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I have been reading articles and such indicating people are frustrated by the fact that Debian Stable (woody) is three years old, and criticizing Debian's release cycle as too slow. I have even heard people talking about leaving the distro for Ubuntu or some other Debian-based distro.
Do you think the Debian release cycle sucks, and if so why? I just don't understand why a distro has to release a completely new version (normally with few improvements) every six months to be cool.
I personally think the release cycle is perfect as it is. First, the upgrade path never requires a complete system rebuild, short of three simple commands. Second, there are three versions of Debian, one old stable dinosaur (Woody), one moderately advanced and still rock solid distro (Sarge), and "unstable" (Sid), which is bleeding-edge and risky. While it is called unstable, I have found Sid to be as stable, if not more so, than Fedora, SuSE, and Mandrake ever were on the machine below.
Yes. Basically Debian is trying to break the mould of overlong periods of "stable" releases.
I think that's good in a way. But I still feel that sticking to the old model will be better at least for now. I think that the strict control over what is a "stable" version and what is "testing" is what keeps Debian Debian. The repository maintenance and update process is rock-solid as a result of the strict standards set by the community.
Users still have the option of using "testing" or "unstable" if they want up-to-date versions.
I don't think the long release cycle is a problem. Though it takes time, Debian Stable is almost unbreakable and that's what most people want in a production server OS, not the latest-and-greatest experimental features.
Now desktop users, on the other hand, do want all the cool new toys as soon as they are available. This naturally results in some stability/security risks that, while not optimal for a server, most desktop users don't mind taking.
There are plenty of free Debian-based distros aimed at the desktop (Mepis, Ubuntu, Progeny) as well as several commercial offerings (Xandros, Linspire, Lycoris, Libranet).
Personaly, I use Ubuntu and have been very happy with it. Without Debian none of these other distros I mentioned would exist. However, if Debian did not have such high standards I doubt it would ever have become as popular as it is.
Each distro has a niche to fill in the Linux community. It's up to us, the users, to pick the one that best meets our needs
I tried a few different Debian-based distros and found them all lacking. Ubuntu I just didn't like the way it is setup by default. The only one that impresses me is Knoppix, which of course rules the live-cd world for good reason (just my opinion). Each time I try a debian-based distro I always seem to ditch it for the mother distro, which in my opinion is the perfect Linux distro. No assumptions, you make it what you want out of it.
In response to nixcraft, I saw the slashdot article but was looking for a more intellectual less-troll happy place to discuss this than the under-the-bridge type discussions at /. :-)
For the Ubuntu users, what is it that makes you prefer it to debian? I just don't see it.
But which Debian. Would you consider Sid to be "behind" the other major distros, like say Fedora or SuSE? Obviously Woody is at about the same level as Red Hat 7, but Sid and even Sarge are way ahead in terms of software versions. I think that may be the problem. People use the term Debian, but there is more than one Debian, with the only similarities that I can see being the name and apt.
I just use unstable. Don't have any problems with it for my desktop. The few packages I checked if I had the most recent version were the latest stable ones as well in SID. And well somebody has to test before it goes into stable.
Originally posted by Pcghost For the Ubuntu users, what is it that makes you prefer it to debian? I just don't see it.
I agree that some of the defaults in Ubuntu are annoying, but over all I think it gives you a quick, simple install of a basic desktop system. It fits on a single CD and includes all of the programs that the average user needs regularly. If you find that something you want is missing you can simply apt-get it from Ubuntu or Debian repositories.
In my opinion Ubuntu has done a best job of any major distro at finding a balance between user/newbie friendliness while not feeling overly restrictive to more experience Linux users.
Debian is great if you have the time and knowledge required for tinkering and tweaking, but if Linux ever gains widespread acceptance on the desktop it will be features like these that will make it happen.
Personally, I think that the "release cycle" thing is vastly over-rated. A number of us here (in the *nix world) state that having to upgrade to the latest Windows release is why they have switched.
As long as the individual packages are kept up to date, there is no real reason to get the latest version - unless you like to keep continually reinstalling (as I do ). Really and ideally, the only reason to get the latest release is because there is no longer support available for your distro. And by that, I also include package updates.
That's exactly what I was thinking when I switched to Debian. SuSE is so concerned about release cycles that when it comes down to it, are not entirely new versions, but simply newer packages added to the same base. It seems to me that SuSE is trying to follow the proprietary software markets business model in an open source market.
With Debian, you can run the latest and greatest version of package foo or leave it alone if it works ok. The Debian kernel recompile process is smooth and simple. My first attempt at recompiling a Debian kernel (for myth tv/ivtv) worked the first time. Call me stupid but I could never seem to recompile a SuSE kernel without screwing up the system.
I see what you were saying about a smooth "debian" install from a single disk with Ubuntu, but has that been possible forever by doing a hard drive install of Knoppix? Or is Ubuntu the Gnome-Knoppix.
As far as desktop speed, the machine below seems to operate (boot, and running) far faster than any version of SuSE, Fedora, etc that I have tried so far. Of course I am running a streamlined kernel (only what is needed, removed what is not) on the system.
I just hope the Debian developers don't muck up the system they have and cause me to upgrade all the freakin time like SuSE did. I am on Satellite and am limited to 169MB every four hours. Doing an upgrade from Sarge to Sid took me days to complete the apt-get dist-upgrade.
The Debian release cycle is slow for sure, but it looks far worse than it would due to the vast number of distros now that provide cutting edge packages ASAP. I'm using SuSE 8.2 for a NFS and SAMBA server and have been quite content with the patches provided. On the other hand, I enjoy running slackware as my desktop because it provides a good balance between new and stable (as in not buggy) software.
If I were using SuSE 8.2 as a desktop, I would be disappointed in that SuSE does not upgrade the packages it provides in the release - only patches those versions with security fixes. That being said, I have it installed on my desktop as one of the distros I can boot to and it works quite well even if the packages are older versions.
I have been using linux for 3 years and there has been, IMHO, a lot of progress/change in the GNU software that comes with the distros. While I am unable to compare to what things were like prior to when I first started, it has seemed like a mjority of the upgrades have been worth performing (not just cosmetic) and I have been happily upgrading as soon as things have become available.
Lately though I am becoming weary of all the upgrading - after all, I just upgraded from 98SE to 2000 4 months ago - and I think I am going to get off the upgrade bandwagon and start to be far more selective with what I change.
The point of all this is that, while maybe Debian is taking things a little to far, there are those that are benefitted by a stable (as in non-changing) release. They fullfill a need. If the need is not one of yours (to no one in particular), then a change in distros may be in order.
"When Sarge will be released, it will demonstrate once more that Debian isn't keen on implementing half-hearted solutions or will release without the distribution, the archive and security support in perfect shape," Debian developer Martin "Joey" Schluze said. "This is one of the most important differences to commercial distributions where stuff will be released when the time has come."
"Debian will release the distribution when it is ready and when the infrastructure is in place," he said.