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Old 05-29-2006, 12:32 PM   #1
Registered: May 2006
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Debian vs. Suse

I am really a newbie, but don't really have the time and resources to try out different distros, unless the differences are substantial. I have heard good things about these two, have downloaded Knoppix to get a feel for Debian and I am wondering if it is worth spending the time to compare the two.
Old 05-29-2006, 12:37 PM   #2
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If you are a newbie, you should know that although Debian is used as a basis for many distributions, the installation and setup of Debian is not a point and click operation. For newbies, I typically recommend Linspire, Mandriva, SUSE, Ubuntu (and Kubuntu).
Old 05-30-2006, 01:09 PM   #3
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If you don't mind having a "text install" you should definetly try Debian. The only difficult part for a newbie is making the proper partition skeme for your hard drive.

If you want a very easy graphical install process i will recommend fedora or mandriva.
Old 05-30-2006, 01:21 PM   #4
Registered: Apr 2006
Distribution: Suse 10.2, Ubuntu Feisty Fawn
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I'm still a newbie on all accounts, but really it depends on what you want to do with the distro.

For instance, I wanted a distro that didn't make me feel confined, or controlled. A lot of the 'user friendlies' gave me the idea that my OS was talking down to me and dictating what I did. I didn't like that feeling.
I also wanted a distro that was stable, secure, and would scale with me so that I wouldn't have to distro-hop in the future. For me, Debian has been working out great. Yes there are problems, but I'm learning a lot from using it.

If you just want something that sets you up and 'just works' why not try linspire? I have suse 10.1 installed on my desktop and I can tell you it doesn't 'just work', once you install the os you have to manually find the drivers etc. Ubuntu and Suse are the same in that aspect.
Right now, I suggest Linspire if you have the money to pay because it just works right out of the box, no installing drivers, etc. and the CNR warehouse is pretty nice. Mandriva is actually coming out with something similiar to CNR called 'kiosk'but it's still in beta and you have to buy a club membership to get it. The club memberships are more expensive than even the CNR gold subscription.

In the end it depends on what you want to do... they're all linux, but they all take different approaches to it...

Also, there are a number of newb friendly debian off-shoots. One of which contains 'non-free' drivers: SimplyMepis. I used simply mepis for a bit but I just got that confined feeling from it, most people really like it. Also, PClinuxOS is a very good choice, it worked very well for me, but again, confined.

Last edited by Adamant1988; 05-30-2006 at 01:23 PM.
Old 05-30-2006, 01:37 PM   #5
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Distribution: Debian-Lenny/Sid 32/64 Desktop: Generic AMD64-EVGA 680i Laptop: Generic Intel SIS-AC97
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...have downloaded Knoppix to get a feel for Debian and I am wondering if it is worth spending the time to compare the two.
If you want the best, you've already seen it. Debian's reputation for a difficult installation is silly. By all means, do get Etch rather than Sarge. Get the Net-installer here. For a second opinion, Here is a fresh link from LXer.
Old 05-30-2006, 01:37 PM   #6
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You are going to get a lot of responses based on peoples personal experiences, but once you have the distro installed, you can wade your way through just about any of them. If you need to have a graphically intuitive installer, then SuSe or Fedora are good bets. If you want an easy distro that ¨just works¨, I can certainly tell you Mepis seems to work for just about everybody. Very little (or no) configuration necessary and a very easy graphical install.

Old 05-30-2006, 02:37 PM   #7
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The Etch installer is graphical.

If you need to partition your HD first I recommend using GParted -- LiveCD.

If you really want to learn how to use GNU/Linux then Debian is the way to go. If your looking for something that you will have few to no problems using I would try PCLinuxOS.

Debian rules, but it does take a little getting used to. The apparent lack of GUI config tools tends to put some people off, but in reality editing a text file is just as simple. Debian has great documentation and the people in the Debian community are very helpful.
Old 06-18-2007, 10:40 PM   #8
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When i 1st started using linux i started with Suse 9.1. moved around from distro to disto playing and seeing which ones i liked. tried Arch.. redhat...Mandrake .. mandriva.. eventually went back to Opensuse 10.2.

I left opensuse and tried Ubuntu just to see what it was all about.. then went to Debian..

My advise is keep trying distros out till you find one you like..
Old 06-19-2007, 10:07 PM   #9
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Depends what you are looking for besides ease of use (once installed I found Debian easier to maintain and keep up to date.)

If you are looking for a distro with a strong and long tested commitment for freedom in the liberty sense than Debian is a clear winner.

If you are in to gui tools than Suse (open or not) is a clear winner.
Old 06-19-2007, 10:57 PM   #10
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This may just be my luck, but...I started out with Ubuntu, went to CentOS, gNewSense, Fedora, and Debian. (and others) I found Debian very customizable, but seemingly unstable. I just shrank a partition using GParted which I have done with Ubuntu and CentOS, and the first time I booted, it didn't read any removable media drives. The second time it stopped working all together. So, I just installed Ubuntu again and tailor it to my liking. Debian was about as stable to me as the Windows is...
Old 06-19-2007, 11:48 PM   #11
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Of the few distros I've tried (Mandrake/Mandriva, Fedora, Gentoo, Debian, LinuxXP, ...) Debian has to be my ultimate favourite.

Mandrake/Mandriva, Fedora
Pros: Great for newbies! I used Mandriva for a good 6 years, before getting a little saucy, and finally delving into programming under Linux.
Cons: Newbies will soon learn the joys (a.k.a. the bulk) that comes from RPM-based distributions. Note to self: buy bigger hard drive.

Pros: Small footprint.
Cons: 6+ hours to compile Firefox? No thank you. I have wasted too much time on this distribution. I want my life back.

Pros: Amazing packaging system, stable (I actually try to break it just so I can fix it again), small footprint.
Cons: None that I can think of, yet.

Debian is where I've recently perched, and where I plan on staying for a long time. Most of the package management tools are CLI-based, but they're incredibly in-depth, without being complicated.

I'll probably give Slackware a try in the near future, just to see what all the fuss is about.
Old 06-20-2007, 01:17 AM   #12
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I agree with craigevil that if you want something really easy to use, where most of the configuration can be done through graphical wizards, and doesn't have a steep learning curve, try PCLinuxOS. (It's probably the best-looking distro out there, too, if that matters to you.)

openSUSE's built-in package manager is....clunky. Put another way, it sucks rocks. Debian's package management system is excellent. (PCLinuxOS is RPM-based, like openSUSE, but they had the good sense to use apt/Synaptic.)

I'd disagree with craigevil about documentation. There may be a bunch of Debian documentation out there, but much of it is out of date, and much of it is aimed at experienced users.

If you want to be able to buy a book about your chosen distro at the bookstore, you'll find more than one book about openSUSE (or Fedora, or Ubuntu) that's pretty current. If you're looking for a book on Debian, you won't find one much newer than 2005.

If you do choose Debian, it might be better to start with a distro like Sidux, where people will answer practically every question you have on their forums. (PCLinuxOS has a great forum, too.)
Old 06-20-2007, 05:05 AM   #13
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Debian pros: runs on a lot of architectures, a lot of programs are OFFICIALY packaged and reviewed.

Initially debian is made for servers. It is not a desktop distribution.

Compare the default configuration of the kernel (.config) of debian and suse/fedora and you will see what I mean (HZ, schedulers,..)

I think this book is quite good:

I discovered sidux on this forum. I gave it a try and was disappointed. In one year of using a debian unstable system, everything was tweaked and working. It's not the case for sidux, a lot of things was not working.
If you have a bit of knowledge and time, take a real debian unstable and Do It Yourself.

Last edited by nx5000; 06-20-2007 at 05:09 AM.
Old 06-20-2007, 07:20 AM   #14
Registered: Mar 2007
Location: Amiens, France
Distribution: Debian Etch,
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As a newbie, I first started out on Mandriva, then went to Suse, played around with Fedora for a while, then to Ubuntu and now I've settled on Debian. The only distribution in this list that I don't recommend is Suse. I found it very heavy-going. It simply drove me mad with all its system updates - and YaST was just too long. Also, maybe due to its heaviness, it was forever crashing on my machine - the only Linux distro I've tried which does this.
Debian is perhaps not the easiest distribution to start out on, but in my opinion it's the best of all I've tried. I suppose you could say that Ubuntu is a beginner's Debian: it's fast, stable and very agreeable to use, although it isn't as powerful. What took me days to work out in Debian, I'd sorted out in minutes in Ubuntu. However, if you come from Windows, you might consider Kubuntu, which is the same distro but, using the KDE desktop rather than Gnome, it has a windows 'feel' to it.
Mandriva is very good too, and by far the easiest of the bunch to install. However, I found it a bit buggy and I definitely feel that rpm-type distros are much more bother than Debian-type systems. The number of times I went round in circles trying to install something but was unable to do it because the programme I wanted to install needed itself!! (Suse also uses rpm, by the way. )I have never experienced this with either Ubuntu or Debian. And, more generally, the choice of software available in the Debian software repositories is simply incredible. In my opinion, apt-get makes YaST look silly!
Old 06-20-2007, 07:53 AM   #15
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Debian is *very* fast. Even on old hardware, when you know what to keep and to get rid of.


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