Still debating between stable and testing branches

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Still debating between stable and testing branches

Postby Elias4444 » 2014-02-21 17:37

I'm getting ready to take the plunge and go full-on Debian only. I'd love to run Stable, as most of what I need-want is there and I like the idea of being rock solid for my day to day use. However, stable is missing two things: Steam, and an up to date Nvidia driver.

If I choose to go testing for the sake of being able to play the games I love, will it be too unstable for my day to day work (which is mostly web development)?
Last edited by Elias4444 on 2014-02-21 17:49, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Still debating between stable and testing branches

Postby confuseling » 2014-02-21 17:49

Dual booting is always an option...

You can create a partition to use for data, mount it in fstab, then symlink all your users' data directories (Documents, Downloads etc.) to directories on it, so both installs share data.

I don't find mixed Testing / Sid much work at all, but I'm not depending on it not breaking for income, and it does break...
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Re: Still debating between stable and testing branches

Postby dasein » 2014-02-21 17:51

Elias4444 wrote:If I choose to go testing... will it be too unstable for my day to day work...?
(emphasis added)

For obvious reasons highlighted above, no one on the planet can answer this question except you.

However, I'd like to suggest that you are asking the wrong question. The question is not "how stable is testing today?" or "is testing 'stable enough'?"

The question is: can you live with the breakage that will inevitably happen? (simply by virtue of the fact Testing is, well, for testing, not for production use.)

Then too, my strong hunch is that you won't find Testing nearly trendy enough in the long run; you might consider going directly to Sid, where breakage is more frequent, but where it also tends to be shorter-lived.

Of course, you could put Testing (or Sid) into a VM or dual-boot, which would give you the best of both worlds.

Edit: I see confuseling beat me to it. Still, no point in wasting the electrons.
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Re: Still debating between stable and testing branches

Postby Elias4444 » 2014-02-21 18:04

Wow, that was fast. Thanks!

I should probably also mention that I run a pretty minimal configuration. XFCE with Docky (cairo dock is too bloated for my taste), VLC for my video watching, Chrome and Firefox for browsing and testing, and then Steam for the few games I play (but really enjoy).

Not sure if that would prove to be a more stable situation with sid or jessie as opposed to running a lot more stuff on the box.

As for running a VM, I don't have much experience with that (other than using VMWare back in my Mac days to test things on Windows), but I'm not sure I'd want to waste the extra space on my SSD.
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Re: Still debating between stable and testing branches

Postby Elias4444 » 2014-02-21 18:30

I also just found https://www.debian.org/doc/manuals/debian-faq/ch-choosing.en.html

Looks like it really is between stable or unstable.
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Re: Still debating between stable and testing branches

Postby mor » 2014-02-21 22:46

Testing and unstable cannot be evaluated for stability in comparison to the stable release. They work under a different paradigm.

There is a widely spread misconception about what "stable" means when referred to the debian release: stable does not mean solid and reliable per se, it means unchanging, invariable, in the sense that its components are almost "set in stone", only receiving minor and very attentively selected updates/upgrades, mostly just security ones. As a consequence of that and the fact that before being released is thoroughly tested, debian stable is also stable as in solid, reliable.

To ask if testing or unstable are "stable enough" is to completely miss the point of what stable means for debian.

Testing and unstable, although in slightly different ways, are not at all stable for the simple reason that they change regularly, daily actually.
They are both stable as in "solid" if you ask me or all those who like me successfully run either one or a mixed version of all, but in the end most will not find them reliable enough because by design they are supposed to break in order to find fixes for the next stable.

Anyone running testing/unstable should either have another system on the side for real production, or has to be able to afford not to be productive when a problem arises, and it will arise, maybe not often in the form of a cataclysm but often enough in the form of something that needs attention and time and research now!

If you think that turning your computer on tomorrow and finding that -from the top of my mind- vlc has stopped functioning, and you can live with it and devote time to research what caused the problem, then maybe yes, you are fine running testing/unstable.
If finding yourself with docky suddenly being removed overnight for a bug or a simple policy violation, a removal that may last a day or two or maybe ten or even weeks or months, then yes, you are gonna be fine with testing or unstable.
If you are fine with daily updates/upgrades, with reading all bug reports that come with them in order to avoid the biggest traps, with devoting occasional workdays to -say- restoring your ability to connect to a wi-fi network, then yeah, testing/unstable is gonna be A-OK.

If, on the other hand, you want a system that you can be sure tomorrow will work exactly as it worked today, then go stable, backport and/or compile from source and for the love of all that is good never mix stable with testing or unstable.

Bye. ;)
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Re: Still debating between stable and testing branches

Postby sunrat » 2014-02-22 00:19

You can run Steam using Ghost57 Installer for Wheezy. It's been mentioned plenty of times in the forum already. Wheezy Nvidia driver should work fine with it.
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Those who have lost data
...and those who have not lost data YET ”
Remember to BACKUP!
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Re: Still debating between stable and testing branches

Postby milomak » 2014-10-12 01:09

mor wrote:Anyone running testing/unstable should either have another system on the side for real production, or has to be able to afford not to be productive when a problem arises, and it will arise, maybe not often in the form of a cataclysm but often enough in the form of something that needs attention and time and research now!

If you think that turning your computer on tomorrow and finding that -from the top of my mind- vlc has stopped functioning, and you can live with it and devote time to research what caused the problem, then maybe yes, you are fine running testing/unstable.
If finding yourself with docky suddenly being removed overnight for a bug or a simple policy violation, a removal that may last a day or two or maybe ten or even weeks or months, then yes, you are gonna be fine with testing or unstable.
If you are fine with daily updates/upgrades, with reading all bug reports that come with them in order to avoid the biggest traps, with devoting occasional workdays to -say- restoring your ability to connect to a wi-fi network, then yeah, testing/unstable is gonna be A-OK.


while i can see where you are coming from, you are doing testing and sid a great disservice here.

while i have multiple distros because i like to play on different distros, sid has been my main production os since round about 2005. and i daresay that i am not even close to having lost a working week having to deal with issues.

as long as you have apt-listbugs installed, you should never really lose any time due to system upgrades. because as it turns out, you don't have to upgrade every day.
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Re: Still debating between stable and testing branches

Postby mor » 2014-10-12 09:15

@milomak
I have lived for decades in malaria and dengue fever stricken territories without any prophylactic treatment or vaccine and I haven't had the slightest symptom.
Clearly the hundreds of millions of people that die each year are all a myth.

See what I mean?

Personal success in running development branches is not, cannot, and should not be taken into account to advocate for an indiscriminate use of development systems by anyone who feels adventurous enough.
And the same goes for saying that is wrong to advocate against such misguided practice.

You, and yours truly, are among the many who successfully run development systems as their main or even only system, but for each one of us there are dozens, if not hundreds and more, clueless users who read somewhere things like "Testing is like Stable only with newer packages" or "sid has been my main production os since round about 2005. and i daresay that i am not even close to having lost a working week having to deal with issues" and do the upgrade only to find themselves dealing with a system that, unlike you and me and a few other, they can't properly handle.

If you think that me warning people against using development systems willy-nilly is detrimental to -say- the amount of bugs reported or something like that, I think you are overestimating both the power of my persuasiveness and the effectiveness of most people's ability to contribute by filing proper bug reports.

Bottom line is not only I don't think I'm hindering Sid and Testing, I think that it is really users like you that are detrimental to Debian as a whole (and that in turn contribute to me feeling the need to warn people off against what you suggest or imply).
In fact by depicting a scenario of bliss and tranquility in running Debian's development systems, users like you actually lure many into running systems that work under a completely different paradigm from that of Stable (which is what Debian is all about) under the glaring misunderstanding that they can have the same reliability, just with newer or fancier software.
What happens is they mostly end up borking their systems and having a woeful experience with Debian, but without the understanding that what they have tried is not what Debian is and is supposed to be.

Detrimental to Debian as a whole indeed.

Bye ;)

P.S.
Also read "the concept of stability in Debian" from my signature.
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Re: Still debating between stable and testing branches

Postby milomak » 2014-10-12 13:43

i am refuting what you state about sid/testing systems. they are very viable as standalone production systems.which they are on 3 of my laptops.

of course there are caveats about running such systems as i have alluded to by saying you need apt-listbugs and don't need to upgrade every day.

i didn't at all say that you can run them happy days with no care in the world.

rant away if that helps you.
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Re: Still debating between stable and testing branches

Postby mor » 2014-10-12 14:34

milomak wrote:rant away if that helps you.

You bumped an eight months old thread, not me.

Take care.
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Re: Still debating between stable and testing branches

Postby milomak » 2014-10-12 14:51

mor wrote:
milomak wrote:rant away if that helps you.

You bumped an eight months old thread, not me.

Take care.


i think it is you who highlighted it in a recent thread
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Re: Still debating between stable and testing branches

Postby mor » 2014-10-12 17:51

milomak wrote:i think it is you who highlighted it in a recent thread

For what is worth I highlighted this matter in many threads, more than I care to count.

But it was you who chose to bump this particular one up by addressing me specifically and saying that I am doing a great (nonetheless!) disservice.
I took the trouble to reply to you with more than just a smirk, and argued about my reasons to say what I said in this thread and elsewhere.

Then you called it a rant.

You are doing all the fuss.

I don't know what where you expecting, maybe me just acknowledging you to be right "because you say so".
If you want that then argue for it, maybe you'll make up my mind.

Cheers ;)
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Re: Still debating between stable and testing branches

Postby milomak » 2014-10-12 19:40

may i ask why you chose to exclude this
as long as you have apt-listbugs installed, you should never really lose any time due to system upgrades. because as it turns out, you don't have to upgrade every day.
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Re: Still debating between stable and testing branches

Postby Ardouos » 2014-10-13 09:19

The bottom line is, the person is unsure about using a development branch. So this really brings back the point from Dasein.

dasein wrote:However, I'd like to suggest that you are asking the wrong question. The question is not "how stable is testing today?" or "is testing 'stable enough'?"

The question is: can you live with the breakage that will inevitably happen? (simply by virtue of the fact Testing is, well, for testing, not for production use.)


and Mors point of

mor wrote:To ask if testing or unstable are "stable enough" is to completely miss the point of what stable means for debian.


This person may not be ready to use and sustain a development branch (this is without knowing anything about their background). The user would need to be able to know whenever an application is working as intended, or if there is a bug. There are also packages that can just get removed from your computer randomly or just stop working all together. The running and upgrading the machine does require much more user intervention, this means that the user would need to understand how Debian works before actually moving to testing/ unstable. Personally I would recommend the stick with stable.

If the user really wants Steam then they should probably look at what Sunrat advised:

sunrat wrote:You can run Steam using Ghost57 Installer for Wheezy. It's been mentioned plenty of times in the forum already. Wheezy Nvidia driver should work fine with it.


The user could also just use Kwheezy or LMDE if they really want Steam already pre-packaged...

viewtopic.php?f=30&t=117750&p=555103&hilit=steam#p555103

Another decent option pointed out was:

confuseling wrote:Dual booting is always an option...

You can create a partition to use for data, mount it in fstab, then symlink all your users' data directories (Documents, Downloads etc.) to directories on it, so both installs share data.
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