After Jessie is the official stable for Raspbian now, is it possible to run Raspbian testing on a RPi 2 without breaking the system?

I am fine with occasional hiccups, and fiddling with pre-inst or post-inst scripts if necessary, but if chances are high that I completely break the system, like esssential packages or dependencies missing, I'd rather not try.

3 Answers 3


I haven't noticed any problems.

I'm not sure how long I've been using stretch/sid (I just have testing in my /etc/apt/sources.list).

harry ~ $ cat /etc/os-release
PRETTY_NAME="Raspbian GNU/Linux stretch/sid"
NAME="Raspbian GNU/Linux"

harry ~ $ cat /etc/apt/sources.list
deb http://mirrordirector.raspbian.org/raspbian/ testing main contrib non-free rpi
  • 1
    Did you actually run a dist-upgrade? I doubt the whole system would have been upgraded without you noticing (from wheezy -> jessie took quite a bit of time, yes/no stuff, etc). I think apt may have changed os-release for its own mysterious reasons (maybe check the date on libc). I.e., you have access to the stretch repos, which is not the same thing as overhauling the whole shebang. I could be wrong.
    – goldilocks
    Oct 18, 2015 at 20:17
  • I have a script called update which calls apt-get update/upgrade/dist-upgrade/autoremove. I run it on an ad hoc basis - can't remember the last time - I've just launched it again.
    – joan
    Oct 18, 2015 at 20:27
  • Looking at this the difference between "upgrade" and "dist-upgrade" is ambiguous, but I just tried them from a jessie with stretch added to sources and the first one wants to add 45 MB, the second one 883 MB....I'm going through with the plain "upgrade" and it does include the stretch libc (2.19-22). os-release turns out to be in the "base-files" package.
    – goldilocks
    Oct 18, 2015 at 20:37
  • upgrade bumps your existing packages to their newest versions, while dist-upgrade also installs new packages and removes obsolete ones. The latter one is closer to a new install of the new distribution.
    – emk2203
    Oct 18, 2015 at 20:57
  • Well, that's what the docs imply. However, I diff'd the "following packages will be upgraded" list between the two and the dist-upgrade contains ~175 more packages (664 vs. 491); that does not include the "following NEW packages will be installed" (which there aren't any for upgrade, but 273 for dist, and none of them overlap the other list). Obviously those numbers are particular to the installation, but one kind of "upgrade" clearly covers more than the other. E.g., apt is on the dist-upgrade list, but it is not on the plain upgrade list.
    – goldilocks
    Oct 18, 2015 at 21:20

None of the answers previously presented here address the part "without braking your system".

If you look at the packages installed in Raspbian, you will notice that some of them come from a collection that are essentially the Debian package collection ported to armv6. However, another part of the packages are the Foundation's own created packages that come from another collection.

If you go and mix distributions by adding packages from testing with these other packages, there is a possibility that you end up in a situation where dependencies cannot be met. So, some package will not be able to install any version, or you might not be able to remove a package or whatever. In addition to that Debian's testing packages do contain more bugs and change quite rapidly (so the possibility of breakage is always eminent, even if it works now).

Testing packages also do not get security patches and backports from the security team, although the actual package managers might incorporate such updates into their own code.

Because of all of this, it is clearly better to use the older packages in the official repo, unless you have some packages that absolutely need to be of a newer version. In that case, it would be much more safer to backport only those packages by building the source against the official distribution's packages (if someone else has not already done it) than dist-upgrade to stretch/testing.


I updated a RPi B and a RPi 2 to stretch, both run for a few hours and then died overnight.

My own conclusion: Reinstall with Jessie and manual install of the couple of packages where I need a newer version. Stretch is not a good idea for more than a 15-minute test run.

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