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Debian GNU/Linux Reference Guide
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2.1.4 The testing distribution

Package entries for the testing distribution, Debian Etch, are recorded into the testing (symlink to etch/) directory after they have undergone some degree of testing in unstable. Now, in addition to the above locations, new physical packages are located under the pool directory (The pool directory, Section 2.1.10). There are also main, contrib, and non-free subdirectories in testing/, which serve the same functions as in stable/.

These packages must be in sync on all architectures where they have been built and must be installable; they must also have fewer release-critical bugs than the versions currently in unstable. This way, we hope that testing is always close to being a release candidate. More details of the testing mechanism are at

The latest status of the testing distribution is reported at these sites:

Debian GNU/Linux Reference Guide
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  Published under the terms of the GNU General Public License Design by Interspire