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Old 08-27-2004, 04:41 PM   #1
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Registered: Aug 2004
Location: PA
Distribution: Debian
Posts: 25

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Making apt-get download unstable packages

For my Debian system, the apt-get isn't allowing me to get the most up to date things such as what Fedora comes w/ etc... I was told its because its not configured to download unstable packages (which excludes many things) and i'm one to want to be >completely< up to date . I was told u can change it through the sources.list file.

Here is mine without any changes having ever been made:
#deb file:///cdrom/ sarge main

deb testing main
deb-src testing main

deb testing/updates main

I wouldn't be surprised if there was a way to do it through apt-get itself. Thanks for the help my linux-brothers!
Old 08-27-2004, 04:52 PM   #2
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Registered: Oct 2003
Location: Zurich, Switzerland
Distribution: Debian/unstable
Posts: 1,357

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put also lines
deb unstable main
deb-src unstable main
to the list.

(You are right, this can also be done with apt-setup, but modifying that file is easier).
Old 08-27-2004, 05:21 PM   #3
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Registered: Aug 2004
Location: PA
Distribution: Debian
Posts: 25

Original Poster
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Thanks, apt-get is pimping my box as i type.
Old 08-27-2004, 06:29 PM   #4
Registered: Nov 2003
Location: Ohio
Distribution: Debian Unstable
Posts: 460

Rep: Reputation: 30
just a warning:

unstable is an ever-fluctuating distribution of packages. they may be the latest and greatest, but sooner or later, bad things are bound to happen (hence the name Sid). packages will begin to break. if you enjoy submitting bug reports, then unstable is a perfect choice, otherwise you are teetering on the edge of a sword for little benefit. testing may have slightly older software (it can take 1 to 3 months for a new release to make it into testing); however, you get a rock-solid set of packages that are known to work in harmony.

alas, you have already started the upgrade to sid, so this warning is in vein.

Last edited by zero79; 08-27-2004 at 06:30 PM.
Old 08-28-2004, 01:01 PM   #5
Registered: Mar 2002
Location: Studio City, CA
Distribution: Debian (Sarge-Sid)
Posts: 76

Rep: Reputation: 15
On the other hand...

zero79's right, unstable/sid breaks more often than Testing/Sarge. On the other hand, unstable gets bug fixes, including security bug fixes, first. Testing is guaranteed to be at least ten days behind Unstable, since a package has to stay at least 10 days in Unstable without a bug report before it can move to Testing. The bug that gets a package stuck in unstable often won't bother you.

I run a mix of Testing and Unstable around here. If you get a real stinker from Unstable, you can always apt-get remove the unstable version and re-install the Testing version. If you set it up properly, it's not much trouble to maintain a mixed testing / unstable environment. Here's how I update and upgrade:
# apt-get update
# apt-get install `apt-show-versions -u -b | grep unstable`
# apt-get upgrade
That middle line just upgrades any current unstable packages, and then the (default) testing packages get updated.

The APT Howto is an unusually readble Debian manual. The mixed environment steps are described (in English, there are lots of other language versions) starting here.

Also, sooner or later, you'll probably need to add:
APT::Cache-Limit 16777216;
to your /etc/apt/apt.conf file if you are apt-get update'ing multiple distributions. If you aren't totally starved for disk space, I recommend you do it.


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