[svlug] Which linux distro for production ?

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Sun Dec 19 19:24:19 PST 2004

Quoting Akkana Peck (akkana at shallowsky.com):

> The only disadvantage is that I haven't figured out a way to ask the
> question "Which packages on my system right now are from unstable?"  

For an individual installed package, you can compare the installed vs.
available-from-various-places versions using apt-show-versions:

[rick at uncle-enzo]
~ $ apt-show-versions -p libc6 -a
libc6   2.3.2.ds1-13    install ok installed
libc6   2.2.5-11.5      stable
libc6   2.3.2.ds1-18    testing
libc6   2.3.2.ds1-18    unstable
libc6/testing upgradeable from 2.3.2.ds1-13 to 2.3.2.ds1-18

Making a script to query and organise all the desired information of
that sort is left as an exercise, a Simple Matter of Programming.  ;->

There may be some better answer; I wouldn't know, and hadn't really
considered that question before.  Once a package is on my system and
functions, it doesn't really matter to me which branch it came from.

So, I guess I'm attempting to politely say:  The above strikes me as
solving the wrong problem (personal view only).

> Someone asked "Why mix?  In that case, why not just use unstable for
> everything?"  One possible reason is that once sarge releases
> (supposedly fairly soon), it will start getting security updates, and
> will become a very good choice for a desktop system.

I'll ask, strictly rhetorically, the same question I ask every time
someone proposes to stay on a named branch (e.g., woody, sarge...) over
time as opposed to remaining on the functional track (testing,
unstable...) the speaker is currently tracking:  If you like the
"testing" track's characteristics today, why will you suddenly change
your mind tomorrow?  (That's for values of "tomorrow" approximating
the day following release.)

I often hear people saying "Well, I'll be on sarge=testing for now
because I like access to new versions, and I'll stay on sarge=stable
after release" -- and I think:  Why is the testing branch good today,
but suddenly becomes bad tomorrow?

If you want automated Security Team coverage, use stable.  If you want to
remain two steps back from the "unstable" cliff edge, use testing.  If
you want to perpetually teeter on that cliff edge, use unstable.   If
you like standing on thin air like Wile E. Coyote, try experimental.

For whatever it's worth, I'm typing this on a unstable-branch laptop
(my network console) and posting via a testing-branch w/unstable-branch  
package access mail host.  ;->

Cheers,   There are 10 types of people in this world, those who know quaternary,
Rick Moen those who only recently figured out Ron Fabre's "ternary" .sig, those
          who're completely confused, and those who hate self-referential jokes.

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