[nSLUG] Debian nomenclature drift [novice]

Ben Armstrong synrg at sanctuary.nslug.ns.ca
Sat Feb 25 13:12:18 AST 2006


On Sat, 2006-02-25 at 11:16 -0500, Stephen Gregory wrote:
> What do you mean by "doing nothing?" In addition to what Ben wrote, if
> you haven't updated your apt package lists (apt-get update) then you
> are still running sarge.

I kind of assumed Bob had, which is why, even though I thought about
mentioning this, I didn't bother.

> Because of this drifting problem I encourage everyone to use the
> release codenames (Sarge, Etch, Sid) in apt/sources.list. This is not
> the default, you need to change it yourself with a text editor.

To call it a "problem" is just one perspective.  If you've decided you
want to run a "stable" distribution, and that's the most important
thing, then in /etc/apt/sources.list you should have "stable".  When the
new release comes out and you update your system, you'll get the new
release automatically without messing around with release codenames.
Likewise, if you are with "testing" because you want to stay with the
cutting edge, but aren't quite so brave as to track "unstable", then
leaving it in sources.list as "testing" is fine.  And finally, for the
developer-types like me, or intrepid bleeding-edge people, "unstable" is
perfectly appropriate -- indeed, switching to "sid" doesn't change
matters at all since "sid" never releases.

It's only a problem if the reason you're using a particular release is
so that you won't be surprised someday when you cross the release
boundary and find your system upgraded to the next release.  Production
enterprise servers often need to be nailed down to a particular release
for that reason.  I suspect the majority the systems we on this list run
are not in this category.

So in the end, you have to decide for yourself if you want a "stable"
system, a "testing" system, a "sarge" system or an "etch" system, and
then state this in /etc/apt/sources.list.  I don't think Debian's
default is unreasonable, while I do understand that the default is not
what some people want, and Debian doesn't flag it as a potential problem
and make you choose up front, which they probably should.

Ben


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