Home » How can I run Debian stable but install some packages from testing?

How can I run Debian stable but install some packages from testing?

Solutons:


Many people seem to be afraid of mixing stable with testing, but frankly, testing is fairly stable in its own right, and with proper preferences and solution checking, you can avoid the “stability drift” that puts your core packages on the unstable path.

“Testing is fairly stable??”, you ask. Yes. In order for a package to migrate from unstable to testing, it has to have zero open bugs for 10 consecutive days. Chances are that, especially for the more popular packages, somebody is going to submit a bug report for an unstable version if something is wrong.

Even if you don’t want to mix the environments, it’s still nice to have the option there in case you run into something that requires a newer version than what is in stable.

Here’s what I recommend for setting this up:

First, create the following files in /etc/apt/preferences.d:

stable.pref:

# 500 <= P < 990: causes a version to be installed unless there is a
# version available belonging to the target release or the installed
# version is more recent

Package: *
Pin: release a=stable
Pin-Priority: 900

testing.pref:

# 100 <= P < 500: causes a version to be installed unless there is a
# version available belonging to some other distribution or the installed
# version is more recent

Package: *
Pin: release a=testing
Pin-Priority: 400

unstable.pref:

# 0 < P < 100: causes a version to be installed only if there is no
# installed version of the package

Package: *
Pin: release a=unstable
Pin-Priority: 50

experimental.pref:

# 0 < P < 100: causes a version to be installed only if there is no
# installed version of the package

Package: *
Pin: release a=experimental
Pin-Priority: 1

(Don’t be afraid of the unstable/experimental stuff here. The priorities are low enough that it’s never going to automatically install any of that stuff. Even the testing branch will behave, as it’s only going to install the packages you want to be in testing.)

Now, creating a matching set for /etc/apt/sources.list.d:

stable.list: Copy from your original /etc/apt/sources.list. Rename the old file to something like sources.list.orig.

testing.list: Same as stable.list, except with testing.

unstable.list: Same as stable.list, except with unstable, and remove the security lists.

experimental.list: Same as unstable.list, except with experimental.

You can also add a oldstable in sources.lists.d and preferences.d (use a priority of 1), though this moniker will tend to expire and disappear before the next stable cycle. In cases like that, you can use http://archive.debian.org/debian/ and “hardcode” the Debian version (etch, lenny, etc.).

To install the testing version of a package, simply use aptitude install lib-foobar-package/testing, or just jump into aptitude’s GUI and select the version inside of the package details (hit enter on the package you’re looking at).

If you get complaints of package conflicts, look at the solutions first. In most cases, the first one is going to be “don’t install this version”. Learn to use the per-package accept/reject resolver choices. For example, if you’re installing foobar-package/testing, and the first solution is “don’t install foobar-package/testing”, then mark that choice as rejected, and the other solutions will never veer to that path again. In cases like these, you’ll probably have to install a few other testing packages.

If it’s getting too hairy (like it’s trying to upgrade libc or the kernel or some other huge core system), then you can either reject those upgrade paths or just back out of the initial upgrade altogether. Remember that it’s only going to upgrade stuff to testing/unstable if you allow it to.

EDIT: Fixed some priority pins, and updated the list.

In /etc/apt/apt.conf.d add the following file

99defaultrelease:

APT::Default-Release "stable";

in /etc/apt/sources.list.d – add urls for testing / unstable sources

stable.list:

deb     http://ftp.de.debian.org/debian/    stable main contrib non-free
deb-src http://ftp.de.debian.org/debian/    stable main contrib non-free

deb     http://security.debian.org/         stable/updates  main contrib non-free

testing.list:

deb     http://ftp.de.debian.org/debian/    testing main contrib non-free
deb-src http://ftp.de.debian.org/debian/    testing main contrib non-free

deb     http://security.debian.org/         testing/updates  main contrib non-free

run

apt-get update

and then install what you need with

apt-get -t testing install something

Be very very careful if you install stuff that has plenty of dependencies. Preferably don’t do this on production.

You can as well try your luck at backports or similar repository.

apt_preferences

Define the default level that the system should ‘safe-upgrade’ to in the /etc/apt/preferences file:
man apt_preferences

There’s a lot you can do with apt_preferences but for the sake of simplicity…

I needed to install a single package (autoMysqlBackup) that was only available in Testing. The solution was to add the following to /etc/apt/preferences:

Explanation: Uninstall or do not install any Debian-originated
Explanation: package versions other than those in the stable distro
Package: *
Pin: release a=stable
Pin-Priority: 900

Package: *
Pin: release o=Debian
Pin-Priority: -10

With multiple repositories added to /etc/apt/sources.list aptitude will now only upgrade to your specified release even though the later release repos are listed (in this case ‘stable’).

deb http://mirror.aarnet.edu.au/debian/ lenny main
deb-src http://mirror.aarnet.edu.au/debian/ lenny main
deb http://mirror.aarnet.edu.au/debian/ squeeze main
deb-src http://mirror.aarnet.edu.au/debian/ squeeze main

So to install that package, all you have to do is:

$ aptitude install -t testing packageName 

Related Solutions

Extract file from docker image?

You can extract files from an image with the following commands: docker create $image # returns container ID docker cp $container_id:$source_path $destination_path docker rm $container_id According to the docker create documentation, this doesn't run the...

Transfer files using scp: permission denied

Your commands are trying to put the new Document to the root (/) of your machine. What you want to do is to transfer them to your home directory (since you have no permissions to write to /). If path to your home is something like /home/erez try the following:...

What’s the purpose of DH Parameters?

What exactly is the purpose of these DH Parameters? These parameters define how OpenSSL performs the Diffie-Hellman (DH) key-exchange. As you stated correctly they include a field prime p and a generator g. The purpose of the availability to customize these...

How to rsync multiple source folders

You can pass multiple source arguments. rsync -a /etc/fstab /home/user/download bkp This creates bkp/fstab and bkp/download, like the separate commands you gave. It may be desirable to preserve the source structure instead. To do this, use / as the source and...

Benefits of Structured Logging vs basic logging

There are two fundamental advances with the structured approach that can't be emulated using text logs without (sometimes extreme levels of) additional effort. Event Types When you write two events with log4net like: log.Debug("Disk quota {0} exceeded by user...

Interfaces vs Types in TypeScript

2019 Update The current answers and the official documentation are outdated. And for those new to TypeScript, the terminology used isn't clear without examples. Below is a list of up-to-date differences. 1. Objects / Functions Both can be used to describe the...

Get total as you type with added column (append) using jQuery

One issue if that the newly-added column id's are missing the id number. If you look at the id, it only shows "price-", when it should probably be "price-2-1", since the original ones are "price-1", and the original ones should probably be something like...

Determining if a file is a hard link or symbolic link?

Jim's answer explains how to test for a symlink: by using test's -L test. But testing for a "hard link" is, well, strictly speaking not what you want. Hard links work because of how Unix handles files: each file is represented by a single inode. Then a single...

How to restrict a Google search to results of a specific language?

You can do that using the advanced search options: http://www.googleguide.com/sharpening_queries.html I also found this, which might work for you: http://www.searchenginejournal.com/how-to-see-google-search-results-for-other-locations/25203/ Just wanted to add...

Random map generation

Among the many other related questions on the site, there's an often linked article for map generation: Polygonal Map Generation for Games you can glean some good strategies from that article, but it can't really be used as is. While not a tutorial, there's an...

How to prettyprint a JSON file?

The json module already implements some basic pretty printing in the dump and dumps functions, with the indent parameter that specifies how many spaces to indent by: >>> import json >>> >>> your_json = '["foo", {"bar":["baz", null,...

How can I avoid the battery charging when connected via USB?

I have an Android 4.0.3 phone without root access so can't test any of this but let me point you to /sys/class/power_supply/battery/ which gives some info/control over charging issues. In particular there is charging_enabled which gives the current state (0 not...

How to transform given dataset in python? [closed]

From your expected result, it appears that each "group" is based on contiguous id values. For this, you can use the compare-cumsum-groupby pattern, and then use agg to get the min and max values. # Sample data. df = pd.DataFrame( {'id': [1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 1, 1,...

Output of the following C++ Program [closed]

It works exactly like this non-recursive translation: int func_0() { return 2; } int func_1() { return 3; } int func_2() { return func_1() + func_0(); } // Returns 3 + 2 = 5 int func_3() { return func_2() + func_1(); } // Returns 5 + 3 = 8 int func_4() { return...

Making a circle out of . (periods) [closed]

Here's the maths and even an example program in C: http://pixwiki.bafsoft.com/mags/5/articles/circle/sincos.htm (link no longer exists). And position: absolute, left and top will let you draw: http://www.w3.org/TR/CSS2/visuren.html#choose-position Any further...

Should I use a code converter (Python to C++)?

Generally it's an awful way to write code, and does not guarantee that it will be any faster. Things which are simple and fast in one language can be complex and slow in another. You're better off either learning how to write fast Python code or learning C++...

tkinter: cannot concatenate ‘str’ and ‘float’ objects

This one line is more than enough to cause the problem: text="რეგულარი >> "+2.23+ 'GEL' 2.23 is a floating-point value; 'GEL' is a string. What does it mean to add an arithmetic value and a string of letters? If you want the string label 'რეგულარი...