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-   -   Old stable software vs New unstable software? (http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/linux-general-1/old-stable-software-vs-new-unstable-software-926308/)

Hoff123 01-29-2012 08:10 AM

Old stable software vs New unstable software?
 
Hi!

Linux distros seem to have software that is either new and unstable or old and stable. Some distros also have a mix of them(neutral) too, of course.

For example:
Old and stable: Debian Stable, CentOS
Neutral: Debian Testing, OpenSUSE
New and unstable: Debian Unstable, Ubuntu, Fedora

I don't know about Arch though. I know that it has very new software but is it stable?

Sorry if I seem like a noob but I just want to hear what people think, because I have a hard time choosing what kind of distro I should use as my main OS and I have already tried a lot of different distros.

In Windows I just go and download the latest software that works.

EDIT Oh damn, maybe this should be in the "Non-*nix General" forum. Please move it if that is the case, sorry.

H_TeXMeX_H 01-29-2012 08:24 AM

Try Slackware too.

I vote old and stable software. However, this does NOT mean ancient and outdated. As you know, software is often listed as a stable and unstable (development) branch. Know that the unstable branch has bugs and may not work properly, if you are ok with that, then use it. I'm not ok with that, because I want things to work. I always use the stable branch, except if the stable branch is also ancient (last release was 5-10 years ago), not only is such software unlikely to compile or work properly (and may have security issues), but may also be unstable because it wasn't tested with recent gcc and libs. There's a balance I think, you have to get it just right. I think Slackware does this, and that's why I use it.

Another important thing, if you compile software, ALWAYS use '-O2'. Using '-O3' or higher is a source of instability and programs may crash for unknown reasons. My CFLAGS are:
Code:

-march=native -O2 -pipe -fPIC
'-fPIC' is for x86_64, it is not needed for 32-bit.

baby 02-14-2012 07:27 PM

It obviously depends on the use... for my PC, I use neutral (latest ubuntu non-beta at least 1 month after release), for a production server, old and stable (debian stable or ubuntu LTS at least a couple of months after release).

dugan 02-14-2012 09:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hoff123 (Post 4587368)
Linux distros seem to have software that is either new and unstable or old and stable

By stable and unstable, are you referring to the likelihood of bugs, or the likelihood of change?

Ion Silverbolt 02-14-2012 09:08 PM

One of the beauties of running Gentoo is, it's easy to run a stable system, but mix in some bleeding edge with it. I voted neutral since I have a mixture of the two.

It can be kind of confusing when you see some distros with unstable labels. Debian unstable is actually pretty solid for desktop use. Most of your "stable" labeled distros have mission critical servers in mind. Gentoo unstable is also pretty solid despite its title.

hydraMax 02-14-2012 09:10 PM

Ideally you want a distro that provides good QA on stable tree filled with reasonably current packages, but also makes it easy to get more bleeding edge if you want. In Gentoo, for example, there are three levels: stable ebuilds in the Portage tree; ebuilds in the Portage tree that have received QA but are still masked as testing; ebuilds in external overlays, available through the overlay management system. My desktop system works pretty well, and most of my system is from the first category, while about 70 packages are from the second category. I typically don't need the third category unless I'm doing development work in one of the less popular languages.

Hoff123 02-15-2012 04:29 AM

I actually use Arch now. It is always truly bleeding edge software(always newest), but it is still reasonably stable. What I mean with that is that there are not that many bugs and breakages in the software, but yeah, it is rolling release so it changes all the time.

But Arch is pretty much how stable you want it to be. You configure everything and I love it. I have had some problems, but I have fixed it. And besides, I have learned A LOT about Linux in the process.

snowpine 02-15-2012 10:31 AM

"Stable" has a specific meaning in Linux. It means that a release will not change significantly during its support cycle; for a period of 18 months or 3 years or whatever, the user is guaranteed a consistent, unchanging experience. This is especially important in the business/enterprise world, where unexpected changes are stressful expensive.

If you use your imagination, it's easy to picture a "stable" distribution that is poorly engineered, poorly documented, buggy, unreliable, etc. Likewise "unstable" distributions (Debian Sid, Arch, Gentoo, etc.) can actually be smooth and reliable, for the right user in the right situation, and are often well-documented to help the user troubleshoot upgrade issues.

In short, "stable" and "unstable" are misunderstood in Linux. They have specific meanings, and casual desktop users looking for a home/school/play distro should not be afraid of "unstable."

H_TeXMeX_H 02-15-2012 10:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by snowpine (Post 4603076)
They have specific meanings, and casual desktop users looking for a home/school/play distro should not be afraid of "unstable."

I disagree. I think they should fear "unstable" more than they should fear the CLI (which they do fear). People expect things to work right, and when something goes wrong they are quick to blame and they then switch back to Window$.

snowpine 02-15-2012 11:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by H_TeXMeX_H (Post 4603109)
I disagree. I think they should fear "unstable" more than they should fear the CLI (which they do fear). People expect things to work right, and when something goes wrong they are quick to blame and they then switch back to Window$.

Maybe, maybe not. In over 6,000 posts on Ubuntu Forums, I have seen this pattern dozens of times:

1. New user switches to Ubuntu (a "stable" distro) from Windows
2. New user can't wait until April for the latest kernel/firefox/libreoffice/vlc/pidgin/gnome/kde/whatever, they want it NOW!!!
3. User randomly googles for how-to/tutorials and makes arbitrary changes to /etc/apt/sources.list, using unsupported 3rd party repos
4. System breaks; user joins ubuntuforums.org and gets a variety of answers of useless answers because instead of simply stating their actual question in the first place ("how do I upgrade Firefox?") they are thrust prematurely into troubleshooting/diagnosing a broken system (that they, themselves, broke)
5. User's frustration grows, starts yet another "Unity sucks" or "let me tell you why Ubuntu's release cycle is flawed" thread
6. User switches to Arch (an "unstable" distro) and loves it, they get the latest apps ("just like Windows" LOL)
7. User comes back to Ubuntu Forums and, like a fart in a crowded room, shares their newfound love for Arch :)

k3lt01 02-15-2012 12:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by snowpine (Post 4603123)
Maybe, maybe not. In over 6,000 posts on Ubuntu Forums, I have seen this pattern dozens of times:

1. New user switches to Ubuntu (a "stable" distro) from Windows
2. New user can't wait until April for the latest kernel/firefox/libreoffice/vlc/pidgin/gnome/kde/whatever, they want it NOW!!!
3. User randomly googles for how-to/tutorials and makes arbitrary changes to /etc/apt/sources.list, using unsupported 3rd party repos
4. System breaks; user joins ubuntuforums.org and gets a variety of answers of useless answers because instead of simply stating their actual question in the first place ("how do I upgrade Firefox?") they are thrust prematurely into troubleshooting/diagnosing a broken system (that they, themselves, broke)
5. User's frustration grows, starts yet another "Unity sucks" or "let me tell you why Ubuntu's release cycle is flawed" thread
6. User switches to Arch (an "unstable" distro) and loves it, they get the latest apps ("just like Windows" LOL)
7. User comes back to Ubuntu Forums and, like a fart in a crowded room, shares their newfound love for Arch :)

I agree with this very concise appraisal. I saw it to with a 1/4 of the number of post Snowpine has.

H_TeXMeX_H 02-15-2012 02:24 PM

Well, in that case they just can't be pleased by stable or unstable, they'll go back to Window$ and there's nothing that can be done.

snowpine 02-15-2012 02:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by H_TeXMeX_H (Post 4603310)
Well, in that case they just can't be pleased by stable or unstable, they'll go back to Window$ and there's nothing that can be done.

I don't follow your logical leap from "How do I get the latest Firefox in Ubuntu?" to "You just can't be pleased, go back to Windows."

Seems like a reasonable question/request, IMHO.

Hoff123 02-16-2012 04:42 AM

Yeah I understand now that stable means "not changing" and that Arch in that sense is unstable. But it is the right distro for me and I love it. There are some bugs here and there, but that's mostly not Archs fault, it's more about the apps.

Btw if someone always want the absolutely newest software of something(eg. firefox) can't they just download and compile the source everytime? Or they can just switch to Arch and blame the distro because it starts without any gui lol.

H_TeXMeX_H 02-16-2012 07:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hoff123 (Post 4603890)
Btw if someone always want the absolutely newest software of something(eg. firefox) can't they just download and compile the source everytime? Or they can just switch to Arch and blame the distro because it starts without any gui lol.

Of course you can. The only problem comes from the package manager that the distro uses. It is not always easy to work around it.


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