My point of view is basically that if Etch works for you, it's stable all right. But if things aren't working quite right for your hardware in Debian's Stable release, you might want to start looking elsewhere
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Only in Lenny — with its newer GNOME tools — did Debian work well on the $0 Laptop (Gateway Solo 1450). And Lenny runs better on all my other boxes, too. I haven't had to turn back to Etch on any of my computers to get the best functionality I can out of Debian.