From: Rick Moen <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: what version?
Organization: If you lived here, you'd be $HOME already.
User-Agent: tin/1.7.6-20040906 ("Baleshare") (UNIX) (Linux/2.4.27-2-686 (i686))
Date: Fri, 16 Sep 2005 18:51:11 -0400
[Name and address redacted] wrote:
> Debian has a little issue that the latest versions of
tools you may
> need are in "testing", but the "stable" is often rather out of date,
> so you can wind up having to pick and choose and hand-manage updates
> versus a "testing" release moving target. That can be an adventure.
Attempting to add packages from "testing" into a machine tracking Debian's "stable" branch is a common beginner's error, and an excellent way to screw up your system. The packaging system isn't designed to support that sort of frankensteining of two tracks with such an extremely wide versioning gulf between them, and to attempt it is to solve the wrong problem.
People determined to stubbornly cling to Debian's "stable" track should use, instead, the backports.org collections — or leave their machines alone — or do the sensible thing and put the entire machine onto the "testing" track rather than frankensteining it. Or use Ubuntu.
If anyone advised you to do otherwise, that person was very badly informed — and was giving out really bad advice.
My own server and desktop systems tend to track either testing with optional access to unstable-track packages, or follow unstable.
> Me, I'm comfortable with OS's that have more frequent
releases and test
> software updates against those releases: I've had good success with RedHat
> for servers.
The notion that "releases" are somehow vital is an error commonly put forward by people not acquainted with gradually-moving tracks such as Debian-testing and Debian-unstable. Please see: "Releases Unimportant" on http://linuxmafia.com/kb/Debian/ .
Moreover, the people stating it are invariably ignorant of Debian's point-releases for the stable branch, e.g.:
[snip table, recreated and expanded below]
These have been the standardised Official Debian installation CD image releases, as announced on the debian-cd and debian-release mailing lists and sold by CD vendors.
(Surprised? Well, that's because you posted misinformation for lack of acquaintance with the subject.)
Not that it's significant, but I'll point out that those releases have been (generally) significantly more frequent than Red Hat's, whose dates I track here: "RH Releases" on http://linuxmafia.com/kb/RedHat
-- Cheers, "Due to circumstances beyond our control, we regret to Rick Moen inform you that circumstances are beyond our control." email@example.com --Paul Benoit
Because early Debian Project Leader Bruce Perens worked at Pixar Studios, makers of the animated film "Toy Story", Debian branches adopted the convention of bearing nicknames taken from characters in that movie.
Track name "stable" within the Debian packaging system also resolves to whatever is the release branch at any given time. It is implemented as a symlink within the package mirror network, that is relinked to each new release on the day the Debian release manager declares it production-ready.
Version Released Name Notes 0.01-0.090 1993-08 to none Public developer releases. i386-only. 1993-12 0.91 1994-01 none Public developer release. Primitive pkg system w/dependencies. A "few dozen" developers, but most release work was still being done by founder Ian Murdock personally. 0.93r5 1995-03 none First "modern" release including Ian Murdock's dpkg tool. 0.93r6 1995-10-26 none Last release to be based on the a.out (pre-ELF) binary format. Introduced dselect package tool. First multi-architecture release (adding m68k). About 60 developers. 1.0 N/A N/A Never released, to avoid confusion with a CD vendor's buggy "1.0" unofficial release. 1.1 1996-06-17 Buzz First production release. Fully ELF-based, Linux 2.0.x kernel, 474 packages. "Buzz" was astronaut Buzz Lightyear, in "Toy Story". 1.2 1996-12-12 Rex 848 packages, 120 developers. "Rex" was the dinosaur. 1.3 1997-06-02 Bo 974 packages, 200 developers. "Point" releases start, and run through 1.3.1r6 for "Bo". "Bo" was Little Bo Peep shepherdess. 2.0 1998-07-24 Hamm First version based on glibc2 (then called Linux libc6). 1500+ packages, 400+ developers. "Hamm" was the piggybank. 2.1r1 1999-03-09 Slink Introduced the "apt" high-level pkg toolset. About 2250 packages. Four supported CPU architectures, adding SPARC and DEC Alpha. Port to HURD kernel introduced. "Slink" was the Slinky dachshund. 2.1r2 1999-06-27 2.1r3 1999-09-04 2.1r4 1999-12-12 2.1r5 2000-02-16 2.2r0 2000-08-15 Potato Six architectures, adding PowerPC and ARM. 3900+ binary packages, 2600+ source packages. "Potato" was Mr. Potato Head. 2.2r1 2000-11-12 2.2r2 2000-12-05 2.2r3 2001-04-17 2.2r4 2001-11-05 2.2r5 2002-01-10 2.2r6 2002-04-03 2.2r7 2002-07-13 3.0r0 2002-07-19 Woody Eleven architectures, adding IA-64, HP PA-RISC, MIPS, DEC MIPSEL, and IBM S/390. 8500 packages, 900+ developers. Crypto software merged into main archive. Support for 23 languages. Major mirror restructuring ("package pools") in Oct 2000 to save space and permit programmatically populated branches such as "testing". "Woody" was the cowboy ("Cowboy Woody") from fictional 1950s TV show "Woody's Roundup". 3.0r1 2002-12-16 3.0r2 2003-11-21 3.0r3 2004-10-26 3.0r4 2005-01-01 3.0r5 2005-04-16 3.0r6 2005-06-02 3.1r0 2005-06-06 Sarge Still eleven architectures, but unofficial AMD64 port added. 15,000 packages, 1500+ developers, 40 languages. Added 2.6 kernels. Switched from boot-floppies to modular d-i ("Debian installer") installation program. Adopted aptitude as recommended high-level package tool. "Sarge" was the sergeant of the green Bucket O Soldiers men (G.I. Joe figures). 3.1r1 2005-12-20 3.1r2 2006-04-19 3.1r3 2006-09-01 3.1r4 2006-11-06 3.1r5 2007-02-18 3.1r6 2007-04-07 3.1r7 2007-12-29 4.0r0 2007-04-08 Etch Added AMD64 as an official release target and dropped m68k. 18,200 packages, 1030+ developers. Added graphical installer. Switched from XFree86 to X.org. Adopted udev device architecture. "Etch" was the Etch-A-Sketch. 4.0r1 2007-08-16 4.0r2 2007-12-27 4.0r3 2008-02-17
Debian Pending Releases, Point Releases, and Non-Release Branches
Active Debian development occurs in a continuously rolling (non-release) track called "unstable", which is permanently assigned Toy Story branch name "Sid" (Sidney Phillips), the name of the film's neighbour boy who destroyed and tortured toys. Any new or updated package unloaded by a Debian developer becomes immediately available in master package mirror site directory tree "sid" (symlink "unstable") as compiled and packaged by the project's automated build hosts.
"sid" also houses CPU architectures not officially supported but planned to be integrated later.
Since 2000, a separate continuously rolling track called "testing", implemented as another symlink in the master package mirror tree has existed that has two roles: Most of the time, it is programmatically defined by a nightly maintenance script on the master package mirror that adds to its package collection any newly uploaded packages in "unstable" if any only if they pass a set of automated quality-testing criteria. (Thus, it functions as a quarantining script.) However, when the Debian Release Manager is preparing for a new "stable" release, he/she manually intervenes with some of that script's operations to enforce desired contents, e.g., holding libc at a desired release level. Around that time, the "testing" contents are given a symlinked version number in the master package mirror's directory structure, as testing branch "lenny" will soon receive the Debian5.0 symlink (a/o this writing in April 2008). When he/she considers a "testing" collection fully ready to become the new "stable" release, the "stable" symlink gets repointed to that set of files, and a new rolling "testing" branch is started, gaining that symlink.
Version Released Name Note 5.0 (pending) Lenny Current "testing" branch, which will be assigned 5.0 but officially isn't yet (a/o 18 Apr 2008). Will be the next "stable" branch, estimated Sept. 2008 time-frame. Will drop 32-bit SPARC. Will include nearly full UTF-8 charset support. "Lenny" was the pair of wind-up walking binoculars.
Between full releases, each "stable" relese gets re-released up to seven (going by past cycles) additioanl times, to merge in security updates, kernel/driver improvements to support newer hardware, and critical bug-fixes. Thus, the current "stable" release of Etch at this writing (18 April 2008) is actually Debian4.0r3, the fourth Etch release. Each point release is Official Debian, and has its own set of stable packages, CD images, and DVD images -- for each officially supported architecture.
Because all 1000+ Debian developers are expected to normally keep their systems syncrhonised frequently to the "unstable" branch, it's deemed bad to upload broken packages to there, even briefly. So, the "expermental" package collection exists as an upload targets for developers' "highly experimental software where there's a good chance that the software could break your system, or software that's just too unstable even for the unstable distribution (but there is a reason to package it nevertheless".
Other "Toy Story" Names:
- Bo Peep's sheep: Unfortunately, they lacked names.
- Mrs. Potato Head: Ditto
- Wheezy: an asthmatic squeeze penguin.
- Hockey Puck: No name.
- Shark: the squeaky rubber shark in boy Andy Davis's toybox.
- Mike: a toy tape recorder
- Mr. Spell: a teaching toy
- RC: Andy's remote-controlled car
- Rocky: a heavy-weight wrestler
- Troikas: five concentric marioshka dolls, bulldog, cat, drake, goldfish, ladybug. No individual names.
- Bucket O Soldiers: No individual names except Sarge's.
- Troll: a pink-haired troll doll.
- Toddle Tots Fire Truck
- See 'n Say "The Farmer Says educational animal-image toy. Shows sheep, dog, duck, frog, horse, coyote, rooster, pig, cow, bird, cat and turkey. Always seen with Mr. Spell.
- Barrel of Monkeys
- Magic 8-Ball
- Roly Poly Clown
- Dolly: rag doll
- Teddy: a grumpy, pink teddy bear
- Duckie a rubber duck
- Three Barbie Singers: serve a backup vocalists in Toy Story 2.
There are quite a few others, mostly less prominent.