On Wed, 07 Jan 2009, Kevin Philp wrote:
> We are looking at Debian as an option for a new server. One question:
>> I understand that if I use the testing repository then packages will be
> updated continually. However if I use the stable repositories what
> happens when debian makes a new release stable - do I suddenly get a
> download of several hundred packages?
Yes and I've seen people bitten by this as they one day just blindly ran
"apt-get upgrade" and got a partial distribution upgrade.
The way to avoid this is, once you've installed the system, edit
/etc/apt/sources.list and change the word "stable" to the word "etch" or
whatever distribution version you're using. Then, when a new stable
version comes out, you decide when you want to upgrade, read the notes,
plan some downtime and edit the sources.list again changing from one
release name to the next before running "apt-get update.....".
> Is this then any different or more reliable than the Ubuntu option of
> doing regular dist-upgrades?
The word "reliable" is a bit subjective.
Debian's certainly a lot less hassle than running Ubuntu's 6-monthly
releases and upgrading between those. However, Ubuntu have LTS releases
for this reason so you can have a 3-5 year release cycle. AIUI Ubuntu have
a slightly different policy to Debian about non-security upgrades to stable
releases -- in short they seem more likely to allow them. There was a
steady stream of fixes for some months in the aftermath of hardy's release,
though that seems to have quietened down towards the end of the summer.
You could argue they shouldn't have released with those bugs of course.
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