Get access to packages from the Debian unstable branch

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Originally by TcT and edited by frontalot and Hans-Gran Puke from linkstationwiki.org

Unstable Packages

It is often useful to have access to the Debian unstable branch because it has some interesting packages like PHP5 and rTorrent (a C++ Torrent client which is much less CPU intensive than the original bittorrent and also easier to use from console). Using the unstable packages saves you the time to compile these packages your self. The good thing is you don't have to change your whole installation to unstable you can simply use your stable or testing repository and just use the packages not in there from the unstable repository.

And it's easy

  1. Edit or create the file /etc/apt/apt.conf and add those 2 lines:
APT::Default-Release 
"stable";

Note: If you upgraded your distro to "testing", you'll want to use "testing" instead of "stable" here.

  1. Edit /etc/apt/sources.list and add the following lines:
deb http://ftp.freenet.de/debian/ unstable main 
deb-src http://ftp.freenet.de/debian/ unstable main

you can find alternates closer to you on the web, like for example those 2 lines:

deb http://http.us.debian.org/debian unstable main contrib non-free
deb-src http://http.us.debian.org/debian unstable main contrib non-free

are just as good !

  1. Replace ftp.freenet.de with any mirror you are using.
  2. Run apt-get update to update the list of packages. Now you can access the unstable packages. If you want to install or use rTorrent just type:
apt-get -t unstable install rtorrent

If you wish to grab the "testing" version, use

apt-get -t testing install rtorrent