How stable is Sid?

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How stable is Sid?

Postby srynznfyra » 2009-10-02 21:27

I've been using Debian squeeze (6.0, testing) for the past couple of months and it seems perfectly stable for what I do on my desktop (defo wouldn't put it on my server though).

I'm wondering if installing the even newer Sid (unstable) would be worth the extra features? I use KDE4 and would love to hear about any bad (or good) experiences with Sid before I add it to my sources.list.

Thanks.
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Re: How stable is Sid?

Postby julian67 » 2009-10-02 21:41

It's exactly as stable as a bungee jumper's elastic is long. And the amazing thing is that it's always exactly that same measurement.

Imo if you ask how stable is Sid then it's not the right release for you because you haven't really grasped what it is or what you should expect.

Testing is a reasonably stable and reliable release, but occasionally has some spectacular failure (quite unusual but definitely a feature). And if you really need something in Sid you can just run testing and pull stuff in from Sid repos as and when you want. I do this and it works well enough.
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Re: How stable is Sid?

Postby srynznfyra » 2009-10-02 21:57

Well that's what I did do with amarok (to get 2.2), but it turned out that the new version was broken. When I tried to downgrade it was a pain because it required reinstallation of the old versions of several other packages, one of which alot of other packages depended on (which also of course required uninstalling and reinstalling). It seems I haven't yet found the apt-get 'downgrade' feature...
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Re: How stable is Sid?

Postby julian67 » 2009-10-02 22:03

Which shows you definitely will not enjoy using Sid. It's a great release if you want to help development and submit bug reports and explore new versions of packages but it's not a great release if you want some assurance that everything will work, and work as expected. It's not even guaranteed to be complete at any time.
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Re: How stable is Sid?

Postby srynznfyra » 2009-10-02 22:34

Thanks for the advice :)

I guess I'll keep it at 'testing' then. I can't wait till squeeze gets into stable...I prefer to be on the cutting edge but not TOO on the cutting edge lol
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Re: How stable is Sid?

Postby sickie » 2009-10-03 08:57

srynznfyra wrote:I prefer to be on the cutting edge but not TOO on the cutting edge lol

You answered for yourself: you definitely don't want sid.
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Re: How stable is Sid?

Postby mojoman » 2009-10-04 20:51

And the funny thing about Sid is that if you want it be fairly ... I wouldn't say stable because that it ain't but ... but, well, a little less unstable, then it is a typical server install that you'll want. Mind you, I would NEVER run a server on Sid. I don't even run a server on testing, that's what stable is for and testing is for my desktop. Still, stuff that are (very) likely to break every now and then on Sid are stuff that have a lot of dependencies. You mentioned Amarok. That's right, good example. Well, use KDE or Gnome on Sid and you'll see trouble. Use icewm or fluxbox (and apps that correspond to such an installation) and you'll see trouble too, just not as often. Use a CLI installation and you'll see trouble even less (but it'll be there). Again, if you run a server on Sid my opinion is that something is broken in your head but fact remains, the slimmer the installation, the less likely you are to run into trouble. And this is not just because you use less stuff, it is also because it is not as complex and does not interact/depend as much. On stable, the developers are what Freud would say pretty anal about getting everything in order, dependency-wise. This is NOT the case with Sid. (BTW, you now that the codename Sid comes from the Pixar movie Toy Story, right? All Debian codename does. And why is he called Sid? He will ****** break your toys and make no mistake about it.)

I use Sid on an old laptop of mine. It's eight years old, a Toshiba Satellite with a Celeron Coppermine processor and sporting 256 MB ram. The HDD died on me but I cannibalized a new one from a broken laptop with 20 GB worth of space. I run it on a customized kernel, slim install with a few WM and lightweight apps, a lot of them CLI. Great fun to try out and have around but I wouldn't put Sid on my everyday computer, risking to one evening not be able to watch a movie or listening to the blues. My advice is to save Sid for something on the side.

Just my two cents...
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Re: How stable is Sid?

Postby craigevil » 2009-10-04 22:09

Sid isn't as bad as most people make it out to be.

Use apt-listbugs and apt-listchanges and most of the time things run just fine. Even better if you use smxi, which tends to have things held that can break things.

My current install is sid that was installed right after Sarge was released, I normally do apt-get dist-upgrade daily but sometimes only manage to do it weekly. Haven't had any major problems in forever.
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Re: How stable is Sid?

Postby Velvet Elvis » 2009-10-05 00:51

Here's the worst that ever happened to me running sid:

A new version of the savage X server was uploaded and it didn't work with my particular chipset so I had no X. I had to configure mutt (which I'd never done before) so I could email the maintainer and ask where I could get a copy of the old package. I didn't know about snapshot.debian.org, or whatever it's called, at the time. I finaly got X back up but it took a couple days.

If you're going to use sid you need to prepared to do pretty much everything from the console in case X breaks. If you've used slackware or any of the BSDs and know your way around a system from the command line it's no problem.
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Re: How stable is Sid?

Postby garrincha » 2009-10-07 15:02

It really depend on what you install and what you want to do in Sid. If you install a lot of stuffs e.g., KDE4, then be prepare for a lot of messy upgrade, missing dependencies, buggy packages etc. Generally it could be as stable as you want it to be but you need to maintain the system and be extra vigilant during upgrade procedure.

large packages footprint < stability in Sid > small packages footprint
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Re: Debian Etch to Sid? How Stable is Sid?

Postby Rocky140 » 2009-10-09 09:28

I know quite a bit about linux in general and I know more about debian than other distros. However, I am by no means a guru. I was hoping by upgrading to Sid would teach me more about how to resolve dependencies and other issues. I have been running debian for about 1.5 years, so I know how it all works. I fall somewhere between user and guru (for debian at least), but more on the user side. So thanks for clearing all that up about the different releases.

What I was really getting at though was how to get the newest version of packages and some others that are not available to Etch. I did see sidux when I was doing some searches on google, and it looks promissing. Thanks for the link.

Is Xfce4 available in Sidux? (of course after a HD install)
Last edited by Rocky140 on 2009-10-12 07:26, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How stable is Sid?

Postby sickie » 2009-10-09 11:01

XFCE is available as livecd too, not just installable after HDD install. Sidux is a good distro but I hate it's developers so I don't hang around their forums at all - I use smxi to save my ass when there's a problematic package.
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Re: How stable is Sid?

Postby Dullstar » 2009-11-15 00:27

I have a question about sid...

I know it's not the most stable release, but might it support some hardware that's more recent than the code freeze on squeeze? (at least I hear it's had that)
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Re: How stable is Sid?

Postby bugsbunny » 2009-11-15 08:27

Dullstar wrote:I have a question about sid...

I know it's not the most stable release, but might it support some hardware that's more recent than the code freeze on squeeze? (at least I hear it's had that)


TTBOMK there's no current code freeze. There may be some ongoing transitions that have packages waiting to move into squeeze (and causing other packages to wait due to dependencies), but that's not the same.

As far as hardware support all you would usually need is a newer kernel (possibly firmware). You can always install a sid kernel easy enough (or compile your own from upstream). Or install a different alternative kernel.
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Re: How stable is Sid?

Postby alecs1 » 2009-11-16 18:06

I find Sid stable enough if you take care when upgrading important stuff like Xorg.

I rather wished Debian Sid was even a bit more volatile, more Fedora like. For example having KDE prerelease packages, kernel release candidates (those existed before kernel archives server went down), following closer radeonhd and all the Xorg stuff.

Obviously, this needs a lot of work from people who are not paid, just volunteers.
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