Linked by Dedoimedo on Thu 17th Mar 2011 23:17 UTC
Debian and its clones Writing about Debian is not a simple thing. You know it's the giant that has spawned pretty much every other distro out there. It's almost like a Roman Empire, almost a taboo. Furthermore, it's not a desktop distro per se. It's more sort of a template you use to build your platform. It's also a SOHO server distro, therefore it more fits into the business category, comparable to CentOS and similar.
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This is why I was so perplexed that Debian didn't recognize and autoconfigure a wireless card that Ubuntu picks up right away

Most wireless chips require a firmware blob to work. Debian considers these blobs to be non-free and thus against the Debian mandate and ineligible for inclusion with Debian proper, being relegated to the non-free repo. As a result the standard system, which does not include non-free, does not have them.

Do you remember the announcement last year that Debian finally had an entirely Free kernel? That's directly related: They got a Free kernel by packing all of the non-free blobs into a separate repo and making them optional (albeit that some things wont work without them).

Ubunutu doesn't give a damn about freeness of firmware, though it should, and is happy to ship the firmware with its standard install disc. Thus, Ubuntu (and slackware) will Just Work, whereas Debian will take a little more effort (aka "install firmware after the system is up"). And, in fact, Debian only requires one terminal command to begin using the firmware for any given card (if you know which card): apt-get install firmware-$whatever, where $whatever is your driver. This presumes that you opted to include non-free repos at or after install time.

Edited 2011-03-18 12:40 UTC

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