HOWTO: Up-to-Date Software on Etch

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HOWTO: Up-to-Date Software on Etch

Postby Issyer » 2007-12-23 05:32

Some guys complain that it is impossible to install up-to-date software on Etch and that they should sacrifice something in order to get it, and that Lenny is not less stable than Ubuntu. All that sounds like a bullshit. So I did a research and made a howto.
Gnome
KDE
XFCE4
and some applications as examples.
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Postby rickh » 2007-12-23 05:54

OK. I'm impressed that you were able to do it, but I sure wouldn't. I'll bet that there aren't 10 people in the world who would.
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Postby Issyer » 2007-12-23 06:18

rickh wrote:I'll bet that there aren't 10 people in the world who would.

Thanks for the appreciation, but I'm sure that every guy can do that quite easily. That's why I made this howto.
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Postby Eck » 2007-12-24 05:53

Gosh! But in so many ways I don't understand the point of using Debian if a user is going to do things like that. Nice that it can be done, yes, but a major reason for the creation of Debian was to avoid needing to do stuff like that. A binary based distribution with "smart" package management and strict controls to ensure reliability and stability.

Doesn't that give an Etch user a system that is not only no longer Etch, but not even really Debian? Yeah, I know they're "deb's" but now the user is fully responsible for managing dependencies like an old school Linux system that was so hated by Ian Murdock and others that they created Debian to do away with that?

Putting newer versions of entire desktops onto Stable is like mixing basic system files together with whole new DM packages that are designed to work together with recent system files. The work of thousands of package maintainers and Release Managers is thrown into the lake and the responsibility for keeping track of things they would normally handle is placed solely on the user. The built in Debian system of package management is broken and left up to the user to decide which of the thousands of packages and updates will work on their individual system without breaking stuff. Aptitude is useless and apt doesn't have a clue really either.

I just don't understand the resistance to using the provided Testing distribution. It's got to be a lot more stable than installing newer packages into the Stable distribution. That system may be titled "Stable" but it is entirely up to the user to keep it stable when doing something like this. Software is pretty complex these days.

Debian Stable is designed for those who do not want the newer packages in the first place, but opt for well tested software versions that are guaranteed to work together so they can get on with their work and not spend all day researching computer administration challenges.

Those that want to maintain stability but still keep up with the latest do dad's are offered "Testing," a release candidate quality Linux distribution that is normally rock solid stable.

Folks that don't mind working on their computers if things aren't quite right and researching their problems to work around things until bugs are fixed are offered "Unstable" and "Ubuntu." :lol:

But, it's cool that you figured out how to get all that stuff onto Etch and still have a working system. And a nice guide too. I can't see folks flocking to do that, but the more options the better.

But it isn't Etch anymore, and is kind of not Debian either. Call it Issyer Linux! :)
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Postby Issyer » 2008-01-02 00:27

Eck wrote:Gosh! But in so many ways I don't understand the point of using Debian if a user is going to do things like that.

Because it's fun. Nobody makes anyone to do anything. But now nobody has a temptation to say that it is impossibles to run software like in Sid on Etch.
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Postby ajdlinux » 2008-01-02 00:34

For most users http://backports.org is an easier option.

Still, source compilation is good fun ;)
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Postby Eck » 2008-01-02 02:41

Yeah, that would be fun. :) Again, nice guide and congrats on figuring that out. Not that I would particularly give anyone I know the go ahead to do it! I think testing is a pretty nice way to go, or like has been said for folks sticking to Etch what is offered on backports.org isn't bad. But taking Sid stuff arbitrarily like that and building it on Etch on a large scale basis seems a lot of bother when a simple Lenny upgrade gets most of the newer stuff with a couple of phrases typed into aptitude.

And I just think that using testing is more stable than a system full of rebuilt stuff from Sid. It's not in Lenny because it's not ready, so it sure isn't ready for a system that is supposed to be rock solid stable.
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Postby Issyer » 2008-01-02 03:04

Eck wrote:Yeah, that would be fun. :) Again, nice guide and congrats on figuring that out. Not that I would particularly give anyone I know the go ahead to do it! I think testing is a pretty nice way to go, or like has been said for folks sticking to Etch what is offered on backports.org isn't bad. But taking Sid stuff arbitrarily like that and building it on Etch on a large scale basis seems a lot of bother when a simple Lenny upgrade gets most of the newer stuff with a couple of phrases typed into aptitude.

And I just think that using testing is more stable than a system full of rebuilt stuff from Sid. It's not in Lenny because it's not ready, so it sure isn't ready for a system that is supposed to be rock solid stable.

Man, I don't want to offend you, but it sounds like you don't understand, and that is annoying. My tutorial has nothing to do with Sid or unstable stuff at all. If you go to the developers' websites, you will notice that the stuff is the latest stable one. You can upgrade to Lenny or anything if you like. My tutorial is not about that. If you know the location where Debian puts its stuff to, good for you. I can have as many desktops of as many versions and related software as I want to have at the same time on Etch. That is what I tell about.
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Postby plugwash » 2008-01-02 03:20

It looks like the specific gnome tutorial given installs in a users homedir out of the way so it shouldn't break too much. It does pay to be carefull with things like that though.

When backporting software or using backported software IMO you should ask yourself three questions
1: what is the benifit of this backport? why am I doing it?
2: Does this backport replace any widely used libraries or similar? Does it risk breaking other software that is more important than the peice being upgraded.
3: Would I be better off just upgrading to testing?
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Postby Eck » 2008-01-04 05:08

:) No offense taken. And I'm happy to be reminded what your tutorial offers. I had read the page just once and then days went by in between doing other real life things and in my spare time checking the threads and seeing what to participate in. I had kind of forgotten exactly what you were doing!

I actually understand precisely what you mean when you state it is do-able to install and use any Linux i386 compatible software on any distribution, Etch, Lenny, Sid, that you want to install it on. Sure! We've got the tools to make that possible and your tutorial describes a way of getting several popular items that have been upgraded to newer versions upstream installed and working on Etch. And a nice tutorial at that!

Still, not something for me or something I would recommend. We get 3 Debian distributions to choose from which offer essentially the entire world of Linux software tested in varying degrees (depending upon which of the 3 we pick) to all work harmoniously together with an automated binary package management system. Putting upstream upgraded software onto Etch bypassing the built in Debian Policy and package management safeguards is do-able, yes, but not in my opinion desirable. That Etch is really no longer Etch, but a distribution of the user's creation. If it works, great! But the nicely stated, "if it breaks you get to keep both parts," applies very well to that setup. The whole idea of Debian Stable is the security that it 99% of the time will not break, and that all the software presented by our repositories for it will work properly.

Testing or Unstable already have that software Debianized and ready for whichever one the user picks. I think most folks using Debian would be better served sticking to using Debian, and just perhaps advanced users who just want to tinker with installing upstream stuff on their own would have some fun following your guide.

Anyway, it's an interesting conversation.
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Postby Issyer » 2008-01-04 06:31

Eck wrote:Still, not something for me or something I would recommend.

Why do I have such a feeling that I know why?
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Postby Eck » 2008-01-04 17:04

Huh? :)

I don't understand. If you think you know why, please explain since, besides the reasons I've related, if there's another reason my subconscious mind is hiding from me that you have discerned, please share!

I just checked out what's available from backports.org these days. Hey, you know they have a newer version of openoffice.org than has gotten into Lenny as of yet? And kde stuff is at 3.5.7 so that's not bad either. They offer sunjava6 for those who don't think the Etch security updates of sunjava5 are enough for them. And they offer the latest Lenny Kernels so Etch users don't need to leave the old 2.6.18 stuff with its problems on their systems and can easily upgrade with aptitude without leaving Etch.

I didn't see any Gnome stuff or multimedia player upgrades besides what come with kdemultimedia. But I did see 0.5.2 Compiz stuff, so if they know how to use gconf-editor that beats the Compiz old stuff that comes with Etch.

But see, that's how I would do things if I were using Etch (you know I'm using Lenny, right?). I'd have main, contrib, and non-free for the Etch sources, Etch security, debian-multimedia.org, and backports.org, and I would install just about everything backports.org offers that interested me.

Don't you think that's better for most Etch users than installing the packages from upstream?
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Postby Issyer » 2008-01-04 17:55

Man, you are annoying. This is my last reply to you. As I mentioned earlier, you can do anything you like to your Lenny or whatever. Or write your own howto about backports and sources.list. I know all that and am not interested at all.
Eck wrote:I don't understand. If you think you know why, please explain since, besides the reasons I've related, if there's another reason my subconscious mind is hiding from me that you have discerned, please share!

OK, if you insist. I think you are an idiot. It sounds like you have no clue almost in everything you are talking about like Debian Policy and non-free JRE-6, that I have on Etch as well but didn't tell about it because it is such a trifle that is not worth mentioning. Have you noticed that my Gnome is in my /home directory? Everything that is there is my stuff. It has no relation to Etch/Lenny/Sid at all. The stuff is mine totally and completely. I can even sue you for the private nuisance. Think about it.
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Postby pcalvert » 2008-01-04 20:11

I do something similar, but it is much simpler, though quite limited. I don't use the Debian versions of Firefox and Thunderbird, I download the tarballs of the latest versions and install them in either /home/username/programs or in /opt. This works fine, even though I am using Sarge. The precompiled binaries are what make it easy. A lot of software needs to be compiled before it can be used, though, and that's usually where the problems arise. Often, it's a dependency issue.

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Postby Eck » 2008-01-05 22:33

Wow! You've taken an interesting, intelligent discussion about a nice method offered folks for installing things, no matter whether some think they would or wouldn't want to do it themselves, and went nuts with a childish flame.

Rude, man, rude. Totally uncalled for, as I saw fine information and education going on in the thread even between us until that.

What? When there are divergent viewpoints, instead of perhaps teaching or philosophizing how you feel about things and clarifying points to someone who is obviously interested in understanding them since I keep posting, you choose to run away and close the door with a bang and call me an idiot?

It's very baby-like. Go whine in a corner with a dunce cap on if you can't respond maturely and respectably to folks who show an interest. No one is going to yes you to death. You're not G-d, and anyone would want more of an explanation of a guide than "just do it if you want this stuff because I figured it out and I'm awesome. Don't challenge me or you're an idiot."

That's what you sound like. Quite unusual for this forum and someone may (or not :) ) give you a scolding. I know I would. Your last reply would be your last post for a period or time. Unfortunately, I can't give detention here.
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