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vayira 04-29-2011 07:48 PM

switch to debian... stable or testing ?
 
I've been using ubuntu for some time & I'm very conservative about installing new systems if all goes well. (I still use 9.10)

Reading about where ubuntu is going I'm thinking of trying Debian next time I reinstall. However, I'm not quite sure what the differences are between stable & testing versions...

* Are they both "rolling"?
* Do I understand correctly that "rolling" means constant package updates?

I'm looking for a system that "just works" on both my desktop & netbook which are a couple of years old with no exotic hardware.

vtel57 04-29-2011 08:01 PM

Debian is the ROCK of GNU/Linux. Its stability is legendary due to the fact that the software it utilizes in its stable releases is often quite a ways back from the bleeding edge. For most folks, this does not at all hinder their ability to utilize this distribution, though. For someone like yourself, I would recommend Stable for a first time install.

It's going to look and BE different than Ubuntu, so be ready. Think of Debian as Ubuntu's staid and proper grandmother. ;)

Debian is NOT a rolling release distribution. Rolling release distributions never release sequential final release versions. Whatever you download and install at any given time is the most current version. You need to update rolling release distros regularly so as not to break them inadvertantly.

Debian updates individual software regularly, but releases FINAL versions periodically. The current stable version of Debian is 6.0.1 - "Squeeze". They will eventually, a year or two from now, release v7.0. Personally, I prefer fresh installs to upgrades. However, if you keep your Squeeze updated regularly, when 7.0 does come out, an upgrade should be relatively painless.

Luck with it. :)

~Eric

widget 04-29-2011 08:52 PM

If you are using 9.10 (Kinky Kitty) I would just go with Debian6 (Squeeze).

When Ubuntu does a version build they use 2 systems. One for regular releases like 9.10 and one for the LTS releases (Lounge Lizard 10.04).
The regular releases are built by syncing the repos to the Debian unstable repos. The LTS is built syncing to the Debian testing repo.

When Lounge Lizard was made Debian Testing was Squeeze. If you go with it you will be getting the OS that 10.04 was built on. The main difference is that it works better. It should remain the Debian Stable release until 2013 probably.

Debian is does not have a fetish about release dates. They want the sucker stable when released as stable. Wheezy is the new Testing (Squeeze was released in Feb).

I run testing with the Liquorix kernel. There are a lot of updates, usually every day.Squeeze is a real nice OS and Debian takes a bit of getting used to after Ubuntu.

Ubuntu moves some system files and renames others so it is a bit of a challenge to come to grips with it.

If you were a neighbor I was giving advice to I would recommend a dual boot with your 9.10. That way you have something familiar to fall back on if you get frustrated. Frankly I would be surprised if you didn't fall in love in a hurry.

craigevil 04-29-2011 09:13 PM

Go with Stable. If you get bored you can always upgrade to Testing or unstable.

Keep in mind Stable gets quite old, while Testing and Sid are constantly getting updates.

Also Debian Testing and Sid are both more 'stable' than most other distros, way more 'stable' than *buntu.

On my desktop I installed Debian way back in 2004, even though most of the hardware has been upgraded I have yet had to reinstall.

widget 04-29-2011 09:44 PM

I read in another thread that Debian testing was not, any longer, more stable than Ubuntu. All I can say is that it sure is on my hardware even running the Liquorix 2.6.38 kernel. It is more stable than 10.04 let alone 10.10 or 11.04 (which does run 1.6.38).

vayira 04-30-2011 03:56 AM

Thanks for all your comments they are very useful. The stability does sound attractive. I don't like ubuntu making arbitrary changes with each new release which is why I haven't bothered to update for ages.

Several of you comment that I will have to expect things to be different from the buntus. But is there anything that might catch me out having previous experience with puppy & suse as well?

Debian has synaptic in the repos doesn't it?

.

k3lt01 04-30-2011 04:47 AM

As the others have said go with Stable (Squeeze) initially, if you feel like moving further after you are used to Debian then you may wish to give Testing a go.

Ubuntu adds alot of stuff to Debian that is supposed to make configuration easier. Debian no longer has non-free firmware (basically drivers) in the kernel where Ubuntu does so you may have initial difficulty getting wireless networking setup but if you know your machines hardware you can work through issues like that quickly and easily by getting things you may need early.

Synaptic is part of the default install with the Gnome version, I don't know what the KDE version uses.

If you want to give Debian a go without installing it you could download a DebianLive cd/dvd and try it out like you would with Ubuntu to make sure things were ok. If you follow the link just choose your architecture (amd64 or i386) and then choose the DE you want to try out.

When you need to ask questions, everyone is willing to help.

vayira 04-30-2011 06:03 AM

Ah yes the live CD is a good idea, especially if there may be hardware issues with the wifi on my netbook.

.

gradinaruvasile 04-30-2011 02:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by widget (Post 4341492)
I read in another thread that Debian testing was not, any longer, more stable than Ubuntu. All I can say is that it sure is on my hardware even running the Liquorix 2.6.38 kernel. It is more stable than 10.04 let alone 10.10 or 11.04 (which does run 1.6.38).

Who said that? Ubuntu was really stable for me until 9.04 (which was the most stable Ubuntu). Then it went downhill and i went Debian Testing.

Maybe Testing is not for everyone (i mean beginners). There are quirks here and there especially when infrastructural changes are made (the udisks/upower change for example killed hibernation for me until i figured it out). But if uou know your way around the apt system and stuff (like i did when i switched fromUbuntu) you are ok.
But i had absolutely no stability issues, only "paper cut" level stuff.

Keep in mind though that Debian (both Stable and Testing) has no "hand holder" components ("Hardware Drivers" and the like) and hasnt got that many packages installed by default (but are available in the repos).
The repositories are way better than Ubutu's though - you have many more packages ther than Ubuntus native repos.

widget 04-30-2011 02:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gradinaruvasile (Post 4342137)
Who said that? Ubuntu was really stable for me until 9.04 (which was the most stable Ubuntu). Then it went downhill and i went Debian Testing.

Maybe Testing is for everyone (i mean beginners). There are quirks here and there especially when infrastructural changes are made (the udisks/upower change for example killed hibernation for me until i figured it out). But if uou know your way around the apt system and stuff (like i did when i switched fromUbuntu) you are ok.
But i had absolutely no stability issues, only "paper cut" level stuff.

Keep in mind though that Debian (both Stable and Testing) has no "hand holder" components ("Hardware Drivers" and the like) and hasnt got that many packages installed by default (but are available in the repos).
The repositories are way better than Ubutu's though - you have many more packages ther than Ubuntus native repos.

That is when I should have switched too. I actually have a 9.04 install on here yet. Ext2 and grub2. Runs great still. Going to have to get rid of it for the room but need to go over several years worth of files to see what I need to keep. Could probably just copy the home directory straight to backup. Was my main until about Feb. this year while I was mainly running on Ubuntu testing installs.

vayira 05-01-2011 07:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gradinaruvasile (Post 4342137)
Keep in mind though that Debian (both Stable and Testing) has no "hand holder" components ("Hardware Drivers" and the like)

What does that imply in terms of installing? How would I get it to recognise my hardware?

.

gradinaruvasile 05-01-2011 07:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by vayira (Post 4343261)
What does that imply in terms of installing? How would I get it to recognise my hardware?

.

The open source free drivers will be loaded just as in Ubuntu, but if you want to use proprietary drivers, you have to install those packages by hand, no "Restricted drivers available" popups.
Dont worry, the system autodetects+configures just as Ubuntu. The proprietary drivers are optional in Ubuntu too (save foe a few wireless chips).
Typically the propietary drivers are video (ati or nvidia) or some wireless brands (more choices here, but well documented, just google for it if not sure).
This of course implies the fact that you actually know what you have in your computer. If not quite sure, lspci+dmesg is your friend here...

Arcane 05-02-2011 08:55 AM

Debian is for you if you like customize system yourself from minimal and fast install but if you want already configured system then skip it and use Ubuntu, Mint, Peppermint or other Ubuntu|Debian based distribution..can find some from DW search option.

cascade9 05-02-2011 09:49 AM

Uing 9.10 still? I'm guessing that you are looking for a non-ubuntu option because 9.10 should be end of life now. Get debian stable. Its great for people who just want to install the OS and get going, no need to worry about updating like you do with testing/unstable.

Quote:

Originally Posted by vayira (Post 4341797)
Ah yes the live CD is a good idea, especially if there may be hardware issues with the wifi on my netbook.

If you will have issues or not really depends on the wifi hardware you are using.

Keep in mind that even if the wifi doesnt work with a liveCD, it could be possible, even fairly easy to get it going.

Quote:

Originally Posted by vayira (Post 4343261)
What does that imply in terms of installing? How would I get it to recognise my hardware?

As long as your wifi is linux-friendly, you shouldnt really have any issues. ATI/nVidia drivers are pretty easy to install, but most netbooks wont have a ATI/AMD or nVidia GPU.

If its not automatically recognised and installed, you'll probably have to install drivers. In mosts cases its not that hard, justa few minutes at the console should do the job.

Quote:

Originally Posted by vayira (Post 4341718)
Thanks for all your comments they are very useful. The stability does sound attractive. I don't like ubuntu making arbitrary changes with each new release which is why I haven't bothered to update for ages.

I'm not defending ubuntu, if you look around here I'm probably a fairly harsh critic of unbuntu/canonical. But I wouldnt say that the changes that ubuntu makes are 'arbitrary', they are thought out.

Just because they make a few minstakes here and there, and a lot of users might not like the changes ubuntu makes doesnt mean that they are random, or done on a whim.


Quote:

Originally Posted by craigevil (Post 4341465)
On my desktop I installed Debian way back in 2004, even though most of the hardware has been upgraded I have yet had to reinstall.

Impressive.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Arcane (Post 4343869)
Debian is for you if you like customize system yourself from minimal and fast install but if you want already configured system then skip it and use Ubuntu, Mint, Peppermint or other Ubuntu|Debian based distribution..can find some from DW search option.

I completely disagree.

Ubuntu, and ubuntu based distros are best for people who like eyecandy, dont want to do any settings up to get it, dont want to deal with a console for a few minutes to get ATI/AMD, nVidia or non-liunx-friendly wifi drivers

Debain is best for people who want a bit more control, dont really care about eye-candy or are prepared to spend a few minutes setting it up, have a linux-friendly wifi setup or are prepared to get it going (how hard that could be depends on the wifi) and are prepared to do more than click to get ATI/AMD or nVidia drivers. Or dont care about the closed GPU drivers and are happy enough with the open source radeon or nouveau drivers.

I did a debian 6.0.1a install a few weeks back on a fairly normal intel based system. Intel CPU, chipset, video, and to be honest I dont even know what networking chip its using- didnt need to know because everything worked 'out of the box'.

Sure, with some systems you might need to do some configuration, but with a lot of systems you simply dont have to.

Arcane 05-02-2011 11:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cascade9 (Post 4343925)
{...}I completely disagree.{...}

If you disagree why you agree that debian needs extra configuration and type additional proof text? Unless you mistyped it's wierd..and debian policy doesn't allow everything to work outside box since stuff like flash player, additional drivers, etc. doesn't come with it by default. Anyway fact still stays - Debian is great but it's not for people who want stuff already configured for them or who refuse to configure system without click->click->next->next->finish.


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