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Re: Running testing? -- read this.

Damon L. Chesser a écrit :
On Thu, 2008-06-05 at 15:19 +0100, thveillon.debian wrote:
Damon L. Chesser a écrit :
I'm just an average Testing user, have been for a while, and around me almost every Debian users I know are using Testing, mostly because it's the Debian's flavour which can compare with other distros in term of being usable on a reasonably new computer, with up-to-date softwares. Stable is for servers only, Testing for end users / workstations, that is what's in many people's minds. I thought Sid was the toy-breaking one, at least it says "unstable" on the box, it's explicit.

Unstable means packages, versions change, often daily.  Stable means the
both the packages and the versions will not change (security updates
excepted and some backports).  Unstable is NOT a reference to usability.
Again I point you to http://www.us.debian.org/releases/ to read the definition of unstable.
"the edge" is often called "the bleeding edge" because, contrary to many
(*young?*) users beliefs, newer does not mean better.  New means new,
unknown, never before found bugs.

Testing has became so popular that it can barely be considered a developer-only version, and according to my experience (i use it for work, along with Ubuntu stations... scary no ?) it has always been at least as reliable as Ubuntu.

Testing has always been popular to run.  The reason is you have three
distributions to run, Stable (sounds good!)  Testing (it is one better
then Stable!) and Unstable (ooooooo, scary!  I don't want an unstable
box!!!!).  If Stable is GOOD, then Testing is one better and must be
better still (it has NEWER packages!), but Unstable must not work well,
the applications keep locking up.

This is fundamentally wrong. The assumption that the Debian distribution
is linear from Stable -> Testing->Unstable is faulty.  It is in fact
just the reverse:  Unstable-->Testing-->replaces at some point Stable.

Ubuntu is not a snapshot of Testing, it is a snapshot of Unstable
(AFAIK, I will not stake my life on this) with "fixes" applied.  Debian
Unstable with out those "fixes" works just fine for me (I do run ubuntu
from time to time, I get tired of configing my system to run the way I
want and ubuntu works the way I like).  If you want the bleeding edge,
like FC9, Mandriva, OpenSuse and all the others out there, you want Sid.
You will also get the pleasure of finding all the bugs, finding upgrades
that you should NOT perform and will have to wait a week to get the
latest mix of packages that will work.
But unlike FC9 and the ilk, you only have to wait a few days, upgrade,
dist-upgrade and that nasty application is fixed, nasty bug is gone.  In
the rpm-based distro, you will need to re-install to some point release,
or wait for the point release and then run yum/pup/whatever.

This does not mean that Testing is bug free.  Far from it.  Many bugs
are in Testing and are found after packages are moved into Testing.  If
they are bad enough, the packages are "yanked" out of Testing, resulting
in the OP message to this list.  When that happens, "nobody cares".
Testing is working as it was designed to do.  Weed out all the bugs so
that all the packages work to form a new nucleus that will (once it is
hammered out) be issued as a new Stable.
If you jump on Testing just after a Stable release, you may be in for a
rough ride as sudden and frequent changes are dumped in from Unstable.
The reason being:  There is a freeze before a release and nothing is
added to Testing and all the bugs are worked out. When the freeze is
lifted, all the packages from Unstable that qualify are moved into
testing.  If you jump on Testing in mid to lates stream then the ride
will be mostly smooth.  Unstable stays pretty much the same level of fun
and excitement through out.

If Testing works for you, Great!  You will however find times when it
will break or packages are not to be found (hmmmm, sounds just like


Thank for the detailed and constructive answer, looks like I have to install a Stable+Backport box just in case... I am not that much obsessed with the latest release of whatever, but I have to admit that I do enjoy "the life of eternal upgrade" as being a lot of fun for week-ends in between no-upgrade boring weeks of work...

"3.1.2. The life with eternal upgrade :

Despite of my warnings above, I know, many readers of this document wish to run the testing or unstable suites of Debian system as their main Desktop system since they work very well for the Desktop purpose with the latest features. It takes no more than simply set the distribution string in the /etc/apt/sources.list to the suite: testing or unstable; or the codename: lenny or sid.

This will let you live *the life of eternal upgrade*."

Of course this is a quote from http://people.debian.org/%7Eosamu/pub/getwiki/html/index.en.html .

I just which Testing is more a "stable minus something" than a "Unstable plus something" (if it means anything).

And since I entered the Gnu-Linux world with rpm based distro (community ones, not "boxed" versions) I have the feeling that they all are in the shape Testing is (and yes, some wish they were...), that's why it felt natural to use it.

So "please don't break my system to often/badly" is what I meant, and of course keep making Debian the best os ever ;-)



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