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reverse 08-07-2007 08:54 AM

Debian unstable for mortals
Do you run Debian unstable? Why?

crashmeister 08-07-2007 09:06 AM

Is there another option?

rickh 08-07-2007 09:24 AM

Yeah, but I do it on purpose and carefully. Most people run into trouble when they accidently upgrade their entire system to Sid because they don't understand how the sources.list works.

JimBass 08-07-2007 09:29 AM

Because it is the best Debian. It really isn't that unstable. I even recall a posting that suggested running unstable as a server is more secure than running debian stable, largely because unstable has the luxury of just releasing a new version when it is released, whereas the stable team has to modify the code to retro fit into an older package.


masinick 08-07-2007 12:39 PM

Debian Sid (unstable) is the most up to date

Originally Posted by reverse
Do you run Debian unstable? Why?

While you run the (very) occasional risk of Debian unstable not having perfectly correct library dependencies, in general, everything is correct, and you most certainly get the latest packages in a timely manner.

I find Sid to be a very usable desktop environment, and I have seldom had issues with it.

hitest 08-07-2007 12:48 PM

No. I run Debian stable. I occasionally toy with the idea of upgrading to Lenny or Sid. My comments are not in any way a criticism of Sid, but rather a reflection of my own comfort level. I love that Etch keeps going and going, and going:-)

utanja 08-07-2007 12:59 PM

i use lenny as a server with sid on the rest of my network....never had an unsolvable problem...

craigevil 08-07-2007 01:07 PM

I have ran Sid for almost 3 yrs now and only had minor issues that were easily fixed. Where else can you get the huge number of packages that Debian has, and run bleeding edge apps with few too no problems.

reverse 08-07-2007 01:46 PM


Originally Posted by rickh
Yeah, but I do it on purpose and carefully. Most people run into trouble when they accidently upgrade their entire system to Sid because they don't understand how the sources.list works.

Sorry, could you detail on that "accidently upgrade their entire system to Sid.." thing? I'm not sure what you mean.

rickh 08-07-2007 02:12 PM

People do incredibly stupid things to their sources.list ... Most commonly, they read a howto that tells them to get a certain application (maybe a video driver) from Sid. They add Unstable to sources list, and leave it there. At that point, they are one aptitude upgrade away from running Sid.

Normally, even that is not a disaster. As has been mentioned here several times, Sid is not usually terribly unstable, but some little thing is probably not going to work quite right and when they try to fix it, they get in very deep, very fast.

JackieBrown 08-07-2007 05:50 PM

Debian unstable for the reasons craig mentioned

Daws 08-07-2007 08:22 PM

Beside the usable Desktop thing, I also checked the "related to helping the Debian project" box. I've mentioned elsewhere before, but I like the trickle down effect, that submitting a bug report in unstable has.
Say you find a nasty bug that no one else has noticed, you report it. It gets fixed in unstable, the package moves to testing, eventually to stable. Besides helping Debian, you have indirectly helped most, if not all future versions of the distributions that use Debian (stable, testing or unstable) as a base, and that's a lot. Not only that, if it is proper, the bug will be forwarded upstream. It may get fixed there, so now all distributions that use that program now have the fix.

Personally, I think it's a great way for "mortals" to help out.

Of course most of the credit should go to the devs who actually fix the bug...hehe

kramed 08-07-2007 11:52 PM

If you typically like to have the latest versions of software then Sid is the only way to go. There are occasionally problems but if they are Debian related they are usually fixed within days. The only two recent problems I have had (in months) is a python package was broken but it was fixed the next day and that the latest xorg was not compatible with the Nvidia driver at the time. Nothing to do with Debian but it also was fixed by a new driver release that week.

IBall 08-08-2007 05:42 AM

I use Sid as a desktop, but my server runs Stable.

I have never had any major issues with Sid in the 18 months or so that I have run it. Sometimes a package gets broken, but very rarely do things get badly broken.

Having said that, I have a dual-boot with Etch, just in case I have work to do and Sid dies ;). Etch is too boring for a desktop though.


jlinkels 08-08-2007 06:12 AM

I run Stable on my servers and laptop. Lenny on most of my desktop machines (including the wife's). I hardly ever need the latest and the greatest software. I would hate that if I did a dist-upgrade just when Sid is in a -well- unstable state when packages or dependencies do not quite match. I am sure such problems are solved in a few hours or days, but I just don't want to spend another period of time to get my system in working order again. I put enough time (and that is more than I can afford) in keeping all my systems sound and upgraded. I can do without the additional risk Sid could cause.

Not that I want to start a flame war: Sid might be good, stable and usable. But I just want to avoid that slight additional risk.


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