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Re: Can I stay in testing without going etch?

On Sat, May 20, 2006 at 11:10:13AM -0500, Owen Heisler wrote:
> On Thu, 2006-05-18 at 23:37 -0400, Roberto C. Sanchez wrote:
> > Adam Hardy wrote:
> > > 
> > > You mean 'testing' and 'etch' are interchangeable as far as the
> > > sources.list entry goes?
> > > 
> > > 
> > 
> > lrwxrwxrwx    1 200      200             4 Jun 06  2005 testing -> etch
> > 
> > The stable/testing/unstable names are just symlinks to the actual
> > codenames.  So for now, testing and etch are the same.  Once etch is
> > released, the symlinks will be upadted and testing will no longer be etch.
> > 
> > -Roberto
> I have been following this thread as I am working on switching to
> Debian, and have just these questions:
> If I install Debian stable and have "stable" in the sources.list file,
> will updates keep happening, even across releases?  I think it would be
> great it I never had to reinstall, yet could still have a completely
> up-to-date system.
> Also, is the same true for unstable and testing?

It seems to me that once you have an installed Debian system you
should never have to reinstall unless you b0rk things so bad that you
can't run anything (like maybe deleting the whole of libc might do it,
but I don't know). The relases work more or less like this. 

There are three (well 4 with experimental, 5 with oldstable) targets
you can point at stable, testing and unstable. If you point at one of
these you will always point at one of these. If you choose stable, you
will always be stable, which means yes, when the next stable is
released you will point to it and suffer through a massive, though
supposedly smooth, upgrade. You can also point to the release names:
woody (oldstable), sarge (stable), etch (testing) or sid
(unstable). If you point at the release name, you will follow that
release through its cycle. that means essentially that you won't
suffer through a massive "all-at-once" sort of upgrade like you would
see if you tracked stable. But it also means you will gradually drift
more and more out of date, especially once your release becomes
stable. Once it moves into stable, you only get security fixes, more
or less and then once you move into oldstable, probably less. So if
you point to etch (currently testing) it will eventually settle down,
move into stable and then ultimately oldstable. The exception to this
is sid. sid always points to unstable.

Think of it like standing at a conveyor belt grabbing things off it as
it goes by. There are three spots where you can grab things labeled
unstable, testing and stable. If you stand in one place, as new things
come down the belt you can grab them. Or you can jump onto the
conveyer belt and ride along with it. This would be the equivalent of
picking a release (etch, sarge whatever). If you try and jump on the
conveyor belt at sid, it just kicks you off again at unstable. bad
analogy  probably, but it works for me. 

To answer you question, yes, you can not reinstall and through regular
updates, have an always up-to-date system. There is LOTS of
information out there about this. Try www.debian.org


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