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MostViktorious 01-01-2012 02:43 PM

Debian vs Arch linux for my needs on a laptop - advice requested
Hello LQ users, I just have a couple of questions.

I recently got a new laptop, and I'm finally intent on running GNU/Linux properly on it, (I've mainly used virtual machines in the past).

My friend recommended Arch Linux to me, and I say that it's intriguing, yet I only have one main issue with it: pacman.
I'm just used to apt-get, and to me, it is much more user friendly, as well as more powerful (in terms of number of commands/options, from a first glance anyway).

So I've had experience with Fedora, Ubuntu and Kubuntu (as well as Xubuntu). I've decided that most likely I'll try GNOME 3, thus my reasoning for instead of Arch, maybe trying a more Debian-based derivative. So now I'm thinking, I don't need a Debian based derivative, maybe I should just try Debian itself!

I'm mainly wondering which one to pick, Debian or Arch. I'm fine with suggestions, but I'd rather distros that are at least fairly well known, and not the really obscure ones.

I want to be able to try a lot of things with my planned setup, everything from games, to a bit of coding, maybe some "network security exploration :P" and the like. So far, Debian seems like it caters itself to my needs. I would consider myself a fairly intermediate user of Linux.

Can anyone offer any opinions?

esteeven 01-01-2012 02:52 PM

Hello. You seem to have answered your own question ------ use Debian. If it ticks all the boxes, install it. apt-get is a great tool. Of course, I use Arch on my systems and love pacman :) I have also used Debian and lots of derivatives. Why not partition your disk and install both? Spend a day / week / hour / year using one and then switch to the other. In the end, only you can decide which is better for you. If I say Arch for it's up-to-date packages, someone else will say Debian because of its tried and trusted stable packages.
Good luck!

snowpine 01-01-2012 03:52 PM

Debian and Arch are both fine distros. One thing you didn't mention is the community--did you visit both Debian and Arch forums to see if they are a friendly place to hang out and get your questions answered (and to help other users with their questions once you have a bit more experience)?

Also keep in mind that Gnome 3 won't be in Debian Stable until roughly 2013. If you want the latest & greatest packages then choose Arch (or some users might argue for Debian Unstable); if you want older, well-tested packages then choose Debian Stable.

MostViktorious 01-01-2012 04:01 PM

That's the thing about packages with Debian. Can't i just install the same "latest and greatest" packages in Arch as in Debian? Can't I just add a repository that has the newest versions of packages and just get nice updated packages too?

Or install them from source if need be?

snowpine 01-01-2012 04:21 PM

Well, most people who choose Debian Stable are looking for an extremely stable distro, where the software is old and well-tested. It is a great choice for a server, a business computer, or an academic environment, where "must not crash" is more important than "shiny new toys."

If you are looking for "similar to Debian but more razzle-dazzle" then I strongly recommend Ubuntu or Linux Mint; they are the 2 most popular distros for desktop/laptop/netbook and very user-friendly. :)

MostViktorious 01-01-2012 04:33 PM

No offense to Ubuntu users, but I am really not a Ubuntu person. :P

But regarding my previous question, can't I just upgrade and install whatever shiny new packages I want on Debian just as well? Like won't I just have to manually add a repo and just run apt-get???

snowpine 01-01-2012 04:37 PM

Debian has Testing, Unstable, and Experimental repos, for advanced users who enjoy using newer applications and helping Team Debian squash bugs for future releases. :)

theW 01-11-2012 03:50 PM

I think that you should give arch a try at least in a virtual machine. Pacman may not look powerful from its list of options but it is extremely fast and flexible with installing from locations other than the main repos. If this is a lower spec machine than Debian might be a little slower than arch for many things and if you do want to install from source than the abs if fantastic.

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