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Re: How Buster release may affect Unstable?

On Mon, 1 Jul 2019 15:34:55 -0400
Default User <hunguponcontent@gmail.com> wrote:

> Well, a recent thread about encrypted file systems got me to thinking.
> What if a new Stable release introduces a major change to the existing
> distribution technology or methodology?
> For example, a new default filesystem is introduced.  

That's happened a couple of times in my experience. Nothing changes on
an upgraded system, you are just offered the new one as a default on a
new installation. The old default will not be dropped for at least one
more release cycle, usually much longer with something as fundamental as
a filesystem.

> Or something
> like systemd infects the distribution or its rate of metastasis
> accelerates, etc.  Or an important package management system or
> communication protocol is superseded or falls into disuse, or is
> simply abandoned by its developers or maintainers.

Presumably, apt-get will be dropped one day, but apt is already the
preferred system, with more functionality than apt-get.

> I was wondering if an existing Unstable setup could diverge so far
> from Stable that major surgery would be necessary, or even complete
> replacement with Stable, followed by conversion to contemporaneous
> Unstable.

Debian's main selling point is that a Stable can *always* be upgraded
in place to the next version, so that kind of incompatibility does not
arise. You may need to use a new configuration file for some
applications: keeping the old one often works, but not always. You
can't rely on an upgrade going perfectly on a first try, it's always
worth trying it on a spare machine if at all possible, but there's
always a way of doing it.

Some packages are dropped (i.e. not just a new version introduced) but
the obsolete package will not be removed without explicit permission. It
just wouldn't be available to a new installation.

Certainly, Unstable moves away from a new Stable until it is pretty
much the next Stable, which usually involves major changes. But the
old way of doing things can usually be used for a while. Do expect
rapid and large changes in Unstable and Testing when a new Stable is
born, there's always a backlog of new packages that are *not*
compatible with the former Testing. This also happens when Testing is


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