Our last post, "The future of SolydXK", has raised a lot of questions and unrest in our community. With this short FAQ, we hope to explain and clarify some of the resulting uncertainties.
- Q. What happens to SolydXK when Debian Testing (Jessie) is promoted to the new Debian Stable?
A. On 5 Nov 2014, Debian Testing (Jessie) will be frozen and, for several months, will be go through an extensive testings and correction period during which most bugs will be ironed out. When Jessie becomes the new Debian stable, the current Home Editions automatically become the new Business Editions. With this change, we drop the identifiers "Business Edition" and "Home Edition" leaving just SolydX and SolydK. At the same time, the current Stable (Wheezy) will be come the "old stable."
Also, at that time, the current Home Editions automatically become the new Business Editions.
- Q. Will there continue to be a SolydXK spin that tracks Debian Testing?
A. Yes. When the current HE spins become the new SolydXK spins tracking Debian stable, we will create new ISOs, based on the new Debian testing, which we are going to name "Enthusiast's Editions" (EE). Users of the current Home Editions who wish to continue with the new "Enthusiast's Edition" will not need to download the new ISOs, but they will need to change their sources file instead. The "Enthusiast's Editions" purpose is twofold:
- It is a testing ground for our custom software, packages, and configuration for the upcoming new stable.
- We also wanted to create a version for those who need more up-to-date software and know how to handle a breakage once in a while.
- Q. I've read in other posts and threads that it takes 3 to 5 years for the next Debian Stable to be released. What's are the facts and what happens to SolydXK when that happens?
A. Debian releases a new Stable every 2 years, so the next one should be in place in 2015. The SolydXK BE users will enjoy an automatic transition to the new release, but on their schedule. To take advantage of the new features of the new release, a system re-install will not be required.
- Q. When will this happen?
A. Debian Testing will freeze development on 5 Nov 2014. The release of the next Debian Stable Edition will happen sometime in 2015. There is no announced date at this time, but could be as early as late 1st quarter of 2015.
Only after the new Debian Stable is released, and the SolydXK team has prepared and tested the transition, will the announced SolydXK changes become effective.
- Q. For what users are the new SolydXK editions intended?
A. The SolydXK target clients are governmental institutions, non-profit organizations, and small-to-medium sized businesses.
- Q. Can anyone use the new SolydXK editions?
A. Sure! If you need a stable and secure system at home that simply works, these editions will likely be very suited for your needs.
- Q. So, then for whom is the "Enthusiast's Edition" intended?
A. The "Enthusiast's Edition" is intended for those who love to tinker and for whom a small glitch or bit of breakage is not a concern.
- Q. Will the "Enthusiast's Edition" use SolydXK repositories or will they be moved to the Debian Testing repositories?
A. A little bit of both! The "Enthusiast's Edition" will use our own repository for the SolydXK specific packages and the Debian testing repository that will regularly bring new features.
- Q. I'm using the Home Edition (HE). What do I have to do if I want to follow the new "Enthusiast's Edition" in 2015?
A. You will have to manually change your sources.list file to track the new release. Don't worry, very clear step-by-step instructions will be published when the time is right for the move.
- Q. I'm using the Home Edition (HE). What do I have to do if I want to follow the new "Stable Edition" in 2015?
A. In short, nothing. When the time comes, the current HE will be automatically merged with the new Debian Stable. Because, technically, at that time both editions will be (basically) the same; the merge will be a smooth transition.
- Q. I'm using the current BE. What do I have to do to continue using it? Do I have to do a re-install?
A. No, you will not need to re-install your system. There will be a well-documented update process that can be easily accomplished using either the Update Manager (recommended) or a command-line terminal. Instructions and documentation will be published well in advance of the event to ensure all users have plenty of time to prepare for the transition.
- Q. So, I really don't have to do a re-install of my system, regardless of what I'm using now and what I want to use after the migration? Really?
A. Yes, really! A re-install should not be required.
- Q. What about security updates? Will the new editions continue receiving them? Will the new "Enthusiast's Edition" also receive security updates?
A. Yes! The new edtions will continue to receive security updates just as (and in the same manner) as they always have. The EE will receive all updates directly through Debian's testing repository and our own repositories.
- Q. OK, I like the idea of a solid, stable system, but there is work I do for which I need to have some "fresher" packages and applications. Can this be done with the new SolydXK editions?
A. Yes. Another feature of the Debian stable editions is backporting, which essentially means that a more recent version of 'older' software is modified for use with the stable release. Debian itself provides a special backports repository and this should also be available for SolydX and SolydK. Details of how this will be done will be made available at a later date.
- Q. What are backports anyway?
A. Backports are packages taken from the next Debian release (called "testing"), adjusted and recompiled for usage on Debian stable. Because the package is also present in the next Debian release, you can easily upgrade your stable+backports system once the next Debian release comes out. (In a few cases, usually for security updates, backports are also created from the Debian unstable distribution.)
Backports cannot be tested as extensively as Debian stable, and backports are provided on an as-is basis, with risk of incompatibilities with other components in Debian stable. Use with care!
It is therefore recommended to only select single backported packages that fit your needs, and not use all available backports.
SolydXK backports will be built on SolydXK systems and will be tested as much as possble to reduce the chances of introducing undesired behaviors (bugs!).