What are the differences between debian and main distro?

Archived topics about LMDE 1 and LMDE 2
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Zill
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Re: What are the differences between debian and main distro?

Post by Zill »

kurotsugi wrote:that's a bad news. with the current systemd issue on debian, jessie will delayed further. the previous frozen period takes up to 1 year. I'm not quite sure if jessie will got released on next spring.
It is only "bad news" for users really needing the "latest and greatest" software! The current LMDE Mate is a reliable rock-solid distro that "just works" and is, IMHO, perfect for users who want the minimum hassle from a system.

Talk of LMDE being "abandoned" is irrelevant while transitioning from Debian Testing to a Debian Stable base as LMDE is already effectively stable and therefore doesn't really require frequent changes that may well reduce stability and therefore reliability.
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Re: What are the differences between debian and main distro?

Post by kurotsugi »

I actually never say about "latest and greatest". testing is always late behind sid (and sid is several step behind upstream. that's the nature of debian) so it was never about the latest at all. it was always an unmaintained distro with hundreds of security holes and unresolved bugs which likely will be remain that way for next one year. if you're happy with current LMDE please keep it and never update your system when LMDE2 comes. you said it already 'perfect and stable' didn't you? :3
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Re: What are the differences between debian and main distro?

Post by Zill »

kurotsugi: LMDE is certainly moving towards "stable" in the accepted Debian sense of the word - i.e. unchanging software that has already been largely debugged. LMDE has fewer "unresolved bugs" than distros actively tracking sid or testing precisely because of the move towards Debian Stable. Newly discovered security holes can be a problem for LMDE but, I suggest, are not a significant concern for the "average" home user as most security vulnerabilities primarily affect servers, rather than home systems.

Obviously, it will be prudent to upgrade to LMDE2 when this has been released and settled down. However, IMO, us current LMDE users should be quite happy with the existing LMDE for the time being.
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Re: What are the differences between debian and main distro?

Post by py-thon »

Zill wrote:us current LMDE users should be quite happy with the existing LMDE for the time being.
Sure, a user choosing a semi-rolling LMDE is guaranteed to be happy to find that LMDE has stopped rolling. And the fact that there have been several people in forums wondering why their recently installed LMDE 201403 doesn't get any updates shows the lack of attention LMDE gets. http://www.linuxmint.com/download_lmde.php still shows the text of months ago and potential users are not informed about the reality, most of what's written there is completely outdated and misleading.
Zill wrote:Talk of LMDE being "abandoned" is irrelevant while transitioning from Debian Testing to a Debian Stable base as LMDE is already effectively stable and therefore doesn't really require frequent changes that may well reduce stability and therefore reliability.
I can only repeat that "abandoned" is the right wording because LMDE 2 will be something completely different than LMDE. Users chose LMDE because of its being semi-rolling and based on Debian Testing. LMDE 2 will be neither, so it is for a different type of user.
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Re: What are the differences between debian and main distro?

Post by Zill »

py-thon wrote:Sure, a user choosing a semi-rolling LMDE is guaranteed to be happy to find that LMDE has stopped rolling.
If "semi-rolling" is more important to a user than having a system that actually works well then, sure, such users may be disappointed. However, LMDE does work well for many users and so these users, I suggest, are quite happy as things are.
py-thon wrote:...And the fact that there have been several people in forums wondering why their recently installed LMDE 201403 doesn't get any updates shows the lack of attention LMDE gets. http://www.linuxmint.com/download_lmde.php still shows the text of months ago and potential users are not informed about the reality, most of what's written there is completely outdated and misleading.
"Updates" often cause hassle, rather than happiness!
I agree that the website is outdated but, as always with FOSS, resources are limited so often the answer is DIY. If this problem really concerns you then I am sure that an offer to rewrite the relevant pages will be welcomed.
py-thon wrote:...I can only repeat that "abandoned" is the right wording because LMDE 2 will be something completely different than LMDE. Users chose LMDE because of its being semi-rolling and based on Debian Testing. LMDE 2 will be neither, so it is for a different type of user.
Times change and so LMDE is also changing. You are quite right in that a fixed LMDE based on Debian Stable will be a different beast to a semi-rolling LMDE based on Debian Testing. However, applications and data formats are generally the same and are totally portable across different Linux distros. On this basis, we are all free to use the distro of our choice and, if LMDE no longer suits some users, they are, of course, free to use another distro.
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Re: What are the differences between debian and main distro?

Post by py-thon »

Zill wrote:If "semi-rolling" is more important to a user than having a system that actually works well then, sure, such users may be disappointed. However, LMDE does work well for many users and so these users, I suggest, are quite happy as things are.
That is not the point. People chose LMDE especially because of its being a semi-rolling release, even though it was advertised as having "rough edges".
Zill wrote:If this problem really concerns you then I am sure that an offer to rewrite the relevant pages will be welcomed.
Sorry, but this is plain ridiculous. To put online a short information about the upcoming changes would not even take ten minutes. The text does already exist in the blog.
This problem doesn't concern me personally but other people who waste their time installing a system they wouldn't want if only they knew. This in my opinion shows disrespect for the user.
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Re: What are the differences between debian and main distro?

Post by Zill »

py-thon: I chose LMDE despite the fact it was originally semi-rolling, not because of it. I had some misgivings about relying on a system based on Debian Testing but thought it was worth a try. Since then, I have seen many users having problems with Update Packs and this can only get more difficult as SystemD gets further integrated into Debian.

However, the main problem is that for LMDE to track Debian Testing requires a substantial amount of development and testing time from the LMDE team. Regrettably, this proved to be too much work for the limited numbers of volunteers involved. It was, therefore, a wise decision IMHO to settle back to the fixed position of Debian Stable and allow this to be properly maintained with regular security updates etc.

I don't see much point in arguing this further as you are unlikely to see things as I do. All I would say is that none of us have to use LMDE and anyone who does not wish to move forward with the distro is not forced to use it. Rather than showing disrespect for the users, I suggest users demanding more effort by the LMDE team is showing considerable disrespect for them! I, for one, am extremely grateful to all the LMDE team for their work in providing our first rate distro.
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Re: What are the differences between debian and main distro?

Post by xenopeek »

LMDE 2 “Betsy” planned for Spring 2015
I stand corrected; LMDE 2 is indeed not arriving as shortly as I had previously understood. The quote from Cinnamon 2.4 announcement: http://segfault.linuxmint.com/2014/11/cinnamon-2-4/. I don't know what's planned for LMDE between now and Spring 2015. Might be a somewhat longer wait, though I think ultimately this work will lift LMDE to better supported status.
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Re: What are the differences between debian and main distro?

Post by killer de bug »

xenopeek wrote:I don't know what's planned for LMDE between now and Spring 2015. Might be a somewhat longer wait, though I think ultimately this work will lift LMDE to better supported status.
For sure that is what is planned...

April 2014: Cinnamon 2.2 will be available in LMDE in July.
Summer 2014: Cinnamon 2.2 will be available in LMDE in November.
November 2014: Cinnamon 2.4 will be available in LMDE in Spring 2015.
[...]
Spring 2015: Cinnamon 2.6 will be available in LMDE in Fall 2015...

:(
If it ain't broke, fix it until it is.
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Re: What are the differences between debian and main distro?

Post by py-thon »

Zill wrote:Regrettably, this proved to be too much work for the limited numbers of volunteers involved.
[...] I, for one, am extremely grateful to all the LMDE team for their work in providing our first rate distro.
I can understand that they underestimated the amount of time necessary and had to change something to balance workload and manpower. What I complain about is not primarily the fact that LMDE is changing to something I don't want (it's the maintainer's choice to do with his distro as he likes) but the way this happens.
I am grateful for the work they did until about one year ago when in my opinion they lost track. The impression I got after that is that Cinnamon received most attention, Mint LTS a little less and LMDE none at all.
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Re: What are the differences between debian and main distro?

Post by kurotsugi »

LMDE is certainly moving towards "stable" in the accepted Debian sense of the word - i.e. unchanging software that has already been largely debugged.
no need to change software that already debugged only true if you apply the patch for that software. we need to remember that an update not always a version update. it could be a security update, a bug fix update, or a transitional update. if you doesn't apply the patch then nothing will changed. the bug will still there and you won't move into something called 'stable'.
LMDE has fewer "unresolved bugs" than distros actively tracking sid or testing precisely because of the move towards Debian Stable.
I need to remind that LMDE's debian base is currently frozen. it's not moving at all. you can add testing on your repo then try to simulate a dist-upgrade from testing. the number of upgraded package is a rough calculation of minimum number of unresolved bug on LMDE. the actual number will be lot higher than that.

please note that it's true that I was against the move to debian stable but the main reason was because mint team said that they will not provide any update until jessie becomes stable. the move seems inevitable for them but I was expecting they will provide some 'intermediary' plan between the transition. the frozen period can last more than one year. it's definetely not a good idea to leave the user without any upgrades during that period of time. I was really happy when I heard the rumour that LMDE2 will got released as intermediate upgrade. cinnamon is already on testing. they can't use it as an excuse anymore. when jessie enter frozen period, all the version number will get locked and it will be easy for mint team to release an intermediate upgrade. LMDE is still highly popular and since the main version is based on LTS they only have cinnamon on their job list . if they really care about their user they should give LMDE an update.
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Re: What are the differences between debian and main distro?

Post by Zill »

kurotsugi wrote:... no need to change software that already debugged only true if you apply the patch for that software. we need to remember that an update not always a version update. it could be a security update, a bug fix update, or a transitional update. if you doesn't apply the patch then nothing will changed. the bug will still there and you won't move into something called 'stable'...
Debian Stable does automatically receive security updates, whereas Debian Testing does not.

Security support for the testing branch...
If you are using the testing branch, there are some issues that you must take into account regarding the availability of security updates:

When a security fix is prepared, the Security Team backports the patch to stable (since stable is usually some minor or major versions behind). Package maintainers are responsible for preparing packages for the unstable branch, usually based on a new upstream release. Sometimes the changes happen at nearly the same time and sometimes one of the releases gets the security fix before. Packages for the stable distribution are more thoroughly tested than unstable, since the latter will in most cases provide the latest upstream release (which might include new, unknown bugs).

Security updates are available for the unstable branch usually when the package maintainer makes a new package and for the stable branch when the Security Team make a new upload and publish a DSA. Notice that neither of these change the testing branch.
Which Debian distribution (stable/testing/unstable) is better for me?...
If security or stability are at all important for you: install stable. period. This is the most preferred way.

If you are a new user installing to a desktop machine, start with stable. Some of the software is quite old, but it's the least buggy environment to work in. You can easily switch to the more modern unstable (or testing) once you are a little more confident.

If you are a desktop user with a lot of experience in the operating system and does not mind facing the odd bug now and then, or even full system breakage, use unstable. It has all the latest and greatest software, and bugs are usually fixed swiftly.

If you are running a server, especially one that has strong stability requirements or is exposed to the Internet, install stable. This is by far the strongest and safest choice.
That's good enough for me. :-)
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Re: What are the differences between debian and main distro?

Post by py-thon »

Zill wrote:Debian Stable does automatically receive security updates, whereas Debian Testing does not.
I think this can't be deducted from the official Debian statement. Nothing happens automatically, it all depends on the persons involved.

What can we deduct?
"the Security Team backports the patch to stable": This means that someone (usually a programmer upstream, which could accidentally be the package maintainer as well) has provided a patch.
For stable this patch is then applied/backported by the Security Team (persons using computers, not computers all by themselves) and the stable repository has an updated package for the end-user. That much can be deducted for sure.

But why did the programmer provide a patch in the first place? Because he has realised that a program he cares or feels responsible for is flawed and wants to fix it. So there is a certain likelihood that the programmer or the package maintainer will make sure that the issue is fixed in unstable as well. If it is a big package involving lots of people and lots of changes pending it might be delayed to get everything done in one new version. The way this works depends on who has provided the patch and on the way the programmer and package maintainer tick and interact.

Which one is quicker, stable or unstable? The answer is already given: "Sometimes the changes happen at nearly the same time and sometimes one of the releases gets the security fix before."

Testing will always get it later than unstable and more often than not later than stable as well. That's for sure from experience.
Of course stable is stable and secure, that's the aim of the release :)
But why now complain about the lag between stable and testing (when in most cases of security issues time between unstable and testing seems to be between a day and a week)? LMDE users have lived with completely outdated and unfixed packages for the past years. We had to download packages from testing-repo to fix issues which got fixed in LMDE-repos days, weeks or even an UP later.
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Re: What are the differences between debian and main distro?

Post by killer de bug »

py-thon wrote:Testing will always get it later than unstable and more often than not later than stable as well. That's for sure from experience.
In 95% of the case stable has the fix much earlier than Testing.
py-thon wrote:(when in most cases of security issues time between unstable and testing seems to be between a day and a week)?
It's either 2 days (huge security holes) or 10 days (normal priority). But certainly not something between 1 day and a week...
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Re: What are the differences between debian and main distro?

Post by Zill »

py-thon wrote:... Nothing happens automatically, it all depends on the persons involved...
My apologies. I used the word "automatically" as shorthand for "Debian standard operating procedure" and, of course, people are involved. However, the point I was trying to make is that, while Debian Stable does have the option to install regular security updates as a matter of routine, Debian Testing does not and so these have to be found and promulgated manually.
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Re: What are the differences between debian and main distro?

Post by Monsta »

Zill wrote:while Debian Stable does have the option to install regular security updates as a matter of routine, Debian Testing does not and so these have to be found and promulgated manually.
The security updates make their way to Testing via Unstable repo, along with all the other packages. They all go in the main Debian repo, no security.debian.org repo involved (unlike in Stable). The only difference is that the maintainer might set the "urgency" parameter to "high" or even "critical", depending on how serious the security issue is. Depending on the value of this parameter, the migration of the package to Testing might occur in 2-5 days instead of the usual 10.

For example, the well-known security update for bash has been pushed with the "urgency" set to "high" (see the notes about versions 4.3-9.1 and 4.3-9.2 at its Package Tracking System page).

Just like with the other Unstable packages, this migration happens automatically only if there are no release-critical bugs uncovered during the mentioned period and if there are no dependency issues. The latter isn't really an issue for the security updates as the changes are usually small and the maintainers don't need to bump the dependency requirements.

The funny side-effect of this process is that the Testing part of security.debian.org repo is empty most of the time (and its snapshot in LMDE repos is empty as well). :D
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Re: What are the differences between debian and main distro?

Post by py-thon »

Monsta wrote:Just like with the other Unstable packages, this migration happens automatically only if there are no release-critical bugs uncovered during the mentioned period and if there are no dependency issues. The latter isn't really an issue for the security updates as the changes are usually small and the maintainers don't need to bump the dependency requirements.s
I suppose that some kind of bug-testing is done for the backported version as well, otherwise stable would not remain that stable for long with security updates every other day :)
In the end one (stable) is a bit ahead of the other (testing) and both are far better than the current LMDE-situation.
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Re: What are the differences between debian and main distro?

Post by Monsta »

py-thon wrote:I suppose that some kind of bug-testing is done for the backported version as well, otherwise stable would not remain that stable for long with security updates every other day :)
That's another case, it's about Stable, not Testing. And...
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 only select single backported packages that fit your needs, and not use all available backports.
- from http://backports.debian.org/
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Re: What are the differences between debian and main distro?

Post by jonnymopar »

From the viewpoint of the relative Linux newb regarding the original question in this thread:

LMDE is the best distro I've used in the two years of distro-hopping I've done, and is the only one that is still problem-free for me. I personally can't say that about the Ubuntu-based Mint. Every Ubuntu-based distro I've tried, I had random freezing issues (CPU stuck), odd problems with power management, and for whatever reason, the wireless would randomly quit on me once in a while. Then it dawned on me that there was one distribution that never gave me those problems: Knoppix. It's the only one I had tried that wasn't based on Ubuntu. I don't care for the interface, but it did work well. I like Mint a lot, especially with Cinnamon, so I tried LMDE. I wish I didn't wait so long!

This is on a Compaq nc8430, Core2 Duo 2.0GHz, 4GB RAM, 240GB SSD, 1680x1050 display. On this system, LMDE worked flawlessly right out of the box, which, from what I've read, is one of the core things that Mint strives to provide to users.

To answer the original question, the differences between Mint and Mint Debian for me were substantial, and in a great way. However, when it comes to the UI, I've found extremely few differences. I found a couple of programs that I couldn't install because they were only available as PPA, but I found alternatives that work. I'm no advanced user, but I haven't run across any differences in Cinnamon yet. It's just been working... perfectly!
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Re: What are the differences between debian and main distro?

Post by JohnBobSmith »

Just a heads up, I have installed plain debian on my desktop. That said, I do wish the dev's well and hope that they will continue to work on/support LMDE, even if its in the distant future. I will NOT be trying LMDE at this time. However, once it gets rolling with development again, then I wil be trying LMDE. :)
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