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Debian Software Upgrades Linux

Updates From Debian 204

Posted by Hemos
from the keep-the-flame-alive dept.
A couple of people noted that "Linuxlookup.com is reporting the third update of Debian GNU/Linux 3.0 (codename `woody') which mainly adds security updates to the stable release, along with a few corrections to serious problems. Those who frequently update from security.debian.org won't have to update many packages and most updates from security.debian.org are included in this update." Another reader writes "Looks like the Debian project just released their old stable distribution (woody) with a huge numbers of security updates, some removals and some less critical bugfixes. It's been a long time that we had to wait for it, the last update was in November last year, together with the break-in." And finally: pkarlos_76 writes "What's holding up Debian Sarge from release to stable? It's those lazy maintainers..... no actually it's just a few issues with security and bugs being quashed, and maybe you can help speed things up, especially if you are a maintainer, as your package will be left out if release candidate bugs are not fixed. Sarge Release Status Update available on Debianhelp . Even if you aren't a maintainer, any help with bug quashing, picking up orphaned packages or what not is always a Good Thing.
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Updates From Debian

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  • [droll] Obligatory: "I'd rather have the Buzz update" [/droll] Good to see the updates.
  • by advocate_one (662832) on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @11:22AM (#10631120)
    on my laptop... just finished downloading it via torrent. I can't be jiggered to wait for Sarge to come out in final form... How long has it been now in rc form??? I mean, they posted the teaser for Sarge two years ago!!! ridiculous...
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Actually I would rather wait a year more for Sarge to come out. All the projects, such as GNOME, XFCE the Linux kernel, X11 itself are at a big transition point. A year would not be enough for them to settle down fully, but enough to get a release like that of Woody (at its time).

      On the other hand, it could also be fast, so that the next release would be soon. Remember, once a stable release comes out, everything is frozen. (Yeah, there is 'pinnin', backports and other stuff, but for lazy flippers like me,

    • wow... 30% Troll, 40% flamebait, 30% interesting... glad someone got my message... pity some others couldn't see past their blinkers (blinders for the USAnians)... Debian is increasingly in danger of being sidelined because it's too big and the release process is so damned slow... Ubuntu has got the right message, freeze a subset of Sid and fix it, pass the fixes back to Debian... everyone benefits
  • by barcodez (580516) on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @11:23AM (#10631131)
    I'm not that familiar with Debian so I'm wondering what's Debian's unique selling point? What does it do that others don't?

    My impression of Debian rightly or wrongly is a rather conservative distro with a very rigid/ideological view on which licenses the will package.
    • by th173 (464208) on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @11:26AM (#10631172)
      Debian has a very good packaging system with very well definied dependencies. You could install a system and update it over and over again, without the need to reinstall.

      On the other Hand, Debian integrates security fixes without using the new upstream version from the original package maintainer, giving software developers a solid plattform to base the applications upon.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        One hint this dependency system makes Debian installs for special-purpose servers much easier than other distros.

        For example, to set up a Java/C#.net web server: First, install the minimal stuff from any of the many different debian installers [linuxmafia.com].

        Then, from the minimal debian-stable system

        apt-get install mono-apache-server/unstable tomcat4-webapps

        and you'll end up with a pretty current web-server - since tomcat & mono will depend on pretty current stuff.

        All the other packages you'd need (apache,

        • by pyrotic (169450) on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @01:40PM (#10632613) Homepage
          You can do the same with yum on RedHat/Fedora > 7.3. On the other hand, Debian is very bad to install with - lousy support for software RAID, bad X support, very few drivers for fancy SCSI controllers. The scripting support on the installer isn't great comapred to kickstart, and it does it without graphics. You can end up with a 2.2 kernel if you're not carefull. It's a lot of work. There's a good selection of packages available if you know where to look. RedHat/Fedora has weaknesses in the number of packages available, and the hyper release cycles, but so far we haven't switched.
          • I just installed it this morning. It went something like this:
            apt-get install raidtools2
            vi /etc/raidtab
            echo "raid5" >> /etc/modules
            modprobe raid5
            mkraid /dev/md0
            Then go get a cup of coffee.

            As a bonus, I didn't even wind up getting a 2.2.x kernel. I guess I was careful.

    • by glrotate (300695) on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @11:26AM (#10631173) Homepage
      It's niche is being so out of date that hackers are no longer familiar with it's versions of packages.
    • by Noksagt (69097) on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @11:30AM (#10631210) Homepage
      Debian GNU/Linux is quite ideological. The best writeup on it I've seen is Why Linux? Why Debian? [debian.org]

      I wouldn't call it conservative: Debian comes with over 8000 precompiled packages, many of which are fairly recent (see distrowatch or others for version info).

      Debian is a user-supported (noncommercial) distro that appeals to people with some experience with Linux or which believe in the GNU philosophy. The package manager (apt) is quite good. It is a well thought out distro & (arguably) has had the most succesful branches: Knoppix, Ubuntu, etc.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Debian keeps Linux looking beyond ix86 and to some extent GNU looking beyond Linux. The new installer will also (hopefully) keep Linux working on (most) pieces of hardware lying around instead of just the latest whiz bang desktops and servers that the other distributions maintain support for.

      Most other distributions do one or two things better whilst restricting your options in other ways. Debian tries to do it all and generates a lot more work for itself because of that. But everyone will benefit in the e
    • by BokLM (550487) *
      What is good with debian is that it's STABLE.
      You can install a server using Debian, and you know that it will last for years. The security update try to never change the version of a program but only correct the bug, in order to avoid possible break. I'm never scared before I run an update on a Debian stable.
      The problem is that the packages can be a little old if you're running the stable version. That's probably not Debian stable that you want for a Desktop computer :)
      • by TigrOoOo (263744) on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @11:44AM (#10631394)
        I work for a company that makes Linux "embedded" systems. First choice (and only choice) - Debian. One of our servers mirrors the Debian FTPs early in the morning, one hour later all the desktop machines sync with it. All the servers run Debian stable and rely on the security fixes. The systems that we sell all have stable on them too. The development platforms run on testing, and for the hardcore users, we also use unstable. Everything works fine. Sometimes an unstable machine will be, well, unstable, but I have never seen a "stable" give any problems whatsoever. In the beginning we made sure that the updates went well. 3 years later, we don't even bother looking. The installer is text, granted. dselect is a nightmare for beginners, granted. But the systems work, as in really, really work.
        • The installer is text, granted. dselect is a nightmare for beginners, granted.

          There are GNOME and probably KDE front ends for apt, even in stable. The main problem I have with dselect is that many packages don't have a descriptive enough description, so I don't know whether I want it or not.

          Meta-packages for one-click selection of a typical desktop, development or server machine á la Mandrake would make life easier for the new user, but I think Debian users want the control. All distributions targe

          • Meta-packages for one-click selection of a typical desktop, development or server machine á la Mandrake

            They have this sort of thing, probably in testing, but definitely in unstable. They have ones for KDE desktop, GNOME desktop, kernel images (a meta package that always depends on the latest kernel of a particular major version and platform). Probably a bunch of other ones too, but I'm primarily a fedora user. Getting into Ubuntu lately too.

          • Meta-packages for one-click selection of a typical desktop, development or server

            That would be tasksel [debian.org]'s job.

      • What is good with debian is that it's STABLE.
        Not arguing at all, but would like to say that, for me, the cool thing about Debian are all the little packages scripting weird stuff I'd never think of. For example, want to try out Debian with The Hurd, NetBSD, or FreeBSD kernels on another partition? Just apt-get install crosshurd. Run crosshurd and your system is bootstrapped for you and ready to boot into.
    • Conservitive yes, but only in the sense that the stable disturbution is rock solid. The packaging system is excellent, and the actual quality (i.e. setup scripts on install) of the packages included is by far the best out of all the distros. It's not a great distro for those who want/need the latest build of something, but that's what their testing and unstable versions are for. Their testing version is usually fairly current, equivilient to what most distros pump several times a year. Unstable is the bleed
    • I'm not that familiar with Debian so I'm wondering what's Debian's unique selling point? What does it do that others don't?

      The best package management of any *NIX like system and an overall system that "just works". The install is still a bit rough, and it may not be as "ready for the desktop" as some other distros, but is excellent for a server.

      My impression of Debian rightly or wrongly is a rather conservative distro with a very rigid/ideological view on which licenses the will package.

      Pretty much
    • I used to run RedHat. It took me many hours to install MythTV, figuring out which packages I needed, trying to resolve the dependencies.

      Now I run Debian unstable. It took me a few seconds to add a package source for MythTV to my list of sources, run apt-get update, and then apt-get install. apt-get took care of everything.

      Similarly, I wanted to install an ssh server on a Debian box. I just typed 'apt-get install sshd', and apt-get took care of the rest. I shelled into the box a couple of seconds late
      • The trouble with unstable is:
        1) The package dependencies often seem to be broken making installtion harder, in my experience

        2) No security updates. You have to keep your eye on the ball (CERT advisories, etc) and update relevant packages to the latest versions in the hope that it picks up the security fixes.

        3) Constantly changing! Personally I like Debian Stable's and Microsoft's long release cycles that mean I don't have to keep adapting.
      • Debian unstable is much more recent, but supposedly less stable, than Debian stable or Debian testing.

        The stable/unstable naming is more an indication of version changes than uptimes. The unstable version of debian can have packages changing versions several times a week sometimes. The problem is that you have to keep updating. If you get too far behind, then doing an update will likely be similar to a dist-upgrade and can run into problems because you have so many packages with major version changes intro

    • by SgtChaireBourne (457691) on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @11:44AM (#10631393) Homepage
      Debian's strengths are that its very, very easy to maintain. apt-get makes installation and maintenance very easy.

      It's also very stable and you can get by with a minimal of packages. The approach is to patch exisiting versions rather than force 'upgrades' to newer versions which may or may not change behavior (see PHP for examples of behavior changes even between point versions).

      And it runs on quite a variety of hardware [debian.org] besides lame old x86. I've run classes for semesters off of old junker Macintoshes -- 100% availability, no downtime from course start until the hardware was retired for good the next year.

      It's also very fast to install once you get used to it. (Don't use dselect) I've installed Debian for use as a web/cgi/database server on Pentium machines in under 15 minutes. Including some tweaking, however that needs a fast network connection.

      It's easy to choose linux 2.2, 2.4, 2.6 or a custom variant Linux kernel. I've also read that you can drop in other kernels besides Linux, like BSD. Though I myself have not tried, but would like to read more about it.

    • debian was the easiest linux to get onto my Xbox, which is about the only purpose I've seen for it. It might be nice for a router, however, because it's probably easier to update than slackware. When someone is fed up with redhat, I point them to debian. (This is not a hypothetical situation, I've done this several times and most of them were happy.) Their ideological restrictions on included packages usually don't affect one much.
    • by phorm (591458) on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @11:53AM (#10631461) Journal
      All debian varieties can use apt-get (and its partner tools) to contact the main debian repositories. The repositories have a *huge* selection of prepackaged applications/libs/etc that you can install with very little fuss simply by choosing "apt-get install NAMEOFPACKAGE." Alternately, there are CLI tools such as "aptitude" which one may use to select software from a categorical list of packages, or GUI tools such as "synaptic" that do the same in a graphical environment.

      At regular intervals, you may "apt-get update" to update your machine's list of software known to debian. "apt-get upgrade" can then be used to upgrade to known newer versions, or apply security updates in debian/stable.

      For software updates/installations that have configuration options, often you will get a curses-based interface which steps you through basic configuration.

      Debian/stable: As most have mentioned, very stable, well tested, and generally out-of-date as far as new features etc etc (but with security fixes etc being backported). Automatic download/configuration of most new security updates via apt-get. Very nice for servers or other systems that you want to be reliable, but don't need a bleeding edge environment. Packages are generally well-tested against each other, so you have a good assurance that apt-get installing package B will not break package A.

      Debian/unstable: No security patches for unstable packages. Instead, regularly updating will get you newer versions of software. Sometimes you get conflicts but ususally it is fairly stable. I've been using a debian/unstable desktop for quite sometime now... the worst problems I've had thus far is needed to manually select a different "automake" version for Anjuta to work, and having a package that wasn't from debian being broken by a gtk update (mainly because some quirky coding in said package didn't like the new GTK version).

      Debian/testing: I haven't used it, but basically I believe it's supposed to be slightly more bleeding edge than debian/stable. Packages haven't been fully tested against each other, package updates/changes are more common.

      Really, you could think of the above as something akin to freshmeat.net's software grading system, where 'stable' is often for "mature" software packages, 'unstable' includes "beta" or less mature, and 'testing' is very new or "alpha."

      The only thing that confuses me at current is why my Firefox is only avaiable up to version 0.9.3, even in 'testing'...

      In summary though, the concept that debian is for old/crufty software is bogus. This may apply to debian/stable, but unstable will keep you very up-to-date for most users.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        "Debian/stable: [..description..] Debian/unstable: [..description..]"

        Also important to not is that you can mix & match packages from stable and unstable as you need.

        Our servers are running "stable" with Mono/ASP.NET from "Unstable". Debian's dependency checker happily identifies which additional packages are needed from "unstable" to make mono run while leaving the rest of the system as "stable".

      • I think that the order is actually:

        stable ("gold")
        testing ("RC")
        unstable ("beta")

        That's why "testing" generally gets put under a freeze and then bumped down to the new "stable". "Unstable" is always "unstable" and packages are generally floated down to "testing" after a predetermined grace period - just to be sure they didn't break anything. If you run "unstable", you're running the bleeding edge.

        From what I've heard, there's also experimental branches as well, but I know nothing about it.

        Ja ne, eh?
      • Actually, you have that reversed...

        "Stable" is correct; it's the tried-and-true system that is designed to just work.

        "Testing" means "This will be the next stable, please test it so we can squash out the bugs."

        "Unstable" is the bleeding edge.

        Currently, Stable is Woody, Testing is Sarge, and Unstable is (always) Sid. These names are from Toy Story apparently, Sid is named because he's the kid who likes to torture and destroy toys... pretty apt name for an unstable distribution, eh?

        And I've remembered some fun times in unstable. On average, it can be pretty stable, but if there's a major change (such as the time that X11 was being repackaged in a different way a few years ago; it was three days before my X server would even start up), it will be VERY difficult to manage until the changes are complete.
      • Debian/unstable: No security patches for unstable packages.

        That's not quite true. That is to say, I'm not sure what the official policy is, but in practice every time I've heard about a new security hole, I've noticed that new packages have shown in the unstable apt archives very quickly. Quickly enough that I don't think it's just because they happened to pull down a new upstream version that day.

        Testing is the one distribution that doesn't currently seem to get security updates, which means unless y

        • Seems I was a bit off on testing, I assumed it was less stable than unstable :-)

          However, as far as security updates, in unstable it seems to be more of a "new version soon" rather than an actual patch from security.debian.org (which are usually backported patches)
      • The only thing that confuses me at current is why my Firefox is only avaiable up to version 0.9.3, even in 'testing'...

        The latest version is in Debian Experimental. It is possible to install it. I don't know what is holding it up from releasing into Unstable, but there are two things I can think of: Debian takes great care to do the right thing with cross-platform and international versions, and Debian takes great care with the packaging. If 0.10 made changes that affected the localisation, or if 0.10
    • by Confessed Geek (514779) on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @11:53AM (#10631467)
      One item not yet mentioned is that it supports a LOT of differnt computing platforms:
      alpha
      arm
      hppa
      i386
      i64
      m68k
      mip s
      mipsel
      powerpc
      s390
      sparc

      and soon AMD64

      On top of just being really cool in in of itself, this allows you to have a unified computing platform across mutliple legacy, bigiron, and modern consumer x86 hardware installations.
      • and soon AMD64

        I have Debian installed on my AMD 64 3500+ box right now, thank you very much. No soon about it. what is soon, is that it will soon be in the official sarge branch. Right now you have to point apt-get to alioth.debian.org/ [slashdot.org].

        So far no problems other than the fact that the version of Firefox that apt-get installed is broken on the AMD64 so you have to downgrade to the 0.8x version.

        I know I am going to sound like every other debian convert but ... I used to use mandrake, but got tired of RPM

      • one thing to be aware of on sparc machines -- and all linux-sparc distros have this AFAIK -- is that setting up the boxes requires you to include a sun disklabel (like a meta-partition that's the whole size of the disk). Debian is one of the few distros that will actually still work on sparcs (gentoo and *BSDs being the others that spring to mind). I've had more success and less problems with FreeBSD than Debian, but Debian does work just as on the x86 platform.)
    • As other have mentioned, stable is STABLE. You can set up a server running stable, and it will run for years, including security updates that won't break anything.

      Another big plus for Debian is it is multi-platform. I have an old SGI Indy. It has a MIPS cpu. My choices for OS pretty much boil down to Irix, NetBSD and Debian. Debian also runs on Sparc, Alpha, ARM HP PA-RISC, PowerPC, ... They all work the same way.

      Finally, it's good that someone is taking the ideological high ground. Knowing the Deb
    • Going on 8 years... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by misleb (129952) on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @12:10PM (#10631648)
      I've had the same install of Debian on my desktop at work for 7 years. I use it exclusively. No Windows on this machine at all. It has been copied onto a larger harddrive, the motherboard/CPU has been upgraded twice, and I've 'apt-get dist-upgrade'd to new stable releases over the years, but it is the same installation." I don't know if this is a "selling point" but it is a sign that Debian is a solid, consistent, and upgradable base. The "purity" of the licensing is just a bonus for GNU geeks.

      -matthew

    • It works on very low-spec hardware (because it doesn't depend on fancy graphical installation or maintenance tools). I have it running on servers down to P5/100 spec, and running well as a desktop OS on P5/133 machines. (Plus tremendous stability and availability on a very large number of hardware architectures, but those have been mentioned by others. Oh, and the fact you never have to install it on a machine more than once; just seamlessly upgrade.)
    • Debian's biggest strength, and some would argue biggest weakness, is the Debian Policy.
      Take a look at Manoj Srivastava's superb essay on Debian Policy [debian.org] for more info. It's well worth the read.
  • I've used a handful of distributions (Suse, Mandrake, Redhat, Fedora Core 2, Slackware) over the years, but only dabbled a bit with each. I tried installing Debian woody yesterday for a project I'm working on, and got frustrated with the installation process. They should look to Mandrake or Fedora Core for an example of a streamlined installation process. I'm sure I'm just lazy when it comes to installing an OS, but I did sit through a Slackware install off before.
  • Sarge... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by JPDeckers (559434)
    Darn,

    We have 'recently' switched our servers over to debian (coming from redhat), because of the so-called stability etc.

    We decided to go with Sarge (testing), as we where expecting a final release with security-fixes soon, and didn't wanted to have woody installed and becoming obsolete within a couple of weeks.

    This was almost 7 months ago, and right it's not even in a freeze.
    (Yes, I know, Debian releases when it's ready, but hey, atleast get the security team start having a look at the packages.)

    N

    • Re:Sarge... (Score:5, Informative)

      by lspd (566786) on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @11:36AM (#10631289) Homepage Journal
      We decided to go with Sarge (testing), as we where expecting a final release with security-fixes soon, and didn't wanted to have woody installed and becoming obsolete within a couple of weeks.

      For anyone else considering the same route... If you want a Stable server OS, install Debian Stable. Regardless of when Sarge is finally released, Woody will be supported for an additional year or so. In fact, if you have a Debian stable box and don't want to get pulled into Sarge before you're ready, change your /etc/apt/sources.list file to pull packages from Woody rather than Stable. Let other folks debug the upgrade process on their experimental boxes before you upgrade your production boxes.
      • It depends on what kind of server you are talking about. Sarge comes with some significantly newer packages with many new features such as postfix 2.1 and apache2. I'd say stay with Woody for a while if you already have it installed, but it makes sense to install Sarge on new servers.

        -matthew
        • It depends on what kind of server you are talking about. Sarge comes with some significantly newer packages with many new features such as postfix 2.1 and apache2. I'd say stay with Woody for a while if you already have it installed, but it makes sense to install Sarge on new servers.

          Personally I figure that staying inside the security support window is more important than newer versions. That assumes that a newer version of this or that isn't a requirement to begin with. If you need a newer version of
    • I've been waiting for Sarge for a couple months now. I don't know why they can't freeze it, give people 2 weeks to fix bugs or get cut, then release what's available. Those other packages could still be obtained from testing after Sarge is "stable". IMHO, they really are looking quite bad. Just freeze, fix, ship, and move on.
      • I've been waiting for Sarge for a couple months now. I don't know why they can't freeze it, give people 2 weeks to fix bugs or get cut, then release what's available.

        For a long time the release was waiting on the new installer. The i386 installer has been working for quite a while now but other architectures have come along slowly. My understanding is that the installer problems have all been worked out at this point.

        After the installer, the major issue was setting up security support for Sarge. Woo
      • Re:Sarge... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Knuckles (8964)
        Um, no.
        The solution you propose does not work because with the current setup, as a user, you can only pull the packages from testing into stable for a few days/weeks after the Sarge release. After that, testing gets already all the updates from unstable to prepare testing for the release-after-sarge. Holding up this propagation from unstable to testing until all the fixed stuff has moved to Sarge would hold up the development.
        An additional problem is that after release no new packages can enter Sarge b/c it
      • Judging by all the pro-Debian posts on this topic, Debian isn't "looking bad." Believe it or not, but some people depend on slow release cycle. Not everyone needs to be bleeding edge to get stuff done. You can install sarge right now if you want to. What are you complaining about?

        -matthew
    • Re:Sarge... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Malc (1751)
      Who advised you 7 months ago that Sarge was about to move to stable?

      IIRC, it was only in the middle of the summer (after you made your decision) that they tried to put together a release schedule for Sarge aimed at sometime after September. It's only now that I would feel comfortable using Sarge with the aim of avoiding a major version upgrade. The truth of the matter is though that with Debian, going from Woody to Sarge is always going to be fairly easy. Of course, in a production environment will requ
  • by gowen (141411) <gwowen@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @11:26AM (#10631169) Homepage Journal
    Debian GNU/Linux : Yesterday's technology ... tomorrow
    Now with extra political correctness...
    • by misleb (129952)
      That isn't fair. Debian isn't "politically correct." It is socially responsible.
      • One person's social responsibility is the next person's political correctness. Depends all on the point of view.

        • by misleb (129952)
          You are wrong. "Political Correctness" is a superficial rewording of things to appease a minority or to make those referring to a minority feel better. Saying "African American" vs. "Black" is politically correct. Debian is a project that stands for certain values. There is really no comparison to being "PC." Just because Debian and what it stands for isn't important to you, doesn't mean it is "politically correct."

          -matthew
  • by Hoplite3 (671379) on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @11:29AM (#10631202)
    Debian's strategy of rock-solid releases is something that makes the distro unique. It also doesn't make it much fun. If you want modern packages, you often have to hang out with the "unstable" crowd, rather than the "testing" crowd. But this is like being signed up for regular crotch-kicks, since unstable breaks systems on a practically weekly basis. This, plus dependency creep, makes anything but "stable" debian sort of a drag.

    Stable Debian, on the other hand, is a nice thing. I've always admired Debian's power structure and community focus, but I've been so much happier with my hobby computer when I switched to a more "I-think-I'm-an-expert-but-really-I'm-an-idiot" distro like gentoo. For binary distros, I think there's a big pack of modern flashy desktop ones that eat Debian's lunch. Debian's idealism might end up side-lining it in the Linux world.
    • by shrykk (747039) on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @11:33AM (#10631243)
      Yeah, but Debian is used as the sprinboard for a bunch of other distros (e.g. Knoppix) because of its stability and dependability.

      That could be its main strength.
    • by hummassa (157160)
      To track unstable (like tracking -current in the *BSDs) _can_ give you some surprises, but rarely _does_. I use sid on my desktop since the time KDE wasn't in the distro (QPL problems). I haven't been bitten for some two years now.
    • by zerblat (785) <jonas&skubic,se> on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @11:40AM (#10631344) Homepage
      I don't agree. I've been using Debian unstable for years, and I can't remember the last time something broke. YMMV etc of course. I've gotten so bored that I've started installing experimental packages in hopes to finally get something to break.

      Anyway, if you want a modern flashy desktop based on Debian, look no further than here [ubuntulinux.org].

      • I just checked one of my web-facing servers running Debian unstable. It's been up 94 days, since I last upgraded the kernel to 2.6.8.1 . It doesn't have a firewall and doesn't need one. I am running about 10 systems in all on unstable. Another is at a colocation site and has served 15 megabits per second of CD downloads when demand is high. It's been up for 31 days, since I last rebooted it to change the kernel. I have an AMD64 desktop, a number of laptops. The last time an upgrade brought the system down w
      • I think "years" might be an exageration. About a year ago (or a bit more maybe) someone broke mod_perl and it took two or three days before and updated apache or mod_perl package was uploaded. Of course, since the mirrors update relatively quickly I couldn't just downgrade to version N-1. At this point I didn't know about the packages archives site, so my mod_perl sites were down for a few days while waiting for things to update. I used unstable for a server on the net (personal + hosting a few friends)
      • I don't agree. I've been using Debian unstable for years, and I can't remember the last time something broke. YMMV etc of course. I've gotten so bored that I've started installing experimental packages in hopes to finally get something to break.

        Sure, unstable is fine if you only have one machine, but what about those of us who want to deploy Debian enterprise-wide? Debian provides a wonderful framework for us, but no suitable distribution. Stable is at this point too old even for our servers (we run it

    • If you want modern packages, you often have to hang out with the "unstable" crowd, rather than the "testing" crowd. But this is like being signed up for regular crotch-kicks, since unstable breaks systems on a practically weekly basis. This, plus dependency creep, makes anything but "stable" debian sort of a drag.

      OK, Debian unstable does have occasional problems, but the above is a massive exageration. All of my machines are running unstable, I apt-get upgrade at least weekly (often daily), and I can't t

    • Let's not forget backports.org. Modern packages where needed without having to going the whole hog and drop Stable for Unstable/Testing. That still not exactly a solution I would really want on a production box.
    • I really don't understand you guys that are always saying things like "unstable breaks systems on a weekly basis". I have run unstable for two years now, and I only remember two instances where a bug in a package seriously affected the usability of my machine in any significant way, and even then that problem was fixed in a day, if not hours.

      I think a major problem people have is not being familiar enough with the packaging system to tell the difference between a major error and a momentary glitch. Just
    • Debian's strategy of rock-solid releases is something that makes the distro unique. It also doesn't make it much fun.

      It's simply a matter of expectations. Debian Stable is there for the same reason as RedHat Advanced Server and RedHat Advanced Workstation. If you're using GNU/Linux in a business environment you don't want to upgrade the OS every six months. The long release cycle and insistence on keeping the same versions of packages between major releases makes it possible to install a server or wor
    • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @12:35PM (#10631858)
      Debian's strategy of rock-solid releases is something that makes the distro unique. It also doesn't make it much fun.

      Servers are supposed to be "boring", "dull", "mundane", "reliable", etc.

      I run a few Debian servers and they never give me any problems. Patches go in without any problems. They never do down. They just keep serving.

      I've always admired Debian's power structure and community focus, but I've been so much happier with my hobby computer when I switched to a more "I-think-I'm-an-expert-but-really-I'm-an-idiot" distro like gentoo.

      Gentoo is great on a desktop. But a desktop has completely different requirements than a server. A desktop can get by with an unstable app.

      A server should not be running anything it doesn't absolutely have to and everything it runs must be rock solid. Debian gives me all of that on a server.

      For binary distros, I think there's a big pack of modern flashy desktop ones that eat Debian's lunch. Debian's idealism might end up side-lining it in the Linux world.

      Maybe.

      Knoppix on the desktop is awesome and it is Debian. One Knoppix CD + a USB toy and you've got it all.

      Debian on the server may not have all the Oracle support and such that Red Hat does, but it handles just about everything else.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @11:36AM (#10631306)
    Debian has so many packages and platforms that it is hard to release.
    It is even crazier that a game like "Abuse" is listed as a release stopper. C'mon folks. We need a small core that drives the release schedule.
    Maybe this is why ubuntu forked.

    I do love the long support cycle of debian. Can't afford to upgrade a server every year, which is the case for Fedora and friends
    • Yeah, except one of Debian's *huge* selling points (to me, anyway) is the ability to move an installed system from one release to the next with virtually no problems. This is only possible because Debian is incredibly anal about ensuring that each and every package will upgrade cleanly. This, unfortunately, means that minor packages like Abuse, or anything else you can think of, could block the release, because otherwise, someone's box somewhere could suddenly break after an upgrade.
    • Fool. Ubuntu isn't a fork, it's a specialization.

    • by cortana (588495) <sam@robots.orAAAg.uk minus threevowels> on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @12:21PM (#10631750) Homepage
      The actual release stopper at the moment is getting the Security autobuild network ready to build packages for Sarge.

      While it's true that packages such as Abuse have release critical bugs, the release of Sarge will not be held up by them. Sarge cannot release while RC bugs are present--if it's simpler to remove Abuse from Sarge than it is to fix the RC bug, then Abuse will be removed.
  • by FictionPimp (712802) on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @11:39AM (#10631343) Homepage
    My machine at home can run redhat, mandrake, suse, and even gentoo, but I can't for the life of me get any debian based distro to work on my PC.

    During the base install I will get random package errors. I thought it might be my CD, but i've burned 10 at this point and verified the CRC, so maybe its my sony DVD burner that i'm using to read the disk for the install.

    Here's my specs if anyone has a clue

    p4 3ghz
    intel i865perl motherboard
    audigy 2 ZS
    Samsung SATA 160 gig drive.
    Gainward nvidia FX5900XT
    Sony DVD burner

    Nothing new or special. Tried doing a netinstall of sarge with the rc2 installer. Tried to ubantu (or however you spell it) and i'm going to try a knoppix chroot install tonight. I've tried other's but no luck on those as well.

    Any ideas?
  • Great to hear. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by quag7 (462196) <deepspace@dataswamp.net> on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @11:55AM (#10631480) Homepage
    This is great to hear. I recently deployed Debian on some production servers out on the internet and they have gone several months without even the slightest quirk or hiccup, under moderately heavy load. I was semi-new to Debian, and I use it on one of my machines at home too; on my desktop I use Gentoo.

    People have a variety of opinions on any distribution, but I can't think of anything easier to maintain, and it's well-documented too.

    I've heard some rumors about the Debian support community being a little crusty and curmudgeonly, but I wouldn't know because I've so far never needed to ask anyone for support. And I'm not that bright, so that says a lot. :)

    On the other hand, I've met Debian users in other non-Linux forums who all have been nice enough folks.

    As I update regularly, it appears from the release announcement that there won't be any added value to downloading and burning it, which is just as well.

    The conservatism here has been a positive things for the server-related things I use it for. I've never tried using testing or unstable as a desktop (where I imagine you generally want to be a little less conservative) so I can't speak to that. However, when I get a new system to replace this miserable 1 GHz Celeron, I'll probably turn this machine into a Debian machine, since running Gentoo on it, with the attendant compiling, is increasingly painful given its speed.

    (Though I'll run Gentoo on the new system :)

    Side by side, they seem to cover two extremes of the spectrum, and work well in that regard, side by side. I haven't even been very curious about anything else but these two. But that's just mey opinion.
  • by Pan T. Hose (707794) on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @12:03PM (#10631565) Homepage Journal

    First of all, I am a happy user of Debian Woody on the desktops and servers. And let me tell you something: it is stable. And it is stable not only in the sense that the system per se has never crashed during 24h/day heavy load for years, but what is even more important for large networks and offices, it is stable in the sense that no API or system behaviour change while the patches are applied. There are no new featuritis after a stable Debian is released, no version of any program changes to a newer one with even slightly different interface or semantics. There are only isolated security patches. Period.

    If any software has fixed a vulnerability in a newer version of the program, the Debian team backports that security fix to older versions, and that security fix alone. What does it mean? That in addition to the system itself being rock solid, I can be quite sure that my custom applications will not break after patching. And we all know that this is the real reason that makes administrators not patch their systems on time. No one will patch a system if the patches break everything, there would be no point, why not shut down the network in the first place and be done with it.

    But with stable Debian this is a non-issue. And in my opinion, this the reason why real-world Debian installations tend to be generally more secure. As a Debian lover I would love to say otherwise, but Debian is not inherently more secure than Red Hat or Mandrake; Debian admins are not generally smarter than anyone else. Even the APT packaging system is not so important. It is not important who, how or with which tools applies patches. It is even not that important if those very patches are available after ten hours or ten days after disclosing the vulnerability. It is, however, important what happens after applying those patches. Does anything break? Does anything start working different than before? Does it need extensive testing and rewriting of local custom software? If the answer is "yes" then you can be sure that those patches will be rolled back and will not get applied for months.

    That is the real issue. That is the real difference. So now going back to the question:

    "What's holding up Debian Sarge from release to stable? It's those lazy maintainers..... no actually it's just a few issues..."

    I would like to ask a more important question: what does it actually mean that Debian Sarge is released as stable? And as it turns out, it means changing the "stable [debian.org]" symlink from "woody [debian.org]" to "sarge [debian.org]."

    That's right. Sarge is already released and you can use it before that symlink is changed if you need software newer than Woody. The only other thing that will change after the "release" is that feature updates will stop and only security updates will get backported. But the security updates are already available in Sarge, maybe even faster. The only difference is that before the "stable" symlink is redirected to Sarge, you are also getting feature updates of the software in addition to security patches. If that is not an issue for you, then nothing is stopping you from "releasing" Sarge today.

    I hope this will help to understand why Debian users and developers are often outraged when people ask when the new version of Debian is released.

    • I hope this will help to understand why Debian users and developers are often outraged when people ask when the new version of Debian is released.

      Unfortunately not.

      I would like to ask a more important question: what does it actually mean that Debian Sarge is released as stable? And as it turns out, it means changing the "stable [debian.org]" symlink from "woody [debian.org]" to "sarge [debian.org]."

      Who says rhetorical questions dumb down the discourse? :)

  • What exactly is so "ancient" about debian? I'm using unstable (which isn't quite as 'fresh' as testing) and I'm not nearly so far behind as people indicate:

    Firefox: 0.9.3-6 (my primary complaint about anything being outdated, latest: 1.0PR has a lot of nice features)
    Thunderbird: 0.83 (latest)
    Perl-base: 5.8.4 (latest is 5.8.5)
    Open-Office: 1.1.1-3 (1.1.3 is latest)
    Blender: 2.34-1 (latest)
    GIMP: 2.0.5-1 (latest)
    PHP4-pear: 4.3.9-1 (latest is PHP5)
    Apache: 1.3.31-6 (latest is 1.3.32)
    Apache 2: 2.0.5-1 (la
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I thought the order is, stable, testing, unstable, experimental.

      Testing is sarge; unstable is sid.
    • Generally, when people gripe about Debian being outdated, they're talking about stable (Woody).

      Woody doesn't have Firefox or Thunderbird, and I think Mozilla is barely at 1.00. Perl is 5.6, I think KDE is 2 (correct me if I'm wrong), and the kernel is 2.2.X!
      • by phorm (591458)
        There is a 2.4 series kernel in stable. If you want to installed it from disc use "bf24" as your install option instead of "vanilla" or "linux"

        That being said, you don't use debian/stable if you want to be up-to-date, it's something like using windows 98 to avoid RPC exploits :-)
  • from the distro that time forgot

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