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Re: Benefits (and risks) of using Sid

On Tue, 05 Aug 2008 14:09:34 +0100
andy <geek_show@dsl.pipex.com> wrote:

> Hi all
> This is just a general enquiry about the benefits of using Sid on a 
> desktop or a workstation. Aside from obtaining up-to-the-minute software 
> (and related patches), are there any other benefits to using Sid? I am 
> aware of the risks - i.e. frequently broken applications - but to be 
> honest, how often does this happen?
> Any thoughts (no flames please - I recycled my asbestos suit!!)
> Cheers
> Andy

I used sid at home and at work for seven years before I got a kid and switched
to stable :).

In my experience, there are great benefits in using sid if you are alone or
one of a few GNU/Linux users in a huge windows network like I am at work. Every
month or so, there's something new that you're supposed to be able to deal
with. It can be some new windows communications software, a new printer, a new
file format or some other stuff. Using sid helps you deal with that much better
than stable does. Also, sid is fun. Stable is boring :).

Sid does break stuff though, but this need not be a huge problem. I did two
things that saved my ass when things got really borked. First, I made sure I
had console tools for basic stuff ready and configured: links, mutt, latex etc.
That way you can still surf the web and produce nice documents should graphics
break down. Second, I kept a backup partition where I duplicated my sid system
manually every time I felt that "wow, right now, sid is working almost
flawlessly". If things broke at a real inconvenient time, I just booted the
backup system. Other than that, I just updated every day except when I knew
beforehand that it would be a rough day.

Keeping an eye on what gets updated is a good idea too. If you see a move from
xfree86 to xorg, maybe you should check the lists before updating.


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