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Debian GNU/Linux Reference Guide
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2.1.7 Debian distribution codenames

Physical directory names in the dists directory, such as sarge/ and etch/, are just "codenames". When a Debian distribution is in the development stage, it has no version number, but a codename instead. The purpose of these codenames is to make the mirroring of the Debian distributions easier (if a real directory like unstable suddenly changed its name to stable/, a lot of stuff would have to be needlessly downloaded again).

Currently, stable/ is a symbolic link to sarge/, and testing/ is a symbolic link to etch/. This means that Sarge is the current stable distribution and Etch is the current testing distribution.

unstable/ is a permanent symbolic link to sid/, as Sid is always the unstable distribution.

Debian GNU/Linux Reference Guide
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