debian backports has updated kernels (3.2 atm
) but there's one big issue with backports (better said with the way some people/distros use them): they forget/overlook the first recommendation:
Backports cannot be tested as extensively as Debian stable, and backports are provided on an as-is basis, with risk of incompatibilities with other components in Debian stable. Use with care!
It is therefore recommended to select single backported packages that fit your needs, and not use all available backports.
ofc the highlights are mine
Yeah, the stability (or possible lack thereof) of backports is often overlooked, and backports can sometimes be used to death
. IIRC libreoffice broke sometime around the 3.5 upgrade in Debian, which was when SolusOS started maintaining their own libreoffice backport. I didn't realized that kernels were backported (I assumed distros that used backports added newer kernels manually). I think it's handled well in Debian where backports have a lower pin-priority and you manually select stuff. I usually use iceweasel, icedove, and libreoffice backports only (I'm pretty happy with the other software being stable and slightly out of date, with the possible exception of gimp 2.6.x and xfce 4.6.x).
you summed up in that post the reasons why you shouldn't be using lmde (or debian testing or ofc sid);
we love to have all the possible users aboard but for your user-case i honestly believe that a LTS kind of release (like mint maya) is the answer.
I've always preferred Debian over Ubuntu, albeit the ladder is based on the former. When I tried Mint (forget which version it was, either 12 or 13?) last November (with gnome3 at the time), it was constant instability with gnome crashes 2-3 times. There was a thread about it, that I was also contributing to for finding the cause of the gnome3 crashes that seemed to inflict many users. After a month and half with no resolution in sight, I tossed Ubuntu once and for all.
I find stuff works better out the of the box with Ubuntu than Debian, but with using Debian, I find it forces you to learn more about Linux, and thus become more aware of things. I've had to get a lot of things working with Debian that worked out-of-the-box with Ubuntu.
Perhaps I should look at a stable Debian instead.
I actually agree with zerozero. I don't know what DE you are using now, but I'm pretty sure you'll have the same version on Mint Maya. With PPAs you get backport-like abilities, and overall newer software. However, Debian Stable is IMHO the most stable linux distro (with the possible exception of Red Hat and things like that). Adding backports can be helpful for a few apps, but again it could decrease stability. I'd suggest trying all of those options out and seeing which is the best for you.
I don't know if when you make commentary on LMDE becoming the main Mint, if that is you supporting that or otherwise, but I always believed Mint would be better if it was directly based off Debian (aka LMDE) instead of Ubuntu.
Thanks for the insights on backports. I'm looking further into this for at least the critical-stable systems I have. Either that, or create my own mirror of an UP-release that I want to ensure is accessible until I'm able to upgrade all my systems over to the latest.
I generally like being "up-to-date" and prefer the Debian testing model on most of my machines versus when I used Ubuntu and found myself rarely upgrading and then would result in every machine running different versions, etc, which was a maintenance nightmare.
Regarding kernels, I'm using liquorix instead of the one provided by LMDE. So I have a range of 3.4-3.7 installed on each system, and use the latest version on each machine (as possible). Just some hardware has problems with some newer kernels that I'm waiting to be worked out, so I keep 3.4 kicking around.
I think that for many users, Ubuntu is a better base because there is more software for it, PPAs, it is a more newbie friendly distro, etc. I think if Mint put all of its resources into Debian, then it could rival the Ubuntu based edition, but the main edition is already there. The benefit of Ubuntu-based Mint is that it gets all of the perks of Ubuntu - steam (which requires pulling packages from experimental and lots of tweaking to install on Debian), netflix, PPAs, lightworks when it comes out, etc.
Again, using a few backports is definitely a good option, but zerozero is very correct that they could cause problems. I'd suggest testing to make sure a backport works in a VM or non-critical system, and, if it does, then you can use it on your critical systems all you want. Personally, I find using a few backports is much more stable than using a Debian Testing (or UP) based distro.
I agree that updating Ubuntu sucks. Every Debian Stable release is supported for about 3 years (squeeze will lose support in February or March 2013), and they provide an upgrade path that *supposedly* works, although I've never tried using it, so YMMV. I have two debian testing installs, one debian sid install, and two debian stable w/ a few backports installs (these are various distros - LMDE, Crunchbang, Debian proper, etc).
Liquorix is probably my favorite kerenel, and I use it on my sid install. I'd use it on my testing installs, but it messes up my apt pinning. On those I just use the regular Debian kernels, which integrate well. Unfortunately, you can't use liquorix with Debian Stable due to gcc requirments. I haven't tried the aptosid or siduction kernels on anything, but they are supposedly good for sid (I've heard a lot of good things about the siduction kernel). Just to give you an idea of up-to-date-ness, Stable has 2.6.32, backports have 3.2, testing has 3.2-4, sid has 3.2-4, aptosid was the first to update to 3.7, then siduction, and then liquorix.