MintWithaHole wrote:Can anyone tell me what the reason is behind a Debian distro?
Since Ubuntu is based on Debian and Debian seems to be significantly out of date, why have two flavours?
Are there any technical reasons to use the Debian distro over the Ubuntu one?
Debian has been around for a very long time, in Linux years. Ubuntu, Mint and all the other distributions that are dependent on it are relative newcomers.
Debian's sites are extensive, as is its documentation. They claim to have about 1,000 volunteers maintaining Debian. Its software respositories are, very likely, the most extensive.
Somewhere in all that documentation someone says something like this: The purpose of Debian is to make Debian Stable. The goal is to have a Stable release that is essentially free of significant bugs, with a software repository comprised of software that does not introduce conflicts when installed on a Stable system. That's a real accomplishment, and something that cannot be said of most other distributions, where it is common for packages in the distro's repository to conflict with other packages in the same repository. This does not happen with Stable.
As Debian developers prepare new packages, they are first included in Debian's Unstable repository, aka Sid. The label of Unstable comes more from the fast changing nature of the contents of the repository, not necessarily the instability of any given piece of code.
Once code in Sid has met certain criteria, it moves to the Testing repository. Neither Sid nor Testing are intended to be stable releases that people can count on day in and day out. They are intended as stopping places along the way to Stable where software is tested and debugged.
Debian works on a two-year cycle. About 18 months into a cycle, a freeze will be declared for Testing. Developers will spend 6 months fixing bugs in the code that's in Testing at the time of the Freeze. When Debian is satisfied that Testing is ready, all those packages become the new Stable release.
So, things move slowly in Debian, primarily, I suspect, due to its voluntary basis. At a minimum code in a new Stable release is going to be 6 months old.
That kind of stability is probably excessive for the ordinary desktop user. But, it is not excessive for server environments where downtime is expensive and machines are expected to run 24/7/365. That's Debian's real target. Sid and Testing change a lot because that's the nature of the Debian process.
Debian derivatives, like Ubuntu, typically take code from Testing or Sid and massage it. The advantage for the Debian derivatives is that Debian has already done the lion's share of debugging. Also, a company like Canonical, presumably, has employees who are much more intimately familiar with the state of play in Testing/Sid than we might be.
If you want access to the latest code, then try Sid. Be aware, though, that Sid exists as a testing and debugging platform. It's there so Debian developers and users can find bugs.Code is vetted after it's in Sid, not before. My own limited experience with Sid has been that sometimes it is pretty stable, and at others you can't even get it to install correctly.
Personnally, I think that most Linux software is sufficiently mature that the typical generalist user does not have a compelling reason to fixate on using the very latest code.