[nSLUG] Time to upgrade the server OS...

Steven R. Baker srbaker at pobox.com
Wed Sep 15 11:14:10 ADT 2004

> My desktop at work was running Debian Woody (stable).  I was frustrated 
> that certain packages were quite far behind current releases, and I wanted 
> features present in newer versions.  So I decided to upgrade to 
> "testing".  I changed my /etc/apt/sources.list to reflect that, and 
> changed my cron-apt to not just download but install the packages 
> overnight.  When I came in the next day my system was a mess, apt-get was 
> generating all kinds of errors and wouldn't finish the upgrades without a 
> lot of intervention, and it took me most of a work day to get things 
> mostly working.  Some stuff still doesn't work right, and I swear I'm 
> going to fix it any day now...

Well, there are two things that you did wrong.

First, you upgraded to "testing", a distribution of Debian which is
known to be stability impaired.

Second, automating a distribution upgrade is *beyond* stupid.  Use
apt-get -d to download only automagically if you must, but take the
30-40 minutes out of your busy schedule to watch the package

I've done literally *hundreds* of woody->sarge upgrades and they all
went smoothly *because* I was watching and interfering where needed.

Distribution arguments are uninteresting to me because it seems like a
solved problem.  Every distribution supports a different type of user. 
Debian supports the advanced technical user; Fedora supports the desktop
user in need of frequent updates; RedHat and SuSE support corporate
users in different ways; Gentoo supports script kiddies.

Personally, I use Debian on everything that I run, and Fedora on
anything that I expect !me to *ever* use.  I've even been using Fedora
on a personal basis more often lately, too.



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