I understand that having "wheezy" in apt.sources means "testing" now (though frozen) and then "stable" one Wheezy goes stable. To keep a "rolling" release, "wheezy" can be changed to "testing" so that it does not go "stable".
"testing" is now frozen, so at this point, wheezy = testing? Having either in apt.sources will result in the same package updates?
I asked on #debian recently about changing "wheezy" to "testing" and I was advised against it, because "testing" would be a complete "mess" for a few months or a year after "wheezy" goes stable. What's this about?
I'd like to stay on "testing" just to get more updated packages. Is it a bad idea to change "wheezy" to "testing"?
You're going to get a bunch of opinions and anecdotal experience. Remember that they are just that. One person's "complete mess" is another's "shiny new sh*t."
Here is my opinion, with some of my experience. Go straight to sid. Do not look back or be concerned about breakage unless you require absolute, rock-solid stability (and if you do, stay with Squeeze until Wheezy has been stable for a few months, then switch to Wheezy). I ran testing for almost a year with no issues other than occasionally having to wait a day or so to update. Now I run sid, and have not had any problems at all. There are others here who have much more experience than I do, and hopefully they will add their opinions soon.
Check the Debian Weather website before you update, and install apt-listbugs. Read the output from apt when you update and dist-upgrade. Update/dist-upgrade often.
Testing is only a few days behind sid, and in my opinion offers no real benefits over sid. But that's my opinion
(edit) to respond a little to joek, remember that sid is not frozen, even while Wheezy/Testing is. When Testing is unfrozen, the new packages that will come in have been in sid, not just sitting on a shelf waiting to bork your system.
Last edited by pidsley (2012-10-18 15:16:43)
It was my understanding that until wheezy goes stable, squeeze=stable and wheezy=testing. As soon as wheezy goes stable, jessie=testing and wheezy=stable. So yes, at the moment, until wheezy is released, probably in spring 2013 going by past history, testing and wheezy in apt.sources mean the same thing.
After wheezy is released, wheezy and stable will mean the same, and jessie and testing also. As Wheezy is frozen at the moment, my understanding is that basically only bugfixes and similar are released on it, not packages which could potentially break things. After testing unfreezes, this may mean that there are lots of new packages introduced which won't play nicely together and will break things. Personally, I think that if testing is stable enough to base large and mainstream distros like LMDE and *Buntu off of, it'll be stable enough for a relatively linux-savvy user...
ETA: Pidsley undoubtedly has more experience of testing and unstable branches of Debian than I, so listen to what he says...
Last edited by joek (2012-10-18 14:28:34)
Pidsley nailed it SabreWolfy, I took the same path as he described to sid and have never looked back.
One more thing...during the freeze shakedown, packages that aren't deemed "ready for prime time" will start to disappear from Testing. These will be added back to Testing after Wheezy is released. For example, if minitube is currently in Testing, don't be surprised if it goes bye-bye; this happened in Squeeze during its freeze shakedown.
@pidsley: Your experience seems very different from how Debian describes sid: delayed security updates, very unstable, missing libraries. Your experience is that if the Debian Weather is sunny, it's safe to update?
Last edited by SabreWolfy (2012-10-18 19:14:52)
^ Debian's treatment of sid is at the very least confusing as hell, even to label it as 'unstable' makes no sense at all. I had read somewhere a while ago that this was done deliberately by the devs to keep it a 'dev only' type of source and keep the every day joe away from it, but I cannot locate where I read it at.
I not only use sid on every machine I use, I also use it on every client machines I am responsible for, which is my sole source of income... Take what you want from that regarding my sanity, but I will tell you this, I have had 0 issues on 100 plus machines in the last 2years. That is a track record I am very happy with and live by.
Edit - My take on updates is understanding them before letting them go through. Debian Weather and apt-listbugs are excellent tools to use in helping to understand them.
Last edited by VastOne (2012-10-18 19:22:33)
I have a #! Waldorf install which I'll consider changing later. First I'd like to try moving my Debian wheezy install to sid. Should I just make the changes to apt.conf and preferences you suggest way down here and change sources.list from "testing" to "unstable"?
Last edited by SabreWolfy (2012-10-18 19:23:55)
I agree with the sentiments above, that personally I would choose Sid instead of Testing. (And Stable instead of Sid.)
Also keep in mind that switching Waldorf to Testing/Jessie is completely unsupported, you'll be supporting yourself with help from other users on these forums who have taken the plunge.
An analogy I use to help people understand the "what's the difference between wheezy and testing?" question is the analogy between a politician and the office he/she holds. For example currently Obama is "president stable" and Bush is "old president." When Romney is elected he will become "president testing" for a few months until his inauguration at which point his title will change to "president stable" and Obama becomes "old president." Note that the actual person stays the same and doesn't become a different person; what changes is the title and office. Likewise the title is not a person and does not have an identity; there is no Platonic ideal "Debian Stable" but only a series of releases that have occupied that throne for a period of time.
Last edited by snowpine (2012-10-18 19:26:24)
(edit) -- got several people in between me and sabrewolfy while i was writing this; anyway, it's a response to the description he posted.
I know I'm not the only one here who has had good experiences with sid. "Stable" is a relative term, especially in the Debian world. I think they describe sid that way to completely cover themselves in case it ever does break something. It's similar to the #! disclaimer -- when was the last time you actually heard someone complain that their system went "crunch" "bang"?
Sid (and before that Testing) has never broken anything I could not fix. In my opinion, it's more stable and reliable than backports and apt-pinning will ever be, and that's your only other choice if you want new software. Having said that, I want to be prefectly clear that I am not trying to convince you (or anyone else) to use it if you are at all unsure. Try it in a test machine or a separate install for a month or so, and see how you like it. if your machine must remain absolutely stable (for work, school, or as a server) please use Squeeze and then Wheezy a few months after the freeze.
Honestly, I don't even check the weather anymore, but I do pay attention to apt-listbugs and any warnings I see in apt-get update.
I think this is a better description of sid, especially the definition of "unstable" (it doesn't mean "breaks often" but does mean "changes often"):
The Debian Unstable branch is an opportunity for developers and experienced computer users to use, test, and develop the very latest open source software. It is not recommended for beginners or for anyone for whom reliability is a priority. While the quality of software in Debian Unstable is usually very high, the branch is highly unstable in the sense that things change rapidly and constantly; developers can't rely on libraries that are available (and working) one day to be available the next, and users can't rely on their correctly-configured and smooth-running system not to need additional configuration and workarounds every time something changes.
I got that from an interesting comparison of Debian and Ubuntu. For what it's worth, according to that site, non-LTS Ubuntu releases come from Debian unstable, and Ubuntu LTS comes from testing.
Last edited by pidsley (2012-10-18 19:30:39)
@ SabreWolfy Yes, changing those and making sure you have the multimedia resources as well, as outlined in that thread.
^ ^^ Thanks I'm going to go for it on this Wheezy netbook and see how it goes It's a simple netinstall with OpenBox and a handful of packages I need, so it's an absolutely minimal system at the moment.
Last edited by SabreWolfy (2012-10-18 19:44:56)
Debian Unstable is called "Debian Unstable" because one of the dictionary definitions of "unstable" is "rapidly changing; not constant" (which describes Sid perfectly).
It does not mean "crazy untested guinea-pig software that will make your computer explode;" that's a myth. Every package and application in Debian Unstable has been released as Stable by its upstream developers.
Also the whole thing about "Ubuntu is based on Debian Unstable" has been wrongly propagated for a long time; if you actually look at the packages in Ubuntu, you'll see it's only partly true. For example Ubuntu currently has a newer kernel, browser, KDE, etc. than Debian Unstable. How can Ubuntu be "based on Debian Unstable" and yet have newer packages? (Not to mention Unity--I don't think they got THAT from Sid! )
Furthermore even if it were 100% true and accurate that "Ubuntu is based on Debian Unstable" guess what? So is Debian Stable.
Last edited by snowpine (2012-10-18 19:36:07)
^^ that's why I said "for what it's worth, according to this site" The point I was trying to make was that Ubuntu has packages just as new (and newer) than sid...
Last edited by pidsley (2012-10-18 19:47:06)
^ ^^ Thanks I'm going to go for it on this Wheezy netbook and see how it goes It's a simply netinstall with OpenBox and a handful of packages I need, so it's an absolutely minimal system at the moment.
Perfect. Get your feet wet on a test machine.
^ Following those instructions, apt-get gave an error about "sid" not being a proper distribution when I added stuff to 'apt.conf". I removed it and I removed "preferences" and just changed wheezy to unstable in "sources.list". apt-get update worked, except of course there is no unstable security repo, so I've removed that and am now updating.
Last edited by SabreWolfy (2012-10-18 19:48:44)
Ubuntu is a "mixed" distro... As I recall, it starts with a 6 month snapshot of SID. If packages are broken (or unstable) they do a mixture of testing and their own fixes. (making Ubuntu a fork of Debian). Not too much is newer for long (if at all) in Ubuntu over SID unless it's an Ubuntu package waiting to get accepted into Debian. If you go to SID, then you'll use apt-get dist-upgrade rather than apt-get upgrade. smxi (smxi.org) can really help managing SID (or testing or stable for that matter)
"Sometimes I wish I hadn't taken the red pill" -Me
^ I do not think anyone is questioning what you said, more just adding their own insights into what Ubuntu is based on...
I also have enjoyed your input here and hope it continues.
*ubuntu means humanity toward others; group hug*
Umbongo! Written from my Wheezy install. It's not as horrible as it was in April, I might even keep it.
I'm sorry but I couldn't help see the word "MYTH" used here.
Back in the 90's, there was SID and stable ad nothing else.
And I was a Debian developer back then.
We had no testing. It wasn't a "MYTH" that SID was basically a construction area, it was back then.
They've just moved the construction/destruction area to testing from SID. And SID is less violent now
than it once was. Still, it is very possible to get a broken system with SID if your not careful.
But, people, it was no "MYTH".. It was history. Debian has changed in the last decade.
When people tell you about SID, they are not lying to you. They were just telling you how it was.
And to some degree, still is.