Linked by David Adams on Fri 26th Sep 2008 20:22 UTC, submitted by Caffeine Deprived
Linux This article takes a look at five great but not very well-known desktop-focussed Linux distros, including SimplyMEPIS and Mint. It focuses on distros that are easy-to-use.
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RE: Five?
by Quag7 on Fri 26th Sep 2008 21:28 UTC in reply to "Five?"
Quag7
Member since:
2005-07-28

I'm always curious to learn how many Linux users at any given time are unhappy with their distribution and are looking around for another. I've been on the same Linux distribution for 6 and a half years now, and I've never seriously considered switching, though I run about a half dozen others in emulation just to see what they're up to.

But I know there are others who switch frequently, and I wonder how the percentages break down.

Also, people have been saying that about Debian - that it's for experienced users - basically since I first ever heard of Linux. But I've not found this to be true. Not in 2001 when I first tried it, and not now. What is it about Debian that people think is hard for new users?

Debian practically cooks you a meal and gives you an icy cold Coke while it works. I don't get why it ever had this reputation. Slackware would be an example of a distribution which is maybe not ideal for new users (not a slag on Slackware, it's just that it's very DIY, which most users aren't), but Debian? Why does that persist? I honestly want to know.

If I had to pick one distribution to face space dragons with, it would probably be Debian.

Reply Parent Score: 8

RE[2]: Five?
by leech on Fri 26th Sep 2008 21:43 in reply to "RE: Five?"
leech Member since:
2006-01-10

Debian still has this silly reputation from before Woody when the installer required you to know every bit of hardware you had and still supported Floppy install. I think Etch was the first to not have a Floppy install, but Woody had a semi-decent installer and Sarge had an excellent one (all the earlier Ubuntu releases used the same installer and so do the Alternate and Server releases)

Debian is just as easy, if not easier than Ubuntu to install. In fact I think it's better because it doesn't use different installers depending on what you want to install. You want to install just the server, do it with the tasksel package that is ran during installation. You want a desktop? It's there as well. Web server? Easy. LVM and Raid? It's all there too.

I think Ubuntu is doing a disservice to their users by not using the Debian installer as their desktop installer when you try "Install Ubuntu" from the initial menu, or even maybe integrate it into the LiveCD. Hardy's installer even had a really annoying bug on the timezone selection screen that makes the map almost unusable. On an LTS release? Even the .1 release of it didn't fix the issue. It moves just way too fast.

The only downfall of Debian, which was supposed to be the one thing that Ubuntu was created to fix, was old releases of Gnome. But I do find that a Debian release usually has newer versions of the backend / server side software, but older versions of the Desktop stuff. That's the real reason to use Ubuntu over Debian. It certainly has nothing to do with ease of installation.

With Debian you'll need a single CD to install either x86, x86_64, or PPC. Lenny has a netinst with those architectures. That pretty much covers most computers out there right now.

Plus from what I can tell (couldn't get it working yet myself) Debian Lenny will finally support multi-arch packaging. I don't know if Ubuntu will have that until 9.04.

Anyhow just a rant to back you up on the myth of difficult installations for Debian. An old Myth that is at least older than Woody (released in 2002)

Reply Parent Score: 8

RE[2]: Five?
by AdamW on Fri 26th Sep 2008 23:20 in reply to "RE: Five?"
AdamW Member since:
2005-07-06

Debian's a fine distro, but fighting space dragons? Pick Mandriva, the only distribution with a secret orbital laser!

(sorry, old in-joke. :>)

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[2]: Five?
by Liquidator on Sat 27th Sep 2008 13:57 in reply to "RE: Five?"
Liquidator Member since:
2007-03-04

What is it about Debian that people think is hard for new users?


<sigh />

The problem is that most power users, who are supposed to have a much higher IQ than the average joe, fail to find an answer to the above question. And this is the reason Linux hasn't grabbed more market share than that. Many people would love to use an alterative to Windows, and moreover, free of charge. But they haven't done the switch...

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: Five?
by sbergman27 on Sat 27th Sep 2008 17:09 in reply to "RE[2]: Five?"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

The problem is that most power users, who are supposed to have a much higher IQ than the average joe, fail to find an answer to the above question.

Indeed. Sometimes the reality distortion field is so extreme that it threatens to wrap itself into a singularity.

How different these discussions would be if Linux advocates had to intern as support persons for average users.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Five?
by Quag7 on Sat 27th Sep 2008 23:51 in reply to "RE[2]: Five?"
Quag7 Member since:
2005-07-28

I was asking the question relative to other Linux distributions. In point of fact I am presently helping get a guy in his 50s *who has never used computers in his life* online. I have worked as a phone tech support agent. I know full well the issues surrounding any OS, and those peculiar to Linux.

My question was about Debian in relation to other distributions.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Five?
by zombie process on Mon 29th Sep 2008 12:55 in reply to "RE: Five?"
zombie process Member since:
2005-07-08

Tons. Half of the podcasts I used to listen to featured a gushing ceremony for the new flavor of the week, regularly. Back when I had more discretionary time, I enjoyed testing out new distros quite a bit, and found quite a few that were tempting.

That said, I agree with you - while I don't favor debian vanilla for a number of reasons, I do favor Arch Linux and have been rocking the same install for several years. IT has pissed me off a few times, but I've certainly never found anything I like better.

Reply Parent Score: 2