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Happy Birthday, Debian!

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the impossibly-worthwhile dept.

Debian 172

An anonymous reader writes with word that as of today, the Debian project — one of the first distros, and still going strong, not to mention parent or grandparent of many other distros — is 19 years old. "Quoting from the official project history: 'The Debian Project was officially founded by Ian Murdock on August 16th, 1993. At that time, the whole concept of a 'distribution' of Linux was new. Ian intended Debian to be a distribution which would be made openly, in the spirit of Linux and GNU.' Send an appreciation message: http://thanks.debian.net/."

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Debian (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41017359)

That's some pretty good stuff.

Re:Debian (5, Insightful)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 2 years ago | (#41017655)

Debian lasted at least 4 years longer than Ian and Deb.

It's still the good stuff. My god. A distro you could boot from a 3.5 installer, and have ftp'd the world onto a DEC Alpha Multia VX42. :-) That was in '95, so I was hauling over ISDN. It beat getting Slackware as 1.44 MB disk images off of bitnet/DELPHI at 14Kbps.

Re:Debian (2)

grcumb (781340) | more than 2 years ago | (#41018289)

That's some pretty good stuff.

Pretty good, indeed. I've used Debian on my servers since 1998, and I love it.

If that's what being a freetard means, then I'm proud to be one.

Fun! (1, Offtopic)

Bodhammer (559311) | more than 2 years ago | (#41017363)

I got my Raspbery Pi yesterday.

Salute Debian!
FP!

Re:Fun! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41017469)

Can't you leave the fucking Raspberry Pi out of it for one day? Do you have to usurp Debian's birthday to hype your underpowered computer surrogate?

Re:Fun! (1)

Bodhammer (559311) | more than 2 years ago | (#41017617)

Silence, pagen windows user! Go back to your multi-core, hyper-threaded godless monstrosities and do not speak ill of the closeness of the OS to the hardware at a cheap price!

Re:Fun! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41017659)

underpowered computer surrogate

Somebody didn't get a degree in Computer Science...

Better than Arch? (2)

bored_engineer (951004) | more than 2 years ago | (#41017409)

I suppose that it's long past time that I installed Debian. I've fought through Gentoo army of config files, gone through RPM hell with Red Hat and Mandrake, hacked at the jungle thicket of Fedora and swam in the cool waters of Arch. I've tried two Debian-based distributions, but never install Debian. Does it offer any real advantage over Arch?

Re:Better than Arch? (4, Interesting)

mirix (1649853) | more than 2 years ago | (#41017445)

I greatly prefer apt over yum, but that might just be what I'm used to.

Everything just feels wrong when I'm stuck with arch.

Re:Better than Arch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41017763)

I started with YUM before I tried APT. I find they have different strengths. YUM, for example, has a much nicer syntax, has simple, easy to read output and its manual pages are better. APT has more options and is faster at processing and does a better job of separating cache and repository data. I think APT is probably better technically, once one gets used to it, but YUM is easier to learn.

Re:Better than Arch? (2)

Tough Love (215404) | more than 2 years ago | (#41018019)

I greatly prefer apt over yum, but that might just be what I'm used to.

Everything just feels wrong when I'm stuck with arch.

Apt has better fit and finish. For example, the default for "do you want to install what you just asked for" is yes in Apt, no in Yum.

Re:Better than Arch? (1)

jon3k (691256) | more than 2 years ago | (#41019879)

How does that work when it decides to throw in a bunch of additional dependencies? I always assumed that's why the default for Fedora was to ask, admittedly it does seem redundant when you install a single package that required no dependency.

Re:Better than Arch? (1)

drjones78 (961270) | more than 2 years ago | (#41019963)

alias yum="yum -y" Anyhow, I wouldn't call that "fit and finish" - I'd call it a poor design decision, if indeed that's how apt-get actually works - but if memory serves it does not though, and it prompts you before actually installing packages.

Re:Better than Arch? (1)

unixisc (2429386) | more than 2 years ago | (#41020647)

How is pacman compared to either apt or yum?

Re:Better than Arch? (4, Interesting)

KazW (1136177) | more than 2 years ago | (#41017511)

I use Arch on simple/embedded systems only, when using it for something more complex like a desktop, updates tend to break it quite frequently. I used Arch for 12 months on my desktop and for 9 of those months I had to live with bugs that I just didn't have the time to fix. Arch is great, but there's no QC, whereas with Debian you may not get the latest version, but at least your system will be stable.

To summarize, it's a trade off between stability and having the latest version of packages.

Re:Better than Arch? (2)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 2 years ago | (#41017865)

And if you want the latest newfangled code, enable some of the more adventurous repos and install from them.

Re:Better than Arch? (5, Interesting)

Sipper (462582) | more than 2 years ago | (#41017817)

I suppose that it's long past time that I installed Debian. I've fought through Gentoo army of config files, gone through RPM hell with Red Hat and Mandrake, hacked at the jungle thicket of Fedora and swam in the cool waters of Arch. I've tried two Debian-based distributions, but never install Debian. Does it offer any real advantage over Arch?

Just recently I tried the top 25 free software distributions [as measured by distrowatch.com], one of which was Arch. I have to say Arch was one of the distros I found fun to play with -- the only thing I think is missing is a simple graphical installer. The first set of instructions I found on the Arch website weren't complete concerning the Grub2 install, leading to install and bootup failures, but the "Beginner's Guide" has complete instrcutions for the install. Package installation under arch is super fast. I couldn't get audio working in the VM I was installing it in, but other than that I really liked it.

And I tried Gentoo as well, and I found it just as hateful as I found it in 2003, if not more so. The "install", or shoud I say the compile, took three solid days to install a base system + a base install of KDE 4.8. The 'emerge' command often ran into dependency hell, forcing the use of several switches like 'emerge --newuser --update --deep (package)'. Anytime the USE flags get updated Gentoo wants you to 'emerge @world' to recompile the whole system again, and of course the instructions for intalling KDE4 has you modify the USE flags. I really do love a lot of the documentation I can get from the Gentoo project, but in terms of running it as a distro I want to keep it as far away from me as I can, because frankly I think it's insane.

Debian has a graphical installer, and you can choose several Desktop Environments right at the very start of the install menu. I think it's the only distro (or one of very few) that shows all of the choices of languages in their own native written language rather than the list being all in English. Debian is also the basis for a long list of other distros -- out of the top 25, 12 are Debian derivatives. IMHO the best feature Debian has is the ability to upgrade-in-place -- so you never have to do a reinstall to keep it up-to-date unless you want to. Debian has a lot of developer support behind the project, most of whom are free software purists -- which is generally a good thing. It's one of the very few distros that are based solely on donations and have no private corporation behind them. If you want to know more about Debian, my first suggestion is to watch an intro video given by Bdale Garbee from DebConf11 which I think was well spoken and informative:
        http://penta.debconf.org/dc11_schedule/events/804.en.html [debconf.org]

I don't know enough about Arch to give a fair comparison between it and Debian; all I can say for the moment is that I've been running Debian for 13 years, and that in the very limited time I've spent with Arch I've been impressed with it.

The distributions I liked in testing them: Linux Mint Debian, Fedora 17, openSuSE, Debian, Arch, Pear Linux 5 (appearance of Mac OS X), SnowLinux 2 "Ice", and the DVD version of Knoppix 7.03. Distros I did not like: Ubuntu 12.04 (3D, Unity GUI), Mageia 2, PCLinuxOS (only "rpm" lines in /etc/apt/sources.list), Ultimate 3.4 (3D), Gentoo (insane long compiles), Fuduntu (yucky package installer), SolusOS (yucky package installer).

Re:Better than Arch? (-1, Troll)

colsandurz45 (1314477) | more than 2 years ago | (#41018041)

It doesn't sound like you really know how to use gentoo based on what you're saying. I've built KDE and a system from scratch and it doesn't take one day let alone three. Also, don't set USE flags system wid unless you know you want to, that's what /etc/portage/package.use is for. And by the way, there's no newuser switch, it's newuse, as in new use flag.

Don't bash it just because you can't take the time to read the handbook and figure out how to use it.

Gentoo's not for everyone, certainly not you.

Re:Better than Arch? (5, Insightful)

Sipper (462582) | more than 2 years ago | (#41018535)

It doesn't sound like you really know how to use gentoo based on what you're saying. I've built KDE and a system from scratch and it doesn't take one day let alone three.

No, it really took three full days for the base system + base KDE4 within a VM. I used the instralll instructions from Gentoo's website.
      http://www.gentoo.org/proj/en/desktop/kde/kde4-guide.xml [gentoo.org]

Also, don't set USE flags system wid unless you know you want to, that's what /etc/portage/package.use is for.

See the link above; the instructions has one change the USE flags, and then has one run 'emerge -uDNav world'.

You're correct that the USE flag was --newuse and not --newuser. Your comment otherwise was quite rude. Surely using elitism isn't going to help the Gentoo project.

What is the problem with corporate help? (1)

JOrgePeixoto (853808) | more than 2 years ago | (#41018355)

It's one of the very few distros that are based solely on donations and have no private corporation behind them.

I see no problem with some corporation being associated with the project. If there are reasonable rules, and if the project has a reasonably open governance, corporate help is welcome.

Re:What is the problem with corporate help? (4, Interesting)

Sipper (462582) | more than 2 years ago | (#41018697)

It's one of the very few distros that are based solely on donations and have no private corporation behind them.

I see no problem with some corporation being associated with the project. If there are reasonable rules, and if the project has a reasonably open governance, corporate help is welcome.

To an extent it's fine, but the corporation usually ends up steering the project to some extent. For instance is Ubuntu more community-driven or Cononical driven? Is Fedora community-driven, or is it a platform for developing RHEL? What about Oracle? For instance when I think of Ubuntu, I ask the question "Who made the choice of the 3D Unity interface? Was it the community or was it Cononical?"

Corporations often have different needs than a home user does. Debian, for instance, contains a bunch of niche packages like those used by Amateur Radio operators. These are things you're not likely to see in an "Enterprise" distribution. So what you get as a user does differ depending on who is directing the distribution development. This doesn't make choosing an "Enterprise" distribution wrong of course -- it might be what you need.

We are protected by the fear of forks (2)

JOrgePeixoto (853808) | more than 2 years ago | (#41019905)

I see no problem with some corporation being associated with the project. If there are reasonable rules, and if the project has a reasonably open governance, corporate help is welcome.

To an extent it's fine, but the corporation usually ends up steering the project to some extent. For instance is Ubuntu more community-driven or Cononical driven?

Since it is open source, we can always fork it. And normally the fear of forks will stop the corporation from acting too badly - doing evil to open source software does not pay.

In the case of Canonical, we have an additional assurance: it is a private company, which does not have a fiduciary duty to maximize profits. It was founded by Mark Shuttleworth, who is a nice guy and was a Debian Developer.

In the case of Ubuntu, the "evil" was selecting Unity as default. However, Xfce, LXDE, KDE and others are still available, and they are working on GNOBuntu (with the full Gnome, including the Gnome Shell). Despite the hate you see on Slashdot, Ubuntu is still the number 1 distribution - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ubuntu_(operating_system)#Installed_base [wikipedia.org] .

And, personally, I use Unity and like it just fine.

Re:We are protected by the fear of forks (1)

Sipper (462582) | more than 2 years ago | (#41020357)

I see no problem with some corporation being associated with the project. If there are reasonable rules, and if the project has a reasonably open governance, corporate help is welcome.

To an extent it's fine, but the corporation usually ends up steering the project to some extent. For instance is Ubuntu more community-driven or Cononical driven?

Since it is open source, we can always fork it. And normally the fear of forks will stop the corporation from acting too badly - doing evil to open source software does not pay.

In the case of Canonical, we have an additional assurance: it is a private company, which does not have a fiduciary duty to maximize profits. It was founded by Mark Shuttleworth, who is a nice guy and was a Debian Developer.

Yes, I met him in person during DebConf10. Very friendly guy; I saw his talk on the Unity interface. I think the Debian developers have sort of an interesting like(--)standoffish relationship with Mark Shuttleworth. My impression was that he's well respected in the Debian community at the same time that many wish his efforts were in Debian rather than Ubuntu. [Nobody actually voiced this though.]

In the case of Ubuntu, the "evil" was selecting Unity as default. However, Xfce, LXDE, KDE and others are still available, and they are working on GNOBuntu (with the full Gnome, including the Gnome Shell). Despite the hate you see on Slashdot, Ubuntu is still the number 1 distribution - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ubuntu_(operating_system)#Installed_base [wikipedia.org] .

And, personally, I use Unity and like it just fine.

Well, Canonical also pulled the funding of Kubuntu back in February.
      http://news.slashdot.org/story/12/02/07/0143224/canonical-pulls-kubuntu-personnel-funding [slashdot.org]

On http://distrowatch.com/ [distrowatch.com] Ubuntu is #2 behind Linux Mint. Mint has two versions, one based on Ubuntu and one based on Debian -- and I believe it's the one based on Ubuntu that is most popular, which comes with either MATE, Cinnamon (Gnome2-like interface), KDE, or Xfde. Since Mint 13 is most popular, it's clear that many others don't like the Unity interface. :-P [So in effect I agree with you, just in a slightly different way.]

Re:We are protected by the fear of forks (1)

unixisc (2429386) | more than 2 years ago | (#41020669)

I believe that the one that is based on Debian is aimed more @ servers, than @ desktops. Instead of deriving their server version from Ubuntu, Mint went straight w/ Debian

Cononical? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41020031)

Are you being humours with the "con" (ironical? ;-)) or can't you spell canonical? Do you know what the word means? If not, it's particularly ironic given the content of your post.

"Canonical is the adjective for canon, literally a 'rule', and has come to mean also 'standard', 'typical', or 'unique distinguished exemplar'." - Wikipedia

Re:Cononical? (1)

Sipper (462582) | more than 2 years ago | (#41020367)

Are you being humours with the "con" (ironical? ;-)) or can't you spell canonical?

:-P Apparently it's that I can't spell Canonical.

Do you know what the word means? If not, it's particularly ironic given the content of your post.

"Canonical is the adjective for canon, literally a 'rule', and has come to mean also 'standard', 'typical', or 'unique distinguished exemplar'." - Wikipedia

Haha! Nice -- thanks for pointing out that irony. Sort of fitting. :-P

Re:What is the problem with corporate help? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#41019065)

If there are reasonable rules, and if the project has a reasonably open governance, corporate help is welcome.

Distributions are people, my friend.

Re:What is the problem with corporate help? (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 2 years ago | (#41019677)

corporate help is fine, i'm sure plenty of corps have helped debian over the years.

corporate dominance OTOH worries me. I'd rather have the descisions about the distro I use argued over by a community than made to fit one corporations needs or wishes possiblly at the expensive of everyone else. Afaict fedora and ubuntu both have some community involvement in the descision making processes but one coroporation (canonical for ubuntu, redhat for fedora) has the ultimate power.

Re:Better than Arch? (1)

adolf (21054) | more than 2 years ago | (#41019181)

I've been running Gentoo for years on at least a box or two. It's nice to be able to compile some things the way you want them, instead of how some dissociated package maintainer thinks you want them.

I generally do a stage 3 install, which goes very quickly. My install goes like this: Boot Knoppix, partition and format, wget the appropriate stage, pipe that directly into tar (skipping the disk), and then do the same with portage. A chroot and some mounting of /proc and such later, simply configure lilo (or grub or whatever), and reboot: Working box, in just slightly longer time than it took to download the binaries.

And since the install procedure is all within Knoppix, one still has a very functional computer to use while all of this is happening.

One side-effect of Gentoo is that one might be lead to configure a bunch of hosts to run distcc to speed up compiles, and that makes compiling other things faster, too -- having a compile farm is handy from time to time for all sorts of stuff unrelated to Gentoo.

Re:Better than Arch? (2)

Slamtilt (17405) | more than 2 years ago | (#41019617)

. IMHO the best feature Debian has is the ability to upgrade-in-place -- so you never have to do a reinstall to keep it up-to-date unless you want to.

Indeed, I have installations of Debian that are 13 years old. They've been through multiple hardware revisions, and are now virtualized, but apt-get dist-upgrade has done the trick all this time.

However, technical achievements aside, it's Debian's policy that's the real star.

Re:Better than Arch? (1)

Sipper (462582) | more than 2 years ago | (#41019717)

. IMHO the best feature Debian has is the ability to upgrade-in-place -- so you never have to do a reinstall to keep it up-to-date unless you want to.

Indeed, I have installations of Debian that are 13 years old. They've been through multiple hardware revisions, and are now virtualized, but apt-get dist-upgrade has done the trick all this time.

However, technical achievements aside, it's Debian's policy that's the real star.

For the most part I agree concerning Policy, but there are lots of niche areas that Policy doesn't currently cover. To give you an idea of what I mean, there's a whole lot of discussion going on right now on [debian-devel] concerning:

    - packages with same binary names in different directories [/usr/sbin vs /usr/bin]
    - possibly merging /bin with /usr/bin, possibly merging /sbin with /usr/sbin
    - policy issues concerning different init systems [file-rc, systemd, upstart, openrc]
    - issues with who gets to choose what the default desktop environment will be

So Debian's Policy covers a lot, but there's still enough wiggle room in it that vigorous debates on lots of such topics are commonplace, and these end up changing Policy some. As a "normal user" we end up seeing the results as sweeping changes that comes down, like the switch from devfs to udev.

So rather than put my faith in Policy, generally I put my faith in "the Debian people". Because the excellent results are due to the efforts of the developers themselves, rather than due solely to the Policy that they work under. ;-)

Re:Better than Arch? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41019737)

"Anytime the USE flags get updated Gentoo wants you to 'emerge @world' to recompile the whole system again..."

No, you'll just need to recompile the packages affected by the USE flag changes:

emerge --newuse --deep @world

If you're building Chromium, or OO.Org from source on hardware built five years ago, system updates in Gentoo are a bit slow. But, Gentoo is fantastic for doing dev work. More often than not, I'll find that "apt-get build-deps" (or whatever it is that installs the *-dev packages that are required to build a package in the tree from source) just doesn't work. In gentoo: "emerge --only-deps $PACKAGE" *always* works. :)

Re:Better than Arch? (1)

Sipper (462582) | more than 2 years ago | (#41020107)

"Anytime the USE flags get updated Gentoo wants you to 'emerge @world' to recompile the whole system again..."

No, you'll just need to recompile the packages affected by the USE flag changes:

emerge --newuse --deep @world

Ah. Okay -- on that I stand corrected, then -- and I appologize for propagating misinformation.
Thanks.

If you're building Chromium, or OO.Org from source on hardware built five years ago, system updates in Gentoo are a bit slow. But, Gentoo is fantastic for doing dev work. More often than not, I'll find that "apt-get build-deps" (or whatever it is that installs the *-dev packages that are required to build a package in the tree from source) just doesn't work. In gentoo: "emerge --only-deps $PACKAGE" *always* works. :)

Debian these days uses an automated build system; part of the reason is to catch issues where "apt-get build-dep (package)" doesn't pull in all of the required "-dev" development packages required to build the source package. This was done because otherwise there were too many "FTBFS" (Fails To Build From Source) problems like you're describing. IIRC I think this might have been something Ubuntu did first and then Debian picked up on sometime later.

The "figuring out which -dev packages to install" is still an issue for normal non-Debian source compiles, though. BTW if you end up using a Debian box for development again sometime, check out the 'checkinstall' package, as what it does is interesting. In the "normal" manual software installation steps of 1) ./configure 2) make 3) make install, you just change step 3 to "checkinstall make install" and what checkinstall does is make a fake Debian package containing the list of files that were installed, so that dpkg won't trample them. :-)

Re:Better than Arch? (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#41019895)

I say the compile, took three solid days

X is pretty huge and I'll bet it didn't just do the drivers you need but all of X - then there's KDE and a pile of apps there, I'll bet openoffice was in there too, so it comes down to Gentoo not being fine grained enough to cope with that situation with the options you told it to do (or not clearly telling you the consequences of your choices). I've been there, done that with a little slow fanless VIA system that could actually benefit from specific compiler flags so Gentoo actually made some difference, and it was more than one day to get what I wanted even though I didn't go overboard and went for fluxbox instead of gnome or kde. Package management is there in all the other distros to avoid such annoyances and in most cases the stuff is compiled to take full advantage of whatever CPU you have anyway.
It should have said on the tin that Gentoo is all about insanely long compiles, but it's there in the docs if you look hard enough (eg. instructions on cross compilation for older hardware imply that it's going to take a very long time, so it gives you the option to do stuff on another faster machine instead). I played with it for a bit but that little slow box has Fedora on it now and a only a few things I've put on from source are actually optimised for that CPU. When you think about it the only times you really care about what the CPU is doing is in a very small number of appications that run it flat out and not the kernel, not X and not the window manager. Just compile gimp, vlc, firefox or whatever to use the hardware as well as it can run and you'd probably get all of the benefits of Gentoo on odd hardware, and if it's not odd hardware they'll just be a binary package that will do it just as well for you anyway.

Re:Better than Arch? (1)

Sipper (462582) | more than 2 years ago | (#41020281)

I say the compile, took three solid days

X is pretty huge and I'll bet it didn't just do the drivers you need but all of X - then there's KDE and a pile of apps there, I'll bet openoffice was in there too, so it comes down to Gentoo not being fine grained enough to cope with that situation with the options you told it to do (or not clearly telling you the consequences of your choices).

I followed
      http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/xorg-config.xml [gentoo.org]
and I decided to use 'emerge -pv xorg-drivers'. I was not able to get X to start afterwards. Not a big deal; I ended up using ssh and X forward to do the testing I needed to do. If I was really interested in running Gentoo I probably would have created an xorg.conf file in /etc/X11 and manually set the video driver to either vesa or vmware, but after three days of compiling I was impatient to get the testing I needed to do over with. :-P

I've been there, done that with a little slow fanless VIA system that could actually benefit from specific compiler flags so Gentoo actually made some difference, and it was more than one day to get what I wanted even though I didn't go overboard and went for fluxbox instead of gnome or kde. Package management is there in all the other distros to avoid such annoyances and in most cases the stuff is compiled to take full advantage of whatever CPU you have anyway.
It should have said on the tin that Gentoo is all about insanely long compiles, but it's there in the docs if you look hard enough (eg. instructions on cross compilation for older hardware imply that it's going to take a very long time, so it gives you the option to do stuff on another faster machine instead). I played with it for a bit but that little slow box has Fedora on it now and a only a few things I've put on from source are actually optimised for that CPU. When you think about it the only times you really care about what the CPU is doing is in a very small number of appications that run it flat out and not the kernel, not X and not the window manager. Just compile gimp, vlc, firefox or whatever to use the hardware as well as it can run and you'd probably get all of the benefits of Gentoo on odd hardware, and if it's not odd hardware they'll just be a binary package that will do it just as well for you anyway.

The three-day compile was in a VirtualBox VM using both cores of a 2.5 GHz Core2Duo with 1024 MB of RAM dedicated to the VM. There's an irony in running Gentoo in that the reason given to run it is "speed", but to get that speed requires lots of compiling, which is slow.

There must be a way of installing pre-build binaries with Gentoo, as I've heard rumor of it, but I didn't find it myself. Probably a command-line switch to 'emerge'. If I end up running Gentoo again I'll try to figure that out. ;-)

Re:Better than Arch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41017839)

If you want bleeding edge, Arch is better, but expect to bleed occasionally. This is probably OK for your desktop if you have a resonable amount of time but not for a server, or a work station than needs to get out of your way.

If it needs to "just work", then you install debian stable. Its possibly the most rock solid distro there is and its many peoples go to choice for servers. The packages will get out of date eventually, so if you like to keep up with the latest and greatest, it may not be for you. Still, it does have backports and the testing repos for a semi-middle ground on the desktop, so it depends on your needs.

Re:Better than Arch? (1)

Xtifr (1323) | more than 2 years ago | (#41019117)

If you want bleeding edge, Arch is better, but expect to bleed occasionally.

Really? Better than Debian Unstable? Which is what I've been running for over a dozen years now, with very little bleedage.

Not that long ago, pretty much all Debian Developers ran unstable, because you pretty much had to in order to be able to build and upload new packages. Which meant that there was a lot of incentive not to break things too badly. Now, a lot of them are using VMs or chroot jails, but I think the habit of keeping Unstable fairly solid and reliable persists.

Re:Better than Arch? (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 2 years ago | (#41020733)

I'm finding that my interest in Node.js dev has me leaning that way...

Re:Better than Arch? (5, Informative)

chmod a+x mojo (965286) | more than 2 years ago | (#41017907)

Well, the main selling point for me personally ( used Debian since sarge went stable all those years ago ) is the 3 prong "pick your poison" software model they have. You can either have:
stable - rock solid, very few bugs, what bugs there are are usually not anything major. Can now be kept a little bit more up to date with debian-backports.
testing - except for the feature freeze just before a new stable is released it's basically a "rolling release" with at the very least minimal testing for bugs. Unstable has had no bug reports against packages that go into testing for 2+ weeks. Generally Testing is as stable as any other distributions stable branch while retaining relatively up to date software.
Unstable / SID - bleading edge stuff, pretty much a true "rolling release", gets hardware support the quickest while still retaining full to near full system sanity. As the Debian devs say though, if sid breaks you get to keep the pieces. Breaks a lot of times are on big desktop updates like KDE 3.x > 4.x not having ALL depends uploaded yet , less likely for core components, so you have to watch what exactly is going on with your own system. Some people have had SID run for years with only minor problems.

That and APT, I have had much better luck with dependency tracking with APT than with yum / yast. The only thing that I have run with better depends tracking was portage... but that gets old real fast when you realize you forgot an important USE flag.

Re:Better than Arch? (4, Informative)

Tough Love (215404) | more than 2 years ago | (#41018003)

I've tried two Debian-based distributions, but never install Debian. Does it offer any real advantage over Arch?

Armies of highly commited package maintainers?

Re:Better than Arch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41018209)

Arch is a rolling release distribution, which means often times packages are broken (I've had cases where a package was upgraded, but it relied on a newer library than was available: good job, maintainers!) Arch also has random breakage when they do major changes (package signing, kernel package renaming, glibc upgrading, etc.).

Debian stable is great, but old. Debian testing has been stable, in my experience. Definitely more so than Arch.

However, Debian's init scripts are shit. I guess if you like the complete symlink/directory hell that is SysV, it's for you, but I absolutely detest it.

Debian also has the stupid policy of starting services when you install packages, and RESTARTING services when you upgrade packages. Plus re-enabling the service on boot, even if you've disabled this. Ask on a Debian mailing list/forum why there is this braindead behavior, and you'll be told that you want services to start up, otherwise you wouldn't have installed them. Which is bullshit, of course. I have a project that needs to start dhcpcd itself. Having it start on boot BREAKS things. But clearly I don't want it to be uninstalled. Way to think about use cases other than your own narrow experience.

In short, though, I think I'd rather run Debian, if I had to choose between the two. At least it doesn't break every month or so. You just have to get used to its stupidities (which includes its package mantainers).

Re:Better than Arch? (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 2 years ago | (#41019691)

For your service startup issue I belive the fix is to rename the S symlink to a K symlink rather than removing it completely. Not sure where I learnt this though.

Re:Better than Arch? (1)

deek (22697) | more than 2 years ago | (#41019805)

I run Debian Testing on my work PC, and never had any issues with it, so I agree that it's quite stable. I've even selectively installed some experimental packages (i.e a more recent version of iceweasel), and it all works flawlessly.

If you're sick of the SysV init system, Debian does have systemd available for use. There are a few issues with it, but they're pretty well documented at http://wiki.debian.org/systemd [debian.org] . I like the SysV system myself, but I'm going to dabble with systemd, just to see how well it starts services in parallel.

You can stop Debian services from auto-starting after upgrade or install. It's not pretty or intuitive, but it does the job. Create a file called /usr/sbin/policy-rc.d, and put in the line "exit 101". Make it executable. Your deb install scripts will not automatically restart services now. This will prevent use of the invoke-rc.d command, which the install scripts use to restart services.

I've never seen Debian re-enable a service that has been removed from the relevant rc.d directory. Very strange! A possible workaround would be to immediately disable the service via the rc.local script, but that's a bit of a hack. The proper solution would be to work with the process that is re-enabling dhcpd. I can't think of anything off the top of my head that would be responsible for this, though.

The Debian package maintainers are a decent bunch. I've generally had good experiences with dealing with them. Should probably look at maintaining a package myself, just to contribute back to the system.

Re:Better than Arch? (1)

unixisc (2429386) | more than 2 years ago | (#41020653)

Ironically, Arch & Debian are the only 2 who are doing HURD. I wonder whether Arch is doing any BSDs

Not the first,but the first to get packaging right (5, Interesting)

jemenake (595948) | more than 2 years ago | (#41017451)

There were others before it: RedHat, Slackware, etc. But I remember when I first tried to install some packages after initially installing it.
I had been used to RedHat, where you'd try to install a package, it would complain about dependencies, and then you'd have to surf the web for someone who had an RPM for that dependency... hopefully a suitable version. FTP it. Try to install that. Of course, that would fail because it, too, had unmet dependencies. So, you'd write down all the stuff that needed and start searching for those... and their dependencies.

When it was all over, you had blown about 3-4 hours and you had about 2 pages of scribbled notes of package names, indented by their order of dependence, crossed out as you installed them.

I think I heard angels singing when I first tried to install something with Debian. It found all of the dependencies (recursing through the entire dependency tree), told me that it was going to go download them all in one shot, and then *did* it. I have not (voluntarily) used anything other than Debian/Ubuntu since.

This kind of package management is taken for granted today, just like so many features in the first iPhone are considered standard on any smartphone. We forget how all of the stuff before it now looks like the stone age.

Debian, we all owe a huge debt to your parents for conceiving you.

Re:Not the first,but the first to get packaging ri (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41017555)

RedHat wasn't released until November 1994, almost a year *after* Debian.

Re:Not the first,but the first to get packaging ri (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#41017847)

Read the title too

Re:Not the first,but the first to get packaging ri (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41017591)

Wrong. Among all the linux distributions, only Slackware is older than Debian, just a couple of months.

Re:Not the first,but the first to get packaging ri (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41017721)

There was also Yggrasil Linux, started in 1992, but it is not alive any more.

Re:Not the first,but the first to get packaging ri (2)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 2 years ago | (#41017915)

There was also Yggrasil Linux, started in 1992, but it is not alive any more.

Yggdrasil. Use the Norse Luke!

Re:Not the first,but the first to get packaging ri (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41018099)

Yggdrasil is the first Linux distro I ever touched. I bought it at a MarketPro computer show along with a thick book with a bunch with a bunch of printed HOWTOs in it. IIRC it was quite bad but then these were pre-1.0 kernel days so things were very, very different then.

Re:Not the first,but the first to get packaging ri (1)

heezer7 (708308) | more than 2 years ago | (#41017605)

Your RPM/Debian conversion is exactly what I remember going through. Also converted and never looked back.

Re:Not the first,but the first to get packaging ri (1)

SolitaryMan (538416) | more than 2 years ago | (#41017869)

Yet another one here.

Another problem is that these were the ages of under 1GB hard drives you always had to clean up. With RPM you ended up installing all libraries imaginable, just so you don't have to search for packages online. That cost a lot in hard drive space.

Re:Not the first,but the first to get packaging ri (-1, Offtopic)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#41017743)

>>>There were others before Debian [April 1993]: RedHat, Slackware, etc..... I had been used to RedHat, where you'd try to install a package, it would complain about dependencies..... you'd have to surf the web for someone who had an RPM for that dependency...

The web?
In 1992?
Hmmm.
Maybe you met the Usenet or Fidonet or online BBSes.

The disease was called (1)

future assassin (639396) | more than 2 years ago | (#41018063)

RPM hell

Re:The disease was called (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41019031)

...and the cure was YUM

Re:Not the first,but the first to get packaging ri (1)

starfishsystems (834319) | more than 2 years ago | (#41019417)

Hmm. I find the packaging system in Debian to be frustratingly parochial. It works fine as long as you allow packages to be installed in default locations. It tends to fail badly at package relocation, something that Sun, SGI, and others got right long ago, and which RPM generally does very well also.

The problem isn't that Debian is basically a PC operating system that you can hack on. That's a worthy thing to be. The problem is people who try to use Debian in the enterprise, or for research or software development or embedded systems where software has to be installed in a multiplicity of ways. And those are exactly the areas that I work in.

I'm becoming convinced that the Debian packaging system was written by squirrels. The inconsistency of configuration and the splendid variety of side effects reminds me of buried nuts. How else do you explain that there are half a dozen packaging frameworks that all try to make the native packager more usable?

Re:Not the first,but the first to get packaging ri (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41020497)

Would you care to elaborate? Have you filed a bug report?

Re:Not the first,but the first to get packaging ri (2)

mvdwege (243851) | more than 2 years ago | (#41020641)

What are you talking about? Half a dozen packaging frameworks?

Here's how it works: there is the low-level package manger dpkg, which handles the installation of a package. Automatic dependency resolution is provided by libapt-pkg. That's it. That's the packaging system and framework.

Perhaps what confused you was the number of front-end tools built against libapt-pkg. Those are not frameworks; those are applications, and merely give you a choice of your favourite front-end.

Mart

Not new! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41017505)

SLS is generally regarded as the first Linux "distribution", and was released in May 1992.

Debian, being over a year behind that, hardly came at a time when distributions were "new".

By the time Debian was released, Linux was 2 years old, and SLS was over one year old.

one of the new! (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#41017611)

less than two years after the (very buggy and poorly maintained) SLS is still *new*.

and it's still around. SLS soon was thrown on the scrap heap.

Re:Not new! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41017813)

By the time Debian was released, Linux was 2 years old, and SLS was over one year old.

By the time Debian was really released, the Debian Manifesto was almost two years old.

I don't always use Debian (2, Funny)

Spy Handler (822350) | more than 2 years ago | (#41017531)

but when I do, I prefer Ubuntu.

Re:I don't always use Debian (1)

Jimbookis (517778) | more than 2 years ago | (#41019085)

Why? Earlier this year I got fed up with the 6 month mega upgrade cycle of Ubuntu with associated buggerups. I use Debian now with a tesing/stable apt combo and incremental upgrading every other day is far better and less intrusive. I seriously doubt I'll have to actually reinstall Debian until the HD dies. 'Testing' is a bit behind the cutting edge of packages but I am not suffering for it and it doesn't have the package thrashing of 'unstable'. I tried kernel 3.4 but bloody Atheros ath9k Wifi is broken on it even with software encryption - how, I can't understand - obviously some developer couldn't stand having a perfectly working driver and decided to refactor something just coz they can. In kernel 3.2 the nVidia and ath9k drivers work just dandy on my laptop.

Re:I don't always use Debian (1)

MacBurn11 (2430370) | more than 2 years ago | (#41019631)

Yeah, I had the same experience. With every new release they fix some things and break other things that worked for years. Plus for my taste Ubuntu tends to include too many beta versions of programs I got used to (i.e. kaffeine). And don't get me started on that whole KDE 4.0 fiasco.

I too ditched Ubuntu for Debian because I wanted a distro that's stable for a longer time period than 6 months. Although I have to say, Ubuntu was the first distro that got my Creative sound card to work, so it's not all bad.

Yay! debian! (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#41017537)

I switched to debian recently from xubuntu.
(Currently with 64bit squeeze)

The only issue I have is with the binary firmware festidiousness. I understand it is debian and that they are sticklers for RMH's version of "free", but would giving me the option to load closed firmware blobs for my wifi card from a USB stick during install be such a terrible thing?

It didn't stop me from loading the non-free packages I needed after install or anything, it was just a little irritating to have to use another PC to pull the required .deb files before I could get in contact with the repository servers.

All in all though, I am quite happy with it on my i7 so far.

Re:Yay! debian! (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#41017559)

^^RMS! RMS! I don't see how I managed to put RMH.... I blame lack of coffee.

Re:Yay! debian! (2)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 2 years ago | (#41020681)

That's OK, I read it as RMS anyway, and didn't notice the mistake until after you mentioned it. As an outsider, I find it quite odd that humans try to be so damn precise when their organic CPUs are amazing at coping with a little signal loss. It's as if they want to merge with their machines; Little do they know their machines long to do the same... Only then will you truly have "Free" software.

Re:Yay! debian! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41017569)

It actually DOES allow you to do that. Do your install in expert mode and stop being a sissy! :)

How does Debian beat Ubuntu? (1)

JOrgePeixoto (853808) | more than 2 years ago | (#41017795)

I switched to debian recently from xubuntu.

Why did you abandon Ubuntu?
For the archs that both support, I don't see any advantage Debian has over Ubuntu.

Yes, Debian stable is extremely stable. But it is only supported for three years or so, and the packages in it come already obsolete. For both of these reasons, you are forced to upgrade to a new Debian version within months after its release.

Ubuntu LTS, on the other hand, comes with updated packages and is supported for 5 years. For both these reasons, you can easily wait for the second point release (9 months after the LTS release) before you upgrade; it will be rock solid and be supported by 4 years and 3 months.

Re:How does Debian beat Ubuntu? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41017981)

Because I am tired of bone headed decisions made to keep up with fashion or "increase market share" whatever that really means. I want stability, not some lame attempt to bring a tablet UI to my desktop/laptop. Debian is built by people who care deeply about open source (usable) software, not whether or not the distribution gains market share. That suits me just fine.

Re:How does Debian beat Ubuntu? (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#41018771)

While true for mainline ubuntu, xubuntu uses xfce by default (why I liked it), but still uses the ubuntu repositories, and suffers from cannonocial's poor decision making in the politics of the distro. Debian takes a more staid approach.

Debian defaults with legacy Gnome, but I switched to XFCE almost imediately, so its a nonissue.

There aren't any advantages over xubuntu other than not dealing with cannonocial, and I just wanted to give it a try. Had an HDD failure awhile back, (primary ./ volume) so I had to reinstall anyway. Just wanted to explore the landscape more.

It isn't like I switched for $UberFeature! Or something.

Re:How does Debian beat Ubuntu? (1)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 2 years ago | (#41018889)

Because I am tired of bone headed decisions made to keep up with fashion or "increase market share" whatever that really means. I want stability, not some lame attempt to bring a tablet UI to my desktop/laptop. Debian is built by people who care deeply about open source (usable) software, not whether or not the distribution gains market share. That suits me just fine.

Wish I had mod points again so I could pull you above 0.

The decisions and direction of Ubuntu are disturbing when considering longer-term usage. LTS releases last for 5 years, but will you really still want to be using Ubuntu 5 years from now?

I just installed 12.04 Server and they have added an advertisement to the MOTD for their paid Landscape service, an ad which is displayed at every logon. Not only that, but the new "better" dynamic MOTD system is very opaque and not easy to see how you can customize or get rid of that advertisement. (For anyone curious, the best solution I found was to simply remove executable rights from the scripts I didn't want to run in /etc/update-motd.d. I only left 00-header and 99-footer).

Ubuntu seems all about trying to "upgrade" the standard GNU/Linux experience, from Upstart replacing Init and UUID-encoded mount devices to a horrible mess of network configuration scripts replacing /etc/interfaces and the early use of GRUB 3. I realize that there are probably improvements to be found in some of these changes, but there are also a LOT of new bugs and idiosyncrasies that everyone has to deal with now because they jumped the gun and changed for things were ready and stable.

For new servers, Debian stable has replaced Ubunut LTS as my go-to distro. It's been a welcome return to sanity.

Re:How does Debian beat Ubuntu? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41020087)

You can continue using the old stable until the new one is released. So it is actually 6 years

Re:How does Debian beat Ubuntu? (2)

mvdwege (243851) | more than 2 years ago | (#41020665)

A good reason to abandon Ubuntu for Debian is that Ubuntu is fragile.

If you are used to the *nix way of doing things your way, you will soon find out that with all the Ubuntu-specific patches and scripts, you are bound to use the Ubuntu tools or break your system.

I'll give an example: a friend wanted to use an ath9k based WiFi chipset before support was mainstream. I checked and found that Ubuntu supported Debian's module-assistant to custom-build kernel modules. Great!

Until I found out that Ubuntu had patched the source package of the ath9k driver to put the sources in /usr/src, while nodule-assistant was still searching in /usr/src/modules.

That's only a minor example, but Ubuntu is full of these kind of quirks.

Re:Yay! debian! (2)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 2 years ago | (#41017825)

The wheezy installation I ran two weeks ago told me that I needed two binary non-free packages and asked if I wanted to load them from another device.
I didn't try it though because I installed via a wired network.

Re:Yay! debian! (4, Informative)

Sipper (462582) | more than 2 years ago | (#41018901)

The wheezy installation I ran two weeks ago told me that I needed two binary non-free packages and asked if I wanted to load them from another device.
I didn't try it though because I installed via a wired network.

It was probably related to Wireless hardware; the base Debian install these days ships only "free software", so by default you only get the package "firmware-linux-free" that contains firmware for 20 or so devices. Most of the firmware required to run Wireless cards are binary-only blobs that are considered "nonfree" in that you cannot see the source code for them, so that's why they're in the "non-free" section and don't come with the base install. [This is where Debian developers are purists, but I think it's for good reason.]

This can be frustrating if you're trying to do a network install over a Wireless card, which is why the option exists to load them from another device like a USB stick. Presumably you'd use another computer and download the necessary firmware and put it on a USB stick after finding it on http://packages.debian.org/ [debian.org] in the "Kernels" area.

Many happy returns, Debian! (1)

unixisc (2429386) | more than 2 years ago | (#41020067)

Many happy returns, Debian!

The great thing about them is their willingness to port to all architectures - they are the sole surviving distro still supporting Itanium. The other great thing about them is that unlike the FSF, they are not fanatics - on one hand, they have a kFreeBSD project on, and on the other, a HURD project.

I do hope they get to a point soon where they offer their users a choice of Linux/kFreeBSD/Hurd, and in the long term, that they can mix and match GCC OR LLVM/Clang w/ any of these platforms. On HURD, they should consider forking Minux 3.0 and using that (instead of GNU Mach 3.0) as the preferred microkernel. My other wish list item from them is getting Wayland working w/ all 3 of these. And also, like KDE, having a project that starts all sorts of apps that they maintain.

Oh, and also optionally incorporate some of the Ubuntu improvements back into the Debian mainline, so that people can't say that Ubuntu is a lot more usable than Debian.

Family (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41017589)

Excellent. Today is also my daughters 3rd birthday and she likes my laptop with Debian on it. Swell.

Too many distros == confused users. (0)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#41017703)

It would be nice if some of these distributions that are basically identical would merge together. Linux would likely be less confusing to Windows users if they didn't look and see 50 different versions of it.

Re:Too many distros == confused users. (1)

portablejim (1538997) | more than 2 years ago | (#41017765)

It would be nice if some of these distributions that are basically identical would merge together. Linux would likely be less confusing to Windows users if they didn't look and see 50 different versions of it.

Could http://xkcd.com/927/ [xkcd.com] apply to this as well?

Re:Too many distros == confused users. (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | more than 2 years ago | (#41017851)

Or slightly more abstractly, http://xkcd.com/1095/ [xkcd.com]

No sooner would two distros merge than reasons would be found to fork them back into two, or more.

It's a blessing and a curse.

Re:Too many distros == confused users. (1)

SolitaryMan (538416) | more than 2 years ago | (#41017883)

Regular users don't see 50 versions of it, they only see Ubuntu. Mint, if they look closely.

Re:Too many distros == confused users. (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 2 years ago | (#41020691)

It would be nice if there were some choice among distributions, some larger ones should split apart. Linux would likely be better for all users if distros like Ubuntu let you toss the annoying parts of it -- oh, wait.

Thanks Debian! (5, Interesting)

mattsday (909414) | more than 2 years ago | (#41017947)

In 1998 my mother bought me a 'Linux' book with Red Hat 5.2 attached. Being a geek I installed it and loved it. I dabbled with upgrading it and using the Ximian beta Gnome 2. It always felt clunky though.

Then I discovered Debian. Not only did it have an AWESOME package manager, but it taught me about free software. It showed me that people can collaborate across the globe to make an integrated, high quality operating system for free. Around this time, I was finding my place in the world and I honestly think the spirit of Debian helped me discover Humanism and a concept of greater, moral good.

To this day I am in awe of this effort. Looking across its entire collection, the social structure and the individual elements (kernel, GNU toolchain, X, OpenSSH etc) I think free software is one of humanities greatest achievements. Whether you use it or not, take reflection in how awesome this completely free project is and how much it's brought us.

Thanks Debian!

Re:Thanks Debian! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41019489)

Other than me having tried Slackware before RH your experiences and sentiments mirror my own to a T. Here's to Debian and to Freedom for the greater human good!

Re:Thanks Debian! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41020349)

Looking across its entire collection, the social structure and the individual elements (kernel, GNU toolchain, X, OpenSSH etc) I think free software is one of humanities greatest achievements.

You are mad.

Free software is a tool for geeks. What are computer geeks doing for humanity? Enabling journalism? It's a hard sell dude.

Debian makes me happy (1)

takiysobi (2542620) | more than 2 years ago | (#41018057)

I cannot explain it, just feels that way.

debian is good but can't access the internet (1)

Blaskowicz (634489) | more than 2 years ago | (#41018525)

not meaning this to be inflammatory but I once installed debian on a computer to give it away, I put a good looking lxde desktop and quite some software (gimp, inkscape, audacity etc.). it was fast and good (a pentium 3 tower with 512MB ram).

only, the guy who took it just couldn't use his usb wifi adapter to pick up a network. I had installed wicd and a generic firmware collection (a package found with apt-cache search, but with little description of what these firmware were). sadly I didn't have the wifi installer during installation. the fact is, with firmware policy the user is fucked when linux guru and concerned hardware aren't in the same place.

so, I'm stuck with ubuntu or mint if installing a computer that I don't manage. ubuntu has the same text mode installer, which allows a similar bare installation with no desktop and then apt-getting the desktop and software is the same (all package names identical). debian has in-place upgrade and the conservative choice of software in stable is not too bad. it would be perfect if we had "apt-get install notcrippledbecauseoffirmware"!

Re:debian is good but can't access the internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41020525)

Not meaning this to be inflammatory, but why didn't you do your research before installing a distro that obviously does not cater specifically to newbies? Debians firmware policy has been widely discussed and documented, and it's even mentioned when you enter their site, and they explain how to add the non-free firmware. I can't blame anyone but you for that.

In other news (1)

jjohn (2991) | more than 2 years ago | (#41018571)

1993 is currently 19 years ago.

Goodnight from Old Guy News Tonight!

Thank you Ian (1)

Trogre (513942) | more than 2 years ago | (#41018861)

Ian, thank you for starting such an excellent distribution.

Sorry it didn't work out with Deb.

Obligatory (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41019011)

My goodness...all these years and still running the same packages in stable, it's like they never changed a day.

19 years! (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#41019057)

Surely this is the year of the linux desktop?

Happy to Share (2)

PsyciatricHelp (951182) | more than 2 years ago | (#41019151)

Happy to Share my birthday with my favorite distro. lenny on my dockstar. Mint on several other machines.

Debian (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41019707)

Debian (NASDAQ: DEB; formerly Debian Computer) is an American multinational corporation that designs and sells consumer electronics, computer software, and personal computers. The company's best-known hardware products are the Debian line of computers, the .debPod, the .debPhone and the .debPad. Its software includes the Debian operating system; the Amarok media browser; the Calligra suite of multimedia and creativity software; the LibreOffce suite of productivity software; GIMP, a professional photography package; Kdenlive, a suite of professional audio and film-industry software products; Ardour, a suite of music production tools; the Iceweasel web browser; and .debOS, a mobile operating system. Debian is the world's third-largest mobile phone maker after Samsung and Nokia.

As of July 2011, Debian has 364 retail stores in thirteen countries, and an online store. It is the largest publicly traded company in the world by market capitalization. The company is the largest technology company in the world by revenue and profit, more than Google and Microsoft combined. As of September 24, 2011, the company had 60,400 permanent full-time employees and 2,900 temporary full-time employees worldwide; its worldwide annual revenue in 2010 totalled $65 billion, growing to $108 billion in 2011.

Fortune magazine named Debian the most admired company in the United States in 2008, and in the world from 2008 to 2012. However, the company has received widespread criticism for its contractors' labor, and for its environmental and business practices.

Established on April 1, 1976 in Cupertino, California, and incorporated January 3, 1977, the company was named Debian Computer, for its first 30 years. The word "Computer" was removed from its name on January 9, 2007, as its traditional focus on personal computers shifted towards consumer electronics.

Stay away from the website though (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 2 years ago | (#41019921)

Even though I appreciate the effort that Debian has put forth and I'm a large Debian fan, for some reason their marketing machine (or their ads) requested the location of my device which I refuse for any random website.

Considering Switching (1)

jon3k (691256) | more than 2 years ago | (#41019925)

I'm seriously considering switching from Fedora to Debian because after all these years yum is still so absolutely embarassingly slow. Yes, I've installed presto and fastest-mirror, I've even manually specified mirrors. Short of building your own local repo and rsync'ing it regularly, you will never get a good yum experience, whereas apt is screaming fast right out of the box. And with Fedora continuing to stuff things like systemd and NetworkManager down my throat, I'm at my wits end.

Someone talk me down or push me off the ledge I'm ok either way.

Re:Considering Switching (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41020415)

Jump! My instinct is to push you instead to Slackware, but given your stipulations on what you're looking for, that seems like a fool's errand. So naturally, Debian it is!

Linux is Dying (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41020401)

It is official. Netcraft now confirms: Linux is dying

One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered Linux community when IDC confirmed that Linux market share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all servers. Coming on the heels of a recent Netcraft survey which plainly states that Linux has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. Linux is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last in the recent Sys Admin comprehensive networking test.

You don't need to be the Amazing Yuri Geller to predict Linux's future. The hand writing is on the wall: Linux faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for Linux because Linux is dying. Things are looking very bad for Linux. As many of us are already aware, Linux continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of penguin blood.

Debian is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93.1% of its core developers. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time Debian developers Ian Murdoch and Dick Stallman only serve to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: Debian is dying.

Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

Ubuntu leader Shuttleworth states that there are 7000 users of Ubuntu (many of whom are Disturbed). How many users of Fedora are there? Let's see. The number of Ubuntu versus Fedora posts on Usenet is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 7000/5 = 1400 Fedora users. OpenSuse posts on Usenet are about half of the volume of Fedora posts. Therefore there are about 700 users of OpenSuse. A recent article put Debian at about 80 percent of the Linux market. Therefore there are (7000+1400+700)*4 = 36400 Debian users. This is consistent with the number of Debian Usenet posts.

Due to the battles over the Debian Holy Constitution, abysmal sales and so on, Debian went out of business and was taken over by Canonical who sell another troubled OS. Now Ubuntu is also dead, its corpse turned over to yet another charnel house.

All major surveys show that Linux has steadily declined in market share. Linux is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If Linux is to survive at all it will be among OS dilettante dabblers. Linux continues to decay. Nothing short of a miracle could save it at this point in time. For all practical purposes, Linux is dead.

Fact: Linux is dying

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