Re: next debian stable ?
Mark Roach wrote:
I think that two years is a perfectly reasonable amount of time between
From a software-engineering perspective, I agree in principle. But when
it comes to Linux, the pace of development outstrips this principle in
practice. Two years is at least 2 lifetimes in the Linux world.
I think that the difference in opinion is the difference between
"enthusiasts" who enjoy constantly upgrading to the bleeding edge and
admins who want a stable and consistent platform across their systems.
I definitely fall under the enthusiast category for my home system, but
for the systems I admin that have to continue to work, even 6 months is
too frequent for large upgrades.
I'm in between. My problem -- I guess this is the consensus of the
replies: that's it's just *my* problem -- is that I want to focus on one
(1) distro, and so I want something that I don't have to upgrade every 6
months, or even a year, but something that I can stay current with if I
think it's worth it to actually do the upgrade.
The current system caters to both groups in my opinion. If you desire
the latest and greatest of all or most software packages, you probably
wouldn't be using stable even if it was only three months old, am I
right? I know many people started complaining about the lack of X 4.2
and KDE 3.1 packages after only a couple of weeks.
I guess my question is does "stable" really matter to you? If so, why?
Yes it does. A lot. I upgraded my workstation to "unstable" *twice* and
uninstalled it both times because I couldn't stand that some things were
broken. "Yeah, well that's what you get for running unstable." True, but
that's also the only way I can get the new features of KDE, which, it
may be said, I don't *have* to have, but I *like* them.
Let's take a concrete example. I have a Palm Tungsten. Now, someone else
in another thread already gave me the, "Oh you poor baby; you're new toy
doesn't work." Thanks. Lotta help there, buddy. This sort of jealousy
will turn off those with thinner skins. To get this to work, I need a
2.4.20 or later kernel. Since I am unwilling to live in unstable, I
tried testing. But not even testing has precompiled kernels for SMP
machines. Plus, it has the added bonus of NOT HAVING THE SOURCE EITHER.
So I downloaded the raw sources, but I suck at compiling kernels.
(Throughout the 8 years I've used Linux, my success rate probably stands
at 30%.) So now I have a testing system that STILL can't do what I need
it to do. My fault? Yeah. But I don't have this problem with any other
distro. Maybe there's more kernel stuff I could pull in from sid, but
that's just asking for trouble. Which brings me to...
Someone else was saying that they loved Debian for the "ease of
administration." Er, right. For years, I've heard how great apt was. Now
that I've subjected myself to it for a couple weeks, I can honestly say
that I don't get it. It's NOT just about `apt-get dist-upgrade'. Which,
by the way, didn't complete correctly for me going from stable to
testing, and I see other posts on this list that say the same thing. So
while this may or may not be a great thing, there's still how to
configure the packages after they're installed or upgraded. I personally
*like* how Debian gets out of your way and leaves you to admin your
system in the way that the package authors intended, but this is NOT an
*easy* way to admin the system. Red Hat and SuSE (I've not tried
Mandrake enough to comment on it) both have done some really great work
here 1) making reasonable assumptions about what you're likely to do
with the system and 2) making some nice front-ends for the basics.
I'm "typing" into the wind here. It's helping me, if nothing else, to
settle my thinking about the whole business. I'm going to install SuSE
on my servers and see how I like that for a few weeks. I think the
bottom line is that if SuSE pulls a Red Hat, and seriously changes the
terms of their releases, I'll just go to Gentoo, where I can get all the
pick-and-choose of what I want to run, plus the ability to run the
latest and greatest if that's what I settle on. Yeah, I have to wait for
it to compile, but I guess I can live with that for the opportunity to
run at any level of software I determine. The Gentoo folks have recently
introduced a "testing" branch in their system as well. Sure, they're
just wrapping original sources with some patches and a build script, but
really, that's all Debian is doing as well. I'm not convinced that
Debian's "quality" is any better than any other system that's two years
old. Red Hat 7.3 was a fantastic system, and perfectly solid for me.
That's about the level of the software in stable these days. So I don't
understand it when people say that "stable" is stable because it's been
hacked on by the Debian maintainers. Yeah, I guess that's partly true,
but I think what's taking so long is this dogged determination for the
distro to run on everything from HP's and Sun's to PDA's, and for it to
all be committed en masse. That appeals to the idealist in me, but it's
looking like my inner idealist isn't as big as the average Debian