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    Stability of Testing Branch
    Contributed by mike on Saturday, November 10 @ 05:38:32 GMT

    Ask Debianplanet
    How does the stability of the testing branch (Woody) compare to frequently released distributions such as Redhat and Mandrake? I would assume Woody is getting more and more stable right now because of freezing, but how does it compare before any type of freezing occurs?

    DanielS: Because it is run by a heartless script (hey, it is Python, after all), it has a habit of randomly breaking; e.g. at the moment, the versions of php4 and apache are incompatible. Apart from that, it's stable - it's just getting everything installed that's often a hassle.

     
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  • "Stability of Testing Branch" | Login/Create Account | 27 comments
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    Re: Stability of Testing Branch (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Saturday, November 10 @ 05:53:08 GMT

    rscheme doesn't work either.

    Running rsc gives:

    "error: could not find module: primops"

    [ Reply ]


    Re: Stability of Testing Branch (Score: 2, Interesting)
    by che on Saturday, November 10 @ 12:30:40 GMT
    (User Info)

    I really have mixed feelings about the testing branche. As matter of fact, I don't use it (any more) on a everyday basis. For servers I stay with potato (some servers with extra packages compiled from source) and I'm very happy with it (did I mention I'm very, very, very happy with potato?). For my desktop I use Mandrake.

    Mandrake? Nah, I'm not a newbie, I am a unix sysadmin and I can fix woody when it breaks (I run it on a test machine and indeed it brakes).

    But I do like to have bleeding edge soft on my desktop (that leaves out potato) and I really don't want to that the systems brakes *a lot*. Mandrake brakes far more than potato (damn rpm's), but nothing that can be fixed in a few minutes.

    I do not always have the time to fix woody, I have work to do (and the people who pay my salary expect that to :c)).That's why I had high hopes for a really not beta release of progeny (I guess we can leave that out too :c)).

    I'm veryy happyy with my schizofrenic linux use. I feel I have the best of both world. Still, don't ask me why, I know I'll eventuallyy end with woody on my desktop. Never underestimate the power of Debian :c).

    C.

    [ Reply ]


    Re: Stability of Testing Branch (Score: 1, Interesting)
    by Anonymous on Saturday, November 10 @ 13:03:31 GMT

    If you get the time to experiment, try sid (unstable). I run it here, and get very up to date packages, not much breakage (no more than I had under woody), and nothing that cannot be easily fixed.

    [ Reply ]


    Re: Stability of Testing Branch (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Saturday, November 10 @ 21:59:08 GMT

    Hi,

    I'm using sid for 10 month now: perl was a bit tricky during upgrade, apt-get install "manually" for some apache/postgresql/php4-packages once and removing two '"' from /etc/X11/something for XFree86 4.1 were all problems I had -- and something with python/postgresql/OpenGL.

    Nothing that wasn't fixed in a few minutes.

    I tried that things at home before updating some production servers -- maybe a bit dangerous, but ever tried upgrading an old SuSE to one needed newer package?

    K

    [ Reply ]


    Re: and getting everything configured (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Saturday, November 10 @ 15:23:59 GMT

    Apart from that, it's stable - it's just getting everything installed that's often a hassle.

    And getting everything configured. I'm just testing woody since I like the idea of apt-get dist-upgrade (I'm currently using mandrake, it's a breeze to install but a pig to update when a new distro get out), but I see small problems with configuration (e.g: xserver-xfree86 won't know that I have already told the system that I have a spanish keyboard and it will merrily configure it as a us keyboard without asking) to make things work that simply work right of the box with mandrake (sound, apm, almost all the harware, if I tell it during install that I want to use catalan and spanish, everything will be configured to use those two languages (they just add french even if you don't want it, though ;-).

    For a server it's probably better than potato (you can directly format your partitions with reiserfs, jfs and xfs and configure lvm right at installations) but maybe too cutting edge.

    Like I said, it has it's problems (i.e: upgrading, urmpi is mostly modelled after apt-get, and it works for routine upgrades, it won't work for "dist-upgrade" though) and I like more the development model of debian and the supposed virtues of apt-get.

    Funny, just now apt-get is giving me an error:


    dpkg: error processing /var/cache/apt/archives/kdelibs3_4%3a2.2.1-14_i386.deb (--unpack):

    trying to overwrite `/usr/share/icons/hicolor/32x32/devices/3floppy_mount.png', which is also in package kdebase

    dpkg-deb: subprocess paste killed by signal (Broken pipe)

    so even apt-get isn't perfect :-/

    [ Reply ]


    Re: it's me again, that last apt-get upgrade broke konqueror (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Saturday, November 10 @ 15:30:53 GMT

    Hey, that last apt-get upgrade left konqueror in a state that it won't start (well, it will moaning and groanig, and then it will moan and groan instead of showing any web page).

    I'm posting this with lynx...

    Not very stable, at least for me 🙁

    [ Reply ]


    Re: and getting everything configured (Score: 1)
    by che on Saturday, November 10 @ 15:48:37 GMT
    (User Info)

    I've found that apt-get is perfect when you stay on the stable branche (apt-get update and apt-get upgrade in a cron is a little juwel!) or when upgrading from the stable to a new stable release.

    Woody packages *may* be broken, that why it's called testing and there's nothing apt-get can do when the problem it's in the package itself.

    Greets,

    C

    [ Reply ]


    Re: and getting everything configured (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Saturday, November 10 @ 16:13:36 GMT

    The problem is that when someone complains that packages in stable are too old (and they are), the usual reply is "you should use woody, it's stable enough for normal use". Well, it's not. Probably in my case the problem is worse because I never used debian before and I'm not used to the various tools for package management (for example, right now dselect is installing a lot of packages I didn't ask for and that didn't show up in dependencies/recommendations and I'm frankly puzzled, anyway I've seen urpmi behave the same sometime), but right now I have the impression (probably wrong, I don't know) that Mandrake, with all its problems, it's more stable that debian. I will not surrender, though, and I'll probably keep debian on a test machine.

    [ Reply ]


    Re: and getting everything configured (Score: 1)
    by che on Saturday, November 10 @ 19:53:40 GMT
    (User Info)

    I think that woody is a more developer/ advanced debian user distro. I think that Woody is stable enough (compared to other linux distributions) when well configured, but I don't see Woody as a desktop platform for let's say a professional desktop.

    That's why at work I use Debian Potato for my servers and Mandrake for my desktop. I hope that when Woody becomes officially stable, I'll make the move to Debian again in the desktop.

    C.

    [ Reply ]


    Re: and getting everything configured (Score: 1)
    by pherthyl on Sunday, November 11 @ 07:52:03 GMT
    (User Info)

    I feel your pain.. 🙁

    I want to get into linux, I really do, But after a few weeks of spending 80% of my time fixing problems, I crumple and go back to windows where, as long as you reinstall the damn thing about every 3 months, almost everything works.

    First i tried most of the other major distros and just didn't find anything compelling to keep me interested.

    Then I found debian. Finally a distro that has a real advantage over the others and windows. apt-get. Maybe my first mistake was getting woody instead of potato but I just can't stand the ancient software that comes with potato. apt-get was so smooth that just seeing it in action was enough to keep me amused and amazed for almost 2 months. But more and more I found that things that I wanted just didn't work, and I couldn't find any explanation for it. Whether this was due to broken packages or my own stupidity (more likely) I don't know but it happened a lot. First I couldn't get my sound card working when I compiled any 2.4.x series kernels, even though the kernel supposedly supports it. Then I tried the alsa drivers which also supposedly support my card but I couldn't even get them compiled. After spending 2 weeks browsing the alsa mailing lists and asking questions, I just gave up.. I have better things to do than this..

    Same goes for other packages, a linuxconf type prog that works from a web interface sounded cool so I got the package.. It told me to connect to it through port 10000 so I tried it the only way I know how, from konqueror, then mozilla, then netscape. Didn't work. And of course the instructions didn't mention the possibility of any trouble or hint at anything that might be required to get it to work.. Was I missing some daemom? was the package broken? did I install it wrong? who knows, there is nothing that I could find to go on....

    sorry for the rant.. just had to get that off my chest... ;P

    I guess I'll have to wait until linux distros get a little easier until I can justify spending the time to mess with it more..

    [ Reply ]


    Re: and getting everything configured (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Monday, November 12 @ 00:10:40 GMT

    RTFM

    [ Reply ]


    Re: and getting everything configured (Score: 1)
    by pherthyl on Tuesday, November 13 @ 23:29:27 GMT
    (User Info)

    guess what asswipe. I did. I spent a month on the mailing list asking informed questions and no one could help solve the problem.

    For other progs there sometimes are no fucking manuals. So there is nothing to read.

    like fuck.. really.

    bah.

    [ Reply ]


    Re: and getting everything configured (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Sunday, November 11 @ 22:11:02 GMT

    Part of using testing is getting used to working around the problems. I had the problem with kdelibs3 as well. Since I usually work in gnome, it was not a big deal. I just removed kdebase (that removed a whole bunch of kde programs) and then installed kdelibs3. I think from there konqueror can be reinstalled to run on gnome....and the other programs in kde can be installed individually. I generally have installed both kde and gnome (Rarely do both have simultaneous problems in Testing). In this case, I'll just wait until the problem with kdebase and kdelibs3 is worked out before reinstalling kdebase.

    [ Reply ]


    Re: and getting everything configured (Score: 1)
    by kakuz on Tuesday, November 13 @ 05:41:44 GMT
    (User Info) http://cygnus.ee.its-sby.edu

    dpkg -i --force-overwrite /var/cache/apt/archieves/kdelibs3_4%3a2.2.1-14_i386.deb

    after that

    apt-get dist-upgrade

    [ Reply ]


    castellanizar (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Tuesday, November 13 @ 09:28:39 GMT

    xserver-xfree86 won't know that I have already told the system that I have a spanish keyboard and it will merrily configure it as a us keyboard without asking

    Just run the "castellanizar" program, which you'll find in the "user-es" package.

    - Quique

    [ Reply ]


    Re: Stability of Testing Branch (Score: 1, Interesting)
    by Anonymous on Saturday, November 10 @ 16:13:58 GMT

    I find woody is slightly less stable. But only slightly. Mandrake, SuSE, etc. can be quite stable, as long as you only use the official RPMs released by them. Using RPMs from many different sources just taken off ftps and random websites leads to the problems. If you only use official Mandrake RPMs you won't break something, they all work properly. So there it passes woody. But...If you only use official mandrake packages then it's not going to be updated that much faster than woody. I find Mandrake with official RPMs only is slightly more up to date, and slightly more stable. If your using any old RPMs off the net, then sure the packages can be instantly up to the most recent, but your stability takes a hit, becuase who knows what can happen.

    Really as long as the security updates are fast the rest of the updates can lag a bit. Woody only breaks once in a while, if they can just nip those last couple problems that slip through it would be very stable. But a broken X here and there, not to good. For me a broken X, on a workstation obviously, is a pain in the ass. But for newbies it can totally freak them out and leave a bad impression, especially when they are in that new "finding the right distro for me" phase. Luckily people tend to get around to trying debian last, so by then they know what they are doing.

    [ Reply ]


    Well, I can't vouch for Woody, but Mandrake is getting worse (Score: 2, Interesting)
    by twilight32 on Saturday, November 10 @ 20:41:17 GMT
    (User Info)

    Hm. I use mandrake as my main desktop, have since 7.0, and used to love it. A lot. 8.1 appeared, and I have had nothing but problems since the day it was installed.

    Autoconfiguration used to be a dream. Now, for significant parts of the install, it is a nightmare. Internet configuration is a complete mess, mostly due to the fact that the scripts claim to work but really don't. They've gone too far down the Windows path of appearing to make your life easier without actually working properly for my taste.

    Moreover, I would never recommend an existing Mdk user upgrade over simply repeating an install from scratch. It has never worked as advertised. The only sane way to upgrade a Mdk system is to hold one's /home partition separately and not fdisk/DiskDrake it.

    Mandrake's Cooker is pretty rapid in terms of development, but their beta testing has gone up the spout in the last two releases (8, 8.1), mostly because they have been more concerned with the rigidity of their schedules than the stability of their product. I don't know for certain, but I suspect that their financial situation has had some bearing on this. When they tout a Gaming Edition over the retention of both Kevin Lawton (plex86) and Jay Beale (Bastille) you know something is seriously wrong with their priorities.

    [ Reply ]


    Re: Well, I can't vouch for Woody, but Mandrake is getting worse (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Saturday, November 10 @ 21:51:02 GMT

    I thought the 7.0 version of Mandrake was -perfect- when I used it, but now it's just getting..unprofessional, I guess is the only way I can put it. I mean eye-candy is nice, but your average Linux user probably doesn't want -that- many happily drawn cartoon penguins lounging all over their desktop ;> I'd use Debian except I've been having far too much trouble upgrading to the versions of things that I need. Hopefully 3.0 will be out soon..

    [ Reply ]


    Re: Stability of Testing Branch (Score: 1)
    by CentrX (hagaratmyrealboxdotcom) on Saturday, November 10 @ 22:12:05 GMT
    (User Info)

    I don't know what all you other people are talking about. I've found woody to be very stable, with negligible package upgrade bugs. Albeit, this is a desktop machine, not a server, but woody/testing is what I recommend for a desktop machine. If someone wanted to run some stable server, it makes more sense to run potato. Woody is perfect for a desktop machine.

    [ Reply ]


    Re: Stability of Testing Branch (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Tuesday, November 13 @ 07:58:26 GMT

    hear ! hear ! words of wisdom

    [ Reply ]


    Re: Stability of Testing Branch (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Wednesday, November 14 @ 19:39:10 GMT

    I've found in my experience that my woody server doesn't suffer from nearly the upgrade bugs that a lot of people run into when running Woody as a desktop box. Desktop machines have all the X, GNOME, and KDE dependencies to worry about...however, once you uninstall all of that, a lot of the complexity of upgrading is gone....and so much more disk space is available for being a server. 😉

    [ Reply ]


    Re: Stability of Testing Branch (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Wednesday, November 21 @ 20:21:43 GMT

    I disagree. I do lots of programming on my Linux desktop and I need up-to-date libraries that I know are tested and are not going to break. I just can not trust Woody for this, because libraries have broken, or they have moved only a library in and not the rest of the apps connected to it.

    I just can not explain to my boss that the reason why I am late on my project is that Debian Woody was messed up. Still though, I do try to use Debian whenever possible. Potato makes great servers.

    [ Reply ]


    Re: Stability of Testing Branch (Score: 1)
    by Pflipp on Saturday, November 10 @ 23:25:24 GMT
    (User Info) http://www.hobbiton.org/~pflipp/

    I have a question about that. Currently, the Objective C packages of gcc are "broken" (that is, in their .deb dependencies, not _at all_ in their functionality!) and, as said, Apache w.r.t. php4.

    Currently, base is frozen.

    To be honest, I could imagine that e.g. objc belongs to the base system, and that nobody has as of yet reported (or at least fixed) the problem. So can it still be fixed? Or would such a fix mean breaking the "frozen" stage of the packages involved?

    (OK, it's not that bright a question, but I'm just trying to get the idea of this. And yes, I should file bugs on this. But the problem with that is that I cannot configure Sendmail. Never could (never needed it). Most bug report tools need Sendmail. I consider that to be a bug, but some people claim that keeping a bug system hard to understand keeps the sillies from filing silly bugs, so hey, that's my situation in short :)))

    Greets,

    Pflipp

    [ Reply ]


    Re: Stability of Testing Branch (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Sunday, November 11 @ 00:56:40 GMT

    How do you send your mail, if you don't have an MTA installed? The bug-reporting tools need you to be able to send mail -- well, even that isn't accurate, since reportbug will happily write the bug report to a file.

    Daniel

    [ Reply ]


    Re: Stability of Testing Branch (Score: 1)
    by Pflipp on Monday, November 12 @ 10:57:48 GMT
    (User Info) http://www.hobbiton.org/~pflipp/

    I send mail using a provider's SMTP server using mailers as Balsa, Evolution as I have always been used to when I was on dialup. AFAIK it doesn't make much sense to set up a mail server on your own host unless it's really used as a [mail] server. But correct me if I'm wrong.

    [ Reply ]


    Re: Stability of Testing Branch (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Monday, November 12 @ 14:07:05 GMT

    Personally, I've found testing's stability to be horrible. Especially the desktops. And I don't mean 'unstable' as in 'lots of crashing'.

    First, I used GNOME. Debian changed their setup in a way that broke Ximian (which was pretty poor anyway), so I switched to the main packages. Only to find that a lot of programs were the old, buggy versions, while others were the newer, nicer versions.

    Fed up with GNOME, I switched to KDE. All nice... Up until the recent kidelibs3 upgrade. Somehow, kdelibs3 2.2.1 got moved into Testing... Without any of the other KDE 2.2 stuff. This, predictably, broke almost everything. (And no, it wasn't a force-overwrite install that did it. That just overwrote a bunch of pngs) Alt-tabbing locks the system, kmail's pop3 support no longer works, konqueror's just plain broken...

    And that's just the latest in a whole line of poorly-thought-out and executed changes like that. I've had my resolv.conf erased three times, and numerous incompatible changes in packages that aren't documented or warned of anywhere. And fixes for anything take ages to move into Testing from Unstable.

    Am I using the wrong mirrors or something? Testing seems far less 'stable' than any of the reports I've heard about unstable.

    [ Reply ]


    Re: Stability of Testing Branch (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Wednesday, November 21 @ 20:15:18 GMT

    I personally use Redhat at work and Mandrake at home. I would LOVE to use Debian on both of these computers but I seem to always have problems with Woody (packages not compatable or broken) and Redhat is usually pretty up-to-date and stable and Mandrake, well, is not as stable as Redhat, but it is easy enough for my wife to use.

    [ Reply ]


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