Gentoo Forums
Gentoo Forums
Gentoo Forums
Quick Search: in
Stable versus Unstable (Gentoo tree)
View unanswered posts
View posts from last 24 hours

 
Reply to topic    Gentoo Forums Forum Index Gentoo Chat
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
gerard82
Advocate
Advocate


Joined: 04 Jan 2004
Posts: 2220
Location: Netherlands

PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 7:49 pm    Post subject: Stable versus Unstable (Gentoo tree) Reply with quote

Some time ago I upgraded KDE from 4.9.5 to 4.10.0.
http://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic-t-950588-highlight-.html
Fortunately I had a complete backup about 1 month old so I wiped my HD's and reinstalled the backup.
Everything back to normal.

A couple of days later I decided to find out how a ~arch install would behave.
I had some free partitions on which I did a new install.
To my surprise I had absolutely no problems with anything I installed.
(In the meantime KDE-4.10.0 and Qt had been repaired)
I ended up by copying /home from my regular install to another free partition,modified fstab and it all worked fine.
I did remove the original ~.kde4 folder though.
I noticed that there's still some flakiness about 4.10.0 but that was easy to iron out.

My question now is what is the difference between Stable and Unstable?
Gerard.
_________________
To install Gentoo I use sysrescuecd.Based on Gentoo,has firefox to browse Gentoo docs and mc to browse (and edit) files.
The same disk can be used for 32 and 64 bit installs.
You can follow the Handbook verbatim.
http://www.sysresccd.org/Download
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
NeddySeagoon
Administrator
Administrator


Joined: 05 Jul 2003
Posts: 31836
Location: 56N 3W

PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 7:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

gerard82,

Pure stable and pure testing mostly just work. You get more problems when you mix and match.

Testing does occasionally deliver nasty surprises before they get documented. Over the 10 years I've been on testing, I can recall three or four.
The odd testing package won't build or builds but won't run. It might even drink all the beer i your fridge.

You can mitigate some of the nasty surprises with testing:-
1. Never update just before you must have you system working
2. Turn on FEATURES=buildpkg. This keeps a binary tarball of everything you build in /usr/portage/packages.
After while, this becomes your "get out of jail free" card, since you can do
Code:
emerge -K =catagory/package-version
to downgrade something in a hurry.
_________________
Regards,

NeddySeagoon

Computer users fall into two groups:-
those that do backups
those that have never had a hard drive fail.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
genstorm
Advocate
Advocate


Joined: 05 Apr 2007
Posts: 2451
Location: Austria

PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 8:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Things like 4.10.0 can happen all the time. Your system might fail to boot because of your specific partition setup after an update to lvm2. Or openrc. Or udev. And all those things you will enjoy in front row, most of the time without documentation, because with ~arch you are the one to find out, post the bug, and pave the way for arch users later on. :)

Having said that, I have long been operating an all-~arch system without much trouble, albeit always with an eye on what to be emerged, and my sysrescd-stick around (no big deal, it's always in my pocket). Now I'm maintaining a huge, but steadily decreasing package.keywords file to get my system back to arch, pestering devs with stable requests where feasible.
_________________
backend.cpp:92:2: warning: #warning TODO - this error message is about as useful as a cooling unit in the arctic
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
gerard82
Advocate
Advocate


Joined: 04 Jan 2004
Posts: 2220
Location: Netherlands

PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the tip about buildpkg NeddySeagoon.
However this wouldn't have helped with the 4.10.0 disaster since my ~.kde4 file got clobbered.
Only a backup will repair that.
Gerard.
_________________
To install Gentoo I use sysrescuecd.Based on Gentoo,has firefox to browse Gentoo docs and mc to browse (and edit) files.
The same disk can be used for 32 and 64 bit installs.
You can follow the Handbook verbatim.
http://www.sysresccd.org/Download
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
gerard82
Advocate
Advocate


Joined: 04 Jan 2004
Posts: 2220
Location: Netherlands

PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@genstorm,
On my regular arch install I have a package.keywords file that is huge.
That was one reason I tried ~arch.
I now have only package.mask with grub in it since I don't want grub2.
And a couple of lines in package.use.
I'll keep my regular install around just in case.
Gerard.
_________________
To install Gentoo I use sysrescuecd.Based on Gentoo,has firefox to browse Gentoo docs and mc to browse (and edit) files.
The same disk can be used for 32 and 64 bit installs.
You can follow the Handbook verbatim.
http://www.sysresccd.org/Download
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
genstorm
Advocate
Advocate


Joined: 05 Apr 2007
Posts: 2451
Location: Austria

PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 8:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You might want to keep an eye on gentoo.org blog entries to stay informed about imminent danger then.

Also, a package.mask file containing the most notorious packages (like glibc, boost, icu) and waiting for some minor bump(s) before doing the upgrade can seriously ease your life, though most serious bugs are usually closed before a package loses a hardmask.
_________________
backend.cpp:92:2: warning: #warning TODO - this error message is about as useful as a cooling unit in the arctic
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
imaginasys
Tux's lil' helper
Tux's lil' helper


Joined: 26 Dec 2009
Posts: 83
Location: Québec

PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 9:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you like to live on the edge, testing is a must.

I'm on btrfs and I do a snapshot before any update.
After a bad update I can bring back my system to previous state in a snap.

Regards,
Bernard :mrgreen:
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
jdhore
Developer
Developer


Joined: 13 Apr 2007
Posts: 106

PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 2:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my opinion, the big difference is what your use-case is.

Stable is designed for servers where things need to be REALLY stable and have a high level of QA (plus all the other Gentoo benefits i don't need to go into). Unstable is less stable, but for a desktop-class system, the stability should be good ENOUGH. Personally, I run mostly stable with a few packages mixed in from unstable on all my systems.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
sws
n00b
n00b


Joined: 08 Sep 2009
Posts: 29

PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2013 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very instructive. Thank you all for your suggestions.

I am using Gentoo in testing mode for about 10 years now. But lately I more and more grow tired of maintaing the system. Not that gentoo became bad over the last years. It's more that I haven't got the time and mood to afford the time needed for maintanance. So I was thinking of switching back to stable - but how?

In the end you all have convinced me though to stay in testing. Somehow all probems could be solved so far. And there is nothing better to experience than a clean system running uptodate after going through some nasty obstacles :-)

Cheers,

Sebastian
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
i92guboj
Moderator
Moderator


Joined: 30 Nov 2004
Posts: 9810
Location: Córdoba (Spain)

PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2013 9:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

NeddySeagoon wrote:

The odd testing package won't build or builds but won't run. It might even drink all the beer i your fridge.


No one informed me about that possibility when I accepted using ~arch. If I had known that, I would have thought twice before risking :lol:

Quote:

You can mitigate some of the nasty surprises with testing:-
1. Never update just before you must have you system working
2. Turn on FEATURES=buildpkg. This keeps a binary tarball of everything you build in /usr/portage/packages.
After while, this becomes your "get out of jail free" card, since you can do
Code:
emerge -K =catagory/package-version
to downgrade something in a hurry.


This should be stamped into the Gentoo logo, since common sense is not at all that common. binpkgs can virtually save you from almost anything.


@sws, all in all, what the others have already said apply.

~arch is usually stable enough. For desktop class machines, it, at some point, might even be more stable, meaning that a feature that should just work in stable might not work because the relevant version of foobarmoocowkit has not been stabilized, or the capability to play movies encoded with the new .aufwiedersehen codec has not been implanted into your favorite video player. Stuff like that might work sooner in ~arch because there's a time lapse to stabilize packages that can only be left aside in extreme cases where kitten are dying due to massive lib breakage or something like that.

A big difference that might matter on laptops, though, is that stable updates *a lot* less frequently than ~arch does. Just to compare cyphers, you can think of it as an average of 4-5 daily packages for stable versus 15-20 for ~arch (provided you use one of the major arches, such as x86 or amd64). Those numbers, of course, have been obtainer err... by using a truly complex formula to calculate the average in all the Gentoo machines I've used :twisted:

That might be a non-issue if you build the package in a binhost and install them via network, or, to a lesser extent, if you use distcc to distribute the compilations.

If you like using the newest and shiniest desktop env, you will definitely need to go the ~arch way, otherwise you will be stuck with old versions of the top DEs, full of bugs and missing a lot of functionalities (this has a lot to do with the trending trend of releasing things that are not production ready, but that's another issue).

Massive breakage in ~arch has gotten really rare these days, but one never knows... I can still remember the day when expat hit all of us in a fiercer way than that infamous meteor hit the dinosaurs. Luckily enough, we managed to survive by taking shelter into the tty, feeding ourselves with a very reduced set of commands and ncurses based tools :roll: :lol:
_________________
Gentoo Handbook | My website
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
simon_irl
Guru
Guru


Joined: 07 Oct 2004
Posts: 403
Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2013 2:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sws wrote:
I am using Gentoo in testing mode for about 10 years now. But lately I more and more grow tired of maintaing the system. Not that gentoo became bad over the last years. It's more that I haven't got the time and mood to afford the time needed for maintanance.

years ago i ran "stable" gentoo systems but they aren't really stable (the package versions aren't frozen, so whereas they break less often through being sheltered behind the front lines of bug discovery, they still break sometimes after regular updates because they're still marching forwards as part of an inherently unstable "rolling release") so don't be lulled into a false sense of security by the term "stable": the advice others have offered above for taking the pain out of running testing is *also* very good advice for taking the occasional pain out of running stable. BACK UP, one way or another, and preferably more than just one way: binary packages, filesystem snapshots, partition images...all these things enable you to update gentoo every day and yet roll things back to a working system quickly and easily if something goes wrong.

i keep two sets of system backups: one fresh set that follows the regular updates, and one older, tested set in case i have to use something that was quietly broken at some point in some obscure way by a library update or whatever. if anything goes to custard i can just restore the tested system, do what needs to be done, and then when i have some leisure time to fix the bleeding-edge system i go back to that. every now and then, when i have plenty of spare time and the system i've been keeping up-to-date has been working reliably for a while (and ideally after major library updates and/or time-consuming updates like libreoffice), i'll go through all my apps systematically testing them to make sure they all still launch and do their jobs (play media, burn discs, scan documents or whatever) and then backup that system as another reliable snapshot that i can return to while the everyday system marches on.

this is a rolling release distro: so long as you accept that breakage is inevitable and plan accordingly, you'll either enjoy helping to get all these constantly evolving pieces of software to work as we'd like them to work, or else you won't have to do much maintenance because others who *do* enjoy the tinkering will do it for you while you sit it out (sometimes the easiest solution to breakage in testing is just to wait a day or two, sync+update again, and the problems have magically disappeared). on the other hand if you're really, really over it, just resist the urge to sync+update, ever :D your mind will torment you with thoughts of your increasingly outdated, exploitable and difficult-to-update gentoo...but in practice, it'll just keep working like it's working now, day after day, for years ;)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
genstorm
Advocate
Advocate


Joined: 05 Apr 2007
Posts: 2451
Location: Austria

PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2013 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

simon_irl wrote:
the advice others have offered above for taking the pain out of running testing is *also* very good advice for taking the occasional pain out of running stable.

That's not to say the rate of breakage is in any way comparable between arch and ~arch (I prefer that wording rather than un-/stable so there's less chance for wrong assumptions).
_________________
backend.cpp:92:2: warning: #warning TODO - this error message is about as useful as a cooling unit in the arctic
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Reply to topic    Gentoo Forums Forum Index Gentoo Chat All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum