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XFree86 4.3.0 in Debian Unstable

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the hurray dept.

Debian 79

Anonymous Coward writes "XFree86 4.3.0 has finally made it into Debian unstable. See the announcement." Note that Direct Rendering is broken (there's already a bug filed, and I'm experiencing the same problem - looks like something small and stupid, affecting everyone), so don't dist-upgrade just yet.

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This is fantastic (5, Funny)

klupo (515382) | more than 10 years ago | (#8325519)

Well that's great I just finished gettting my 2.2 kernel working and now this

Re:This is fantastic (0, Informative)

DShard (159067) | more than 10 years ago | (#8325538)

and just how many options does make-kpkg need anyway?

Good old debian (5, Funny)

kinnell (607819) | more than 10 years ago | (#8325550)

This highlights one of the great advantages of debian - by the time they're ready to upgrade to version 4.4, all this licensing fiasco will be gone and forgotten.

Been using Xfree DRI for a couple of months... (2, Interesting)

Dh2000 (71834) | more than 10 years ago | (#8325551)

On my debian laptop... Debs and instructions can be found here [sourceforge.net] .

Re:Been using 4.3 on Debian for months... (4, Informative)

ogre57 (632144) | more than 10 years ago | (#8326633)

Specifically, Daniel Stone's backport of 4.3, since June, on a laptop.

Finding more recent but unofficial [backports.org] packages [apt-get.org] for Debian isn't any more difficult than finding ones [pbone.net] for Redhat.

Already been in Knoppix-debian! (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8325592)

IF you installed Debian via Knoppix (like I did) you will of got it already. But 4.3 is really the end of the Line thanks to the liecence crap!

Now if only they couild get KDE 3.2 in there...

MY TESTICLES CRAVE AFFECTION (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8325659)

Get to it, dirty Lunix homo!

Re:Already been in Knoppix-debian! (2, Informative)

alexpage (210348) | more than 10 years ago | (#8328240)

KDE 3.2 debs are available for both sid and woody if you want them. They're just not in the official trees yet, for good reason.

Woohoo! (5, Funny)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 10 years ago | (#8325612)

And because of XFree86's license change, Debian will now be as up to date as all the other distros. In your face, Gentoo zealots!

Re:Woohoo! (1)

Gadzinka (256729) | more than 10 years ago | (#8334032)

Now, if only there was a chance for KDE 3.2 in unstable in 2004, this would be a Year of Debian.

Re:Woohoo! (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 10 years ago | (#8334305)

I don't think it will take too long, but if you can't wait, try
deb http://rs.fuzz.nl/muesli/686/kde_head/ unstable/
in the right place.

DRI (1)

Kraken137 (15062) | more than 10 years ago | (#8325637)

Still works for me with the nvidia driver...

Re:DRI (5, Informative)

CableModemSniper (556285) | more than 10 years ago | (#8326976)

Ah yes, DRI works for you with the Nvidia driver. You know that the Nvidia driver doesn't use the DRI infrastructure right?

Re:DRI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8327686)

oh, it uses DRI. just not DRM.

Re:DRI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8327715)

I just switched from the open source nv driver to Nvidia's binary nvidia driver. I can't really tell any difference for 2-D (but I don't really use 3-D for anything) on my Geforce2 card.

Is Nvidia's driver any better than the open source one for 2-D?

Re:DRI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8327953)

I just switched from the open source nv driver to Nvidia's binary nvidia driver. I can't really tell any difference for 2-D (but I don't really use 3-D for anything) on my Geforce2 card.
You haven't used it much then. It corrupts multi-line text entry boxes in Mozilla. It doesn't allow all the refresh rates of the closed source driver. It won't initialize DVI-D. The gamma settings are washed out by default and can't be controlled in the same range as the release ones.

Re:DRI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8335970)

yeah, the lack of DVI-D support in the nv driver cause me to switch to nvidia (which works great). Haven't tried any GL stuff though.

Isn't this late? (3, Insightful)

theridersofrohan (241712) | more than 10 years ago | (#8325667)

This is not mean to be a troll, honest. But wasn't the whole purpose of Debian Unstable to be really up to date? I mean, when people complain that debian is way too far behind, debian fans are quick to point out that debian has three distros and that unstable is really quite stable and as up to date as other distros. Now, XFree86 4.3.0 was released on the 26th of February last year [xfree86.org] - Why did it take a whole year for it to be included in unstable?

Re:Isn't this late? (1)

fozzmeister (160968) | more than 10 years ago | (#8325816)

Yeh I agree, the apps tend to be quite up to date, but some things take an absolute age, I think it maybe depends on the maintainer (the X maintainer seems always at a dead stop, it took a whole year nearly for 3 -> 4 as well).

You just have to use unofficial repositries at the same time.

Re:Isn't this late? (1)

CentrX (50629) | more than 10 years ago | (#8340396)

XFree86 releases their work almost exclusively (exclusively?) for the x86 architecture. Debian, however, releases for 11 architectures, and has high standards of quality as well. It takes a lot of time to port something as huge as XFree86 to 10 other architectures, but aside from the support, doing so makes the packages much more stable in the end.

Re:Isn't this late? (2, Informative)

abrotman (323016) | more than 10 years ago | (#8325846)

The Debian XSF is a little anal retentive when it comes to the quality of the packages. That said, they do fantastic work and I wouldn't have it any other way. Much better than some of the other debian package managers who constantly have major bugs filed against thier packages. Honestly, I'm surprised they let it in without working DRI. I've been using the experimental X4.3 and have working DRI.

Re:Isn't this late? (0, Redundant)

abrotman (323016) | more than 10 years ago | (#8325892)

i should have included this URL

Debian XFS [deadbeast.net]

MOD DOWN! LINK GOES TO DISTURBING ILLEGAL PORN! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8326039)

Re:Isn't this late? (5, Informative)

twilight30 (84644) | more than 10 years ago | (#8325848)

Since you asked nicely, here's why:

Debian tests for a wider range of architectures than the rest of the Linux distros, and in fact wider than XFree86 itself does. (Branden Robinson points this out on his site - Google for 'Debian X Strike Force').

The odd architectures are more difficult to test for, but it results in a couple of benefits:

* Changes can go upstream (obviously, I'm not referring to 4.4) -- and in fact XF86 kind of expects Debian to test for them
* Debian as a whole gets a much more stable set of X packages than the others do -- unstable packages for X are at least as stable as most other distros' production versions.

Re:Isn't this late? (2, Interesting)

theridersofrohan (241712) | more than 10 years ago | (#8329388)

Debian tests for a wider range of architectures than the rest of the Linux distros, and in fact wider than XFree86 itself does. (Branden Robinson points this out on his site - Google for 'Debian X Strike Force').

The odd architectures are more difficult to test for, but it results in a couple of benefits:

* Changes can go upstream (obviously, I'm not referring to 4.4) -- and in fact XF86 kind of expects Debian to test for them
* Debian as a whole gets a much more stable set of X packages than the others do -- unstable packages for X are at least as stable as most other distros' production versions.

Ah, but I do understand this. But isn't this the whole point of *unstable*? Sure unstable gets a stable (sounds wrong already doesn't it?) XFree 4.3 package after 1 year, and even that isn't really true as apparently dri is broken. Meanwhile, lots of people are using XFree 4.3 dri on lots of other distros - certainly on less platforms than debian supports but isn't the point of unstable to be bleeding edge? It certainly doesn't seem to be.

I honestly cannot see how debian people can claim that their distro does not lag behind in current features (not that this is bad mind you - not at all. Debian stable rocks as a server, I've deployed many machines myself) pointing at unstable, when it takes a *year* to get XFree 4.3 there.

Re:Isn't this late? (3, Insightful)

hummassa (157160) | more than 10 years ago | (#8330590)

No, this is the point of *experimental*. XF4.3 is in experimental for quite some time now.

Re:Isn't this late? (1)

/dev/trash (182850) | more than 10 years ago | (#8332618)

So wait. There are FOUR distros? Stable, Testing, Unstable and now Experimental?

Re:Isn't this late? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8332804)

No, experimental is not a full distro, just a addon to unstable

Re:Isn't this late? (4, Informative)

xenocide2 (231786) | more than 10 years ago | (#8335292)

Basically. Some might tell you that experimental is closer to an add on pack that you have to jump through hoops to install. These hoops are there for a reason: a lot of people run unstable and wouldn't be happy to see some important library changed out from underneath them with only one accommodating package. Thats the kind of experimental they mean. Its suggested that first time uploads be placed in experimental if you're not sure it will actually work on a given system. Debian has several systems available to developers to test things on for basic operation.

But really, the release cycle is a dependent on a couple of things: the number of submitted bugs in a package and the number of platforms debian runs on. Seems like with every release Debian picks up more architectures. If you're running PPC or SPARC it sounds like a nice deal, but many people looking for a i386 desktop solution see the consequential slow release cycle and shudder. But I'd rather not restart X into a crash screen, so I don't try to run the experimental XFree. I've run into problems with upgrades to GNOME on unstable--moving from 1.4 to 2.x originally didn't have any migration rules so your old .gnome conf files would knock gnome out. But overall its been pretty solid, most of the developers run unstable on their desktop, enough that in the past, freezing unstable until certain conditions were met was considered a motivator. Maybe if there was a push for developers toward testing as the preferred branch and unstable for new but known to be broken in certain cases, stable might closer reflect today's software and unstable might actually be up to date.

I've been using debian for about a year now, and its pretty fun. I just upgraded X and it took a whopping 10 minutes. The difference isn't very noticable to me. The changelog has lots of bugfixes concerning DRI that probably have kept it in experimental for so long. Seems like basically the most critical apps have a longer testing pipeline to run through into stable. Usually it takes 10 days in unstable to become a candidate for "testing." "Stable" hasn't moved in a long while because there's been some longstanding bugs between certain popular packages. Maybe QA is something underappreciated on a volunteer based distribution, but I like being able to look at a specific package's bug list.

Re:Isn't this late? (1)

/dev/trash (182850) | more than 10 years ago | (#8336628)

I used to run Debian, but a few crashes and stuff in the unstable branch and the sloooooowness of the stable branch had me off looking for a new distro. So far Gentoo seems to fit the bill. I run mostly stable things and they are kept up to date, and for a few things that are behind I can get the ~x86 code and run that.

Re:Isn't this late? (1)

kinnell (607819) | more than 10 years ago | (#8326084)

But wasn't the whole purpose of Debian Unstable to be really up to date?

I think the solution is to have one, or maybe two more debian distros: Debian Volatile - kept roughly up to date with the other main distros, and Debian Explosive - a cutting edge distro which might crash sometimes.

Re:Isn't this late? (3, Interesting)

swillden (191260) | more than 10 years ago | (#8326782)

This is not mean to be a troll, honest. But wasn't the whole purpose of Debian Unstable to be really up to date?

Debian unstable *is* really up to date, in general. However, there are a few high-profile packages, like XFree86, that tend to lag because of Debian's incredibly diverse platform set and high standards of quality. The wide variety of platforms doesn't affect most stuff nearly as much as hardware-oriented software like X.

I mean, when people complain that debian is way too far behind, debian fans are quick to point out that debian has three distros and that unstable is really quite stable and as up to date as other distros.

I run unstable on my laptop and my desktop (stable on my servers), and in my experience, unstable is not "as up to date as other distros", most of the time it's well *ahead* of the other distros. Because my systems get upgraded almost daily, I find that my biggest compatibility headaches with my colleagues on Red Hat, etc., is that I'm always running newer versions of everything than they are.

Re:Isn't this late? (0)

Saiyine (689367) | more than 10 years ago | (#8332736)

I find that my biggest compatibility headaches with my colleagues on Red Hat, etc., is that I'm always running newer versions of everything than they are.

Yeah, like the XFree86 v4.3.0 !!!

Re:Isn't this late? (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 10 years ago | (#8332814)

Yeah, like the XFree86 v4.3.0 !!!

Well, as I said, XFree86 is an exception to the unstable rule, but, actually, yes... I've been running experimental debs of 4.3 since about a month after it was released :-)

Re:Isn't this late? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8332836)

Did you even read the post?

Re:Isn't this late? (1)

ogre57 (632144) | more than 10 years ago | (#8327096)

+ $0.02

Some packages (like XFree) seem to take an eon or three; other responses give some why's. Otoh I've seen other packages appear in unstable timestamped within hours of being released, and days before being packaged for other dists. For the more adventurous there's generally something in experimental [debian.org] .

Re:Isn't this late? (3, Informative)

pjack76 (682382) | more than 10 years ago | (#8328093)

Well, also there's apparently a "hidden" flavor of Debian called experimental, where you can go to get things that haven't made it into unstable yet.

I *needed* XFree86 4.3, because it's the first version to support my video card--after digging through Debian's bug reports, I found out how to apt-get from the experimental pool, where XFree86 4.3 happily lives. Installed without a problem for me (I mean, I manually edit my XF86Config anyway.)

I love Debian (1, Interesting)

ObviousGuy (578567) | more than 10 years ago | (#8325670)

Not the distro, per se, but the concept. I am as ardent a supporter of the Free Software cause as anyone, and Debian most closely represents my views as a proponent of Free Software. By not including any software which does not conform to the terms of the GPL, Debian has taken a firm stand against the encroachment of closed source software into their distribution.

While I run Windows at work and home, I also find Linux to be incredibly interesting as an experiment in Free Software, and Debian is at the fore of the movement.

What dismays me sometimes with Debian is that it is perceived as being behind the curve with regard to the state of the art. However, as can be seen by this latest inclusion of XFree86 Debian proves again that it is ready and able to lead the Linux horde flying the flag of Freedom high upon its shoulders. Though Debian takes a while to include the latest software releases in the distro, you know when the release is finally made that you have not only a distro that is up to date and on the cutting edge of Free Software but also that the distro itself adheres strongly to the concept of Free Software. Though many people will mock such a stance, seeking to include "useful" programs regardless of their software Freedom, for those of us who care about such things Debian is invaluable.

Re:I love Debian (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8325713)

I love Debian

Then why don't you marry it, you filthy hippy?!

Re:I love Debian (0, Redundant)

ObviousGuy (578567) | more than 10 years ago | (#8325996)

I love Debian

Then why don't you marry it, you filthy hippy?!

Touche!

Re:I love Debian (3, Interesting)

fedux (262863) | more than 10 years ago | (#8326030)

Not the distro, per se, but the concept. I am as ardent a supporter of the Free Software cause as anyone, and Debian most closely represents my views as a proponent of Free Software. By not including any software which does not conform to the terms of the GPL, Debian has taken a firm stand against the encroachment of closed source software into their distribution.

I think that's not entirely truth. Debian includes Apache and its licence is not GPL compatible.

Re:I love Debian (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8326042)

Debian includes Apache and its licence is not GPL compatible.

Yeah, now!

Bastards.

Re:I love Debian (2, Insightful)

alexpage (210348) | more than 10 years ago | (#8328193)

Apache's license may not be GPL-compatiable, but that doesn't mean it's not free software. according to the FSF [fsf.org] :

This is a permissive non-copyleft free software license with a few requirements that render it incompatble with the GNU GPL. We urge you not to use the Apache licenses for software you write. However, there is no reason to avoid running programs that have been released under this license, such as Apache.

Re:I love Debian (1)

True Grit (739797) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338313)

Debian is not an extension of the FSF, and the GPL is not Debian's guiding rule for the "freeness" of software. Debian has its own "Debian Free Software Guidelines" (DFSG [debian.org] ) that determines what can go into Debian. Apache isn't GPL compatible but it is free as far as the DFSG goes.

You even have the ironic situations where RMS won't officially bless Debian because it has a "non-free" section (a misnomer since it is almost completely made up of "semi-free", not proprietary, closed-source programs) and on the other side you have Debian considering the FSF's Free Documentation License to be incompatible with the DFSG. In any event, the original poster's implication that Debian follows the GPL only, and/or is officially part of RMS's organization, is incorrect. Debian is the only major Linux distribution to follow the ideals of the FSF, the only major distribution that is itself Free Software that isn't controlled by a company/corporation, but they *don't* agree with every one of the FSF's bullet items, or all of RMS's philosophy. :)

Re:I love Debian (3, Interesting)

twilight30 (84644) | more than 10 years ago | (#8327826)

I like the concept too, but I think a lot of people get overly emotional about the idealistic aspects of the distribution when a bit more pragmatism would go a lot farther.

Why does Debian rock?

Debian rocks because they are nitpicky about all that shit. It means that I don't have to be. Their work rewards your laziness, and that's a good thing!

Re:I love Debian (2, Insightful)

Sevn (12012) | more than 10 years ago | (#8335861)

Debian makes a great server. It's perfect for the situation where you can't use FreeBSD and you aren't getting hounded for Red Hat. I've never used it as a desktop because it's not well suited for it. Much like FreeBSD doesn't make a great desktop OS. Gentoo, on the other hand, makes an excellent desktop OS. I'd don't run Gentoo on servers anymore though. I've never understood the "holy war world domination" aspect of any of this. To corporate America it comes across as so much childish prattle. We actually had an employee trying to sell us on Debian for something completely unsuited and one of his bullits was a "saving the world from microsoft!!!!" rant and the really sad thing was he didn't even understand why including that "point" was a bad idea. When I tried to explain that our proprietary storage solution would not support Debian for their active/passive dual path fiber channel driver, he flipped out. Suggested we "sell the piece of shit" because it wouldn't work with Debian. Sure. We are going to part with our half million dollar fiber channel array because the company won't support Debian. Now I have higher-ups asking me what we should do with this guy and saying "I think he has a real passion for his work" isn't cutting it. They hear "he's a nut". Zealotry is fine but keep it at home. Oh, and there is no excuse for waiting over 13 months for an "unstable" version of XFree. You apologists can apologize away all you want, but that is ridiculous. I'm sorry. It's also hard to sell people on the idea that a free Linux with a 2.2 stable kernel is better than a 600 dollar "Enterprise Server" Linux with a 2.4.21-9 kernel. There is a lot of Red Hat 3.0 ES here. And even though I freaking HATE Red Hat because of how shitty rpm is, I have to admit that we have had zero problems with up2date and patches, and they seem to be very up to date with them. It has actually been a joy lately admining the 20 or so boxes. It's STILL not nearly as easy as babysitting a well configured FreeBSD farm, but it's getting pretty close.

Re:I love Debian (1)

Crazy Eight (673088) | more than 10 years ago | (#8350906)

Best... ObviousGuy post...
ever...

Every distro has its flaws (1)

‹berhund (27591) | more than 10 years ago | (#8325992)

I love Debian, but this is why I don't use it on my desktop.

Is there a perfect Linux distro out there? Debian has stale packages, Gentoo has no reverse dependency checking (yet). How is Fedora coming along? Left RedHat for apt-get a while ago, then someone ported it to rpm. FreeBSD, while not Linux, doesn't support as much desktop hardware.

I'm on a continuing quest to find the perfect distro. Anyone else find it yet?

Re:Every distro has its flaws (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8326251)

>-Uberhund

For those without accounts, the quoted text displays the proper umlaut over the U in Uberhound. How were you able to get past the Slashdot filter and show the U umlaut character? I've tried Ü, &220;, pasting in Unicode, hell I've even tried the Windows character set. None work.

Re:Every distro has its flaws (2)

DShard (159067) | more than 10 years ago | (#8326258)

Honestly, I use debian as much as possible. I don't worry to much that unstable lags behind gentoo because gentoo caused me many headaches. I have no problem with stable being old because if you compare it to any enterprise version of linux you will see similarly aged applications.

Testing on the other hand is a mess. I am using it on one out of all the systems I have debian on (~6) and have seen 0 benefit in using it over unstable. I am trying to be a good community citizen and at least use testing to see that it gets moved to stable, but it mostly sucks in the mean time.

As I see it there is no other distro that is as easy to use (not grandma easy, but admin easy), and as ambitious in scope. So stick that in your portage and smoke it.

Re:Every distro has its flaws (2, Interesting)

gid (5195) | more than 10 years ago | (#8326777)

I used to be annoyed that X always lagged behind so much in debian/sid. But then I realized, after upgrading to 4.3, do I as a user notice anything different? absolutely not. It might be slightly faster, not that I notice with a 1.33ghz AMD machine... Why does it really matter what version of X you're running, as long as it can handle dri, you can play you games, render true type fonts, etc. Not that I play games under linux anyway, that's what my "play" XP Pro box is for.

Re:Every distro has its flaws (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8327581)

Why does it really matter what version of X you're running, as long as it can handle dri, you can play you games, render true type fonts, etc.
Because 4.3 supports some cards that 4.2 didn't (like my onboard i845).

Re:Every distro has its flaws (1)

gid (5195) | more than 10 years ago | (#8328433)

that's true, I wasn't thinking of that when I posted. I used to own such a machine (a shuttle SV24), I had to copy over a new X driver file every time x upgraded. Kind of a pain, but it made my crappy onboard video work with the older X version in unstable at the time.

Re:Every distro has its flaws (1)

pyros (61399) | more than 10 years ago | (#8327767)

Some people, like me, need X 4.3 to get the full range of resolutions that the graphics chipset supports. I have a laptop with an onboard Intel i830m, which doesn't have it's own memory. It 'borrows' a chunk from the main memory. I haven't heard of a single OEM who included the option to set how much memory in the BIOS, they all hard code it to 1 MB, and the OS driver is relied upon to chagne it. So in order to get 1024x768 with 16 bit color, I need X 4.3.

Re:Every distro has its flaws (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8328351)

to answer your sig, your comment was marked as insightful by a moderator that probably made the same misunderstanding you did, then other moderators marked your comment down as overrated because you misunderstood the parent. Overrated just subtracts 1 from the comment score, just like underrated adds 1. The previous moderation (non-underrated/overrated) qualifier sticks. So you see score (-1 insightful) You're only supposed to be able to overrate a comment to one less than it started out as, were you originally posting at 0?

Re:Every distro has its flaws (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8328380)

I guess the real problem is there's no "said incorrect information" or "clueless" moderation. The closest we have is overrated. OK, clueless is a bit harsh, but you get the idea...

Re:Every distro has its flaws (1)

pyros (61399) | more than 10 years ago | (#8328659)

I know that, I'm not trying to complain about the mod, I just think it's funny that it went down to -1 while staying insightful. I typicall post at +2, but try to remember to disable the karma bonus for posts like this one. Even without the karma bonus, it should have started at +1. Whatever, I just link it because it's funny, not to point out bad mods :p

Re:Every distro has its flaws (1)

Vilim (615798) | more than 10 years ago | (#8327291)

I use Debian on my laptop and Gentoo on my server. For my laptop I am using Sid which is up to date enough for me. I wanted XFree 4.3 so I just found some experimental debs for x86 (they are perfectly stable) and used them.

Re:Every distro has its flaws (3, Interesting)

pavon (30274) | more than 10 years ago | (#8328040)

Nope. The "perfect" desktop distro would be a more up-to-date version of debian, with something as nice as YaST. Perhaps User Linux will provide the funding necisarry for this. Here is what I have found for the current distros:

For the desktop SuSE is king - it has great hardware support and YaST is much better than what Mandrake and Redhat have to offer (if only they would release it under a better licence). One edge that RedHat Linux had over SuSE, wast that there were more third party packages made for it, however now that RHL does not exist this is not a factor. Like any other RPM based distro though, after a year or two you will get to the point where it is easier to just do a clean install of the newest version rather than continue to update.

For the server, debian is great - it is rock solid, and the easiest distro to keep up-to-date without any down-time. However, if your employer really wants support then RedHat enterprise would be the best way to go.

Slackware was my first distro, and is wonderfull in its simplicity of design. I still recomend it to anyone who wants to learn linux, not just have a windows replacement. Like RPM distros, you will likely want to wipe and start over every couple years. Once I learned linux fairly well, the day-to-day convienence of other distros moved me off slackware.

Fedora stands alone as being the most up-to-date distro due to it's short release cycle, so it is the obvious choice for those who want to be on the cutting edge. It actually seems to be quite stable despite it's cutting edgeness. But when you release every couple months you can't expect to be able to support a release for any length of time. IMHO, the only advantage that Gentoo has is that it is more up-to-date than debian. The package manager seems nicer than rpm, but not as convienent as apt. I have never had the desire to use it myself. Knoppix is great for trying out linux, troubleshooting, and installing a desktop debian system. I keep a couple burned copies on hand at all times. And of course there are dozens of distros that are usefull for cool niche projects.

Re:Every distro has its flaws (2, Interesting)

alexpage (210348) | more than 10 years ago | (#8328309)

Debian works for me. I've not found any software that doesn't have up-to-date packages; if they're not in the main tree it's normally for a good reason, and apt-get.org [apt-get.org] can usually find them. Failing that there's Google and the helpful IRC channel and mailing lists.

apt-rpm, while much nicer to deal with than native rpm, still suffers from the fact that nothing beats Debian's own apt repositories for sheer quality and stability, thanks to the zealous adherence to quality of the majority of Debian package maintainers. Actually, it's this QA which puts Debian ahead of almost every other distro, especially the (IME) terminally crashy Gentoo.

I wouldn't say that Debian is the perfect distro, but I think it's as close as you'll come to one.

Re:Every distro has its flaws (1)

fatwreckfan (322865) | more than 10 years ago | (#8329286)

"...terminally crashy Gentoo."?

I ran gentoo as my regular desktop for months until I got sick having to reboot to play games, but never had it crash.

Re:Every distro has its flaws (1)

essdodson (466448) | more than 10 years ago | (#8359312)

Name a piece of hardware you have that FreeBSD doesn't support.

thanks

Don't forget the synaptic. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8326257)

Slightly Offtopic, but its Debian goodness anyway.

Synaptic is a great tool for Debian. Think dselect minus the pain and written in GTK rather than text mode. Here is a

Install it by running apt-get install synaptic. Installing and Managing software with it is so easy. That and Knoppix HD install got me running Debian. But I still want my KDE 3.2 :(.

Don't start yapping about the delay.. (4, Insightful)

Captain Rotundo (165816) | more than 10 years ago | (#8326789)

Remember Debian has 11 architectures to support... far more than any other major distro, and far more that the XFree86 team supports.

So you can bitch that once again Debian is behind the times, but remmember YOUR copy of XFree86 is more stable because of all the porting and testing the fine folks at the Debian X Strike Force do.

I just have to say I was glad to wait this long, and good work guys.

Re:Don't start yapping about the delay.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8327755)

so the 86 in XFree86 has nothing to do with x86?

Re:Don't start yapping about the delay.. (3, Informative)

Captain Rotundo (165816) | more than 10 years ago | (#8328247)

It does for the XFree86 guys, which is why the porting Debian does is so important!

A big thank you to Branden!!! (3)

Howard Beale (92386) | more than 10 years ago | (#8326799)

I'm sure you've taking a bunch of crap with 4.3 taking so long to get into unstable (hell, I wanted to flame you once or twice). Anyway, I just want to say you and X Strike Force team do a fantastic job, and THANK YOU!!!

The Best Example, The Worst Example (1)

Quinn (4474) | more than 10 years ago | (#8327078)

Xf86 4.3 has been the only slow-to-accept Debian package which has really bothered me. I mostly just wanted to play with XRandR and get my Ti4800 to read in video. The closed NVidia driver works fine for games and DRI/OpenGL apps.

So, I installed 4.3 from the experimental release. (Check apt-get.org for details-- it's not an obvious branch to find.) X installed fine, but due to my sloppy dist-upgrade rather than a specific package target, I also got the latest apt, which includes authentication of packages. It still worked, but asked me every time if I was sure I wanted to grab "unauthenticated" packages.

It was simple enough to downgrade apt back to where it was with `apt-get install apt=X.X.X' where X.X.X was the old version. (You can also use `apt-get install pkgname/release' to grab a package from a particular release, eg. apt/unstable, apt/stable, apt/testing.)

Anyway, it turns out it was easier for me to use my bttv card for video capture, so I didn't need the latest 4.3 after all, can keep my NVidia drivers for UT2K4 and NWN, and capture pictures of my baby daughter with my Pinnacle card all at the same time.

Those footprints beside me? Those were the times Debian was carrying me. Praise Jebus.

WARNING - melted me (2, Informative)

Jebediah21 (145272) | more than 10 years ago | (#8327519)

The Debian X packages have a problem with some SiS chipsets!!!

I installed from Knoppix long ago and having been updating since then. I installed the new X packages and rebooted only to get the dreaded screen "melting" screen that happens with some SiS chips. Problem was this didn't just happen when exiting X, it also happened when starting X. Whoops. Of course the testing and stable trees had the same problems.

This screwed me of using X unless I wanted to compile the whole thing myself (on a notebook? No thanks). Thankfully I had just imaged my hard disk a few days ago using Knoppix and was able to restore. Look here for instructions [knoppix.net] (hint: start with cheatcodes dma 2 and leave the thing alone while restoring).

I'll be filing a bug report on this one for sure.

Workaround for DRI: (4, Informative)

molo (94384) | more than 10 years ago | (#8328115)

Here's how you can fix DRI. First, confirm that you are having the same problem:

$ LIBGL_DEBUG=verbose glxinfo
[...]
libGL error: dlopen failed: /usr/X11R6/lib/modules/dri/tdfx_dri.so: undefined symbol: sse_test_dummy
[...]


The actual name of the module will vary depending on your hardware.

You can retrieve the xlibmesa-dri package from experimental, version 4.3.0-0pre1v5 and use this instead of the version from unstable. This works for some reason. Download it here:

http://packages.debian.org/experimental/x11/xlibme sa-dri [debian.org]

Enjoy.

-molo

Re:Workaround for DRI: (3, Informative)

named (3909) | more than 10 years ago | (#8328470)

Thanks for the info. I'm at work right now so can't try it out, but thought I'd mention an easy way to downgrade (seen elsewhere in this article, and somewhere in the docs) for others who might read this.

apt-get install xlibmesa-dri/experimental

I'm pretty sure you've got to have a line in /etc/apt/sources.list for experimental as well
(deb ftp://ftp.us.debian.org/debian ../project/experimental main contrib non-free)

Re:Workaround for DRI: (1)

sputti (545575) | more than 10 years ago | (#8345278)

thanks a lot, you saved me a lot of time. it just took me the last two hours to get this far with the ldd cheking. i had an experimental xf4.3 installed before too, and it worked fine. now that i upgrade it breaks (not to mention i had to remove all x-dependend apps and reinstall just for this; okay, maybe my own stupidity). whatever. now im happy. but this one had been gone smoother. chers.

XF4.3 (2, Informative)

XO (250276) | more than 10 years ago | (#8329612)

I pulled 4.3.0 out of the "experimental" branch, I believe it was, months ago, already.

It worked fine, then. So, now that they've moved it to "unstable", it's broken? Great, thanks guys.

I live in fear of doing "apt-get upgrade" sometimes.

LOL.. yes, I know runnign a mix of "unstable" and "experimental" branches is just asking for trouble.. but except for a version mismatch that caused apt-get to uninstall more than half of my system a few weeks ago, I've never had any problems.. lol

Re:XF4.3 (1)

True Grit (739797) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338795)

  1. I live in fear of doing "apt-get upgrade" sometimes.


Then don't. :)

Debian gets a lot of attention because of apt, and lots of Debian fanatic^H^H^H^Hs like to trot out apt-get commands to "prove" how easy Debian can be, and to some debatable degree this is true, but when it comes to tracking unstable/experimental, my first recommendation is to not use the command line programs to manage your system! Yes, some Debian folk will label me a heretic for saying that, but my point is, as good as apt is, no system management software will EVER be perfect when it comes to a real-world system, and the human element in this process (it is humans that put the debs together after all, not some mythical, perfect, never-made-a-simple-mistake machine) will always prevent apt from ever being perfect. So if you are going to track unstable/experimental, apt IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR COMMON SENSE! What I recommend is using an interactive system manager, like aptitude or synaptic or some other one, that allows you to fine-tune the upgrading process. Your reference to apt-get uninstalling "half your system" at one point is exactly why I don't use it, or rather, why I use a front-end program that allows me to override apt in a convenient way. The modus operandi of my recommendation is "Hold, Hold, HOLD". My rules are simple:

1. Never install something that just hit unstable in the previous 24 hours, put it on hold and wait a couple of days! Follow this rule and you won't waste time installing something big like XFree86 only to find out something is broke. If something is wrong its usually found quickly and the newsgroups/mailing-lists are talking about it within a few days (or hours). There is no need to rush, heck, I usually wait a week before installing anything.

2. If you don't really need it, put it on hold!

3. If it isn't already broken on your system, and the new version is just a minor update, put it on hold!

4. If its a major update, but its something you yourself don't use, i.e. something else depends on it, and/or the new update doesn't have any new features that you actually need, put it on hold!

PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE, and a time-saver, if it means you never have to waste time fixing a system broken by an update. Let the must-have-it-now early adopters take the risks, and deal with the headaches. You let things get updated only when dependencies demand them, and update those things that are important to the system or you, after a little wait to see if things are ok, but don't always update everything, every time you check debian.org, doing that IS JUST ASKING FOR TROUBLE! .

I've been using Debian since the 0.99 days, and I've been tracking unstable for at least 3-4 years now (back when it really was unstable!), and I've only had 2 or 3 significant problems (that I can remember) in that time, and I have never had to reinstall Debian because of a fubar'd update (but I did have to reinstall once because of something idiotic that I did!). I must have 200 to 300 packages on hold right now, and with aptitude at least, this is not a problem, it doesn't make administration any more difficult or time-consuming. The only problem is when package A depends on a new feature of package B, but A's maintainer doesn't update the dependencies of A to the correct version of B, and you end up updating A but not B. I don't remember ever having that problem myself, but admittedly, it is possible, although not likely since it depends on A's maintainer making a serious mistake to begin with. Other than that, just a little common sense makes Debian virtually painless, and as up-to-date as you are likely to need it.

Note that these rules are also extremely valuable to anyone who just has a dial-up connection to the net. You not only save yourself grief when you wait on a package to see if there are problems, you also save yourself the time of having to download the second, fixed copy.

Re:XF4.3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8350868)

but except for a version mismatch that caused apt-get to uninstall more than half of my system a few weeks ago, I've never had any problems.. lol

When that is about to happen, copy/paste all the packages apt-get lists that is going to remove into a text file. Then after its done, install all those packages. It happened to me once I think because of Python (I'm not really running a mixed system or anything, so it was weird, uninstalled all of KDE and then some).

Other packages - LIke Mozilla Firefox (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8331625)

Some packages are up to date in a matter of a day or two, but some you just have to wait ages for. I'd like to see Firefox, KDE 3.2. And lots of little apps/games that aren't updated all the time. For example qtjoypad looks like just what I was looking for but no debs in sight. Compile it myself you say? Well, I was going to but I couldn't properly install qt dev libs because of something with XF86. Apt-get would just tell me needs XXX but it's not going to be installed.

Some games I've wanted to check out: Neverball, neverputt. Neverball is a great game, and there is a deb but it's been behind for awhile.

Also a great looking 3d chess called Slibo, no packages in sight. Tried to compile myself and got all kinds of errors. Same thing with endeavour. A file browser in my quest to find a good windows explorer replacement (currently using xfe but that has some limitations as well). There is an edeavour package but it's not up to date and the latest has some features I'm looking for in a file browser. Again tried to compile but got all kinds of obscure errors. I've compiled many packages but some are just a nightmare to deal with.

I could go on and on, but I'm a user who likes checking out new software and even something as simple as apt-get/synaptic gui can come up short. I'd be happy at this point with a distro that could compile anything from a fresh install.

EBUILD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8350859)

Gentoo it up my good man.

Could you rephrase that? (2, Funny)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 10 years ago | (#8351241)

XFree86 4.3.0 in Debian Unstable

./ editors should better proof-read those headlines. When I first read that headline, I expected a flame war.

KDE3.2 (1)

ward.deb (757075) | more than 10 years ago | (#8408221)

Yes, I'd like to see KDE3.2 too... Why is it taking so long? It's here now for centuries...:P
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