Part 3

Get me, I’m a Debian user.

Who would have thought that, around a month ago when I decided to try a different distro, that it would stick. I tried installed PC Linux OS to try it out, but something went wrong during a large set of updates and I realised that I had no inclination to fix the problem. Normally I’d have whacked Slack back on, but Debian sits nicely between Ubuntu and Slackware – the easiness of Ubuntu and the control of Slackware. Very Cool. Especially since Debian always had a reputation for being hard to install.

And now, as of today, Debian Etch is out of Testing and is now the Stable release (Lenny is the new Testing), there really is no excuse for not running it.

Incidentally, am I the only one who thinks that the Debian naming convention has run it’s course? Ok, the original names were fairly obvious, but even with the spaces between each release they have run out of the better known names. Until I grabbed the naming convention link, I had no idea of the origin of Lenny.

Incidentally (2), to celebrate Etch being Stable and this going back on my desktop, I have changed my wallpaper from the Amarok logo to:

Life on Mars desktop

You can get the desktop wallpaper (and other downloads) here. Bonus Youtube link to the part of the show that this refers to is here. I may well post about this series sometime, but as a taster, go to the BBC site for the programme to see what’s what. Anyway, enough derailment.

Listen to me. I can just about handle you, driving like a pissed-up crackhead and treating women like beanbags, but I’m going to say this once and once only, Gene: stay out of Camberwick Green!


Posted on 8 April, 2007, in Computer Stuff, Distro Reviews, Idiot's Journey and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. Great, Ray. Join the club. If I were you, I’d join the relevant debian mailing user lists. They beat the forums any day because I’ve seen that debian users generally don’t like to hang out too much on forums πŸ˜‰

  2. > Normally IÒ€ℒd have whacked Slack back on, but Debian sits nicely between Ubuntu and Slackware – the easiness of Ubuntu and the control of Slackware

    Yeah. I can relate to that. Slackware is a great distro if you want a server or a basic desktop, but sometimes the work required to bring it to the level you want from scratch is just too much. Plus its official repositories don’t have nearly as much software as other distros.

  3. I’m not really planning to join any mailing lists – I really don’t have time to invest in the arguments over who is best at being free! Any support I need I can get from Google or LQ.

    Debian or Ubuntu are great if you need a desktop up and running in quick time. I will still use Slackware, it’s just that I need to find the time/energy to do it properly.

    And lack of official repositories hasn’t ever bothered me – I usually install from source anyway and anything not in the official package mirror I get from

  4. Compiling from source is a last option for me. I once used Gentoo and I spent more time in compiling the software than actually using it.

    I always use that as the last option, even in Slackware. usually has some commonly used software not found in Slackware’s official distribution.

  5. It is rather weird – when I have tried Gentoo portaging software has always taken longer than compiling it from source. And yet, it’s supposed to be the same thing.

  6. Part of it is psychological, I guess. In Gentoo, portage does everything for you and you are left staring at the screen for long periods of time. Whereas when doing a manual compile you also type a lot more commands.

    Moreover, in gentoo, you usually compile many packages at one time when installing (because of dependency handling).

  7. There is that I suppose, but even with that, it feels as though doing it manually takes less time – for example, I traced down a batch of dependencies to get Amarok to work with my iPod and compiled it all by hand, only took a couple of hours. Portage seems to be much slower.

  8. I love Slackware for servers. It comes with everything most servers need, Apache, PHP, MySQL.. etc. If you need anything else, it’s easy to find or compile yourself. And depending on the CPU and horsepower the machine has, compiling stuff is rather quick for me in most cases.

    But anyone who says running Slackware can be a pain to maintain, depends on the amount of servers you have. Like for example, I have two servers at the colo and several boxes outside the colo. This is doable. In a corporate environment, I prefer something like Red Hat or CentOS, where using yum and repositories makes life easier when you have to look after 200 plus servers.

  9. I completely agree – for small numbers of servers, Slackware is ideal. You can really get your hands dirty while having a very light and stable set up. But for bigger facilities RH or CentOS are ideal.

  10. The other thing I’ve noticed is, every past admin job I’ve held, not one of them had a Debian based distro running. I see it as a hobbyist type distro or home distro.

    I have seen places running Slackware in a corporate environment however.. πŸ˜‰

  11. Slackware is also a distro which doesn’t turn on Unicode support by default. Am I right or wrong?

    I hope they bring full Unicode support into Slackware in the future.

    It must be easy to enable Unicode support in Linux, but I prefer distros which recognize other languages than English πŸ˜›

  12. Slackware by default doesn’t setup Unicode but from what I’ve seen, it’s not hard to get working. But then again, Slackware doesn’t do a lot of things, that’s the beauty of it to me. You install, you configure to your liking, then you’re done instead of allowing the system to assume what you want. πŸ™‚

  13. Yeah, but the other way of seeing it is that the system also *assumes* you don’t want a lot of things :p

    The more I use Debian, the more respect I have for it — it’s ported in so many platforms, languages and set ups. There’s even a Debian/FreeBSD version available out there somewhere.

    The goals of Debian and Slackware are highly dissimilar so comparing them is useless — not even like comparing apples and oranges, which are fruits and have more in common with them – like vitamin C πŸ™‚

  14. What I love about Slackware is its potential for customisation and tweaking without requiring hours of work (as Gentoo does). However, while it’s great for servers, I use Ubuntu as my desktop OS because it makes the process of getting a complete desktop environment so much faster and simpler. I have never tried Debian, but I assume that it’s much the same as Ubuntu…

    I’d like to try Debian and Ubuntu on the same box to compare them! πŸ™‚

  15. Tee hee. I DO have Debian and Ubuntu on the same box…as well as Gentoo, PCLinuxOS, and in a few days, Puppy (never tried puppy before). Sorry to hear that PCLinuxOS didn’t work out for you, Ray. It seems to be the only one that can do X right for the R300 chipset. I have 3D without hard locks! Woo!

  16. Linux still seems to throw out randomness. I have had Ubuntu and Debian on this laptop and both have worked equally well. Ubuntu is quicker to go on, unsurprisingly as Debian installs over the network!

    I find Debian to be quicker once on the box – it’s certainly quicker to start up.

  17. I recently reinstalled Debian on my laptop with netinstall. It is definitely as barebones (or even more so) as slackware if you want it to be…

    but because of apt-get, you can get a fairly feature rich desktop in no time as well.

  18. That’s the reason why I’ve always been recommending Debian to people who ask on LQ who want to revive an older machine, as its got the installer and package manager, but the bloat only comes if you invite it (Slack is my second recommendation).

  19. I would always recommend them in the other order. If you aren’t careful you can very easily invite bloat onto your machine. Debian is good for more experienced users who need an old machine to be revived, but newbies will try to install Gnome or KDE and not understand why it’s not right. Slackware will always try to give you the least by default.

  20. thank you, really gr8 article. it saved me lot of time.


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