A suggestion - Debian

This is a discussion on A suggestion - Debian ; On Tue, Apr 01, 2008 at 03:16:48PM +0200, Andrea Bolognani wrote: > On Tue, 1 Apr 2008 00:38:36 -0300 > Joel Franco wrote: > > > I think that the testing or above releases may be suitable for the > ...

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Thread: A suggestion

  1. Re: A suggestion

    On Tue, Apr 01, 2008 at 03:16:48PM +0200, Andrea Bolognani wrote:
    > On Tue, 1 Apr 2008 00:38:36 -0300
    > Joel Franco wrote:
    >
    > > I think that the testing or above releases may be suitable for the
    > > desktop of a EXPERT linux user. I need a stable release because my
    > > desktop must simply to work; it is not a so critical system like a
    > > server but this is critical to my business go on.

    >
    > >From my experience, testing is perfectly suitable for a desktop/development

    > system. I have used it exclusively on both my desktop and my laptop for a
    > couple of years now, and I have experienced only a couple of minor issues
    > so far.
    >
    > The main difference between a desktop and a server is that usually on a
    > server you can't afford any downtime, while on a desktop system you can
    > screw up and reinstall every once in a while if needed...


    Unfortunately, many people new to Debian/Linux get the impression that
    testing is perfectly suitable for a desktop system.

    --
    Chris.
    ======


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  2. Re: A suggestion

    Am Mittwoch 02 April 2008 schrieb Chris Bannister:
    > On Tue, Apr 01, 2008 at 03:16:48PM +0200, Andrea Bolognani wrote:
    > > On Tue, 1 Apr 2008 00:38:36 -0300
    > >
    > > Joel Franco wrote:
    > > > I think that the testing or above releases may be suitable for the
    > > > desktop of a EXPERT linux user. I need a stable release because my
    > > > desktop must simply to work; it is not a so critical system like a
    > > > server but this is critical to my business go on.
    > > >
    > > >From my experience, testing is perfectly suitable for a
    > > > desktop/development

    > >
    > > system. I have used it exclusively on both my desktop and my laptop for a
    > > couple of years now, and I have experienced only a couple of minor issues
    > > so far.
    > >
    > > The main difference between a desktop and a server is that usually on a
    > > server you can't afford any downtime, while on a desktop system you can
    > > screw up and reinstall every once in a while if needed...

    >
    > Unfortunately, many people new to Debian/Linux get the impression that
    > testing is perfectly suitable for a desktop system.


    It really depends on the person(s) using that desktop. But your wording
    is "black or white" anyway (see: perfectly).

    HS


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  3. Re: A suggestion

    Le Thu, Apr 03, 2008 at 01:44:56AM +1300, Chris Bannister a écrit :
    >
    > Unfortunately, many people new to Debian/Linux get the impression that
    > testing is perfectly suitable for a desktop system.


    Maybe because they have read Debian's website?

    "things should not break as badly as in unstable or experimental
    distributions"
    http://www.debian.org/releases/testing/index.en.html

    "The unstable distribution is where active development of Debian
    occurs. Generally, this distribution is run by developers"
    http://www.debian.org/releases/index.en.html

    There is nothing in these pages that warns against the use of Testing on
    a desktop system, except of course that Debian "primarily recommends
    using" Etch.

    There are three alternative options for escaping Etch's bugs (for
    instance white-on-white selections in Evince):

    - Backporting some packages by hand, but this requires skill.
    - Using backports.org, but it is unofficial.
    - Using Testing or Sid.

    If Debian wants to issue stronger warnings for those using Testing on
    the desktop, maybe mentionning that it is also a development tool and it
    is not inteded for normal use would do the job…

    Have a nice day,

    --
    Charles Plessy
    http://charles.plessy.org
    Wakō, Saitama, Japan


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  4. Re: A suggestion

    > It is not just people new to Debian/Linux who get that
    > impression. I think testing is perfectly fine for a desktop system.


    Totally I agree. Testing is fine for a personal Desktop machine.


    > > If Debian wants to issue stronger warnings for those using Testing on
    > > the desktop, maybe mentionning that it is also a development tool and
    > > it is not inteded for normal use would do the job

    >
    > Well, I guess we could, but then I think we would also be
    > unnecessarily alarmist.


    I agree too. I have been using Debian Testing how my desktop system
    for a long time (years) without any real problems (in my job and
    house).

    I think Testing is enough for a Linux user with intermediate level (or less).

    Regards.

    --
    Anibal Avelar (FixXxeR) http://fixxxer.cc
    GPG: 83B64656 - C143 4AD8 B017 53FA B742 D6AA CEEA F9F3 83B6 4656

  5. Re: A suggestion

    Hi,

    On Thursday 03 April 2008 07:19, Anibal Avelar wrote:
    > Totally I agree. Testing is fine for a personal Desktop machine.


    I disagree.

    It's fine for some persons desktops, yes.

    But it is neither "feature"-supported nor security supported, if users have
    problems they'll get "use stable if you cant deal with problems" responses.
    Testing may also broken for an undefined time (because it is a tool for
    developments and transitions might well be more important than fixing this or
    that bug). And there are more reasons why testing is called testing.

    So, IMO, testing is fine for a personal developers desktop. But not in
    general.


    regards,
    Holger

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  6. Re: A suggestion

    On Thu, Apr 3, 2008 at 4:57 PM, Holger Levsen wrote:

    > But it is ... nor security supported


    Correction, it is supported by the testing security team, and rather well IMO.

    --
    bye,
    pabs

    http://wiki.debian.org/PaulWise


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  7. Re: A suggestion

    On Thu, 3 Apr 2008 09:57:31 +0100
    Holger Levsen wrote:

    > Hi,
    >
    > On Thursday 03 April 2008 07:19, Anibal Avelar wrote:
    > > Totally I agree. Testing is fine for a personal Desktop machine.

    >
    > I disagree.
    >
    > It's fine for some persons desktops, yes.
    >
    > But it is neither "feature"-supported nor security supported, if users have
    > problems they'll get "use stable if you cant deal with problems" responses.
    > Testing may also broken for an undefined time (because it is a tool for
    > developments and transitions might well be more important than fixing this or
    > that bug). And there are more reasons why testing is called testing.
    >
    > So, IMO, testing is fine for a personal developers desktop. But not in
    > general.


    And stable is not fine for a desktop in general, because it has outdated
    packages which are not what a desktop user wants.

    Testing is fine for a desktop, as long as you know you may have to deal with
    breakages from time to time. Not that it happens often, at least from my
    experience.

    --
    KiyuKo
    Resistance is futile, you will be garbage collected.

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  8. Re: A suggestion

    On Thu Apr 03 11:54, Andrea Bolognani wrote:
    > And stable is not fine for a desktop in general, because it has outdated
    > packages which are not what a desktop user wants.


    _you_ may want more up to date packages, but a lot of people are
    entirely happy with etch on their desktop. For example, both me and my
    mother.

    I'd also go as far to say that most corporate Linux desktops, to pick
    another example, would welcome the lack of change for 18 months.

    > Testing is fine for a desktop, as long as you know you may have to deal with
    > breakages from time to time. Not that it happens often, at least from my
    > experience.


    Many people don't want breakage. Linux hobbiests may want the constant
    latest version, and they can cope with testing (or, often, run ubuntu or
    gentoo for that reason), but most computer users would rather things
    _didn't_ change regularly, and those people are also our target
    audience.

    Matt

    --
    Matthew Johnson

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  9. Re: A suggestion


    [Holger Levsen]
    > But it is neither "feature"-supported nor security supported,


    The testing security team is actually doing a very good job at
    supporting testing, so this is not completely accurate.

    Happy hacking,
    --
    Petter Reinholdtsen


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  10. Re: A suggestion


    On Tue, 2008-04-01 at 15:16 +0200, Andrea Bolognani wrote:
    > On Tue, 1 Apr 2008 00:38:36 -0300
    > Joel Franco wrote:
    >
    > > I think that the testing or above releases may be suitable for the
    > > desktop of a EXPERT linux user. I need a stable release because my
    > > desktop must simply to work; it is not a so critical system like a
    > > server but this is critical to my business go on.

    >
    > >From my experience, testing is perfectly suitable for a desktop/development

    > system.


    Humm...

    > "testing is perfectly suitable for a development system"


    Yes, we agree.
    
    > "testing is perfectly suitable for a desktop systems"


    If you mean "perfectly suitable for desktop of end users", I totally disagree.

    New Critical/Grave/Serious bugs are fount in DebianTesting every day,
    see RC bugs ! That's the purpose of Testing !

    It would be interesting to compare how many serious+ bugs were opened
    in stable and testing over a year (since comparing currently opened bugs
    isn't meaningful. Reliability is computed over elapsed time).

    - A true end-user should not be assumed to be able to resume from
    those bugs.
    - A true end-user wants to spend its time *using* it's system,
    not fixing it.
    Having the latest Firefox, OpenOffice, etc isn't so important to true
    end-user. Having a Firefox and OpenOffice that never crash and has no
    serious bugs IS important to true end users.

    > The main difference between a desktop and a server is that usually on a
    > server you can't afford any downtime,


    I agree.

    > while on a desktop system you can screw up and reinstall every once in a while if needed...


    True end-users should never, ever have to reinstall their system because
    something went wrong. (Ask your sister or ask any random woman, ask any
    random guy, ask your dog how he felt when he last had to reinstall he's
    system[1] .

    Franklin


    [1] Remember, end users don't make backup BTW, couldn't we install a
    backup solution, with a GUI, in Desktop task ? with monthly reminder, of
    course


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  11. Re: A suggestion

    On Thu April 3 2008 03:03:51 Matthew Johnson wrote:
    > On Thu Apr 03 11:54, Andrea Bolognani wrote:
    > > And stable is not fine for a desktop in general, because it has outdated
    > > packages which are not what a desktop user wants.

    >
    > _you_ may want more up to date packages, but a lot of people are
    > entirely happy with etch on their desktop. For example, both me and my
    > mother.
    >
    > I'd also go as far to say that most corporate Linux desktops, to pick
    > another example, would welcome the lack of change for 18 months.


    Stable is a poor solution for desktops because it doesn't support
    recent hardware. For a long time now we've had to run Testing
    mixed with the Unstable versions of xserver-xorg.*, nvidia.*, and
    linux-image.* in order to support recent video and audio chips.

    The huge volume of Testing updates, the occasional update failures,
    and packages which go missing for months on end mean that this has
    not been a pleasant experience.

    OTOH, Ubuntu has excellent release cycles but only limited support
    for "Universe".

    We're currently using Debian while we pray for a fully-supported
    distro which can support recent hardware in a stable manner but
    the pain is real and we may have to switch desktops back to Ubuntu.

    --Mike Bird


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  12. Re: A suggestion

    On Thu, Apr 03, 2008 at 11:03:51AM +0100, Matthew Johnson wrote:
    > _you_ may want more up to date packages, but a lot of people are
    > entirely happy with etch on their desktop. For example, both me and my
    > mother.
    >
    > I'd also go as far to say that most corporate Linux desktops, to pick
    > another example, would welcome the lack of change for 18 months.


    Given how much uproar there is about Microsoft's desire to retire
    Windows XP while many people would rather stick with it that go to
    Vista, perhaps the idea that everyone wants the latest and greatest is
    no longer true.

    > Many people don't want breakage. Linux hobbiests may want the constant
    > latest version, and they can cope with testing (or, often, run ubuntu or
    > gentoo for that reason), but most computer users would rather things
    > _didn't_ change regularly, and those people are also our target
    > audience.


    I run unstable on my home machines, and stable on my work machines. At
    work I am trying to get things done, not play with my software. At home
    is different. I don't need to spend 4 hours figuring out why X no
    longer works after an upgrade at work. At home I don't mind (although
    unstable rarely breaks stuff).

    --
    Len Sorensen


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  13. Re: A suggestion

    On Thu, Apr 03, 2008 at 10:55:40AM -0400, Lennart Sorensen wrote:
    > I run unstable on my home machines, and stable on my work machines. At
    > work I am trying to get things done, not play with my software. At home
    > is different. I don't need to spend 4 hours figuring out why X no
    > longer works after an upgrade at work. At home I don't mind (although
    > unstable rarely breaks stuff).


    Strange; I run stable at home, because if I spent 4 hours figuring out
    why X no longer works, my wife would kill me (a) for breaking X, and (b)
    for wasting 4 hours. ;-)

    Cheers,
    Dave


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  14. Re: A suggestion

    On Thu, Apr 03, 2008 at 04:13:19PM +0100, Dave Holland wrote:
    > Strange; I run stable at home, because if I spent 4 hours figuring out
    > why X no longer works, my wife would kill me (a) for breaking X, and (b)
    > for wasting 4 hours. ;-)


    My wife would only be upset if I messed with her machine, or if I broke
    the mythtv box (so I only upgrade it every few weeks if everything looks
    good on mine).

    --
    Len Sorensen


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  15. Re: A suggestion

    On Thu April 3 2008 9:17:54 am Mike Bird wrote:
    > On Thu April 3 2008 03:03:51 Matthew Johnson wrote:
    > > On Thu Apr 03 11:54, Andrea Bolognani wrote:
    > > > And stable is not fine for a desktop in general, because it has
    > > > outdated packages which are not what a desktop user wants.

    > >
    > > _you_ may want more up to date packages, but a lot of people are
    > > entirely happy with etch on their desktop. For example, both me and my
    > > mother.
    > >
    > > I'd also go as far to say that most corporate Linux desktops, to pick
    > > another example, would welcome the lack of change for 18 months.

    >
    > Stable is a poor solution for desktops because it doesn't support
    > recent hardware. For a long time now we've had to run Testing
    > mixed with the Unstable versions of xserver-xorg.*, nvidia.*, and
    > linux-image.* in order to support recent video and audio chips.


    I can speak here as someone that has actually deployed Debian on the desktop
    in a corporate setting. We have somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 office
    folks running Debian, which represents the majority of our office users. We
    also have virtually 100% of the machines on our manufacturing floor (we're a
    manufacturing company that makes lawn mowers) running Debian. We also have
    a number of laptop users with Debian.

    We had trouble with SATA drivers in the kernel in etch. We are now
    installing 2.6.22 on our desktop machines, because it correctly communicates
    with the SATA controllers on all our desktops. We also had trouble with the
    old versions of OpenOffice in etch, and run the OpenOffice.Org builds of
    that instead of Debian builds.

    We have not had such trouble with video on the desktops, though I can see
    that day on the horizon. We have had trouble with video on the laptops, as
    X in etch does not support current Intel chipsets. We had to resort to the
    same tactic you did: X from lenny.

    We avoid the procurement of video hardware that requires fglrx or nvidia
    drivers for our general desktop users.

    That said, the overall stability of etch is a Good Thing, and something we
    welcome. I have shied away from testing for some time for just the reasons
    you enumerate. However, it is getting harder and harder to do so.
    Evolution, OpenOffice, and Evince in etch are highly buggy, and we run
    non-Debian builds or backports of Evolution and OOo already.

    We have not investigated anything other than Debian yet.

    I would suggest at least one thing: that the current stable policy makes no
    sense when it comes to hardware drivers. We should push new kernels, X, and
    associated hardware drivers such as madwifi, foomatic, etc. into stable on a
    routine basis. Otherwise, you have a situation where stable simply does not
    fully run (or even install) on a wide range of modern hardware.

    This wouldn't solve our OpenOffice or Evince problems, but then again solving
    those involves a much more invasive update to Gnome. Madwifi, foomatic,
    fglrx, Xorg, and the kernel are pretty much standalone pieces that don't
    make me all that nervous.

    -- John


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  16. Re: A suggestion

    On Thu April 3 2008 9:55:40 am Lennart Sorensen wrote:
    > On Thu, Apr 03, 2008 at 11:03:51AM +0100, Matthew Johnson wrote:
    > > _you_ may want more up to date packages, but a lot of people are
    > > entirely happy with etch on their desktop. For example, both me and my
    > > mother.
    > >
    > > I'd also go as far to say that most corporate Linux desktops, to pick
    > > another example, would welcome the lack of change for 18 months.

    >
    > Given how much uproar there is about Microsoft's desire to retire
    > Windows XP while many people would rather stick with it that go to
    > Vista, perhaps the idea that everyone wants the latest and greatest is
    > no longer true.


    I want the latest and greatest driver support. That's where the analogy
    breaks down, since XP still supports latest hardware, but etch doesn't.

    (Note that "Support" for XP may not mean "supports out of the box", but
    that "drivers are available")

    The rest of your point is valid for a corporate desktop system. I give our
    users etch, although my workstation runs unstable.

    -- John


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  17. Re: A suggestion

    On 2008-04-03, Mike Bird wrote:
    > On Thu April 3 2008 03:03:51 Matthew Johnson wrote:
    >> On Thu Apr 03 11:54, Andrea Bolognani wrote:
    >> > And stable is not fine for a desktop in general, because it has outdated
    >> > packages which are not what a desktop user wants.

    >>
    >> _you_ may want more up to date packages, but a lot of people are
    >> entirely happy with etch on their desktop. For example, both me and my
    >> mother.
    >>
    >> I'd also go as far to say that most corporate Linux desktops, to pick
    >> another example, would welcome the lack of change for 18 months.

    >
    > Stable is a poor solution for desktops because it doesn't support
    > recent hardware. For a long time now we've had to run Testing
    > mixed with the Unstable versions of xserver-xorg.*, nvidia.*, and
    > linux-image.* in order to support recent video and audio chips.


    http://wiki.debian.org/EtchAndAHalf will solve that soon.

    Cheers,
    Moritz


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  18. Re: A suggestion

    On Thu April 3 2008 14:38:14 Moritz Muehlenhoff wrote:
    > On 2008-04-03, Mike Bird wrote:
    > > Stable is a poor solution for desktops because it doesn't support
    > > recent hardware. For a long time now we've had to run Testing
    > > mixed with the Unstable versions of xserver-xorg.*, nvidia.*, and
    > > linux-image.* in order to support recent video and audio chips.

    >
    > http://wiki.debian.org/EtchAndAHalf will solve that soon.


    Now that linux-image 2.6.24 has migrated from sid to lenny and will
    be included in EtchAndAHalf that helps a lot. There's also a need
    for sid's xserver-xorg.* 7.3 which has not yet made it to lenny,
    and IIRC also the nvidia.* from sid.

    --Mike Bird


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  19. Re: A suggestion

    Le Thu, Apr 03, 2008 at 10:55:40AM -0400, Lennart Sorensen a écrit :
    >
    > Given how much uproar there is about Microsoft's desire to retire
    > Windows XP while many people would rather stick with it that go to
    > Vista, perhaps the idea that everyone wants the latest and greatest is
    > no longer true.


    Hi Lennart,

    I think that the way people use XP looks more like "Stable + Backports"
    that just "Stable".

    As for the purpose of Testing, in the end the answer is probably in the
    hands of those :
    - who invented it;
    - who control its content.

    On this list we can read opposite opinions of individual developpers,
    so maybe the persons who feel "in charge" of Testing (probably the
    release team, the FTP team, and the testing security team) can clarify
    on the list and/or on the website if they think it is needed.

    This said, the best answer to the question, "Is Testing suitable for the
    Desktop", will probably come by the next innovations to come from
    Debian, be it the officialisation of backports, the adoption of Joey
    Hess' CUT (Constantly Usable Testing) concept, and/or the
    Stable-and-a-half releases.

    Have a nice day,

    --
    Charles Plessy
    http://charles.plessy.org
    Wakō, Saitama, Japan


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  20. Re: A suggestion

    Hi,

    On Friday 04 April 2008 00:35, Mike Bird wrote:
    > for sid's xserver-xorg.* 7.3 which has not yet made it to lenny,


    http://layer-acht.org/debian/xorg-etch-backports/


    regards,
    Holger

    P.S.: If you wonder why there are no backports on bpo, please provide them.

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