Posted Jul 16, 2012 16:51 UTC (Mon) by marduk (subscriber, #3831)
Parent article: Left by Rawhide
You should take a good look at Gentoo. Gentoo, IMO, offers the best of both worlds (well, 3 world). Where they have "stable" "testing" and "overlay" (or 3rd party) repositories for software.
For example, if you are GNOME user in the stable tree you are running gnome 2.32. If you are in the testing tree you are using GNOME 3.4 (well, most of it). And if you are on the gnome overlay you are running some parts of 3.5. Best off, you can mix and match these (to some degree). Let's say you want to run GNOME 3 but want to stick with a "stable" kernel, you can do that. Gentoo also keeps multiple versions of the same package at a time, so it essentially allows you to "downgrade" certain packages. For example, a few days ago I updated to gtk-3.5 and discovered it broke a lot of things that my mostly GNOME 3.4 system utilized. I simply "masked" the 3.5* versions of gtk and then did an update, and it downgraded me to the latest gtk-3.4*. When I feel safe/brave, I can later unmask gtk-3.5 and try it again.
It also allows you to experiment with stuff and go back fairly easily. For example I wanted to play with systemd so I changed some USE flags and converted my system to systemd, rebooted my system and there I was running a systemd. I did live with systemd for a few days until i decided there were still some things that needed work (e.g. sometimes when I boot I cannot log in... it seems like some services are not being started or starting in the wrong order). So I'm giving up on systemd for now, went back to Gentoo's openrc (I just created a new USE file for systemd, so I just had to move that file out of the way), reboot again, and I'm back on openrc. I'll try systemd in another month or so once the devs have it better integrated.
You can also stick with a mostly stable system but run a few things from the unstable tree (e.g. you always want the latest Postgres of the latest Firefox). You can even run "live" ebuilds (packages that pull straight from upstream's vcs and builds them on-the-fly) if you are brave.
Gentoo makes this all easy (well, easy if you now Gentoo). And you start to feel more like *you* are in control of what's on your system instead of what the distro's developers or some build bot decides you're going to be running.