I have Ubuntu 15.10.

I wanted to find out its Debian version, so I ran:

cat /etc/debian_version

and got jessie/sid.

I think "jessie" implies Debian 8 but I'm not sure what "sid" means. Googling it I found out that it means "unstable" distribution.

So what exactly do I have here? Unstable Debian 8?

  • 8
    You have Ubuntu 15.10. – Seth Feb 8 '16 at 21:34
  • 4
    cat /etc/os-release – blade19899 Feb 8 '16 at 21:37
  • lsb_release -a (apt-get install lsb-release) – pevik Feb 9 '16 at 9:55

No, you have a distribution which is based on Debian sid / unstable, which is the under development release of Debian.

This means that being under development Debian sid / unstable is not guaranteed to be stable at all times; it has a very fast update cycle and it's likely that an update could break stability.

It must be noted that one of the characteristics of Debian has always been striving for stability (in fact it's one of the most popular distributions for production servers); calling it "unstable" makes sense especially in the context of a rolling-release distribution model where the user should expect things to break suddenly.

But that's not what you're using, you're using a fork of Debian sid / unstable on which Canonical's developer worked to fix potential issues, potentially merging fixes released directly for Debian sid / unstable, in order to make a functional distribution.

Addin to this, it must be noted that the update cycle on Ubuntu is way different, slower and safer compared to Debian sid / unstable: updates are first uploaded to the dedicated "proposed" channel, they are tested for about a week or less and only then they're uploaded to the "updates" channel.

So you're using a distribution based on the under development release of Debian, on which someone has worked in order to make it useable by the end-user, which has a way different, slower and safer update cycle.

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  • 2
    Indeed, it would be very difficult to base Ubuntu on anything other than Sid, given that Ubuntu's release frequency is so much higher than that of Debian. It simply wouldn't be possible to start with stable and "roll forward" every six months; you'd be doing at least as much work as it takes to stabilize Sid, if not significantly more. Starting with testing might work, but not when it's frozen for an impending stable release. – Kevin Feb 9 '16 at 4:11
  • 1
    @xphilup If this answer helped you, remember that you may accept it as well. – kos Feb 10 '16 at 16:42

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