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I have been looking more closely at debian based distros at the moment and would like to have some opinions from those who have been using one or more of these distros.
Also, we have to start by stressing that the people who are making efforts for these distros to exist are doing great. the following is not a criticism of any of them. I am just trying to find out which one will suit me the most based on your feedback.
- comes with stable,testing,unstable flavours.
- stable has packages that are a bit old but this is due to the rigorous process that debian adheres to.
- stable only has a security mailing list/security advisories. testing/unstable have to wait for security fixes.
- apt/synaptic/kpackage will work smoothly on all debian repositories for upgrading/installing packages, so updates are fairly straightforward.
- but installation would need some reasonable time configuring the desktop, adding plugins for the browser, etc ...
- based on debian.
- security updates well handled in xadminmenu.
- claimed to be 100% compatible: does that mean that it can upgrade/install smoothly anything on debian reps without restrictions ?
- what is the level of configuration out of fresh install (plugins, desktop, etc ...)
- how does it support security updates? - debian only support stable but mepis is a mix of testing/unstable.
- is it 100% debian compatible?
-> can it update/upgrade/install safely ? how does it handle mepis reps/debian reps ? is it safer to install individually ? safe to general apt update/upgrade?
- configuration of the desktop / plugins is good out of fresh install.
- how does it handle security updates.
is it 100% debian compatible? -> can it update/upgrade/install anything on deb reps? how does it handles ubuntu/debian reps? is it safer to install/update individually compared to general update/upgrade with apt?
- is the desktop/plugins well configured out of fresh install ?
could anybody correct, confirm or provide more information about the above ?
Are there any other distros that are doing well on the above?
Mepis - -
1.) Security -> Since it is based on Debian Testing/Unstable the security updates come as normal package updates.
2.) It is 100% debian compatable. Most of the packages are pulled from the standard debian repository. I think there is only a handful of apps that are MEPIS specific (KDE, OpenOffice, Mozilla etc.)
3.) MEPIS has working Java, MP3 etc. working 'out of the iso'.
Ubuntu - -
1.) For supported Ubuntu packages, as long as you have the security repository in your sources.list then you get timely security update. However, this doesn't happen for Universe (in general).
2.) It is not 100% debian compatible. The Ubuntu team warn users not to add a debian repository to their sources.list unless they really know what they are doing.
3.) The desktop is setup very well after the first install. However, you do need to do a bit of work to get plugins working for Firefox and for MP3 playback/recording. It's not that hard though (same as Debian) and involves adding a few repositories to your sources.list and a little bit of hoop jumping to get java working - but it's all pretty clear in the wiki.
What I meant by 100% debian compatible was : is using apt update/upgrade 100% safe on deban reps ? I there are some packages that shouldn't be updated that way, then how is the user protected from mistakes ?
for ubuntu, are the reps self contained in a way that updates are safe ?
Also, for mepis & ubuntu, does apt updates around the release date bring you precisely in sync with what is on the released iso at that time ?
on security updates, is there a way to find out from apt/synaptic/kpakage which packages versions are security updates ? something like seeing changelogs from synaptic?
Any feedback form users of libranet and other debian based distros on this ?
It is not 100% safe to put a standard debian repository in sources.list and then apt-get update && apt-get upgrade. However, the 'self contained' Ubuntu reps are perfectly safe to do this.
When a new version of Mepis/Ubuntu is released, you do need to change your sources.list to reflect that. I.e. if you were using Ubuntu with 4.10 (Warty) but want to upgrade to 5.04 (hoary), you need to edit sources.list and change all the appearances of Warty to Hoary. Unfortunately, Ubuntu doesn't use words like Stable, Testing, Unstable for their repositories like Debian does. So to change distributions you have to do something.
However, after changing your sources.list, all it takes is apt-get update && apt-get dist-upgrade to get an up-to-date system.
As to security updates - I think the new Update Notification tool (Ubuntu Hoary) helps with that.
if one of your requirements is that the distro has to be 100% Debian-compliant, then you've answered your own question: choose Debian. Good luck with it either way -- J.W.
Actually, there are other "close-to-Debian" options besides those listed on top which get close to being pure Debian-compliant.
IMHO, Knoppix offers a very good hard-drive install into a mix of Debian Stable, Testing, and Unstable branches, migratable to a full Debian Unstable branch from the sources.list. Yes, this was listed above by uiberNUT69, but it can be re-emphasized here.
In any Linux distro, the user isn't "protected from making mistakes". Linux is extremely open to the user and you CAN break your system no matter which distro you use. It's on you to learn, sometimes by making mistakes like most of us have done. (Not me of course, I'm perfect)
Windoze protects the user from making mistakes by closing up and hiding most of the system from the user and goes ahead and makes the mistakes for you.
As far as the Debian install goes, it actually doesn't take very long.