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Re: Which distro for workstations?

Mike Bird wrote:

> Updating Testing workstations has proved to be much more
> time-consuming than expected.

> In the last four months there have been approx 13,000
> package updates in Testing, of which approx 1,000
> applied to a typical workstation here.
> During the same period there were approx 800 package
> updates in Stable, of which approx 160 applied to a
> typical workstation here.

There is a big difference between the two. The updates to stable almost
always work without breaking other components on the system. That is, you
can be safe in thinking that there are no new bugs introduced into your

The updates to testing do not always work. Even if they work, many of these
upgrades consist of "new upstream releases". Rest assured, you can be sure
that your systems now have more bugs than they were before.

I am strongly against the idea of using testing or Sid for production
systems. Use Debian Stable if you want to get things done without worrying
about your OS.

> Unfortunately, we only have one workstation that can run
> Stable.  Some need Testing and most need a combination
> of Testing and Unstable.  In particular, xserver-xorg 7.3
> is only available in Unstable although Ubuntu is already
> shipping 7.3 in their long-term-support release.  We often
> have to use an Unstable kernel too, although that's not
> currently the case.

Please explain. Based on your other posts on the list, I imagine you know
what you are doing. But for non-insiders like me, it is not clear why
stable does not work for you? Is it hardware recognition problem or some
software related issue? If it is one or two packages, then backports might
help (or custom built packages for that matter).

For example, On my production system I use Etch. But I need latest software
related to numerical analysis (octave, maxima, gfortran etc.,), plotting
capabilities (gnuplot), typesetting capabilities (latex, texmacs) etc., So
I run stable for the most part and compile the other packages myself or
pull them from testing, unstable, backports as and when necessary. But
after installing these packages I redirect my sources.list back to Stable
so that no updates from testing/unstable get into my system inadvertantly.
I can use apt-pinning etc., but I like the manual method (may be I am a
masochist :-))

> We could (a) continue using Debian Testing, or (b) try
> Ubuntu (again), or (c) ... ?

You can try Ubuntu. But so far my experience with users who shifted from
Debian to Ubuntu tells me that they will eventually come back to Debian
after a year or so. May be Debian is some kind of black hole with infinite
attracting power :-) LOL!


Kamaraju S Kusumanchi

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