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Debian Lenny
Reviews Views Date of last review
6 73704 01-09-2009
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Recommended By Average Price Average Rating
100% of reviewers None indicated 9.2



Description: I've been using GNU/Linux for quite a few years now and have been a long time Slackware Linux user although I have played around with a lot of other distributions. I had experimented with Debian Linux a few years ago and wasn't at all impressed with it. It was sluggish and simply didn't run as fast as I wanted my OS to run.

As I had some time to kill today I decided to check out Debian in it's current state so I downloaded and installed Debian Testing (code named Lenny). I have to say that I am impressed with how much it has improved. It runs very nicely on my laptop, is very responsive, and is very easy on the resources. This combined with the apt package manager system that has made Debian such a popular base for distributions like Ubuntu and Mepis, makes Debian a pretty nice OS.

In just about an hour I had the OS installed, all of my hardware configured (including the pesky cellular PC card that wasn't designed to run in Linux), and a nice Beryl 3D desktop in place. I've spent a few hours playing around with it, installing additional software, and just generally seeing how it does with the things that I need for it to do.

I like the fact that isn't isn't "dumbed down" as distros like Ubuntu tend to be. Nothing wrong with that for some people. Many just want it to run without much manual intervention from them, but I prefer to have a bit more control over my system (the reason I've run Slackware for so many years).

The apt package manager system makes installing software a snap in Debian and it's derivatives. You can either use it on the command line or use a GUI like Synaptic. You simply tell it what you want to install, it downloads it from the servers, along with any dependencies that are required, and then installs and configures the software. Pretty simple. And there are over 20,000 applications available so it's not hard to find something that will do the job you need.

All in all I'd say that Debian has come a long way in making their OS both usable and responsive. I think I'll keep it a while.
Keywords: Debian Lenny Testing


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Old 04-29-2007, 10:43 PM   #1
masonm
 
Registered: Mar 2003
Distribution: Slackware64 13.37 Android 4.0
Posts: 2,248

Rep: Reputation:
Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 10

Pros: Package management, stable, easy install, rolling upgrades
Cons: Still in Testing



I've been using GNU/Linux for quite a few years now and have been a long time Slackware Linux user although I have played around with a lot of other distributions. I had experimented with Debian Linux a few years ago and wasn't at all impressed with it. It was sluggish and simply didn't run as fast as I wanted my OS to run.

As I had some time to kill today I decided to check out Debian in it's current state so I downloaded and installed Debian Testing (code named Lenny). I have to say that I am impressed with how much it has improved. It runs very nicely on my laptop, is very responsive, and is very easy on the resources. This combined with the apt package manager system that has made Debian such a popular base for distributions like Ubuntu and Mepis, makes Debian a pretty nice OS.

In just about an hour I had the OS installed, all of my hardware configured (including the pesky cellular PC card that wasn't designed to run in Linux), and a nice Beryl 3D desktop in place. I've spent a few hours playing around with it, installing additional software, and just generally seeing how it does with the things that I need for it to do.

I like the fact that isn't isn't "dumbed down" as distros like Ubuntu tend to be. Nothing wrong with that for some people. Many just want it to run without much manual intervention from them, but I prefer to have a bit more control over my system (the reason I've run Slackware for so many years).

The apt package manager system makes installing software a snap in Debian and it's derivatives. You can either use it on the command line or use a GUI like Synaptic. You simply tell it what you want to install, it downloads it from the servers, along with any dependencies that are required, and then installs and configures the software. Pretty simple. And there are over 20,000 applications available so it's not hard to find something that will do the job you need.

All in all I'd say that Debian has come a long way in making their OS both usable and responsive. I think I'll keep it a while.
 
Old 11-17-2007, 11:14 AM   #2
snama
 
Registered: Dec 2006
Distribution: Debian 5 i386
Posts: 35

Rep: Reputation: Reputation:
Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 10

Pros: Apt, huge software archive stable enough to run everyday
Cons: None that i can come up with


Debian is a very high quality distro. If you want something very stable and nothing cutting edge you can use "etch" "stable" but if you want some newer apps but still want it to be stable enough you can choose "lenny" "testing". The Packaging system is very mature and easy with alot of packages. Its easy to make Debian to be just the way you like it with the netinstall cd.
I highly recommend this distro.
 
Old 05-04-2008, 08:47 PM   #3
Takla
 
Registered: Aug 2006
Distribution: Debian
Posts: 188

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 9

Pros: fast,stable,huge range of packages,rolling release
Cons: some time/experience may be needed to configure initially


I recently installed Debian Lenny on a Lenovo Y400 laptop (Core Duo [1.6Ghz x 2], 1.5 GB RAM, Intel 945 graphics, Intel 3945ABG wireless, Realtek 8139 ethernet, Intel HDA7 audio controller, SATA disk controller). Previously on this laptop I've had Ubuntu Feisty then briefly Gutsy, then antiX for several months, then very briefly Hardy). I've also installed Zenwalk 5.0 to check it out with my hardware. I ran antiX+Xfce on Sid repos and was very satisfied but wanted to take advantage of the newer tickless kernels as this machine is rather power hungry.

Installed from CD1 using installgui boot parameter. Very good, easy installer. Despite the machine being recognised as a laptop neither laptop-mode-utils nor packages for cpu frequency scaling were installed. So some research time and configuration were required (meaning sifiting thru several erroneous/conflicting blogs/howtos/docs on the subjects and some trial and error). With a little effort I have laptop-mode and cpu frequency scaling enabled (and very easily user switchable after reconfiguring the gnome applets). Sound on this machine always needs a few tweaks as well with any distro. I found the combination of xserver-xorg 7.2 and the newish intel display driver very poor. Upgrading to xserver-xorg 7.3 from the Sid repositories gave me excellent performance. There were also some issues with the Intel3945ABG iwlwifi driver and unicode. This is common to all distros I've tried so far and the fix is easy enough (once you find it out). Some changes were needed in xorg.conf to get the touchpad up to speed. Post installation configuration then was not issue free but certainly not a show-stopper except for someone completely or fairly new to using Linux. Ubuntu Hardy out of the box has the CPU scaling done but otherwise needs the same fixes. antiX needed similar user input. Zenwalk needs all the same tasks performed to get the hardware properly supported. And naturally Arch needs it all doing from the ground up and then some.

Once installed+configured with the basic Debian Gnome desktop it was time to add all the other services and applications I wanted. Having been running 2 laptops and a desktop on Sid for a while I found it pleasantly relaxing and risk-free using the Lenny repos, and it was good to see some crucial (for me) packages much more up to date than several months ago. I installed synaptic first and then used that. I guess everyone knows that apt is an amazing tool but it's worth stating it over and over again because it is so far ahead of the various rpm package managers and newer tools like netpkg and pacman. Finally I installed Xfce4, preferring it to Gnome (there are Debian testing Xfce CDs but they pull the Gnome desktop down as a dependency on updating, it's a fairly longstanding bug in testing. I thought I might as well give Gnome a spin as well and it gave me a useful comparison point with reference to Ubuntu). After a few performance tweaks such as vm.swappiness and cache pressure in /etc/sysctl.conf and setting the noatime and nodiratime mount options in fstab it was time to unleash Lenny :-)

It's very impressive. Gnome seems surprisingly snappy and responsive. That's a new experience for me. Of course Xfce is still faster but if metacity would let me roll up windows with a mouse wheel scroll-over and have a right click applications menu from the desktop I'd be very happy using Gnome (have previously tried replacing metacity with xfwm4 in Gnome but it's not as simple as it seems, with various applications and applets that seem to rely on metacity and nautilus managing the desktop). Performance (i.e. perceived responsiveness) is very good in Gnome and outstanding in Xfce. Compared to Ubuntu Gutsy and Hardy this is faster, uses less resources and is certainly more stable. Gutsy was comically unstable on this laptop. Hardy was a major improvement but there were still tedious episodes of total non-responsiveness and application crashes (often with no helpful output logged). It's a laptop so uptime is never going to be weeks/months but is often days at a time at home. Debian testing and antiX have both been rock solid with really 1st class performance. Battery life is also improved. With Hardy (after removing Compiz to solve some stability and performance problems) I got only 2 hours 20 minutes on a full charge of a 6 cell battery. Debian testing gives within a whisker of 3 hours. I've not run Windows on this machine (beyond a few hours on day of purchase to test hardware with known drivers) but the manufacturer claims over 4 hours battery life with Windows XP while research on forums/review sites suggest 3 hours is normal outside of the fantasy world of hair-gelled, shiny-suited marketing persons, so I'm rather impressed with Debian and less than impressed with Ubuntu Hardy in this respect. As for memory usage Debian boots with 215-220 MB RAM to Gnome, very slightly less for Xfce. Ubuntu Hardy used aprox 270 MB to support the same Gnome desktop, applets, services etc. Arch used a little more than Debian to run Xfce. Debian seems ahead of the field to me.

Debian testing has a huge selection of recent packages, which for me have been thoroughly stable and issue free. The base system is rock solid stable and fast and once configured requires minimal intervention, perhaps not much more than checking logs just in case. It doesn't offer codec buddies or restricted driver helpers and the other comfort-zone stuff for new users installing their 1st distro but the information and help is all out there for anyone who cares to take advantage of it. Experienced users won't care at all about this but some new users might be better off with something like Ubuntu initially and then with just a little familiarity those apparent obstacles will recede very rapidly and they'll be ready to step up to an operating system that offers clear performance and stability advantages. I scored Debian Lenny 9/10 as the install/config could be slightly better but ultimately it's the day in day out use that actually matters because you're only going to need to install it the one time anyway, no more 6 or 12 monthly install/upgrade anxiety-fests :-)
 
Old 11-16-2008, 12:00 PM   #4
mipia
 
Registered: May 2003
Distribution: Debian, Mint, Slackware
Posts: 457

Rep: Reputation: Reputation: Reputation: Reputation:
Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 8

Pros: stability
Cons: the small minority of the banner waving userbase is very cult like valuing ideals over productivity, ruining it for many


It's a great choice for both server and desktop.
 
Old 12-15-2008, 02:30 PM   #5
masinick
 
Registered: Apr 2002
Distribution: Debian, sidux, antiX, SimplyMEPIS, Kubuntu, Mandriva, Fedora, Xandros, Arch, and many others
Posts: 560

Rep: Reputation: Reputation: Reputation: Reputation: Reputation:
Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 10

Pros: Fast, flexible, stable
Cons: Installer still somewhat "chatty"


Lenny is definitely the finest, most refined Debian system ever put together. I have to be candid and admit that I have not run the netinst installation program since the Beta 1 update in July, but I have been tracking the software indirectly through the use of antiX and SimplyMEPIS updates (both of which I have connected to "Lenny" repositories.

It is difficult for the uninitiated to understand why this release has not been finalized yet. As of December 15, 2008, three months after the initial projected release, Lenny is still in testing, though it has now reached "Release Candidate 2" status.

Lenny is good, solid, stable, flexible, and depending how you configure it, fast, software. It would be difficult to find any software that is more flexible than Debian software, and Lenny does a great job of managing, packaging, and putting it all together.

There have been huge strides over the past two releases with the Debian Installer, yet if I were to criticize any one area, that would be the only area where I could "nit pick" - and it is really being picky! Most modern installation programs have improved tremendously and are now well organized, asking only a few pointed questions on a few screens, then going off and doing the work. Debian is MUCH improved in this area, too, but I still have minor quibbles with it. I realize that the Debian installer supports numerous configurations. My only criticism is that I feel that there is still room for the installer to group its questions a bit more effectively, and even attempt to identify its environment and PRESENT what it thinks is the configuration, then allow the installer to either confirm or modify the findings as needed in order to achieve the desired result.

Debian once had only a text menu based installation program, which remains an option, but it now offers a smooth, graphical menu based program as well, which cuts down on the chatty interaction considerably.

Once installed, Debian is awesome. It includes only FREE software, meaning not only free as in price, but free in terms of licensing restrictions, and only offers, directly from the installer, software that has both binary and source code available.

It is easy to find good documentation that explains how to overcome free/non-free driver, plug-in, codec, and other support related issues. I would not make that a mark against Debian, unless you are a completely inexperienced first time Linux user. Perhaps something like SimplyMEPIS would better suit such people. For its intended audience, give Lenny a perfect ten.
 
Old 01-09-2009, 05:21 PM   #6
orasis
 
Registered: Mar 2008
Distribution: Arch, Slackware
Posts: 25

Rep: Reputation: Reputation: Reputation: Reputation: Reputation: Reputation:
Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 8

Pros: Fast, Huge software selection, stable package manager
Cons: Still has a few small bugs.


Using Arch day to day has made me appreciate speed... And is a main reason I always avoided Debian (like the plague) because it always felt so sluggish in X....

This seems to have been fixed with Lenny .. it's quick and responsive in X... It's great!

Give Lenny a try.. probably the best version of Debian in a long time.
 




  



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