Anybody here using Testing as their daily driver?

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Gorg
Posts: 17
Joined: 2019-10-24 09:30

Anybody here using Testing as their daily driver?

#1 Post by Gorg »

Hi all,

I've been going back and forth with what system I should install, since I am in need of an upgrade.

I have a semi-professional/hobbyist media production machine for video and music and I'd like to take advantage of recent program versions like GIMP, Inkscape, Krita, Kdenlive, Ardour, QjackCtl and so on. While I could install stable and add backports for every single one of them, it seems a bit easier to install Testing and also forget about dist-upgrades or reinstalls every few months/years altogether.

However, I am aware that Testing intrinsically isn't as stable, as... Stable. I believe to have rather conservative and well supported hardware though (runs 100% on FOSS without errors), so I wouldn't expect anything surprising on that end.

Has somebody successfully been running Testing as their daily driver for a while and how has it been working out? I've read about a few problems with Testing so far, but they seem to be rather exceptional cases, maybe related to newer or very integrated proprietary hardware, video issues, etc.

How would you rate my chances surviving on this branch? I have backups and can fix things a little bit, but if I spend more time restoring my system than making music, it's probably not worth it.

Bulkley
Posts: 6142
Joined: 2006-02-11 18:35

Re: Anybody here using Testing as their daily driver?

#2 Post by Bulkley »

If you have to ask, stay with Stable.

Can you try some reasonably safe experiments? A live-CD can give you a good look. A live-USB with persistence can be better. If your computer will handle virtual set up a Testing VM and spend as long as you need to learn its quirks. If you are not a VM wizard Gnome Boxes is about the easiest to learn.

As always, make a good backup before messing with your system.

pcalvert
Posts: 1924
Joined: 2006-04-21 11:19
Location: Sol Sector

Re: Anybody here using Testing as their daily driver?

#3 Post by pcalvert »

“It is better to believe than to disbelieve; in doing so, it brings
everything into the realm of possibility.” — Albert Einstein

Gorg
Posts: 17
Joined: 2019-10-24 09:30

Re: Anybody here using Testing as their daily driver?

#4 Post by Gorg »

Hi everyone,
Bulkley wrote:If you have to ask, stay with Stable. Can you try some reasonably safe experiments? A live-CD can give you a good look. A live-USB with persistence can be better.


Well, I didn't have to ask if I were running a Testing system already for an extended period of time, but I don't really have the time for such experiments. That's a bit like asking for advice when buying a car and getting "Well, you'd juat have to try out all of them first", I have to rely on other people's experiences to some extent, of course my milage can vary to some degree in the end.

It's just that with Testing, I found a lot of conflicting reports. May people seem to run it successfully and recommend it while others apparently get fatal issues, but that could also happen with Stable in certain cases with defective/weird/new hardware.

I have run Testing live and it worked flawlessly, as expected, but not in the long run. I have also run Debian Stable before and many other Debian-based distros without any problems (again, my hardware runs entirely on the free drivers/firmware, hence no quirks, errors or anything else).

It's an older AMD FX machine with a GTX 650, so relatively widespread and supported, I would say, in case that helps. I just wanted to assess my chances, because I plan on using that for a while, still.



That's interesting. I've read through the threads and I may have missed something, but I haven't quite understood the reasons for mixing the sources. Of course, Unstable software updates will be even faster for certain software, but that's not really necessary for me. My issue with Stable is just that QjackCtl, for example, is on version 0.5.0 on Buster and will probably stay there for the following years while Testing already has 0.5.9 and will update regularly, which could make a huge difference in this case. I also don't find it in the backports.

Is there any reason beyond wanting the newest version of a software right away for a particular feature or something?

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pylkko
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Re: Anybody here using Testing as their daily driver?

#5 Post by pylkko »

It sounds like it would not be the best solution for you. It is risky to use testing for a "semi-professional/hobbyist media production machine", but it is your choice. Risky because things might brake and take your system off-line, you might have data loss or security issues.

I think that your question is too vague for you to really get an answer. You are asking what are people's experiences, because experiences that you have already read seem to vary. Yes, well experiences will vary a lot in this topic; it is all untested software combinations, if you are lucky everything works, if you are not, things brake and no one will fix it (from Debian) unless a new version appears upstream with a fix (and the fix is only related to the individual software and not the operating system working as a coherent whole).

Testing does not have security at all, although most software try to improve their security independently. But packages come to testing with a delay of anything from a few days to two weeks. Sometimes exploits become public and a fix is available but "coming to testing in two weeks"...

IF you need only one software, you could either backport it yourself (if it does not already exist as a backport), or use some kind of container tech. But it appears you really want multiple things in newer versions. In such a situation it would seem to me that it would be better to use an operating system that fits that use case, like Ubuntu or Fedora, which are updated more frequently but yet have stable and secure releases.

Trouble shooting new issues on a weekly basis also consumes more time than people often realize until it happens to the. Do you want to spend time making media or tweaking conf files that will change in a couple days again?

sgage
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Joined: 2013-03-10 21:00

Re: Anybody here using Testing as their daily driver?

#6 Post by sgage »

The problem, too, with asking such a broad question is that most likely no one else has the same suite of software you intend to use. E.g., I've been using testing for quite some time as my daily driver without issue. But I use a pretty plain vanilla set of programs, and hardware for that matter. Doesn't mean testing will work for you.

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vicshrike
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Re: Anybody here using Testing as their daily driver?

#7 Post by vicshrike »

Gorg wrote:I've been going back and forth with what system I should install, since I am in need of an upgrade.
But what are you running now?
Meh, whatever. :|

pcalvert
Posts: 1924
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Location: Sol Sector

Re: Anybody here using Testing as their daily driver?

#8 Post by pcalvert »

Gorg wrote:I've read through the threads and I may have missed something, but I haven't quite understood the reasons for mixing the sources. Of course, Unstable software updates will be even faster for certain software, but that's not really necessary for me.
Testing does not get security updates. Pulling packages that have security fixes from Sid helps to compensate for that. Also, some breakages can be fixed by pulling one or more packages from Sid. BTW, I have seen claims that running Sid is easier than running a pure Debian Testing system.

Phil
“It is better to believe than to disbelieve; in doing so, it brings
everything into the realm of possibility.” — Albert Einstein

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pylkko
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Re: Anybody here using Testing as their daily driver?

#9 Post by pylkko »

In a way it is true, because of the reasons mentioned. A particularly annoying thing about testing is that some packages may be held back and others not of some relevant collection of packages (like a desktop environment). It happened twice that parts of GNOME were delayed for several months in testing (imagine using a hybrid GNOME with parts from next release and some not). So then for some days (or weeks) you are stuck with versions that were never designed to work together... This does not happen in unstable. However, on the other hand, Sid changes a lot. So, it happens that you download the same package (with minor changes) every single day.... 90% of those downloads (at hunfreds of megabytes) are changing something small in the code that does not even affect your system... in addition to more bugs, that is is... On Sid it happened to me a few times that I had to postpone updates until the broken file was replaced by a newer version, and a couple of times thes system hung at boot. When I was using Sid I was running it on btrfs snapshots, so that I could simply revert changes.

So the easiest way to run newer software is just to use backports (unless you need many of them).

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Head_on_a_Stick
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Re: Anybody here using Testing as their daily driver?

#10 Post by Head_on_a_Stick »

If you want the newest software use Arch Linux, it is the least obsolete of all the distributions and it is a rolling release (unlike sid or testing). Good luck with the kernel breakages though, it's so bad that Arch is in the process of moving to versioned kernel images in /boot so the user has a backup option :roll:
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vicshrike
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Re: Anybody here using Testing as their daily driver?

#11 Post by vicshrike »

@Gorg, since you need fresh software, you should really consider this.^
Meh, whatever. :|

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None1975
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Re: Anybody here using Testing as their daily driver?

#12 Post by None1975 »

As I understand it, some people have no idea what Debian testing and Debian unstable is for...if you want fresh software (and and endless updates) use Arch.
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kedaha
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Re: Anybody here using Testing as their daily driver?

#13 Post by kedaha »

I sometimes wonder if Debian Experimental were codenamed with a Toy Story name there would be a rush to "upgrade" to that? :wink:

neuraleskimo
Posts: 195
Joined: 2019-03-12 23:26

Re: Anybody here using Testing as their daily driver?

#14 Post by neuraleskimo »

Every time I try experiment with Fedora or Ubuntu (not LTS) or similar, I end up hating it mostly because there are updates every single day. I also find little bugs here and there. My advice is stick with stable. Now, having said that, I will switch to testing before a release to help test (not because I want to run it as a daily driver).
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anticapitalista
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Re: Anybody here using Testing as their daily driver?

#15 Post by anticapitalista »

kedaha wrote:I sometimes wonder if Debian Experimental were codenamed with a Toy Story name there would be a rush to "upgrade" to that? :wink:
Maybe it should be codenamed 'Arch'
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pendrachken
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Re: Anybody here using Testing as their daily driver?

#16 Post by pendrachken »

Testing is great.... if you know what you are doing. I had one install of testing that was Sarge while it was still testing, and ran up past when Lenny went stable, closer to when Squeeze went stable. In that time I had to fix things that borked, sometimes by digging deep into the guts of the system, sometimes by recompiling good sized chunks of the system, and sometimes having to go dumpster diving for older versions of stuff in the mirrored repos. Got rid of that install when the hardware it was on finally died its final death.

If you aren't willing to do that, and you would have to be insane to want to do that on a production machine, testing is NOT for you.
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