Debian Unstable vs. Ubuntu

Discussion in 'all things UNIX' started by tlu, Nov 5, 2009.

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  1. tlu

    tlu Guest

    While I've been mostly happy with Kubuntu through all the years I've been using it (although the new Karmic still has some glitches which will, hopefully, be repaired within a short time) I'm considering switching to a rolling release distro. Since I'm used to APT I prefer to stay within the Debian family.

    Sidux is a rolling release but their warning against using a GUI for package management deters me - I'm probably too comfort-loving, sorry.

    What about Debian Unstable? I've never tried it. How does it compare to Ubuntu? Which disadvantages would I get? What are your experiences?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 6, 2009
  2. Beavenburt

    Beavenburt Registered Member

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    The clue is in the name really - unstable. Rolling releases with bleeding / cutting edge software are great until they break, and they will break eventually. It's a case of when rather than if.
    I recently tried sidux which I thought was a brilliant vanilla and lightening quick KDE distro. Loved it in fact, then I apt-get upgrade'd and pow no X. I really can't be arse'd fighting with a distro so wiped it immediately. If sidux can't tame it then you've got no chance with pure sid.
    Arch is much the same. You cross your fingers with every update. I recently declared my undying love for Arch. I was wrong, it breaks too much and I no longer have the time to try and fix things when they break.
    Stick with kubuntu or go for a non deb distro. Opensuse 11.2 is imminent and looks very exciting. It's a kde / qt distro aswell.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2009
  3. lodore

    lodore Registered Member

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    Why not try Debian testing?

    as long as all the repo lines are setup properly it will always stay on the testing branch which is newer than stable and less likely to break than unstable.
     
  4. NGRhodes

    NGRhodes Registered Member

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    Sidux is based on Debian unstable, which is called Sid.
    Sidux tries to add additional packages and tools to help stablise Sid.
    If you are wary of using Sidux, I would be equally wary of using Sid as well.

    Straight after a release Debian testing IS a snapshot of unstable and therefore unstable and takes time before it stabilised (a good few months in my experience to be useful as a day to day machine), then some time in the year later it get frozen for the next big release and in particular desktop apps become old (compared to Ubuntu). Its this fluctuation between unstable and stale that made me prefer Ubuntu's steady release cycle for desktop usage.
    Excluding the initial instability of testing after each release I found it about similar stability to Ubuntu (which in my experience has generally been good on my hardware).
     
  5. rdsu

    rdsu Registered Member

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    tlu,

    sidux doesn't have a good package management, but I think you will never have one on sid...

    You can dist-upgrade one time per month, and update your programs when needed...
    It will not take you much time, as this is the way I do...
     
  6. tlu

    tlu Guest

    Thanks, guys, for your responses :thumb: They confirmed my decision to stick with Kubuntu (although it isn't trouble-free, either).
     
  7. andb

    andb Registered Member

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    I use archlinux on one machine and i love the rolling release approach, and it doesn't hurt that you can build it how you like either.

    But to be honest it does break sometimes, actually it happen quite a bit in the last month.

    If i were you i would either stay with kubuntu (not really, i think it's really bad but since you are used to it) or i would go with openSUSE. I wouldn't use debian testing since it's just to slow with software updates.
     
  8. pcalvert

    pcalvert Registered Member

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    Your statement doesn't make much sense. Please explain what you mean.

    Phil
     
  9. rdsu

    rdsu Registered Member

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    - sidux have a great software package management, but doesn't have a great GUI for that...
    - Since sidux is based on debian sid, this "issue" will never change.

    Better now? ;)
     
  10. pcalvert

    pcalvert Registered Member

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    It's a good choice. Many desktop/workstation users of Debian use Debian testing. I would use the codename and not "testing" in the sources.list file, though. That way one has more control over upgrading. For example, if I were using Debian testing I'd probably wait for six months or so after a new version of Debian stable is released before editing sources.list and changing to the new codename for testing.

    Phil
     
  11. pcalvert

    pcalvert Registered Member

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    Yes, I understand now. However, there is a problem-- it's not true. If you want a package manager with a GUI you can install Synaptic.

    Phil
     
  12. NGRhodes

    NGRhodes Registered Member

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    You will find Synaptic is not supported in Sidux.
    http://manual.sidux.com/en/sys-admin-apt-en.htm#apt-cook


    Cheers Nick.
     
  13. tlu

    tlu Guest

    @Nick: Yes, that's exactly what I was talking about in the first post. Although I must admit that I understand that using, e.g., Synaptic for a dist-upgrade can be problematic but I'm not quite sure why a normal upgrade can cause problems.
     
  14. NGRhodes

    NGRhodes Registered Member

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    from apt-get man page:

     
  15. tlu

    tlu Guest

    I meant that I understand that a dist-upgrade init 5, and/or, in X can cause trouble - but a normal upgrade?
     
  16. pcalvert

    pcalvert Registered Member

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    Yes, I already knew that. "Unsupported" doesn't mean that it won't work, it means that if you use Synaptic with sidux and have any problems or questions relating to it, they won't help you. For major upgrades, especially those involving X11, their advice to drop out of X and use apt-get is good. It may not be absolutely essential, but it's a good precaution.

    If you want to know the truth about using Synaptic with Debian Sid, it's best to ask people who are actually using it. No need to do that, though, because I already did it:

    http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=46909

    Phil
     
  17. rdsu

    rdsu Registered Member

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    What truth!?
     
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