Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 27th Dec 2007 22:41 UTC, submitted by Patrik Buckau
Debian and its clones "The Debian project is pleased to announce the second update of its stable distribution Debian GNU/Linux 4.0. This update mainly adds corrections for security problems to the stable release, along with a few adjustment to serious problems. Please note that this update does not constitute a new version of Debian GNU/Linux 4.0 but only updates some of the packages included. There is no need to throw away 4.0 CDs or DVDs but only to update against after an installation, in order to incorporate those late changes. Those who frequently install updates from won't have to update many packages and most updates from are included in this update."
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What "unstable" means recently is that a lot of the packages in the unstable tree have dependency problems. This means that building a complete system from scratch using the unstable tree using 'debootstrap' is possible some days and not possible other days. Usually, a minimal CLI system (100M-150M) can be built almost every day, but a complete X Windows system will often have some packages fail to install, particularly Gnome or KDE. Sometimes the packages can be 'forced' to install by using dpkg to install a prerequisite package and then 'apt get install -f' to "fix" the installation, this occurs when the package maintainers have not properly listed the dependencies for a package well enough for 'apt-get' to do its job, and the maintainers only tested the ability to upgrade from a "release" system and not from a "from scratch" debootstrap system.

For example, currently an IceWM unstable system built using all the latest components will hang on hitting CTRL-ALT-DEL, because IceWM does not work properly with all the other updated packages.

The only way to get the latest components to even be able to test them is adding them to a debootstrap-ed system ("apt-get install xorg"), since upgrading an older install (even of unstable) complains of "broken packages" and has for almost one year now.

With all this said, I have always run an "unstable" system for years now, updated daily, and the value of things with fixes/enhancements far exceeds the very occasional breakage. I did learn when upgrading a critical application, to first try an apt-get upgrade on an unimportant test machine.

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