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Re: Unstable vs. Stable

On Thu, 20 Feb 1997, Daniel Robbins wrote:

> > jlarkin@aij.st.hmc.edu (John T. Larkin) writes:
> > 
> > > This was bad; everything linked with the x libraries couldn't run
> > > since they couldn't find the libraries. They had installed a bunch
> > > of X packages, so one of the packages should have been responsable
> > > for making sure that this line was added to /etc/ld.so.conf,
> > > correct?
> >
> > Yes, this has been fixed in unstable.
> Could someone please explain to me the difference between the         
> unstable and stable directories? Since it seems like all the bug      
> fixes go in unstable, isn't the unstable stuff more stable than       
> stable?                                                               

here's what i think the difference is:

use stable if you don't have a good net connection or if you dont have
the time or skills to cope with packaging problems. get it on cdrom and
upgrade once every few months when a new cd is pressed. You'll still run
into packaging problems but you'll only have to deal with them once ever
3 or 4 months. If you want to avoid the worst of the dependancy problems
wait until a few weeks after the stable release before upgrading to it -
until at least .3 or .5

use unstable if you have a decent net connection and the time & skill to
fix minor packaging hassles. upgrade once every week or so. or whenever
you feel like it. Often the upgrade will go smoothly with no problems
because there's only a dozen or so packages changed. Other times you'll
get a few minor problems which you might have to fix by hand with dpkg.
Every now and then you'll run into a real bad bug or major incompatible
change (e.g. bash 2.0 is stricter about POSIX conformance than 1.14, which
breaks many shell scripts), but mostly you'll be better off than if you
only upgrade at every new stable release.

I find that the longer you leave it between upgrades, the MORE problems you
are going to have.  And when you do finally upgrade, you get hit with
hundreds of problems at once, which is much worse than getting one or two
problems per week if you upgrade regularly from unstable.

In other words, I think that the stable release is sort of a "poor man's

If you dont have a good net connection, I'd recommend getting a freshly
burned CD with unstable on it once a month and upgrading from that. If
an updated package breaks, either re-install the earlier version from an
old CD or fetch the latest direct from one of the debian ftp site.


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