Repo mix-and-match hit parade

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dasein
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Repo mix-and-match hit parade

#1 Post by dasein »

As of the date of this posting, one of the most common questions/problems involves people wanting to, or trying to, install packages across Debian's various releases, or worse, across "Debian-based" distros.

The smartest folks ask first, something along the lines of, "Can I mix Debian Stable with <something else>?"

Answer: This is a very risky thing to attempt, and is generally regarded as a bad idea for all but the most advanced Debian users.
Debian Wiki wrote:Backporting (recompiling and repackaging) is the only safe way to install packages from Debian Sid or Debian Testing on a Debian stable system. Do not install such packages without backporting. Attempting to "mix" releases, especially by updating your sources.list file, is a sure way to break your system. Recovery in these cases usually involves restore from backup.
(Emphasis added)
Freedom-hating naysayer(s). What could possibly go wrong?

Et tu, StackExchange?? http://unix.stackexchange.com/questions ... ith-debian

But for the benefit of those who are clever enough to learn from others' mistakes, rather than insisting on repeating them:

http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=109734
http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=111774
http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=112395
http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=113303
http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=117551
Update(s):
Another one bites the dust: http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=114861
And another: http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php?f=30&t=115107
Here's an oldie but a goodie: http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=80521
And yet another... http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=115381 (When will folks learn??)
Here's a creative excuse: "Ooops. I 'forgot' not to mix repos.": http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=117551
"I installed a package from Ubuntu and it wrecked my system": http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php?t=118013#p556389
"I have a critical need for package X, but wanted to run Stable": http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=118829
"If only there were information warning people not to do this!!": http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=120632 :roll:
A personal favorite: "I'm not smart enough to learn from the mistakes of others. Or my own mistakes, for that matter": http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php?t=123786
"Everything worked fine--until it didn't": http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php? ... 15#p587113
"Wheezy installed TAILS on my system" (Bad Wheezy, no biscuit): http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=127706
"Maybe if I don't admit to mixing repos, no one will be able to figure it out": http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php?t=123923 and also http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php?f=30&t=125113 and ALSO http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=125122 and ALSO http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=125149 not to mention http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=125856 plus http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php?f=30&t=126017 AND http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=126352 (this last one even includes "what gave it away?" :roll:)
Here's a novel approach: bork your system twice in two weeks, all the while swearing up and down you've done nothing to it.

Image (Call it a hunch, but I don't think the "hope no one notices" strategy is working.)

Most. Epic. Fail. Ever.: "My mix of six different releases (plus two derivative distros) isn't broken. It just keeps mutating!" http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=124248
Image

(I may add more as time and happenstance permit. )

And for the curious and intellectually motivated, a decent enough overview of the technical reason why. You may not like it, but that's the way it is.

Addendum: This may also prove helpful: http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php? ... 17#p543317
Last edited by dasein on 2016-03-29 17:08, edited 43 times in total.

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keithpeter
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Re: Repo mix-and-match hit parade

#2 Post by keithpeter »

After reading

https://www.debian.org/doc/manuals/debi ... ng.en.html

I decided to try unstable (code name sid) on the test laptop. No mixing and matching.

I emphasise that I have a recycled laptop that has been purchased solely for trying out distributions and configurations. The laptop has a separate /home and / partition so reinstalling is easy. I do the full 'jwz backup' thing when I do real work on this machine (not often :twisted:)

I did a fresh installation using wired connection / stable netinstall, advanced installer tasksel enable base only -> upgrade to testing -> upgrade to unstable to minimise the total download. No point upgrading Gnome desktop packages twice. At that point I cleaned out the sources.list file and I now have...

Code: Select all

keith@moka:~$ cat /etc/apt/sources.list
deb http://ftp.uk.debian.org/debian/ sid main non-free contrib
deb-src http://ftp.uk.debian.org/debian/ sid main non-free contrib
No 'updates' because Sid is all updates. No 'security' because you are relying on patches from the upstream maintainers, security team do Stable.

I then installed xorg gm3 and gnome to bring a usable desktop together with laptop-mode-tools and some other stuff.

Issues so far: Some bug alerts around VLC when installing minitube, but is working. At present the eclipse IDE can't be installed from repos so I just used the tar.gz package from eclipse.org. The gnome-flashback-session package results in a desktop session where menus never disappear. Googling tells me that the flashback session has issues with Gnome versions above 3.8, so I've removed flashback and will just wait that one out. Might see what bugs have been logged. There is one package db5.1-util that is currently held back. Leaving a dist-upgrade for a few days while I see what is going on with that. Nautilus would not start on first login. Google suggested that I delete the appropriate config file from my home partition (which dates from Wheezy install) and that solved the problem.

If people don't want to do the sort of 'housekeeping' and research I've outlined above, well, the evidence points to installing Stable doesn't it?

vbrummond
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Re: Repo mix-and-match hit parade

#3 Post by vbrummond »

How did I miss this thread? Bravo.
Always on Debian Testing

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edbarx
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Re: Repo mix-and-match hit parade

#4 Post by edbarx »

Since my first days of using Debian back in 2006, I never felt the need to mix repos. I knew it was highly discouraged and took that advice. The result? Eight years of Debian use with a brisk dependable system.

Why do people assume that independent developers can create binary compatible code without some form of agreement? This is like expecting a spare part from a manufacturer to fit instead of another 'similar' part from a different manufacturer! :shock:


Software development is not a magical cult! :?
Debian == { > 30, 000 packages }; Debian != systemd
The worst infection of all, is a false sense of security!
It is hard to get away from CLI tools.

Amarildo
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Re: Repo mix-and-match hit parade

#5 Post by Amarildo »

Aparently a Debian developer (maintainer, really) is recommending to Mix Stable with Jessie and upgrading libc6 to the Testing version :lol:
http://steamcommunity.com/app/221410/di ... 8974232862

I loved saying the following
We're discussing this on a thread about a user who borked his/her system because he/she mixed Stable with Jessie. "Unknown reasons" is the best you got? You're gonna tell me that "somehow", Debian Stable, one of the most stable Linux systems there are, broke itself, even though you Mr.Developer claim it's possible to mix Jessie/Stable without that happening?
Have fun with "Eike" (eike@debian.org).

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edbarx
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Re: Repo mix-and-match hit parade

#6 Post by edbarx »

Amarildo wrote:Aparently a Debian developer (maintainer, really) is recommending to Mix Stable with Jessie and upgrading libc6 to the Testing version :lol:
http://steamcommunity.com/app/221410/di ... 8974232862
This is like claiming that if a ripe politician opposes privatisation, then privatisation must be intrinsically bad. Even senior medical professionals may have conflicting opinions, let alone software coders.

Thanks for the amusement, I needed it. :)
Debian == { > 30, 000 packages }; Debian != systemd
The worst infection of all, is a false sense of security!
It is hard to get away from CLI tools.

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Head_on_a_Stick
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Re: Repo mix-and-match hit parade

#7 Post by Head_on_a_Stick »

Black Lives Matter

Debian buster-backports ISO image: for new hardware support

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dasein
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Re: Repo mix-and-match hit parade

#8 Post by dasein »

Thanks for the contribution, h_o_a_s.

At least that poster was good-humored about learning the lesson.

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Head_on_a_Stick
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Re: Repo mix-and-match hit parade

#9 Post by Head_on_a_Stick »

Black Lives Matter

Debian buster-backports ISO image: for new hardware support

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Head_on_a_Stick
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Re: Repo mix-and-match hit parade

#10 Post by Head_on_a_Stick »

Black Lives Matter

Debian buster-backports ISO image: for new hardware support

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GarryRicketson
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Re: Repo mix-and-match hit parade

#11 Post by GarryRicketson »

Here is a new one, this downloaded a install script, then proceeded to install from
a non Debian source, ......
http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php? ... 57#p587544

millpond
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Re: Repo mix-and-match hit parade

#12 Post by millpond »

Keep in mind that the average Linux user may not have a clue that the Debian fork they are using may not be 'real' Debian.
A .deb is a .deb. Right?????

I *still* get zapped by Ubuntu programs masquerading as *Debian* releases. Fortunately, I have learned to deal with them, and none have caused any real grief, just annoyance. The last one couldnt even conceivably work in Debian without some major hacks to the code.

LMDE, until recently was a juxtaposition of Debian Testing, debian-multimedia, and forked packages. I am only here because the system somehow adopted Wheezy, which took me into the eye of Hurricane Jessie.

However, in fairness, the average person is clearly warned away from SID by virtually all the docs.
Unfortunately the web is full of sites advocating the latest versions of software, and even providing massive sources.list files.

Whats needed perhaps, are better tools for dealing with breakages, from r-sync like diff programs made standard in the distro to enable a Win type 'system restore' - particularly for the /lib directories, to tools that will strip a minor packages dependencies and allow it to be expunged from dpkg.
Also, whats really needed is a package blacklist, so we can k-line certain packages so that when doing a dist-upgrade we do not accidentally install something regrettable, that insists on taking half the system with it if removed.

Randicus
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Re: Repo mix-and-match hit parade

#13 Post by Randicus »

millpond wrote:Keep in mind that the average Linux user may not have a clue ...
Correct. That is the result of Linux development over the last several years. Attract people with a point-and-click GUI that, supposedly, removes the need to learn anything new. Even though common sense says that a different operating system will be ... different. Imagine that!
Whats needed perhaps, are better tools for dealing with breakages
I am in the camp that disagrees with this approach. Debian has very easy to use package management tools. Making them even easier will not solve the problem. There needs to be a big sign at debian.org reading "Read the documentation before installing!" And perhaps a similar big sign added to this forum under the Debian Forum header. "Did you read the instructions before screwing up your system?"

millpond
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Re: Repo mix-and-match hit parade

#14 Post by millpond »

Randicus wrote:
millpond wrote:Keep in mind that the average Linux user may not have a clue ...
Correct. That is the result of Linux development over the last several years. Attract people with a point-and-click GUI that, supposedly, removes the need to learn anything new. Even though common sense says that a different operating system will be ... different. Imagine that!
Whats needed perhaps, are better tools for dealing with breakages
I am in the camp that disagrees with this approach. Debian has very easy to use package management tools. Making them even easier will not solve the problem. There needs to be a big sign at debian.org reading "Read the documentation before installing!" And perhaps a similar big sign added to this forum under the Debian Forum header. "Did you read the instructions before screwing up your system?"
I have seen, and been a part, of some truly awesome ecommerce tools offered freely, that would save users thousands of dollars at the least, and greatly simplify things like ebay mass uploads. But they required reading docs to stitch together some basic steps. Nearly zero interest. One started to try it, but got hung up over a simple step, and went back to a commercial provider rather than spend 10 minutes to fix it. Another did not even get that far. And an amazing ecommerce database totally ignored becuase folks simply needed to read instructions to initialize it.

Other than attention deficit disorder, another problem is that there are people who READ the docs, and get tripped up, or confused.
Sometimes through no fault of their own.
I have seen software change repos.
Such channges brought me here from LMDE.

You've got repos called DEBIAN.multimedia.org and dotDEB which kind of lead folk to believe they are staying in the Debian ecosystem, and they will even have version specific packages. In another thread, at least one that directly overwrote debian libraries.

Sometimes, software for emerging technologies is in such constant flux that users really need to stay up-to-date. Personally I believe users should be advised to take these programs off the apt system and use the git system in /opt.

However, users should also be exposed to a novel engineering concept. IIWDFI. If it works, dont fix it. If you dont need, and dont plan to use features of the newest software, dont bother trying to 'upgrade it' - especially from outside the repo. The exception of course, is security updates.

Someone at PerlMonks one asked a developer why he hadnt maintained his CPAN package in over a decade. His reply was basically: It aint broke yet.

I have learned from bitter experience that upgrades are not always improvements.

Randicus
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Re: Repo mix-and-match hit parade

#15 Post by Randicus »

millpond wrote:Other than attention deficit disorder, another problem is that there are people who READ the docs, and get tripped up, or confused.
Happens to me all the time, but usually with things a little more complex than which repositories to use and not use, and which installation ISO to download.
However, users should also be exposed to a novel engineering concept. IIWDFI. If it works, dont fix it. If you dont need, and dont plan to use features of the newest software, dont bother trying to 'upgrade it' - especially from outside the repo.
Wow. A very novel concept. If only the hordes of brain-dead technology zombies suffering from Shiny New Shit Syndrome could be be persuaded to learn such radical philosophies. But if that were to happen, the forum would be a very dull place. :lol:

spacex
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Re: Repo mix-and-match hit parade

#16 Post by spacex »

It's not that we suffer from the new shiny shit syndrome, but more that we love a bumpy ride. Stable is boring by definition, and it's no point to use stable for anything that doesn't need to be stable. But nowadays nothing is unstable in debian. Sid is solid as a rock.

millpond
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Re: Repo mix-and-match hit parade

#17 Post by millpond »

But people can be easily led astray by the google debbil.

An example from just a few minutes ago:

It seems that dd is no longer reliable to create a boot USB stick from the M$ crap. Wot with all that putzing around with boot partitions and bios nonsense.

To use it you first need to use a program called isohybrid.

Command not found, on Jessie.

Searched synaptic for the package name - not found.
Googled it on Debian and found it in syslinux-utils, where it was listed as being a component in Stretch, and SID, but not in Jessie backports. .
Downloaded the source from the ftp site, and before backporting it, decided to check again.

It was indeed in the standard Jesse repo, but somehow I had forgotten to load its package. I found it by simply peeking inside the package with mc on a local mirror.

The average person hasnt a clue as to backporting, or how to 'peek' inside package contents.
Alot of our skills have been acquired through years and experience, and I am *always* finding new and often totally surprizing stuff that makes my head spin.
And making dumb mistakes....

So a critical lesson I learned before potentially making a mistake was not to trust synaptic, and probe likely packages for missing utilities.

People should also learn to be wary of updates. The latest Jesse version of unetbootin (for bootable USB sticks) will not find any pen drives that are formatted with mkfs-ntfs necessary to boot into Win They need the older 494 version for the capability. As the new version will only recognize FAT formats, it could lead to a potential disaster if the USB drive that showed was an external USB drive formatted as FAT to avoid permissions problems. ....

This is just one example of many. Too often i find mysaelf hunting down older versions of programs simply because they work better. Or are less bloviated with crap.

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edbarx
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Re: Repo mix-and-match hit parade

#18 Post by edbarx »

To search the contents of Debian packages I use:
https://www.debian.org/distrib/packages#search_contents
Debian == { > 30, 000 packages }; Debian != systemd
The worst infection of all, is a false sense of security!
It is hard to get away from CLI tools.

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fireExit
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Re: Repo mix-and-match hit parade

#19 Post by fireExit »

millpond wrote:Searched synaptic for the package name - not found.
Googled it on Debian and found it in syslinux-utils, where it was listed as being a component in Stretch, and SID, but not in Jessie backports. .
Downloaded the source from the ftp site, and before backporting it, decided to check again.

It was indeed in the standard Jesse repo, but somehow I had forgotten to load its package. I found it by simply peeking inside the package with mc on a local mirror.

The average person hasnt a clue as to backporting, or how to 'peek' inside package contents.

Code: Select all

acp syslinux-utils
syslinux-utils:
  Installed: (none)
  Candidate: 3:6.03+dfsg-5
  Version table:
     3:6.03+dfsg-5 0
        500 http://ftp.debian.org/debian/ jessie/main amd64 Packages
it might be a possible problem with other packages/lib but not this one;
it's available in main in both amd64 and i386 arch in jessie, stretch and sid;
anyone with a sane, standard sources.list would find it.

millpond
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Re: Repo mix-and-match hit parade

#20 Post by millpond »

I was actually searching for *isohybrid* .

I believe apt has a utility for displaying package info, not sure about imcluded files.
I dont use them because my file manager is quicker. (at least for me...)

Point being in all this is to double check that packages are needed, and to acknowledge that sometimes off-distro ones are.

Locked