Hi, Terry. Nice to meet you here at discourse. Glad you liked my idea of getting Rocco on the other side of the interview “desk”. I know you’re posting about Debian Testing here, and I use Debian Stable for my daily driver. But I experiment with dozens of distros, and both Testing and Unstable/SID are among them, so I’ll comment on your post here, ok? Hmm, if you say “no”, I’ll have to delete this, won’t I?
I’ve been fascinated with rolling releases since I learned of them. I was going to post a general comment about them in the rolling release topic, but your letter is as good a place to do that, and so let me first say I think when we all talk about whether we prefer rolling releases or point/static/whatever you call them releases, we should really break rolling down into it’s two main (?) components. There are the rolling releases which are essentially not made for the desktop, like debian SID (despite MANY using it on the desktop anyway, of course), and fedora rawhide, and then there are the rollers which want to be daily drivers for the desktop, such as arch, and opensuse tumbleweed.
Before I go further, I’m pretty sure from your experience that you use these tools, but for anyone reading who wants to run debian testing or unstable, please look into learning and installing the apt-list suite of tools. That will alert you, whenever you are upgrading, to any bugs, rank them as to how critical they are, and give you the options to skip upgrading, upgrade anyway, or pin the in question packages and upgrade the parts of the system that are not reporting bugs. As I say, I’m sure you know this, but any debian user ought to get apt-list tools.
The first time I put testing and unstable on my experimental hard drives (if you want to read my fifty million word post on that, find me in the ‘introduce yourself’ section, and get ready to fall asleep, lol), I purposely chose to install all updates no matter how critical the bug reports from the apt-list tools were. Just to see what would happen. Sure enough, I broke both systems in short order. Interestingly, testing broke way before unstable did, but as you know, the debian definitions of stable, unstable, and testing are kind of funky, to say the least. Anyway, just this weekend I’m reinstalling testing and unstable, but with the plan to hold all packages (I prefer using apt-mark hold rather than pinning packages, but as Nate likes to say, that’s just me) that report any but the least critical errors, to see how long I can maintain a running system in both environments. Of course my stable never crashes, unless I do something stupid, which Rocco will tell you is about once a week or more. I can frag a system for the stupidest reasons. One day, ask me about .xsession-errors. NIGHTMARE!
Keep me updated, or rather, keep us updated here, please, on how stable your testing system is, will you do? And I’ll let you know when, er, if I break my own experiments in testing and unstable, as well.
Just by the way, I was telling a debian friend who makes his own spins about the abortive Debian Cut project from about 2011 or maybe it was 2012. You can google it, and find pages about it. But just quickly for the general audience, since debian’s testing and unstable are the sort of rolling (sort of sort of rolling) releases meant for developers more than users, there was a plan to create a debian version in between stable and testing, called Debian CUT (Constantly Usable Testing) which was going to be a kinda sorta curated rolling release, maybe along the lines of what Manjaro does for Arch, or perhaps a bit more like Tumbleweed, which would have had bleeding edge stuff, but not buggy broken stuff so much. That’s what I’d like, but the project never got off the ground, obviously. We find something a LITTLE like than in the wonderful MX linux, where the kernel and some packages (like firefox, for example) are much more recent than the usual debian stable upon which MX is essentially based. So while CUT never came to pass (I still wish someone would revive it, it’s way above MY pay grade), MX is a pretty close way to get where they were going. Okay.