which debian ISO should i download? So many links!
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well the netinstall is 150 MB CD iso and will install the base system for you, it will then download only the packages you want to install to complete your setup directly from the Internet.
Alternately you can download CD1 to do a basic install or CD's 1-21 for the complete Debian OS.
You can use the Web based jigdo search tool to find out which CD's contain specific packages you need (ndiswrapper for instance) so you don't have to download all 21 CD's
You also have the choice of downloading 3 DVD ISO's to get everything.
MOST Debian users install with the netinstall iso, because it reduces the amount of data you need to download.
The only reason I would ever download the Full CD or DVD ISO's is if I had to install on a machine that doesn't have Internet access.. .
Etch is STABLE, so if you want everything to just work without freezing, go for Etch. The downside is that you'll get slightly older versions of some applications.
Lenny has got more recent versions of applications, however, it is not so stable as etch. It doesn't mean that it will crash every day. I've been using lenny for a few months and it has crashed just a few times. The other thing with lenny is that its repositories don't contain nvidia drivers, so you'll need to install them from sid repositories (if you have nvidia graphics, I don't know about ATI)
Sid - I've never used it, Obviously it's the least stable out of the three.
Stable, Testing and Unstable don't mean how often it crashes, but rather _how often the packages are updated_ that said I'd start with etch because its a fine distro and there are no non-security updates to trip you up, and you can allways upgrade to testing later with apt.
Actually I've never had issues with any of them crashing per se.. the issues usually show up during an update if a package is broken.
Etch - never had a problem with an update..
Testing or unstable.. occasional broken packages mean slightly broken system until the package is updated again..
If you pay attention to the bug lists you should be able to avoid any serious breakage without too much trouble.
If you are a new Debian user, Run Etch until you are comfortable with it and very familiar the package system. Then feel free to upgrade to Testing or unstable if you wish.
I don't want to start a flame war, but is there a particular reason you're choosing Debian over a Debian-based distro like Ubuntu.
Ubuntu is significantly easier to use and is based on Debian.
Debian has a LOT more supported packages than Ubuntu (universe and multiverse aren't actually supported, not officially anyway)
Debian is a hell of a lot more stable than Ubuntu: Ubuntu has 6 months per release, Debian gets delayed over 6 months per release for extra bugfixing, do the maths Note that most of that extra testing doesn't get passed onto Ubuntu, that extra fixing is done to Stable, Ubuntu is based on Unstable.
I think Debian is more efficent at useing hardware. But my only evidence is from non professional reviews so I can't say for sure.
Debian is Desktop neutral (except for the CDs witch are Gnome bias), Ubuntu is heavily bias to Gnome.
Debian's approach to complexity: split it into a beginner, medium and advanced mode. Ubuntu's approach: cut it down to beginner level.
Plenty of good reasons for using Debian from an admittedly biased Debian User
I'm about to make the jump in the Linux world and the selected distro will be Debian: I look to this discussion with a strong interest.
Based on what I've read around Tortanick is totally right. The only concern that I have is that usually the Debian stable release is compared to the other distros pointing out its superior stability but... to exploit more advanced features you have to shift to Testing or Unstable. Further more these are the versions that senior Linux users have here in the forum