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Re: [vox] A Criticism of Debian Testing
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Re: [vox] A Criticism of Debian Testing

on Tue, Nov 22, 2005 at 09:01:37AM -0800, Bob Scofield (scofield@omsoft.com) wrote:
> I realize that criticisms of Debian are unusual, but what the heck.
> One of the greatest reasons to use Debian is claimed to be its great package 
> management system.  I agree with this.  And at my relatively low level of 
> computer expertise I have to say that Apt is what I like best about Debian 
> (aside from its Social Contract).
> It seems that the greatest benefit of Apt comes in Debian's testing version.  
> That's because things like Open Office, Firefox, KDE, etc. are continually 
> being updated.  And unlike the case with the stable version, this updating 
> never stops.

That's the good news _and_ the bad news.
> But there is a big downside for this otherwise wonderful updating in
> testing.  It is the fact that some of my favorite applications get
> removed in the upgrading process.  Examples are K3b and Digikam.  K3b
> just disappeared when KDE was upgraded from 3.3 to 3.4.  I don't know
> when I lost Digikam, but I assume it went during the KDE upgrade.

There are a few things you can do about this.

One is to switch to a distro or release which doesn't update quite as
aggressively as Debian testing.  Debian stable is just that, and it's
currently pretty fresh (released this summer).  The Ubuntu / Kubuntu
distros release twice annually and remain static between releases.  This
may also suit you.

Alternatively, you can use Debian's vaunted packaging system to keep
packages from being updated (with some caveats) by way of 'holds' placed
on packages.

For some useful docs, see:


    The Debian Reference

    The Debian GNU/Linux FAQ

    Installing Debian Software with the Advanced Package Tool

> Digikam, and I believe K3b also, are available for both the stable and 
> unstable versions, but not testing.  

You may also want to investigate "pinning".  This allows you to specify
multiple Debian sources, but draw principally from one.  Mixing testing
and unstable generally works well.  Mixing _stable_ with either testing
or unstable is *NOT* recommended.

> I assume that these programs will move from unstable to testing, but
> it is irritating to say the least to see these programs simply
> disappear from one's computer.

Quite.  In theory, the packaging system is protecting you from itself.
It also _did_ tell you it would be removing these packages.  Read your


Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>        http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
 What Part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?
  Good thing the users aren't developing Galeon, or it'd be a huge, disgusting
  pile of garbage. Hell, even Internet Explorer would be an improvement.
  - Adam Hooper, explaining the tradition of user involvement in GNOME

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