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Old 08-17-2010, 07:12 PM   #1
Gallifrey
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Question The Ubuntu/Debian dilemma


Hello,
this is going to sound extremely n00bish no matter how I put it, so here I go.

I switched to Linux with Ubuntu 8.10, and have never looked back. Have tried out a few other distros, but have always ended up back with Ubuntu. never had any major issues with it..until now. 10.04 was a good release, but simply seemed to have a lot of features I don't need or want. And 10.10 seems like it is going to get worse, so I will spend ages stripping features, removing things I don't want, and some things that I do because of dependencies, etc. It takes ages.

Anyway, I have been thinking of switching to Debian. It seems cleaner, and more streamlined, and definitely not as bogged down.

My problem is this: There is a lot of software I have grown accustomed to, and become reliant upon to do day to day things.

I am planning on using the testing version of Debian, so I will be a little more up to date, but I am worried about getting those extra apps..the things that aren't typically in the repos.

With Ubuntu, if it wasn't in the repos, you could find it in a PPA, or GetDeb, etc.

How would you deal with this in Debian?? Do they have a similar system? I.e. PPAs, or third-party repos?

I have done a fair-bit of googling, but it seems all roads lead back to Ubuntu when it comes to debs and repos.

I am eager to explore new(ish) territory, and would welcome some advice, or POVs from those better in-the-know than myself.

Thank you kindly.
 
Old 08-17-2010, 07:17 PM   #2
foodown
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Good news:

Anywhere you were getting packages for Ubuntu, you can get them for Debian. In fact, Ubuntu is built on Debian. You can install the same packages on both, and they work just fine.

Ubuntu, in effect, is a flashy, customized Debian.

Congratulations, you're ready to move on from formula to solid foods.
 
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Old 08-17-2010, 07:19 PM   #3
pljvaldez
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There certainly are some third party repos (but as with any 3rd party repos, buyer beware). The one I use most is debian-multimedia.org. And of course, you can always try compiling stuff for yourself (checkinstall is a big help).

But if you're otherwise happy with Ubuntu, you could try using the alternate install CD and just install a base system, then install what you want using aptitude. The biggest thing with either distro if you want it lean is to avoid installing large metapackages. For example, if you want KDE in a lean Debian install, you might want to install kdebase or kde-standard instead of kde-full.
 
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Old 08-17-2010, 07:20 PM   #4
MrCode
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foodown
Ubuntu, in effect, is a flashy, customized Debian.
Not only that, but the Debian project is very picky (from what I've read) about what software goes into its repos as far as licensing is concerned, i.e. there is to be no "binary blob" software in the repos. In other words, things like Flash, closed-source hardware drivers, etc. won't be in the Debian repositories, but they may be in the Ubuntu repositories.
 
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Old 08-17-2010, 08:01 PM   #5
xenex
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gallifrey View Post
Hello,

I am planning on using the testing version of Debian, so I will be a little more up to date, but I am worried about getting those extra apps..the things that aren't typically in the repos.
How about http://sidux.com
Go on and give it a spin
 
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Old 08-17-2010, 08:14 PM   #6
snowpine
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You can stick with Ubuntu, install only the apps you need starting with a minimal install:

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/In...tion/MinimalCD
 
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Old 08-17-2010, 08:28 PM   #7
slackware
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Have you tried other distros? Debian is fine, and there's nothing wrong with Ubuntu per se, but all of the applications you know and love will work just fine on just about anything else, too.

Any interest in broadening the horizons? VirtualBox is your friend . . .
 
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Old 08-17-2010, 08:56 PM   #8
Kenny_Strawn
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Try Mint; it is just like Ubuntu but doesn't change much. For one, the 'light-themes' package isn't installed by default; instead, the theme that came with Mint 8 is what is the default theme (and the current stable version is 9). Mint does tap into the Ubuntu repository, however, so all the Ubuntu packages you know and love are available to Mint as well.

Mint also is proprietary drivers', codecs' and plugins' galore, having plenty of NDISWrapper drivers prepackaged to help with recognition of wireless cards (as well as MP3 and other media support), not to mention Flash Player prepackaged.
 
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Old 08-18-2010, 01:25 AM   #9
linuxlover.chaitanya
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Turning to Debian from Ubuntu is very practical. Ubuntu is Debian in some sense. Both are even binary compatible. And as suggested before, if you do not need a blob system, use alternate installation media, install minimal system, and then install specifically what you need. This will strip down your system a lot. And another very good suggestion was not to install full kde meta package or gnome. Instead just base or standard.
 
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Old 08-18-2010, 08:37 AM   #10
dixiedancer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foodown View Post

Anywhere you were getting packages for Ubuntu, you can get them for Debian. In fact, Ubuntu is built on Debian. You can install the same packages on both, and they work just fine.
Not according to the Debian Wiki and forums. Ubuntu has made some big changes to the Debian kernel and packages are not always compatible. In fact, as Ubuntu has continued along, there is less and less compatibility between them. Ubuntu software and Debian software are NOT interchangeable! They used to be, but it is no longer true.

Be careful!

-Robin
 
Old 08-18-2010, 09:01 AM   #11
Shadow_7
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There will always be issues mixing and matching. Compiled with a particular version of gcc which isn't compatible with others. Against libc6 of a vintage and other things that make things less stable when mixing and matching, but you can for the most part do it. I tend to opt for compiling from sources on top of my debian system. About as good as it gets between the worlds. But even debian is getting to be a bit of a hog. It's far harder to run a custom kernel these days than it used to be. And that dbus + avahi stuff that everything seems to gravitate towards can be a regular hog on your ps output. For those of us trying to eek out a few more years on our ancient hardware.

Once you start doing heavy customization of any distro, it becomes a regular maintenance nightmare. So buyer beware. It's possible to take almost any distro and customize it to your uses. But it's generally not a very productive use of time if you have the bandwidth and storage to pursue other options. Debian testing is a somewhat safe way to go, but be aware that some packages never meet the 15 days of no new bug reports criteria to make the testing flavor. Which might leave you with fewer package options than either stable or sid. And with some sort of experimental flavor now, sid might be the better bet for getting what you want, when you want.
 
Old 08-18-2010, 11:53 AM   #12
the trooper
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Quote:
Both are even binary compatible
No they are not.

Quote:
Not according to the Debian Wiki and forums. Ubuntu has made some big changes to the Debian kernel and packages are not always compatible. In fact, as Ubuntu has continued along, there is less and less compatibility between them. Ubuntu software and Debian software are NOT interchangeable! They used to be, but it is no longer true.
Correct.
If you install Ubuntu packages in your Debian system you will break it eventually.

Quote:
It's far harder to run a custom kernel these days than it used to be.
How so?,I run a custom kernel kernel myself as do many others who run Debian.
 
Old 08-18-2010, 03:06 PM   #13
j1alu
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@Gallifrey:
Lots of the answers you got are wrong. You can't simply use just all Ubuntu-packages.
And, on a site note: Debian comes with a ton of apps. What packages are you looking for which you think are missing in Debian?
Search for the user craigevil and have a look at the sources list in his sig.
Ok,ok, here it is:
https://sites.google.com/site/mydebiansourceslist/
If you got problems with packages ask in the section for Debian or over at forums.debian.net and someone should give you a hand.

@Shadow7:

Quote:
It's far harder to run a custom kernel these days than it used to be.
short answer: localmodconfig
 
Old 08-18-2010, 03:14 PM   #14
Timothy Miller
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I'm another that has and does run both. While I like Kubuntu (I don't do Gnome ANYTHING) for how quick it is to just install and get up and running with no configuration, I definitely prefer Debian (Squeeze right now, although soon will switch to SID until Squeeze goes release then will switch to whatever replaces it as testing)as a day to day system as it seems more responsive, and more stable.

My installs of both are nearly identical in terms of packages, and I've never found a package I needed that was in 1 that wasn't in the other as long as I add the debian-multimedia repository in Debian. In fact, the ONLY thing I've ever found I needed wasn't in either, and that's just the drivers for my main desktops sound card, that causes any linux distro I put on it to be completely and totally unusable it becomes so unstable due to sound issues.
 
Old 08-18-2010, 03:47 PM   #15
jay73
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I think one area where ubuntu distinguishes itself from Debian (and most other distros) is font rendering. Fonts just look considerably smoother on Ubuntu, especially on larger screens (I have tried a few with a 26" screen and most, especially Suse, are a terrible eyesore). For now, you have to patch and recompile libxft and cairo to give other distros the same sort of rendering but not everyone may be too fond of doing that sort of thing. The good news is that any day now, other distros will be able to include the same type of rendering out of the box because the patent has recently expired. As Squeeze has only recently entered its freeze, I think the feature is not likely to appear in the official version any time soon, though.
 
  


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