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Old 09-08-2010, 08:56 AM   #1
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How are debian-based distros different?

I have been using linux for almost an year. But I'd still call myself a newbie.
I've used Ubuntu and Linux Mint at home, and my university computers run Fedora. If I give Fedora or openSUSE a try (at home), what can I expect? What would be the significant changes that I would have to get used to?
Are debian-based distros generally more user-friendly?

Is it true that you can't update as easily on RPM based distro as you can on ubuntu/mint?
Do fedora and openSUSE have notifications for new updates?
Is installing new software as easy in RPM based distros as it is with Synaptic Package Manager?
Old 09-08-2010, 09:01 AM   #2
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The biggest difference would be package management tools I guess. apt-get is great. Yum works just as well. Tools would probably be your biggest differences. Run a liveCD, both Suse and fedora have live cd's available. But other than tools, I don't see a big difference... You can pretty much install any software on any version of linux, so that's not really even different. Default apps may be different though
Old 09-08-2010, 09:06 AM   #3
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Debian based distro's have packages with ".deb" extension,redhat based ".rpm"
Debian is community developed,while redhat is enterprise one.
u can have better support in both of them,but enterprises use redhat based or RHEL because of support.
redhat based distro's are generally used for academic,developing or sysadmin purpose.
debian based distro's are generally used for home purpose.
Don't forget Debian itself can be used as powerful server.
but choosing between Debian and redhat is entirely a personal choice.
According to my knowledge,Debian has got huge repository than redhat's.
Old 09-08-2010, 09:10 AM   #4
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Ubuntu, Fedora, Mint, and OpenSUSE are the top 4 Linux distros according to All 4 are easy to use and have huge software repositories; I do not think you can go wrong with any of them. If Ubuntu and Mint are meeting your needs, there is no reason to switch. However, taking a Fedora or OpenSUSE Live CD for a "test drive" may be an educational experience; if you are comfortable with both .deb and .rpm, you will have a good foundation for the majority of distros.

Last edited by snowpine; 09-08-2010 at 09:12 AM.
Old 09-08-2010, 10:59 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by ayush.27 View Post
If I give Fedora or openSUSE a try (at home), what can I expect?
Linux. In use, you'd probably notice how up-to-date packages were (the enterprise Linuxes are, of necessity, more conservative, so expect, by default, Debian itself, SLES/SLED and RH to be in one group and the more consumer-orientated distros to be in another, although you can often enable other repos with more up-to-date packages to blur the lines somewhat).

In sys admin (as opposed to day-to-day use) there are a few more differences, with different commands doing more or less the same thing for networking, for example.

What would be the significant changes that I would have to get used to?
Different logos and wallpapers??? More up to date selection of packages, depending on which distro we are comparing to which? More services enabled by default on some of the 'a bit casual with respect to security' ones? No clear pattern that all deb-derived are in one group and all rpm distros in the other, though. The difference is more closely between conservative enterprise distros and bleeding edge consumer ones.

Are debian-based distros generally more user-friendly?
There are probably more user-friendly debian distros, but, if you really want, I can probably find one or two deb-based distros that are actually almost user-hostile (pen testing, etc). So, not than the non-enterprise ones, really.

For SuSE (and mandriva, which you don't mention) they have gone down the route of a unified admin tool. This can make the admin tool a bit big, which some people don't like. Others find it easier knowing that all admin can be done in one place. but there is no reason that this is a .deb vs .rpm thing, although the two most obvious that have gone down this route are .rpm (I think, maybe, Mepis has done something similar, and that's .deb).

Is it true that you can't update as easily on RPM based distro as you can on ubuntu/mint?
No. It used to be true that package management on SuSE was a bit clunky wrt Synaptic, but what with rpm compression, diff rpms, a couple of changes of dependency resolving package manager and a change of front end, it might even be the best of the lot now.

Do fedora and openSUSE have notifications for new updates?
Yes, for security updates (I assume that's what you mean); for non-security, in SuSE you go into package management and the version is highlighted in a different colour.

Is installing new software as easy in RPM based distros as it is with Synaptic Package Manager?
Haven't used fedora for a long, long while, so I'll pass on that one, but for openSUSE it is as easy. From distro to distro (irrespective of the package format) there can be differences as to how clearly packages are organised, which might be an issue, until you get used to your particular distro's 'philosophy' of how to deal with complex situations.
Old 09-10-2010, 09:17 PM   #6
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I have found that apt is a more powerful tool than zypper, yum, etc. However, it didn't take me long to get comfortable with a few .rpm distro's.
Old 09-11-2010, 04:55 PM   #7
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"What is the difference between Debian GNU/Linux and other Linux distributions? Why should I choose Debian over some other distribution?"


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