Sound file compatibility and Linux

Peter Alcibiades palcibiades-first at
Tue Apr 28 04:09:17 EDT 2009

There does seem to be a difference between Ubuntu and Debian with regard to
distribution upgrades.  It seems that when you go from one Ubuntu release to
the next release, while you can do it in place, and everything including the
apps does get upgraded, which is also what happens with Debian, the method
used is very different.  

Debian has three versions of the entire distro, Stable, Testing and
Unstable, and these are run as whole units.  Then, ahead even of these, is
Experimental.  Work proceeds over time to stablize the last two. 
Eventually, Testing passes the phase review process and is issued as Stable. 
Unstable moves down and becomes the new Testing.  A new Unstable is started. 
At this point most of us will move to the new Stable from the previous
Stable release.  This process of stabilization can take quite a while - 1
year plus, sometimes a couple of years.  It is helped by the fact that lots
of people use Testing as their mainline distro, so bug reports keep coming
in and bugs keep getting fixed.  In the meantime, updates to the Stable
applications packages will occur.

But the general effect is that Debian Stable is a bit behind.  For instance,
at the moment it is still on Open Office 2.4, though 3.0 has been out quite
a while.  Its still on KDE 3.5, though the current version is now 4.2.  This
means Debian Stable is, well, stable, but a bit behind the lastest stuff. 
It is a release which has been refined in use as a distrbution over quite a
long period.

I'm assuming Woodford is right.  If he is, Ubuntu works very differently.  
When you do your distribution upgrade with Ubuntu, you are moving from one
version which was based on a given snapshot of Debian Experimental to
another, based on a different and later snapshot.  So you do not have, in
the same way as you have with Debian, the same sort of in place testing by
users over a prolonged period.  But, you are getting the latest packages. 
And these new versions come out every six months.  But you are not, if I
understand it correctly, getting the sort of integration testing that you
get in Debian Stable.  Also, your applications are not getting updates. 
There are only security fixes.  Now, this may not matter much if you take
the total distribution upgrades every six months.  But then you get into the
question of integration testing differences.

I'm not knocking Ubuntu.  But I'm using Debian for myself and others because
of the tradeoff between having the latest versions, and feeling safe about
both application updates and distribution version updates.  I won't let
people upgrade from (eg) Etch to Lenny by themselves, even when Lenny
becomes stable, though I do let them do their own maintenance updates on
(eg) Etch.  So I certainly would be very nervous about a six month
distribution upgrade cycle.  Too much work, and too risky to let them do it. 
And not all that happy about having them wait long periods for application
updates that were not security related.

It doesn't mean in the case of Rev however that you necessarily get more
stability on Rev or better functioning on Rev from Debian.  My printing and
font issues are significantly greater on Debian than on Mandriva, and I
haven't been able to track down why.
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