Originally posted by snatale1
I've been thinking about checking out Debian due to what i'm reading that there upgrade system is much better than rpm's, Deb was my original choice but I installed redhat because I figured the more commercial would be the better choice for upgrades support and software availibilty but after reading some stuff and going to the Debian page and seeing all the availible software and the fact that it's set up FOR Debain impresses me, and I want to try it out, how does the upgrade process differ? is there auto updating, Is it just running an executable and it put it were it belongs/or removes? or is it alot of source compiling? also I know that Knoppix is Debian based, could using that give me a good idea or should I just install the real thing?
Debian software is terrific, and you have a choice between using software that's been throughly tested and even the packages tested (this is called the stable tree), then there's the testing tree, which consists of software that's been available for a while and generally works, but has not completed the entire testing cycle. Third, there's what's called unstable. This software usually works, but the packaging has not been verified much at all, certainly not in any formal way. That does not make the software unusable, it just means that the packaging hasn't been rigorously verified. There's even a fourth tree that may be coming into wider use, called experimental. If it actually works out, this tree will be used to accelerate the Debian development and packaging process. If there's any disadvantage to Debian, it's that the thoroughness of the package testing leads to a longer time period before aging software becomes the stable software. An effort is underway to improve this, and that's where experimental comes in.
Debian packaging is great. Debian installation is very flexible, but many argue that it is in serious need of work and improvement. Meanwhile, commercial distributions and public distributions help reduce the difficulty in the flexible, but sometimes difficult to understand installation method. Great commercial examples of this include Libranet (my personal favorite, LindowsOS (a consumer favorite - most useful for the home consumer with broadband access), Xandros, a stable desktop system well suited for people who also use Windows software.
There's a growing category of Live CD implementations of Debian GNU/Linux software that have emerged in the past year or so. The one from which many others have evolved is Knoppix. This is one excellent Live CD version, but you can also install it to your hard drive. An arguably even better implementation, but not yet as well known, is the Mepis Linux Lve CD, which you can install to disk with just a few additional clicks. I recommend this one if you want to try the Live CD first. The last one I know of also shows great promise, though recently I've had problems with it, and that's Morphix. Also built from work started in Knoppix, Morphix offers several different packages, depending on what kind of interface you use. I had great success with the 0.3.4 release, but ran into problems with the 0.4 release. Still well worth investigating.
To cut this all down to size, my own personal preferences among these Debian GNU/Linux distros are Libranet for a very full, complete, and current system, and Mepis for a a quick LiveCD implementation that you can also easily put on disk.
Do I recommend using Debian packaging? Absolutely! Once you install one of these distros, if you connect to a Debian mirror (instead of just a vendor site) and you have a good network connection, you won't need any other system or other software, you'll be able to run Debian software indefinitely with great success.