Why Debian testing?

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Why Debian testing?

Postby psql on Fri Sep 07, 2012 6:36 am

I been using Mint Debian for some months (since I drop Ubuntu). I'm very happy with it, everything works as it should.
(Except I can not use Photoshop anymore with wine, for me a problem).

My question is this, why we are using a Debian TESTING? Why not Debian STABLE for example?

I earn my living with Linux, so I need a system that I can trust, and relay on it all the time.
I do not make any more upgrades for fear that an "Ubuntu" will happen again, and tedious fixes, and unnecessary time consuming suffering will follow.

Surely must be a reason for that choice, anybody knows the answer?
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Re: Why Debian testing?

Postby eric k on Fri Sep 07, 2012 6:48 am

I imagine the reason for LMDE following Testing is primarily two-fold:

a. rolling-release distro
b. newer software than what is in the Stable repository

Mint Debian's Update Pack system is supposed to reduce as much as possible the risk of breakage, but occasional breakage is the price you pay for the two benefits listed above.
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Re: Why Debian testing?

Postby xclusive585 on Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:44 pm

Ubuntu also uses Debian Testing... It's not just Mint. (Mint is very much ubuntu under the hood, its the desktops and package selections that are the main difference)

The reason is simple. Features and newer software.

Debian Stable is S T A B L E!!! But that means the Stable repository contains some pretty dated software. And it's only guaranteed stable if its working with all other Debian stable software.

If you want to run a server, Debian Stable is the only way to go. But for a desktop machine the packages are just too dated for the features and hardware support we need to cover as wide a range of hardware as possible.


All that said, Debian testing is also really freaking stable. A package doesn't make it into the testing repository easily. There is much testing done to a package before it's allowed from Unstable into Testing.
-Dave

“The only way to fix Linux is to take one distro, one set of components as a baseline, abandon everything else and everyone should just contribute to this single Linux..."
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Re: Why Debian testing?

Postby zerozero on Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:54 pm

[moved here as it is about lmde]
Image

[ bliss of ignorance ]
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Re: Why Debian testing?

Postby squeezy on Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:59 pm

xclusive585 wrote:Ubuntu also uses Debian Testing... It's not just Mint. (Mint is very much ubuntu under the hood, its the desktops and package selections that are the main difference)


The 6 month release versions of Ubuntu are actually based on Debian Sid. The LTS versions use the current (at the time) Testing repo.
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Re: Why Debian testing?

Postby xclusive585 on Sat Sep 08, 2012 3:09 am

squeezy wrote:
xclusive585 wrote:Ubuntu also uses Debian Testing... It's not just Mint. (Mint is very much ubuntu under the hood, its the desktops and package selections that are the main difference)


The 6 month release versions of Ubuntu are actually based on Debian Sid. The LTS versions use the current (at the time) Testing repo.


Thanks for that.

Far as Ubuntu (and Mint) I always go LTS as it is so I wouldn't have known. ;-)
-Dave

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Re: Why Debian testing?

Postby widget on Tue Sep 25, 2012 12:27 am

As pointed out Ubuntu uses Debian testing. I think this should be clarified.

Ubuntu builds their LTS releases to use the Debian testing repo at release time. This means that in the dev cycle a lot of stuff is pulled in from the Sid repos.

Ubuntu builds their other releases, 12.10 for instance, on the Sid repo. They pull in a lot of packages from the Debian experimental repo to do that.

In either case they attempt to make the packages stable in relation to their OS. Most of this is done by working on the bugs in relation to their default intall packages. They also use their own install scripts as they have modified the file system.

All Ubuntu releases of a version, all the Ubuntu family member releases and Ubuntu server, share a common package "ubuntu-minimal". This drags in all sorts of depends and Ubuntu will not run without it.

LMDE uses the Debian packages straight up. The use of update packs allows them to filter the packages for stability. What you are getting is basically a custom built snapshot of Debian testing that is pretty much stable.

Stable is a subjective term. What Debian thinks of as stable and what Ubuntu thinks of as stable are two very different things. LMDE has kind of landed in the middle on this.

As someone that used, for 2 years, the Ubuntu dev release what ever it was at the time as my production OS (don't try this at home), I can tell you that LMDE is more stable than an Ubuntu LTS release. Much more stable than a regular Ubuntu release. It is not as stable as Debian stable.

This approach seems to work much better than the Ubuntu model for removing instability from Debian testing.

Then the fact that you can use any package or repo from Debian makes LMDE much more desirable than Ubuntu.

The only fly in the ointment for me is the security model. The use of sudo I don't mind. Not using a root password I do mind. This is basically the Ubuntu security model. That model is very flawed.

Lmde does do better than Ubuntu. Under Ubuntu if you boot to recovery you are taken directly to a root prompt without any password required. Any noob to linux that knows the "startx" command can therefore be on your desktop as root. Swift move Xlax (laxitive for those unfamiliar with Xlax).

Lmde does require your user password (sudo password) to get to the root prompt if booting to recovery mode. This, to me, makes LMDE usable and recommendable to noobs as opposed to Ubuntu which is not.

I use Debian testing or Sid (currently Sid) as my production OS. I have Lmde installed and handle it in the Lmde recommended way to keep an eye on it. The system seems to work very well and I am impressed. An adventurous noob will have no problem with this system if they have this forum or a friend to help them out occasionally. My youngster boss likes it and she doesn't really like computers and has only used MS before.

Frankly the package management drives me up the wall, personally, but it does work very well.
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Re: Why Debian testing?

Postby xclusive585 on Tue Sep 25, 2012 1:39 pm

Well said Widget.

(Im curious however what debian packages or repos wouldn't work on a Ubuntu system?)

A big +1 to everything you said. I use Ubuntu server on my good headless rig here, but I always hated the breakages with Ubuntu desktop versions.
Linux Mint has proven to be an extremely solid OS, and yes part of that is by not having to commit every package update Ubuntu changes (and breaks). Mint has become my sole OS on my primary machine and I do everything from run games in WINE to do some 3d/CAD design. It runs solid and smooth. I am a very happy camper.

And somewhere in the middle, between Debian and Ubuntu, is exactly where I want to be.

Debian and derivatives are the best, and Mint kicks the crap outta Ubuntu. :-)
-Dave

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Re: Why Debian testing?

Postby DrHu on Tue Sep 25, 2012 2:29 pm

psql wrote:I earn my living with Linux, so I need a system that I can trust, and relay on it all the time. I do not make any more upgrades for fear that an "Ubuntu" will happen again, and tedious fixes, and unnecessary time consuming suffering will follow

We can't blame Mint for trying to keep up-to-date for their group of users: most expect that and if it isn't provided complain about lack of newer application versions not being provided from the official repository
--Ubuntu tries to cure that by having PPA repositories, elsewhere in the Linux world you are on your own (for the most part) and have to find the packaged application or compile from source with its own attendant dependency/fixes being required..


Well if you are using a desktop OS version, you can expect more upgrading difficulties, no matter which category is being relied upon, for Ubuntu LTS, for Debian (roll your own), and use only the applications you know work with a particular kernel version or desktop style (Gnome Kde, Xfce, lxde etc) or use a headless system as a server: in which case you might prefer to use the server styled version instead of the desktop, since it will take a more conservative approach.

People who have that responsibility (sys admins) will try to mitigate the risk by possibly staging the updates onto a test server before allowing any updates to the local systems..
--if it is entirely a desktop OS in use, same reasoning can apply: test the updated system first before pushing to the users..
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Re: Why Debian testing?

Postby widget on Tue Sep 25, 2012 7:15 pm

xclusive585 wrote:Well said Widget.

(Im curious however what debian packages or repos wouldn't work on a Ubuntu system?)

A big +1 to everything you said. I use Ubuntu server on my good headless rig here, but I always hated the breakages with Ubuntu desktop versions.
Linux Mint has proven to be an extremely solid OS, and yes part of that is by not having to commit every package update Ubuntu changes (and breaks). Mint has become my sole OS on my primary machine and I do everything from run games in WINE to do some 3d/CAD design. It runs solid and smooth. I am a very happy camper.

And somewhere in the middle, between Debian and Ubuntu, is exactly where I want to be.

Debian and derivatives are the best, and Mint kicks the crap outta Ubuntu. :-)

If you check with Ubuntu they will not recommend ever using a Debian package on your Ubuntu install. This is good advice.

There are many Debian packages that will work.

However, if you check things out, many packages do not use the same directories for all their little parts using the Debian install script on an Ubuntu system. This is because Ubuntu has changed many of the directories that they use in their install script for the same packages.

An easy example, that will not break your system (usually), is Desktop Environments. Debian uses /usr/share/images for Gnome images. Ubuntu uses /usr/share/backgrounds.

If you use the Debian package you will get a solid blue background on your Ubuntu install. This happens occasionally in testing.

There are many Debian packages that if mixed into your Ubuntu install will break the system. This has never happened to me as I have never mixed the 2 on my own. Both Debian and Ubuntu will tell you this is likely to happen with any kind of mixing between the 2 distros.

Ppas that offer packages from Debian repos for Ubuntu are generally simply replacing the Debian install script with one that is compatable with the Ubuntu file system.

As the install script is part ot any .deb it is the problem. The rest of the .deb is fine for either system including any bugs that may be in it.

Bugs are another problem when mixing. Some bugs that Debian has not fixed will be ignored by Ubuntu and the package used anyway. They will modify another package to mitigate the effects of the bug. Add enough Debian packages to Ubuntu, even ones with no file system differences, and you will get a problem because they will be fighting amongst themselves where the Ubuntu packages won't.

This is of coarse true with Ubuntu packages in a Debian install. If Ubuntu has changed one to work with a buggy Debian package and the bug is fixed by Debian then you are going ot have problems there.

Don't mix the buggers.
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