Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Distro upgrading today

Over the past few weeks, since there are not that many new distributions coming out right now - at least not the ones that I care to test and review - I have instead been testing Web browsers, pretty much on a constant basis, because I have been using the nightly trunk builds for both Firefox and Seamonkey - the Seamonkey nightly builds are what I use primarily for both Email and Web browsing, and I've been using nightly Shiretoko (Release 3.5) and Minefield (called 3.6 at the moment, but it is actually the future 4.0). All of them have been working fine.

I've been testing the Webkit browsers, but there have not been too many changes over the past week or two that I've spotted, so the pace of testing those has slowed as well.

Today, though, I am updating several distributions that are already existing on my systems. I am holding fast at the moment on my Gateway, using it in stable mode with sidux on the desk while I upgrade on my Lenovo laptop. I did sidux first, then Debian Lenny, then MEPIS LXDE respin, and I've just started upgrading the Mandriva Cooker - that can take a while because there are often a HUGE number of changes.

As expected, when I started the Cooker upgrade, it wanted permission to remove an existing package; this often happens because early package versions are not always what they will be when they are finalized, or even what they will be later in the testing.

I use the command sudo urpmi --auto-update the majority of time when I do the upgrades, and I typically use a desktop or window manager that does not have a large number of changes, such as IceWM, XFCE, or LXDE. IF those do change, I can switch to another DE or WM (Desktop Environment or Window Manager), but over the past year, using IceWM has worked out well. I happen to be using XFCE on the Cooker today, though.

There are 239 packages that will be changed in the initial Cooker update, and for all I know, there could be more afterward, so I will go on to other things - and that is why I have the Cooker on my test box - it can tie up things for a while.

Before I go, though, I want to give my congratulations to the Cooker team for their work. I have been using this particular Cooker since before Mandriva 2009.0 came out - probably installed it at a late Beta or early RC for 2009.0, then updated the repos and kept going. I've seen a few bad packages that I have had to remove, then later reinstall, but for the most part, this has been an excellent testing sandbox. It's more volatile than most, so I am not quite at the point where I'd trust it as my every day desktop, though with a better backup strategy, I probably could. I am really keen to see how far the Mandriva 2010.0 KDE 4.3 implementation has come along! Also, Mandriva has some of the best art work and default screen savers of any distribution - only Fedora gives it a run, but Mandriva beats it. Mandriva also runs circles around Fedora on the desktop, so playing with Mandriva Cooker as an experimental system is a no brainer - I do it at least monthly, but often more frequently than that.

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