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I'm trying to understand how the Raspbian repositories are organized. Reading around in the forums and browsing the archive site I've understood that there is:

  • wheezy that refers to the wheezy distro
  • jessie that refers to the jessie distro, the last one for Raspbian

There are also the following ones:

  • stable (refers to jessie?)
  • stretch
  • testing
  • oldstable (refers to wheezy?)
  • *-staging

What are the stretch, testing and *-staging versions?

There is any relation with the one from Debian listed here?

  • Raspbian is based on Debian. Look at the Debian documentation for an explanation of the repositories. – joan Dec 26 '16 at 10:54
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Raspbian is based on Debian and its repositories share the same code names. Basically:

  • wheezy and wheezy-staging are Debian 7 (code name Wheezy)
  • jessie and jessie-staging are Debian 8 (code name Jessie)
  • stretch and stretch-staging are repositories for Debian 9 (code name Stretch)

Repositories for officially released versions contain latest stable release. Repositories with the -staging suffix contain Debian 7 and 8 backports introduced into staging, but not yet officially released.

Repositories for not yet official Stretch contain latest releases according to their release cycle.


Special names (most likely symbolic links on server side):

  • oldstable contains the same content as wheezy Debian 7 Wheezy
  • stable contains the same content as jessie Debian 8 Jessie
  • testing contains the same content as stretch Debian 9 Stretch, there's an explanation on Debian Wiki how it came to being:

    This release started as a copy of jessie, and is currently in a state called testing. This means that things should not break as badly as in unstable or experimental distributions, because packages are allowed to enter this distribution only after a certain period of time has passed, and when they don't have any release-critical bugs filed against them.

    Please note that security updates for testing distribution are not yet managed by the security team. Hence, testing does not get security updates in a timely manner. You are encouraged to switch your sources.list entries from testing to jessie for the time being if you need security support. See also the entry in the Security Team's FAQ for the testing distribution.

Raspbian follows suit.


Each directory contains a Release text file containing description of the repository and its contents. For example the top of Release for jessie looks like:

Origin: Raspbian
Label: Raspbian
Suite: stable
Codename: jessie
Date: Sat, 24 Dec 2016 22:16:29 UTC
Architectures: armhf
Components: main contrib non-free rpi firmware
Description: Debian armhf testing distribution for Raspberry Pi
MD5Sum:
 12cc500e77458577d74c1b7ca9dc2495 46783235 main/binary-armhf/Packages
 3a5b29b8ee151a01bd9937e5ddd6a72f 12472162 main/binary-armhf/Packages.gz
 ...

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