Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Opinion: Debian - It Just Works

I will preface this little cheerleading session with a couple of comments:
  • if you can run Linux, you can run Debian.
  • if you understand the basic Linux 'way of doing things' - that is, package managers, installing software, going to the community for answers to questions, a bit of terminal magic in the odd sticky moment - then you can run Debian.
Why would you? It's Linux. It's Open source. It's non-commercial. It's community supported. It just works.

Debian is one of the 'upstream' distributions: many other derivative distro's use it as a source which they then customise to produce their own distinctive flavour - Ubuntu being the most famous.

Yes, Debian is rather conservative; sometimes it takes a while for new technologies to find their way into the stable release. But here's a thing; Debian is available as a conservative 'stable' release and as a more cutting-edge 'testing' release. You take your choice as to which one you want to play with.

The benefit is that under Stable, you won’t get alpha or beta version software in the Stable release, even the Testing release is pretty robust. Yes, the GUI package manager is no-frills basic, but I quite like that.

Of course, being Linux, if you absolutely have to use a newer package, you can get it from upstream or developer PPA's. In fact, whatever software you want is available as an installable .deb package somewhere.

Want a particular desktop? Not a problem; if Gnome-Shell isn't your thing you can go Gnome-2, MATE, Cinnamon, LXDE, Xfce, KDE and probably Gingham Tablecloth (okay, I made that one up).

And if you need solutions, there's the Debian mailing list, forums and all those for derivative distros such as Ubuntu and Arch forums to give you ideas.

What has really impressed, however, is how little I've had to resort to any of these in the first month of full time Debian.

Without crashes. Seriously. Ubuntu 12.04, 12.10 and 13.04 throw up the crash reporter at least four times a day. Debian (so far) is bliss.

It just works. RC


  1. Great subject for a Full Circle side-podcast. Hang on - it's not pro-Ubuntu, so it probably won't qualify! If Ronnie approves though, it'd be be a(nother) good episode.

  2. Arch is a Debian derivative? wat


At least try to be nice, it won't kill you...