Debian or Ubuntu?

Rich Rudnick rich at
Thu May 15 06:19:29 UTC 2008

Steve Lamb wrote:
> Mario Vukelic wrote:
>> On Wed, 2008-05-14 at 02:42 -0700, Steve Lamb wrote:
>>> And yet dist-upgrade has worked on my Debian machines for years now. 
>> No it didn't. Never did, not in the way that is required for Ubuntu's
>> target users. I used Debian a lot, and every dist-upgrade required
>> manual dependency resolution, editing of conf files, etc. Fine for
>> Debian, but not for Ubuntu.
>     Ok, let me be blunt.  At no time in my memory of many, many upgrades
> across 2 desktops, 1 laptop, 2 rackmounts, 2 Xen VMs and 1 Virtosso VM has
> Debian's method of upgrading ever left my machines *UNBOOTABLE*.  *EVER*!
> This is now the /third/ Unbuntu upgrade that has left my machine unbootable.

I started using ubuntu exclusively on my desktops starting with warty 
after using unstable for several years prior (without reinstalls :). 
Every single time I've tried the upgrade route there's been some issue, 
never to the point of unbootability  but enough that it's too much work 
to troubleshoot compared to the time it takes to do a fresh install. 
I've spent time in #ubuntu for several years now, and I think everyone 
who has strongly recommends fresh installs whenever the subject comes up.

I do think that the one of the real selling points of ubuntu (reliable 
scheduling of releases) is also creates the Achilles heel of ubuntu: the 
lack of time to exhaustively examine the upgrade paths of the multitude 
of package mixtures that users install. Debian takes the time to do this 
which makes the upgrade path extremely reliable, but at the cost of 
'It'll be released when it's ready'. For a desktop it's a reasonable 
tradeoff, but I don't think I'll ever run a server that I can't 
physically touch on ubuntu.

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