Thoughts on The Road to Debian Lenny

January 20, 2008

It seems that I wasn’t the only one complaining about Ubuntu’s specific bugs. But the road to Debian Lenny is not that rosy too.

Although Debian Lenny get fairly new and stable packages it suffers from incoherence in the way packages are pushed into Debian repositories. I’ll explain :

It seems Debian Lenny Packages are released under the policy “if it’s fairly stable then push into the repositories.” In theory, this sounds good but in practice it’s not. Let’s say that Gnome 2.20 is released today, and after 2 months from today it will become approved to show up in Debian Lenny repository. However, instead of pushing all Gnome 2.20 packages and the ones that depend on it in one shot, these packages get released gradually which will make your system having a mixture of the old Gnome packages (2.18) and the new ones (2.20) thus causing some of your installed softwares not to work or crash because some packages (the ones they depend on) are not yet released.

I have taken some time to try to figure out what to do in this case. Well, I think I have found a way :

It’s creating my own local Debian Repository. The concept is to move to Debian Sid (experimental = the most recently introduced packages with some risks involved) instead of Debian Lenny (Testing = fairly new, but may suffer from incoherence).

Then create a snapshot of the entire Debian Sid Repository. This will allow me to install any package later on without having to resolve any dependency issues. Then use it for 3 months or so, then re-snapshot it again and start using the latest and greatest things in the Free andOpen Source software world.

This is my plan for now, although I’m still evaluating other alternatives Like Sidux and Mint Linux. Probably CentOS and Fedora Core are the next interesting thing to use.


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