[nSLUG] Debian stable vs. testing

Robert Ashley rb.ashley at gmail.com
Sat Mar 11 17:23:29 AST 2006

On 3/11/06, Stephen Gregory <nslug at kernelpanic.ca> wrote:
> In the past month or some a couple members of the list have had
> problems with Debian/Testing (aka Etch). In Early February Richard
> attempted a ungrade on a Sun and recently Bob has run into
> difficulties. Debian/testing has several disadvantages and few
> advantages. Testing should not be used.

This interests me because back in May 2005 when I was asking around
here at nslug about a good first distro for a newbie, support seemed
1) to converge on Debian.
2) without guarded reservation about sarge-testing.

Oh yes, with an admonition...Don't go switching back and forth and
forth and back chasing distros!!

I followed the advice and I never had a single problem with

Is that because sarge at that time was near to being fully mature? It
was only a few months before sarge became stable. That's what I'm
getting from your text below, I think.

I deliberately held back on upgrading because I got the impression
that lots of people were having quirky troubles with etch.

> Debian/Testing is unstable. Both Bob and Richard had issues with
> X. This is to be expected. Moving from Xfree86 to Xorg is a major
> upgrade. There will be other issues. Watch for kernel upgrades in
> particular. Not only is Testing unstable but it does not recieve
> security updates in a timely fashion. Before a package can enter
> Testing it must enter Sid/Unstable and wait. I believe a package must
> be in Sid/Unstable for a minimum of two weeks before moving to
> Testing. It will wait longer if there are dependancy issues. This also
> means that if a broken package does move into Testing it can stay
> broken for at least two weeks.
> Because of the potential for instability and the relatively slow
> update process it is better to run Debian/Unstable. While there is
> breakage in Unstable it is usually fixed quickly. Of course upgrading
> from Sarge/stable to Sid/unstable will be full of breakage but it
> should not be any worst then upgradeing from Sarge to Etch.
> The advantage to Debian/Testing is access to newer versions of
> software. Currently this is not a great advantage. Debian/Sarge
> (stable) is less then a year old. The software is mostly up to
> date. If a user does require more recent software then they could use
> backports.org. This time last year there was a good reason to use
> Debian/Testing. Debian/woody/Stable was terribly outdated. Next year
> if Etch hasn't been released then maybe there will be a good reason to
> switch to Testing.
> At this time there is little advantage in running Debian/Testing. If
> the bleeding edge is desired then use Debian/Unstable. Otherwise use
> Debian/Sarge/Stable with backports.org if required.

Your critique has got me thinking. I could certainly venture the next
step going to Debian/Unstable. Might be fun. On the other hand, I have
no need for anything bleeding edge.

What I really need to learn is an email program and how to dump
command output into messages so I can work from the console/command
line. I'm laboriously typing everything from Linux screen on one box
to Gmail/Windows on another.

I'd say that makes me more broken than anything in Debian!

 Any suggestion?



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