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For those unfamiliar with the project, etch-and-a-half has the goal of making the existing etch release work on more hardware, but with minimal risk to existing etch users.
This will be done by *adding* new kernel packages to the existing release. Kernel selection isn't final yet - the kernel team would like to use 2.6.24 if it proves itself stable in time; 2.6.22 is the backup choice.
etch-and-a-half isn't restricted to kernel updates by-definition; new X drivers, or proven-safe X driver updates are reasonable candidates as well (though at this point, no changes have been proposed).
An oft-asked question is around updating desktop packages, e.g. new versions of GNOME/KDE. This is beyond the scope of etch-and-a-half because it introduces a great deal more change than just additional hardware support, its wouldn't be a transparent upgrade to existing etch users, and we cannot say with a high level of confidence that it wouldn't introduce regressions for existing users.
That said - a localized change to a package that adds support for new hardware and clearly doesn't break existing hardware is a valid candidate for any stable release. Such requests should be submitted to the SRM team like any other stable update request.
The current plan for etch and a half is to release as part of a point release. 4.0r4 is the planned point release, since 4.0r3 is planned to have a quick turnaround to fix issues with 4.0r2. This means that pre-release bits will be made available via proposed-updates - testers are greatly appreciated.
There is no plan to add support for etch-and-a-half to the etch branch of d-i. Rather, support will likely be added in a beta of the lenny installer.
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