Ubuntu Unravelled
Date: Thursday, April 01, 2010 @ 19:51:45 UTC
Topic: Open Source


I’m aware that nearly all people in the Linux ecosphere are familiar with what Ubuntu is. However, it is my impression that many people, including some Ubuntu users, do not know how the distribution is made. Most are familiar with the principle that Ubuntu is largely based upon the Debian distribution,
but not a great deal beyond this.

To give you a quick introduction to Debian, it is an entirely community-based distribution, although some of the contributors are large businesses. No single company has overall control or official end user support. Debian is made up of three separate releases: ‘Stable’, ‘Testing’ and ‘Unstable’. Each release is given a codename from a character in the movie Toy Story. It took me some time to realise this. When a new upstream application version enters Debian, it is uploaded to the unstable repositories and generally, depending on bugs raised, will cascade into testing. When testing is considered reasonably stable and ‘release blocker’ bugs are resolved, it is ordained to be the next stable release. This process produces a very stable platform when it is released. However, the applications available in stable can often become quite old. Consequently, many Debian users actually use the ‘testing’ version on their everyday machines.

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