[LAU] AVLinux (Was: a bunch of stuff)

Ken Restivo ken at restivo.org
Sun Aug 2 00:08:49 EDT 2009

On Fri, Jul 31, 2009 at 05:54:33PM +0200, Jean-Baptiste Mestelan wrote:
> 2009/7/30 Ken Restivo <ken at restivo.org>
> >Linux audio stuff moves fast, and works better with rolling releases,
> This was also the point made in a recent thread ('Audio distribution
> proposal') ; I bought the idea enough to give ArchLinux +
> archaudio.repo a try. And this worked pleasantly well : in a few
> hours' time, I could set up a fast and lean system, with good
> performance for the main audio apps.
> Still, a few updates later, I got to think again about this 'rollling'
> model : does the constant upgrading not mean that you are constantly
> introducing instability into your system ?
> For instance : last month, an update broke 'bash-completion' ; this
> week, I found out that 'patchage' was no longer working (is it due to
> this recent 'boost' lib update ? ) ... These are small things, but
> which prove distracting when you just would have liked to sit down and
> make some music ...
> On the other hand, rolling updates imply that changes happen
> gradually, which allows you to determine what particular package
> update caused the problem, and fix accordingly. Well, if you have a
> good idea of package dependencies, and if you indeed upgrade
> gradually.
> So, this brings an other question : what is a good frequency for
> updates ? I remember that on Gentoo, it was better to sync the system
> frequently, as a two-month-late update could result in hard-to-solve
> conflicts. This seems less of a problem in Arch Linux ? (no flamebait
> intended)
> I am mostly thinking aloud here, but would welcome your experience on
> the matter, as I am having a hard time figuring out what a good
> process would consist in ; probably, it would involve a rolling system
> + carefully controlled updates, and the ability to rollback updates ?
> About this last bit, the Remasterys backup utility included in AVLinux
> is a wonderful addition. It only works for Debian/Ubuntu systems

> though, ... and I do not know how easily every package manager
> provides the ability to downgrade ...
> Here are a few relevant links concerning Arch :
> http://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?id=71987
> http://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Downgrade_packages

Well the assumption is that the distro maintainer won't introduce instability :-) Which, in the case of audio-specific distros, would-- I hope-- be a safe assumption.  Audio distro maintainers aren't likely to treat their "stable" repo like a developer playground. From what I've seen, they seem to do a good job keeping up with the latest advances in Linux Audio.

As an astute poster noted a short while ago, one can also pick a different repository while staying within a particular distro, and get a totally different release model.

For example, for *two years* I ran Debian Sid on my laptop. But it was a snapshot from May 2007 (with I think one update sometime afterwards). So it was quite stable, even though Sid is always under heavy construction. I solved the instability problem by never typing "apt-get upgrade" :-) I did have to type "apt-get update" several times in order to add software, after getting 404's on the version in the Packages.gz list. But when I started seeing enormous lists of fundamental things that needed updating (i.e. gcc, glibc, X... the kind of stuff that happened after the Lenny release), I simply stopped installing new software on it. It sat that way getting heavy use for a long time. Finally I updated it, and it's now on Lenny. I have done this exact dance with desktops for almost 10 years now, though I was more willing to apt-get update/upgrade them.

And of course nowadays there are many other options, like Sidux, all the audio distros, and many special-purpose distros, many of which are Debian-based anyway.


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