CLUG meeting 27 June 2002

Drake Diedrich dld at
Tue Jun 25 10:43:25 EST 2002

On Tue, Jun 25, 2002 at 05:29:39AM +1000, Michael Still wrote:
> Which ones of the 8 Woody CDs are stable? Is woody stable? I know nothing
> about Debian...

Current Alias	Development Name	Release number
-------------	----------------	--------------
Stable		potato			2.2 (r5?)
Testing		woody			(3.0 when released)
Unstable	sid			(never released.  bleeding edge)

   When Debian has a release, the current "testing" (frozen in earlier
release cycles) is relabeled "stable" and given a number (Debian had trouble
with people selling numbered releases while still in development, so they
don't assign numbers until the official release now to make clear whether a
CD is just a development snapshot or a real release).  At some point after
that "unstable" (always named "sid") is forked to create a new "testing"
with another name from Toy Story as the development name.
   These names are the names of directories that contain 3 Packages.gz files
per architecture.  Packages.gz contains the package description, filename,
etc of each package.  The packages themselves are stored in a common
directory, so on the day of the fork there isn't (anymore) a huge surge of
packages hitting the mirrors.  There are many tools to create your own
Packages.gz indices from piles of .debs (dpkg-scanpackages is one, also see

   That said, Debian/stable, Debian/testing, and Debian/unstable don't
generally mean that a particular release is stable or unstable.  There are
times when the Debian/unstable is in fact very unstable, but if you track
unstable with a sacrificial machine, and only update your main desktop on
days when no disaster has occured, you can have a fairly current and very
stable desktop.  The normal cause of instability is, as usual, overeager
system administrators.  :)

   If Debian/stable's multi-year development time is too slow, you're ready
for at least testing, and probably unstable.  A new release every day.

   Note that Debian does continue making new point releases of the stable
distribution every few months (new CD images), and has a separate site to release updated packages immediately.
Bug fixes are backported rather than packages being updated, which almost
always prevents version-skew/config file problems.
   If you want a few newer packages on a Debian/stable base, there are a few
large third party sites that provide just this.  The search term you're
loooking for is "Debian backport".

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