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Confused about installations - overlaying a "testing" package into a "stable" install

Hello. I'm a long time unix/linux geek, debian newbie. And I'm confused about installs.

I understand that the "stable" distribution line is intended to be a series of integrated packages.

I understand that "testing" is a set of newer packages, which have met a set of stability criterion which make them plausible candidates for an upcoming "stable" release, presuming they survive a burn in period.

So I have a stable installation. And I'm interested in trying/using a particular package from "testing".

Must I create an entirely fresh "testing" install? Or should I be able to simply overlay my package of interest by adding lines for the "testing" repositories in my /etc/apt/sources.list and doing "apt-get update && apt-get install newpackage"?

As in, is this a reasonable thing to expect to be able to do?

I tried it, but apt-get wanted to remove all of my kernels. And somehow, without replacing them, I can't believe this is the right thing to do, so I interrupted the install.

But if this isn't the right way to go about using a package from "testing", then how are they expected to be used?


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