Debian SID questions and answers

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Debian SID questions and answers

Postby zoli62 » 2019-12-02 06:28

I didn't find such a topic, it might be useful. I would start with it. Yesterday I installed it using a netinstall iso in a production environment. I managed to configure all the things I needed except one. Is there a graphical interface to automatically check for updates after logging in, such as Pamac on Arch Linux? I was looking for one but couldn't find one. Otherwise, I think the Debian SID is still the best of the rolling release distributions.
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Re: Debian SID questions and answers

Postby dilberts_left_nut » 2019-12-02 06:44

No point auto-checking - there will always be updates, and you will need to evaluate them manually anyway if you don't want it to blow up.

aptitude is what i would recommend for sid.
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Re: Debian SID questions and answers

Postby sunrat » 2019-12-02 08:13

Sid is not a rolling release, it is a development version. It will break sometimes unless you're very careful and learn when not to update. Sometimes you have to delay for a day, occasionally for weeks.
It's definitely not recommended for a production environment.
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Re: Debian SID questions and answers

Postby reinob » 2019-12-02 08:59

+1 to both above.

I'd add that you should install "apt-listchanges" and "apt-listbugs", which may save you from making mistakes others have made (which anyway is the very purpose of sid, but I guess the majority of sid users want the rolling but not the reporting..)

(After years of running sid -- on desktop, never on a server! -- I've changed to stable.
Now I even have time to answer posts here :)
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Re: Debian SID questions and answers

Postby zoli62 » 2019-12-02 18:29

dilberts_left_nut wrote:No point auto-checking - there will always be updates, and you will need to evaluate them manually anyway if you don't want it to blow up.

aptitude is what i would recommend for sid.


More specifically, I installed the system from testing iso. Then in source.list I replaced Bullseye with unstable. What are the risks of going back to the testing branch?
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Re: Debian SID questions and answers

Postby sunrat » 2019-12-02 21:11

zoli62 wrote:More specifically, I installed the system from testing iso. Then in source.list I replaced Bullseye with unstable. What are the risks of going back to the testing branch?


Testing is generally regarded to be less reliable than Sid. It can take many days for upstream bug fixes and security updates to filter from Sid to Testing.
For production, use Stable.
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Re: Debian SID questions and answers

Postby kedaha » 2019-12-02 22:23

I've used Debian for a few years so if I may I'd like to give my humble opinion:

I've always regarded sid for what it is; a place where packages are kept before moving them to be testing in preparation for the future stable release; I certainly don't consider it a "rolling" release or either distribution as suitable for use as a workstation.

I see stable, Debian's core distribution, as an extraordinary achievement which the developers have spent much time and care in developing during the testing phase and maintained for security and stability for a considerable time, even after the succeeding stable release. This is why I use stable for my workstation as well as my server.

If I want any more up-to-date software, which is not often, I follow the recommendations given in Newer_Software_For_Debian_Stable. The stable distribution is what sets Debian apart from any other distro, something I think which isn't always fully appreciated. However, I take my hat off to anyone who wants to make either sid or testing their main operating system and who doesn't mind "the life of eternal updates", specially if they take the trouble to debug "broken functionalities" and submit bug reports and the like.
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Re: Debian SID questions and answers

Postby zoli62 » 2019-12-02 23:49

I've been using Debian for a long, long time. I respect your opinion, but the fresh, crunchy packages of popular applications cannot be found in the official repositories of the Debian stable release, just a simple Firefox browser, for example. That is why I think it makes sense to use at least testing instead of stable release.
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Re: Debian SID questions and answers

Postby zoli62 » 2019-12-02 23:55

sunrat wrote:
zoli62 wrote:More specifically, I installed the system from testing iso. Then in source.list I replaced Bullseye with unstable. What are the risks of going back to the testing branch?


Testing is generally regarded to be less reliable than Sid. It can take many days for upstream bug fixes and security updates to filter from Sid to Testing.
For production, use Stable.



Why is SID more reliable than testing? After all, the former development channel passes the appropriate tests and bug fixes, after which the applications are transferred to the latter and not vice versa.
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Re: Debian SID questions and answers

Postby dilberts_left_nut » 2019-12-03 06:59

Fixes in sid arrive asap.
Those fixes don't migrate to testing for at least 10 days, but cold be much longer if there are some blocking packages that need updating first.
Things may be missing / uninstallable in testing for extended periods.
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Re: Debian SID questions and answers

Postby kedaha » 2019-12-03 13:16

To inject a little humor into the discussion:
According to the author of the Debian Reference, Osamu Aoki (my italics):
The use of testing or unstable is a lot of fun but comes with some risks. Even though the unstable suite of the Debian system looks very stable for most of the times, there have been some package problems on the testing and unstable suite of the Debian system and a few of them were not so trivial to resolve It may be quite painful for you. Sometimes, you may have a broken package or missing functionality for a few weeks.

This reminds me of the amusing article about Debian in the uncyclopedia here:
Debian users pride themselves on being able to deal with pain [...]

So the use of testing or unstable may not only be "a lot of fun" but one may also pride oneself on being able to deal with the pain of a broken package or missing functionality for a few weeks. Good luck with that! :mrgreen:
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Re: Debian SID questions and answers

Postby pcalvert » 2019-12-03 21:58

Some people have suggested using this command for Sid:
Code: Select all
apt-get update && apt-get install $(debsecan --suite sid --format packages --only-fixed)


However, I suspect that this version would probably work better (most of the time):
Code: Select all
aptitude update && aptitude install $(debsecan --suite sid --format packages --only-fixed)


The idea behind this is that it allows one to download and install the most urgent updates without having to install all the other updates that might be available. So if a full upgrade would cause unacceptable breakage, the above command would (hopefully) avoid the breakage while still allowing one to install the most important updates.

Required packages: debsecan and (optionally) aptitude.

Here's an old post about debsecan:
viewtopic.php?f=20&t=53629

Note: I've never tried this. I'm only posting this because some of the people who insist on running Sid may find it helpful/useful.

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Re: Debian SID questions and answers

Postby anticapitalista » 2019-12-03 22:33

IMO anyone using sid (I do) just needs to read the output of apt-get dist-upgrade and not blindly press Enter. No need for apt-list-bugs.
Sure it helps if you use a windows manager rather than a complex desktop-environment like ....
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Re: Debian SID questions and answers

Postby sunrat » 2019-12-03 23:07

anticapitalista wrote:IMO anyone using sid (I do) just needs to read the output of apt-get dist-upgrade and not blindly press Enter. No need for apt-list-bugs.
Sure it helps if you use a windows manager rather than a complex desktop-environment like ....


Yes indeed, the golden rule is to watch for proposed package removal. If one or two are to be removed, find out why. If dozens or hundreds are to be removed, full-upgrade (or dist-upgrade) could be a Very Bad Idea.
I've been using siduction/KDE and its antecedents for about twelve years now for my home desktop. I regularly make full system images with Clonezilla. Several times I have had to restore the previous image after d-u. I think twice I have had to do a full reinstall because of massive breakage when I didn't have a recent enough restore image.
Sid can be lots of fun. It can also be like that crazy girlfriend who gets drunk and punches you in the face. :mrgreen:
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