Debian testing - where do I get it?

Felix Karpfen felixk at
Fri Mar 21 08:41:25 EST 2003

Simon Fowler wrote:
> > 
> Testing is a lot less extreme, in my experience, and you can generally
> get away with following a lot less closely: updating once a week or
> even less should be fine, unless you happen to be looking at a really
> major change like the recent move to gcc-3.2. 
> For Felix's needs, testing is probably almost ideal - you get all the
> benefits of Debian, the up-to-dateness of the other distros, and
> keeping up with the updates shouldn't be too hard on the bandwidth. 

My thanks to all who took the time to share their experiences with me.

Maybe, I should have been less cryptic.

While my basic setup is RH 7.1, most of the packages that I use
routinely are reasonably up-to-date.  And I keep them up-to-date by
patching, configuring, compiling and installing the source codes.  This
works well most of the time.  I failed (and wasted a lot of time) when I
attempted to install the latest version of ghostscript. The install went
without problems, but the updated program could not find where RH had
put the fonts - and my attempts to make it look in the right places
failed miserably.  This left a bad taste in my mouth and made me give
serious consideration to Debian which (reportedly) is less cavalier
about where it puts its packages.

However, as always appears to be the case, what you gain on the
roundabouts, you lose on the swings.  The only parts of my setup that I
do not attempt to upgrade are the kernel and XFree4.x - these have to
wait for a new "clean install" - which I do (very reluctantly) about
once a year.  I have given away KDE and never used Gnome, so I lose no
sleep over being unable to use the latest versions of these programs.
My preferred browser is Opera (latest download - using supplied static
libraries - 5.8Mb). I have no ambitions to run a Server or have my own
web page, but I do rely on my compiler being able to compile updated
source codes.

If I have understood the story correctly, Debian stable has an older
kernel than RH 7.1 and the upgrade to Debian testing has to be done by
the Debian user.  Even if I were successful in downloading the latest
kernel that works with Debian (stable or testing), I am reluctant to
experiment with kernel upgrades.  To me it has all the features of
pulling away the rug that you are standing on.

Also, I have been advised that RedHat has gone (semi)commercial and -
for ideological reasons - I ought to switch to Mandrake.  A brief look
at the Mandrake install indicates that the install is within my current
abilities.  Which leaves the question - do I settle for Mandrake 9.0
(currently offered at bargain prices) or do I wait for the release of
Mandrake 9.1 final.  For me, this boils down to the difference between
kernel 2.4.19 and kernel 2.4.21 (hopefully out of the pre-stage) and the
benefits of XFree 4.3 (hopefully out of beta) over XFree4.2.1. My
instinct is that I will not notice the difference for the sorts of
things that I do in Linux.  Given that I will live with my choice for 12
months or more, I would like to get it right first time round.

Felix Karpfen 

Felix Karpfen
felixk at
Public Key 72FDF9DF (DH/DSA)

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