Sunday, 16 June 2013

Debian Sid, advantages and disadvantages.

I've used linux for seven years. When I realised this the other day, I was kind of staggered. I had a blip where I used windows 7, then 8 (less than legally of course). To list the number of distributions would probably cause my brain to implode, but a small number would include, Ubuntu, Mint, Fedora, Mepis, Antix, Crunchbang, PClinuxOS, DSL, gOS, and Debian.

When I first used Debian, I was unimpressed, the site was ugly, difficult to navigate, and I had no idea which iso to download. When I finally managed to get it installed my proprietary drivers wouldn't work, and google searches led me to incomprehensible instructions that required me to edit config files.
I was glad to use Ubuntu after that, and have everything easy to use. This would have been around 2007.

Of course I now know how to do all this stuff, my years of linux use have educated me. I may not know how to set up a webserver (yet) but I can set debian up without much issue. Recently of course, wheezy was released, perhaps the best and easiest to use version of Debian ever (Gnome3 not withstanding). It was this release that has led me to decide that the only distro I will ever need is debian, and all others be damned. But, its one thing USING debian, but what about CONTRIBUTING?

One day I decided to upgrade to testing, basically, I like the idea of a rolling release, I want to settle, relax and uninstall unetbootin. Testing would allow that, a quick remastersys every few months and I'd be fine. But I wanted to help out a bit, reading the forums people kept talking about "filing bug reports" and I wanted a bit of that. So I upgraded to Sid, crazy as it was. But I've been using it a few days, and perhaps filed 6 or 7 bug reports already.

Finally I'M DOING SOMETHING!!

So, whats good, and whats bad about Sid?

[Firstly, if you're reading this on any day after June 16th 2013, this review is out of date, read it for pleasure, not for any sort of review of sid. Thats how quickly it moves.]

 Sid, is bleeding edge, not as bleeding edge as Arch, or even Ubuntu, but for Debian it is bleeding edge. Its not as unstable as it's given credit for, its perfectly usable, you can get on facebook, you can watch youtube videos, listen to music. Everything you can do on Wheezy or Jessie, you can do on Sid.

I lost the control of my brightness fn keys every time I hibernated, I filed a bug report, got an email back within an hour of assistance from one of the developers, he said "Its the kernel" and so I downgraded my kernel. But now they're aware of the problem, and can fix it. So I will try again in a week. This is no shoddy operation.

Sid is quicker than wheezy, not much (nor does it need to be) but it is slightly nippier. I run it with XFCE on a computer than flies with Gnome3, XFCE has come a long way since I first started using it - okay - its exactly the same (and thats a good thing, its definitely superior to previous versions - more polished). Needless to say, I love my sid computer. There is a constant risk that my computer will explode, but like my first issues with debian, they're all solvable by just a pinch of knowledge. Truly sid is no worse than any other release of debian. Its just..in the frontiers of linux. The good? Its bleeding edge, educating you as you go, the bad? if you know too much about one thing (such as updating your sources.list) and not enough about another (maintaining your system) then things could -potentially- go bad. Also, things can change quite quickly with an update. But as you will see via google search, people have run sid for years, and had no issues.

Try it, but don't invest too much in it if it breaks. But its about as likely to break as Ubuntu ;)

Try, try, try again!

pre-requisites:

reportbug
apt-listbugs
apt-listchanges

get these if you install sid, or testing, it'll make things a bit easier for you, and help the developers to find the problem and make changes to the package if anything breaks. Issues can be dealt with in a day or two - that's how quick sid is!


 I can't really give sid a number out of ten, because its never the same, wheezy in a year will be largely the same as it is now, sid on the other hand, will be completely different.

it isn't recommended for newbies, but for the more advanced, its a fantastic learning tool!


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