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rolling distros becoming more popular

PostPosted: 2020-01-01 17:02
by Chrisdb
I was wondering what the effect of this trend is on Debian. Are users moving away from stable distributions? Debian is still popular for servers, but what's the future with desktops Running Debian?

Re: rolling distros becoming more popular

PostPosted: 2020-01-01 17:31
by Head_on_a_Stick
I can only speak for myself but I moved from Arch to Debian stable because I was bored of the kernel breaking regularly. And yes, Arch have an LTS kernel but they keep switching to the newest branch, which is a bit silly (IMO).

And you can be sure that the Debian ISO images won't be swapping wpa_supplicant for iwd for a good long time yet so your install script won't need changing :)

EDIT: and what makes you think rolling release distributions are more popular? Distrowatch's figures are 100% bullshit so don't pay any attention to them :mrgreen:

Re: rolling distros becoming more popular

PostPosted: 2020-01-01 17:46
by Chrisdb
Head_on_a_Stick wrote:And you can be sure that the Debian ISO images won't be swapping wpa_supplicant for iwd for a good long time yet so your install script won't need changing :)

And here I was wondering if you were still paying the Arch forums a visit :wink:

Head_on_a_Stick wrote:EDIT: and what makes you think rolling release distributions are more popular? Distrowatch's figures are 100% bullshit so don't pay any attention to them :mrgreen:


Everywhere I read something about Debian, I hear them complaining about out-of-date software compared to bleeding edge...

Re: rolling distros becoming more popular

PostPosted: 2020-01-01 18:09
by Hallvor
What trend? Sources, please.

I think many Debian users have followed this pattern:

1. Gets tired of Windows, starts using GNU/Linux.
2. Gets annoyed by all the "old" packages of the largest distros.
3. Moves to rolling release distro.
4. Gets annoyed by all the breakage. Just wants a system that works all the time.
5. Moves to Debian.

Re: rolling distros becoming more popular

PostPosted: 2020-01-01 18:22
by arochester
Everywhere I read something about Debian, I hear them complaining about out-of-date software compared to bleeding edge...


There's Debian Sid...

Re: rolling distros becoming more popular

PostPosted: 2020-01-01 18:43
by Chrisdb
Hallvor wrote:What trend? Sources, please.


Places I look for advantages/disadvantages of stable distros vs rolling ones. Mostly on Reddit or quora...

Re: rolling distros becoming more popular

PostPosted: 2020-01-01 19:44
by Hallvor
Chrisdb wrote:
Hallvor wrote:What trend? Sources, please.


Places I look for advantages/disadvantages of stable distros vs rolling ones. Mostly on Reddit or quora...


Anecdotal evidence.

Re: rolling distros becoming more popular

PostPosted: 2020-01-01 20:10
by kedaha
Chrisdb wrote:I was wondering what the effect of this trend is on Debian.

Assuming there is such a trend then my answer would be: No effect at all.
Chrisdb wrote:Are users moving away from stable distributions?

I don't know but veteran Debian stable users who want newer software than that available in the current stable repository follow the advice given here.
Chrisdb wrote:Debian is still popular for servers

Debian is a popular for servers when stable is the only choice and always will be.
Chrisdb wrote:but what's the future with desktops Running Debian?

The future is the next stable release. Users are recommended to use Debian stable, which has been thoroughly tried and tested. Of course they can alternatively—gaining some kudos into the bargain—install testing or sid and experience life with eternal upgrades and bugs. :mrgreen:

Re: rolling distros becoming more popular

PostPosted: 2020-01-01 20:48
by Wheelerof4te
You are just imagining things.

Go with LTS distros like Debian Stable. If you need shiny, there's Flatpak and that other distribution system I won't mention because reasons.

Re: rolling distros becoming more popular

PostPosted: 2020-01-01 21:02
by Bulkley
Hallvor wrote:I think many Debian users have followed this pattern:

1. Gets tired of Windows, starts using GNU/Linux.
2. Gets annoyed by all the "old" packages of the largest distros.
3. Moves to rolling release distro.
4. Gets annoyed by all the breakage. Just wants a system that works all the time.
5. Moves to Debian.


There's probably some truth to that. Shiny new stuff eventually loses its seductive power.

Re: rolling distros becoming more popular

PostPosted: 2020-01-01 21:43
by Lysander
Chrisdb wrote:
Hallvor wrote:What trend? Sources, please.


Places I look for advantages/disadvantages of stable distros vs rolling ones. Mostly on Reddit or quora...


Reddit and Quora work on upvote systems which encourage popular but sometimes uninformed viewpoints. This is not to say that Reddit is bad per se, on the contrary, I have received some excellent advice and assistance from Reddit - but this has been in other areas than computer tech.

I would theorise that many people who are criticising Debian for having out of date packages are not Debian users, neither are they interested or can related to Debian use-cases. This does not mean that rolling releases are getting more popular. If anything, stable releases are more important than ever these days, but harder to perfect. That leaves the user with a quality compromise which may cyclically inform popular opinion.

Re: rolling distros becoming more popular

PostPosted: 2020-01-02 10:09
by woteb
This is a comparison such as apples and pears (Dutch expression). For normal work, stability is often a requirement and then a rolling release doesn't get far. If you want something newer with Debian, there are several options:
1. Backports
2. Testing
3. Unstable

So what are the complaints that programs under Debian are not up to date?

Re: rolling distros becoming more popular

PostPosted: 2020-01-02 11:48
by Chrisdb
woteb wrote:This is a comparison such as apples and pears (Dutch expression). For normal work, stability is often a requirement and then a rolling release doesn't get far. If you want something newer with Debian, there are several options:
1. Backports
2. Testing
3. Unstable

So what are the complaints that programs under Debian are not up to date?


These are not my complaints :D
Like Lysander said, probably most of them, if not all, are non-debian users...

Re: rolling distros becoming more popular

PostPosted: 2020-01-02 15:02
by woteb
@ Chrisdb: Ok, I spoke in general and meant nobody in particular .. :wink:

Unlike the Billy G OS, we have a choice with Linux. That choice is for everyone, not for certain groups. If someone necessarily wants to use the very latest, ok, then you use Arch, for example.
If you are someone who really wants stability, then you use Debian, for example.

But you shouldn't say that Debian only offers old software while newer versions are also available. And certainly not if you don't even use Debian. Because then you speak untruths.

Look, you don't hear me say that Arch, for example, is unstable because it has the very latest, because I don't use Arch. I just don't have time to immerse myself in Arch, and sometimes play with Manjoro, but that doesn't suit me. Feels strange and I am happy with Debian because that satisfies. I am also a Senior and that also plays a role.

Someone who has a lot of time and wants to experiment a lot, yes, he will go for Arch and so on.
But as I wrote before, with Debian you can also work with newer software. For example, on my workhorses I use Buster with the backports. Then I still have the newer version of Libreoffice and VLC.
I also have a laptop with Unstable and one with Testing. That is more to experience what the future Debian will look like and how that works. Then I don't have that many migration problems.

Again, everyone's thing, but claiming something if you also use it, otherwise shut your mouth. :?

Re: rolling distros becoming more popular

PostPosted: 2020-01-02 18:31
by oswaldkelso
I think there is a bit more to it than just people wanting bleeding edge. Even my beloved, obsolete and stuck in a time warp Dragora D2 saw no sense in /usr/bin/ everything just got simlinked to /bin because the very reason for /usr/bin disappeared long ago. Space was at a premium the file system was restricted. Times change, hardware changes, broadband speeds change and people change. Weird as it is I see many people just live on a phone.
With Zero install, flatpak and Snap etc, the nature of software builds is in flux. Dragora 3 when it's finished will be the same. With some shared libs but many versions of a package as you want happily living side by side. Space is now cheap and if the bleeding edge version is buggy you can bin it and go back to the stable version. Guix with it's reproducible builds is a fancy method of the same thing. Track every build and revert (roll back) if you want or need to. It's great that you can roll back but there is lots of wasted data doing it. I for one couldn't use the guix model at my GFs with her 1MB connection any more than I'd run Sid.

Even Debian expects you to have more space and power or so it seems. The packages are just getting bigger without offering a choice of differing builds. I did a net install of Debian Buster the other day and it was noticeable how difficult is was to stop it installing loads of stuff I didn't want or need. It seemed hard even when using --no-install-recommends. It made me wonder if Debian maintainers put just about every flag on when building? I guess it makes sense for most, and there is nothing bar laziness and ability stopping a source build. This was for my 10 year old atom with 1GB of ram so it needs to be light. I noted the mini.iso had grown from 8.5MB last time I used it to 42MB but I guess by to-days standards that's small. Even if it's still doing the same thing. Anyway I got there in the end and it was all very easy and fairly quick. I was surprised by what I remembered and only had to RTFM a couple times. There were a few hiccups. Utox couldn't load because it couldn't find a panel! toxic cured that but it did draw the line at installing runit!

It's like Debian is stuck between a rock and a hard place and they're called "History and Future". At some point you will be able to have reproducible builds and that will be the end of backports and sid. The user will choose the package they require and many will pin those flagged stable and install just the latest bits they need for their new hardware. Others may not be picking up the pieces but will be rolling back a lot. :-P

All that said and until it's a stable reality that does all the things I want, the way I want it to (D3). I'll stick to the "build a stable base and fix security bugs" model. Set and forget works for me. Only upgrading for bugs and must have features has given me a most wonderful 6 years of computer use. Which is why of the other distros I'm currently testing my favourite so far is Hyperbola. "Derived from Arch plus stability and security from Debian". Sounds weird and I've not looked but I guess it means they look at Debian stable build the packages with Arch build system and watching Debian security for bugs. It's working so far. What the future holds for this "fixed" model we can but guess but the reason for change is not going away. Debian will have to change if it's not to be left behind or merge with RH.

If only I could just stop using Dragora D2. Yes I am a Luddite! :mrgreen: