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tensigh 08-14-2013 02:11 AM

For servers - switch from Debian to CentOS - your thoughts
I've run Debian (NOT Ubuntu) for years. I've had a number of problems with trying to upgrading certain packages like Postgresql because they rely on libraries or other packages that come on later versions of the distro. For example, I just tried to upgrade to PSQL 9 but I couldn't install it since I don't have gcc-4.4. In the past I have used Ubuntu for desktops and had the same issue.

Another place I worked at used CentOS and we didn't have much problems with libraries and software not installing. Is this an issue with Debian, or is it common among distros?

I'm not interested in compiling from source for packages (more library headaches) and I can't upgrade distros on production servers every few months. Since the whole point of servers is to be modular, it should be a relatively common task. Any suggestions?

273 08-14-2013 02:21 AM

In general you'll never get the latest version of any package in a stable distribution, since they rely upon tried and tested packages. Looking at Distro Watch I'd say you'd be in the same position with CentOS:

tensigh 08-14-2013 07:12 AM

I was afraid of that. Okay, I guess it's just a pain in the neck no matter what. It just strikes me as silly that I have to upgrade the entire OS just to get one or two packages sometimes.

DavidMcCann 08-14-2013 12:34 PM

Are you sure you really need to "upgrade" them? If Debian and Red Hat use a particular version, it's because it the latest version they consider sufficiently tested, or it depends on something that's the latest version they consider sufficiently tested.

snowpine 08-14-2013 01:08 PM

Here is an article that explains the concept in detail (written for Red Hat but also applies to CentOS, Debian Stable, Ubuntu LTS, etc.)

However, are you aware that Debian has both Testing and Unstable branches that offer newer versions of applications to users willing to accept the risk of less-tested software?

In other words, Debian gives you the choice of stable vs. "rolling release" depending on your needs and preferences. :)

szboardstretcher 08-14-2013 01:17 PM


However, are you aware that Debian has both Testing and Unstable branches that offer newer versions of applications to users willing to accept the risk of less-tested software?
And Centos/SL is the same way... if you start installing rpmforge/epel/rpmfusion, you can get newer program versions, but they are not tested to EL level, and are not blessed by Redhat themselves.

tensigh 08-14-2013 06:47 PM

Not entirely sure about upgrades
DavidMcCann - This is what happened this time; I needed to install Postgresql 9 on a Debian VM so we could test it before putting it on our production server. The Debian install was from last December so it was Squeeze not Wheezy. The only install available was 8.4, and even THAT wouldn't install because I had the wrong version of gcc (I needed something like and my VM had something like installed). Since upgrading gcc didn't work and this was just a VM, I figured my best bet was to upgrade to Wheezy, then install. Previously I found a Postgre 9.1 .deb file but the Debian site recommended using apt-get instead of installing the .deb, so I followed the recommendation. In a situation like this, what would you recommend?

Snowpine - thank you, I'll read that. I am aware of the testing verses stable versions. I figured if I installed something via apt-get it would be the stable version.

snowpine 08-14-2013 07:15 PM

Postgresql is at version 9 in Debian Stable (Wheezy) so you can easily install it with a single command.

In your scenario from last year, when you wanted to test 9 (but Wheezy hadn't been released yet, and postgresql was at 8 in Stable/Squeeze) you could have used Testing (Wheezy, at the time) or simply used Backports.


You are running Debian stable, because you prefer the Debian stable tree. It runs great, there is just one problem: the software is a little bit outdated compared to other distributions. This is where backports come in.

Backports are packages taken from the next Debian release (called "testing"), adjusted and recompiled for usage on Debian stable. Because the package is also present in the next Debian release, you can easily upgrade your stable+backports system once the next Debian release comes out.
Frankly, gcc shouldn't even enter into the equation. If you are installing supported packages from the Debian repos using apt-get or aptitude, then you will never have dependency issues and will not need to compile. :)

tensigh 08-14-2013 07:39 PM

Snowpine, thanks for the info. With a little more research I could have found out what was available. Thanks.

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