Switching to Debian Sid

Written By: Jake Bauer | Posted: 2020-06-23 | Last Updated: 2020-06-23

I’ve been running Debian 10 Buster on all of my computers since it was released almost a year ago (July 6, 2019). The packages becoming ever so slightly out of date over time didn’t really bother me too much until recently when I started to find newer features of some software alluring. Software like KeepassXC and Firefox which have had many improvements in the past year now feel quite dated compared to what I got when I tried out Gentoo a few days back.

One of my favourite things about running Debian stable on everything is that it really does live up to its namesake. It is super stable. The only package updates I have to perform are the odd security update here and there and, even then, I could use my computer for weeks without actually ever needing to reboot. The downside is, of course, that things start to feel old for a desktop system the farther away one gets from release.

I wanted newer packages and a newer kernel (yay more btrfs stuff) and since I’m not really that comfortable with Gentoo yet as a system for me to do my work on, I decided I would switch to Debian’s rolling release option called Sid. This is as simple as changing the word buster to sid in /etc/apt/sources.list and running an apt update && apt full-upgrade. Note that Debian sid is not really the intended way to run Debian, but it is still available and one just has to be completely aware of what they’re updating in case there’s a known bug that might mess something up. That means I have to break my sudo apt update && sudo apt -y upgrade habit.

In switching to Debian Sid, I also wanted to do complete re-installs on all of my computers. Over time they’ve become full of programs I tried once and forgot about, files I no longer really need, and, though they haven’t become slow or anything, it feels good to have a fresh start and get properly organized again. To make deploying a new Debian desktop system on all of my computers a lot easier and more hands-off, I created a deploy-system script which does pretty much everything I’d otherwise have to do manually when setting up a Debian desktop.

In addition to re-organizing my files, I’m also going to start using Syncthing to synchronize certain files between all of my computers. No more moving KeepassXC databases around with USB sticks for me. I’ll also have a cleaner home directory, and a re-organized file hierarchy that feels better. Reinstalling is fun.

This is my fifty-third post for the #100DaysToOffload challenge. You can learn more about this challenge over at https://100daystooffload.com.