a fully upgraded (except for the kernel) system including disco-proposed, they are running a development, unreleased version of dpkg. Do we want to support that? What if it were a bug in that dpkg that caused the issue? – fkraiem Jul 25 at 7:28
  • 2
    No, my point is that the question was: "I'm not particularly fussed about getting this package. Just curious as to why this happened, as I've never experienced it before.". So it isn't asking how to install a dev package or anything, the OP is just wondering what's special about this package. And you have explained it perfectly. – terdon Jul 25 at 7:55
  • @terdon The point of this question goes beyond the linked one, though, but I didn't make this very clear. See edit. – fkraiem Jul 25 at 8:13
  • Downvoters feel free to answer with a rebuttal if you actually think we should support -proposed. ;) – fkraiem Jul 25 at 8:33
  • 1
    I didn't downvote this question, but I support -proposed in order to encourage productive discussion about fixing existing bugs. Bugs are a great nuisance and at times are accompanied by security issues that like an octopus can get their tentacles into the file system. – karel Jul 27 at 8:37

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