Debian comes in three flavors:
- stable, currently aliased lenny, is the current release that has stable and well tested software. Stable is made by freezing testing for a few months where bugs are fixed to make the distribution as stable as possible; then the resulting system is released as stable. It is updated only if major security or usability fixes are incorporated. After Debian 6.0, new releases will be made every two years. Stable’s CDs and DVDs can be found in the Debian web site.
- testing, currently aliased squeeze, is what the next major release will be and is currently being tested. The packages included in this distribution have had some testing in unstable but they may not be completely fit for release yet. It contains more modern packages than stable but older than unstable. This distribution is updated continuously until it enters the “frozen” state. Security updates for testing distribution are provided by Debian testing security team. Testing’s CDs and DVDs can be found on the Debian web site.
- unstable, permanently aliased sid, repository contains packages currently under development; it is updated continuously. This repository is designed for Debian developers who participate in a project and need the latest libraries available, or for those who like to “live on the edge”, therefore it will not be as stable as the other distributions. There are no official CDs/DVDs because it is rapidly changing and the project does not support it, although CD and DVD images of sid are built quarterly by sidux. Additionally, the other two distributions can be upgraded to unstable.
For those who want the bleeding edge in Debian, sidux is for you. All the while, Linux Mint is contemplating on switching its code base from Ubuntu to Debian Testing. Well and good. It’s time for a great community distro like Linux Mint to step out of the shadow of Canonical and its commercial interests.