[sf-lug] found discarded older computer - any interest

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Mon Jul 26 21:06:19 PDT 2010

Quoting Brian Morris (cymraegish at gmail.com):

> I always did too until I tried LXDE (and I tried all the others). Its
> the file manager that makes it really.

Yeah, but my favourite file manager is still bash / awk / sed / find /
xargs.  ;->

> Nothing's perfect but yes I have been happy with plain Debian for
> years and probably still prefer it, but the wifi support for my old
> powerbooks had been going down hill for some time drivers breaking, I
> found that Ubuntu had no problems with it.

Er, I sure hope you are aware that it's neither necessary nor desirable
to stick with the installation kernel you started with upon installing 
Debian.  You'll find a good selection of precompiled kernels among those
available on debian-testing, and the support for PPC-typical wireless in
those has been really good.  (Naturally, you never throw away your
current kernel until you've tested a candidate replacement.)

> That's what I do, but I have seen warnings "unstable is unstable".
> Maybe it just happens occassionally, depending on what packages you
> are running (I had some experimental on there too).

Hmm, I might need to clarify:

When I say 'unstable access as needed', I do _not_ mean putting the 
host directly onto the unstable/sid branch, but rather adding the
repos into /etc/apt/sources.list[.d/] as a set with lowered
pin-priority, such that normally nothing will be fetched from there.

Package: *
Pin: release a=unstable
Pin-Priority: 50

The idea is that _if_ you think a necessary package is in unstable but
hasn't cleared quarantine into testing, you can fetch it and its
direct dependencies but _nothing else_ from unstable/sid, so:

# apt-get -t unstable install [foo]

Anyway, yes, the general likeability of debian-testing depends on what
packages you are running, in one very predictable sense:  If you are
relying on one of the 'desktop' suites (GNOME et al.), variable
propagation times of the constituent packages through testing's
quarantine can create a logjam.  Let's say you're a KDE4 fancier (hey,
it could happen), and all of a new KDE4 release's packages _except_ the
new package of libfoo have cleared quarantine from unstable to testing.
And, as it happens, 1/3 of KDE4's other packages depend on libfoo.  In
that case, those 1/3 become temporarily uninstallable on testing.

Thus my point:  With the setup I describe, you can just do:

# apt-get -t unstable install pkg1 pkg2...

...and those packages only (and dependencies) get refreshed from
-unstable without causing your system as a whole to do so.

I have far, far greater confidence in Debian's ability to keep PPC in
good shape, because it's a supported arch rather than a
community-maintained one.  Your Mileage May Differ.<tm>

> I think when squeeze comes out I will just stick with stable for a
> while on the g4 and concentrate on building those optimized versions
> without a moving target.

People say that sometimes, but I'm not sure I go with that:  If you like
the distance from the bleeding edge debian-testing affords, it seems
strange to suddenly decide to back off to debian-stable just because of
a release cycle transition.  The whole point of tracking debian-testing 
is to stay away from release-oriented granularity.  It and Sidux (which
sadly is not maintained for PPC) are the only truly successful and
satisfactory rolling releases on Linux I know of.

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