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Happy 17th Birthday, Debian! 225

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the august-is-interesting dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Debian turns 17 today. Yes it has really come a long way from being Murdock's pet project back in 1993 to being the distribution on which the most popular Linux distribution, Ubuntu, is now based."
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Happy 17th Birthday, Debian!

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  • Thank you (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 16, 2010 @11:43AM (#33264248)

    Thanks Murdock! This distro is still one of the easiest to maintain over a long period of time.

    • Re:Thank you (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jurily (900488) <jurily.gmail@com> on Monday August 16, 2010 @12:11PM (#33264628)

      Damn right it is. Debian is the distro you install on your mom's computer when you're moving 2000+ miles and don't want to fly home for tech support.

      Over the course of two years, I've had exactly one problem with that box, and all it needed was a phone call + ssh.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by G3ckoG33k (647276)

        "Damn right it is. Debian is the distro you install on your mom's computer when you're moving 2000+ miles and don't want to fly home for tech support."

        Last week I did just that. I installed it on your mom's compu... Nah, just kidding. But, I did install Debian on a relative's brand new box. He is 79 and was very satisifed. He has been using Debian for several years, and I upgrade once a year.

  • by e065c8515d206cb0e190 (1785896) on Monday August 16, 2010 @11:43AM (#33264252)
    I was coming from Slackware and apt-get seemed magical. Never left the boat since.
    Long life to Debian!
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 16, 2010 @11:57AM (#33264440)

      True enough! Debian was the best idea around when they started introducing the concept of dependency resolution and meta data. It has been one of my faves ever since.

    • by hcpxvi (773888) on Monday August 16, 2010 @12:17PM (#33264688)
      I was coming from Slackware and apt-get seemed magical.
      I was coming from being an ordinary user on Solaris systems. Installing Debian (from a stack of floppies!) and finding myself logged on as root was magical. I also have stuck with Debian ever since. It's just excellent. A huge cheer for the vast crowd of people who make it possible.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by marcosdumay (620877)

      I was comming from a broken Red Hat install, that succeded a broken Connectiva one, that succeded another broken Connectiva one, all of those refused to install my software due to dependency problems. Debian stable simply installed everything, and from the very few packages you couldn't install from testing, most become installable once you added the stable tree to sources.list, and most of the others just become installable a week or so after that. And it upgrades, and upgrades, and still you can install a

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Jon Abbott (723)

      Apt-get is magical. It has Super Cow Powers [eeggs.com]. ;^)

  • Just happen to be on campus today, maybe I'll go over to the CS building and pour one out.

  • So there are two important aprts of the internet with birthdays very close together. I wonder if Debian or IE will last the longest?
    • by Kjella (173770) on Monday August 16, 2010 @11:52AM (#33264372) Homepage

      In terms of name, my bet would be on IE. If the Debian leaders manage to act retarded enough the community might have to fork and pick a new name but the project would live on. While with IE I figure there's a good chance Microsoft will eventually figure out that developing their own browser engine is a waste of resources and create their own Webkit-based browser, but still under the IE name. So one could have the same content with a different name, the other different content with the same name.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MrHanky (141717)

        You seriously think Microsoft will embrace an LGPL browser engine? Originally from the KDE project?

        • by AndrewNeo (979708)

          And actively developed by their direct competitor in nearly all fields, Apple?

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          If it is the cheapest way to get developers churning out c# applications running on Server2008/MSSQL/Azure on the back and Silverlight on the front, yeah I could imagine them doing that.

          The horse has very much left the barn(for all but the most ossified projects that are also millstones around Microsoft's neck because they don't want to deal with IE6 anymore) when it comes to controlling the internet by being the de-facto HTML renderer and being a real oddball about it.

          If, however, MS can reduce HTML
        • Between Apple, Google, RIM & HP/Palm all using WebKit, it looks poised to become the dominant mobile browser engine. If that happens, I think MS may swallow their pride and follow suit. Why keep spending money on their own engine just to play catch-up? It could be a wise business decision in the near future.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by MrHanky (141717)

            Playing catch-up can be immensely profitable if you also sell web services that aren't as well supported by the competing browsers, especially if the competition's web services depend on other browsers: MS Web service users will be forced to use IE, IE users will choose MS Web services. Apple plays the same game with media formats. It's called lock-in.

          • MS would rather step over them all to where they estimate things will go rather than resign to being an late starting also-ran.

            If those guys are all occupied with WebKit, it frees MS to do something bold.

        • "You seriously think Microsoft will embrace an LGPL browser engine?"

          Why not? They are against GPL (being communist and all that song) but they are quite in favour of the BSD (as long as they can take advantage of others' code, not that they distribute so much under the BSD themselves) and LGPL is second to the BSD in that they can take others' code to their advantage without giving back so much.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by wvmarle (1070040)

        What? Apple's Safari also uses it! You're not going to suggest Microsoft to copy something from Apple do you? They would never do so!

        Oh, wait...

      • by KiloByte (825081)

        What "Internet Explorer" are you talking about? It has already been renamed to "Windows Internet Explorer", so the contest which name will last longer is already over.

        And, also: die, WIE, die!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by richdun (672214)

      Depends on what you mean by "last."

      Debian will probably be kicking around on someone's toy web server or overly complex but overly awesome home file server for as long as there is someone either willing to get the kernel working on whatever hardware is available or rig up a network protocol to talk to our future brain/computer overlords.

      IE will probably remain commercially relevant longer, sadly, for as long as there are corporations, there will be that one piece of mission critical software written X years

  • by Anonymous Coward

    ... Debian can fsck all it wants ;)

  • by kwabbles (259554) on Monday August 16, 2010 @11:46AM (#33264282)

    It's actually kind of sad that most people identify Debian solely as being "that one that Ubuntu's based on".

    • by druke (1576491) on Monday August 16, 2010 @11:50AM (#33264334)
      Anyone who really feels this way doesn't understand open source.
      • by e065c8515d206cb0e190 (1785896) on Monday August 16, 2010 @11:55AM (#33264426)
        Is it about understanding Open Source? Or giving credit where credit is due?

        I'm not saying the guys at Ubuntu just sit there and do nothing, but Debian deserves way more than being called "the distro Ubuntu is based on".
        • by causality (777677)

          Is it about understanding Open Source? Or giving credit where credit is due?

          I don't really view that as an either-or scenario. As a user of a great deal of Open Source software, I'd file "understanding Open Source" under the general heading of "giving credit where it is due".

          I'm not saying the guys at Ubuntu just sit there and do nothing, but Debian deserves way more than being called "the distro Ubuntu is based on".

          Anyone who would deny the tremendous influence Debian has had on the Open Source communit

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by lawpoop (604919)

          Is it about understanding Open Source? Or giving credit where credit is due?

          Do you call it Debian GNU/Linux?

      • by kwabbles (259554) on Monday August 16, 2010 @12:04PM (#33264552)

        Okay lemme make sure I have this straight...

        Premise 1:
        Being a Debian user for 15 years I'm sad to see it relegated to being only identified in the mainstream as something that a dumbed-down desktop distro is based on.

        Premise 2:
        Anyone who feels that way doesn't understand open source.

        Therefore:
        I don't understand open source.

        It's all crystal clear to me now. My eyes have been opened.

        • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Monday August 16, 2010 @12:42PM (#33264986) Homepage

          Being a Debian user for 15 years I'm sad to see it relegated to being only identified in the mainstream as something that a dumbed-down desktop distro is based on.

          As opposed to what?

          Look, my path to Linux took me through Slackware 15 years ago (wow I don't miss installing Linux from dozens of floppies) through RedHat, and then Debian. And I was happy for a while. Sure, Debian packages are decidedly archaic, but you couldn't ask for a more stable Linux distribution. Everything just seemed to work.

          And then I tried Ubuntu. Suddenly things I just assumed wouldn't work out of the box (basic crap like wireless, USB printers and mass storage devices just working and integrating with the desktop, and god knows what else) just... did. I mean, sure, I could always get Debian there eventually, with enough tinkering. But dear god, Ubuntu did all the tinkering for me! And I got a more modern package set to boot. Not to mention PPAs, which make taking on non-standard repositories dead simple.

          So, because Ubuntu took the rather rough diamond that is Debian and polished it up, it's somehow "dumbed down"? Really?

          Frankly, it seems to me there is a choice: either you run a rough distro that forces the user to roll up their sleeves and get dirty, and then you can feel all smart and superior, or you can make something that actually works for your average user, and lets us power users just fucking get on with it already, and then get labeled "dumbed down". Which is, frankly, pretty fucking stupid, but such is the world of tech geeks who feel its cool to have to manually hack files in /etc in order to get their god damned printer to just print already.

          • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Monday August 16, 2010 @12:56PM (#33265198) Homepage

            'course, I just realized my post makes it seem like I think Debian sucks.

            Frankly, Debian kicks ass. For a server, I'd consider nothing else. I've long believed that apt is, hands down, the best package management system ever invented. And Debian has done a truly marvelous job of ensuring that upgrades Just Work... unlike Ubuntu or Redhat, I have never feared doing a full distro update on Debian. Their package quality is simply through the roof (well, minus that pesky sshd bug they introduced ;).

            Heck, I should given Debian a try again. It's been a couple years since I made the leap to Ubuntu, and it may be that Debian unstable could now fill the roll that Ubuntu fills for me today (as a modern desktop distro)... particularly given how incredibly painful Ubuntu in-place upgrades can be. OTOH, I am spoiled by the fact that Ubuntu has the nVidia blob drivers incorporated into their software repo...

            • by ffreeloader (1105115) on Monday August 16, 2010 @01:33PM (#33265640) Journal

              To get the fglrx and nvidia proprietary drivers in Debian all you have to do is add "non-free" to the urls in your sources.list file. Those drivers have been available in non-free for far longer than you've been using Ubuntu.

              You're knocking Debian for what amounts to your own ignorance.

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by Abcd1234 (188840)

                I'm not "knocking" Debian at all. Quit being a defensive jackass.

                Thanks for the tip, when I was using Debian (which was a couple years ago), I had no need for non-free drivers, and it's unquestionable that Ubuntu integrates them into their system more directly. That said, adding another repo to apt is simple enough, so maybe it is time I test-drive unstable again (particularly since my laptop is now a few years old, and so driver support is no longer an issue).

            • by TaoPhoenix (980487) <TaoPhoenix@yahoo.com> on Monday August 16, 2010 @01:45PM (#33265814) Journal

              This.

              I just giggled at these comments, where everyone's saying "Ubuntu just works" ... except in upgrades. It's like a fancy haircut from a stylist that just works, except you can't duplicate it the following evening for your date.

              Just updating things like Open Office and Firefox caused dependency clashes - sorry, that's totally unacceptable. I met my share of the version upgrade bugs too.

            • Maybe you should try Windows again after all these years, I'm sure it had made progress too.

              Na, not for me, I like free.

          • by kwabbles (259554) on Monday August 16, 2010 @01:42PM (#33265768)

            "So, because Ubuntu took the rather rough diamond that is Debian and polished it up, it's somehow "dumbed down"? Really?"

            Why does everyone think that what Debian is trying to be is a polished up desktop OS? I hear this time and time again "Ubuntu is a polished up Debian" or "Ubuntu took Debian and finished the job" blah blah... or that Debian is somehow some unfinished rough draft of a project that needed Mark Shuttleworth to come around and complete.

            Debian is a general purpose GNU/Linux - server OS, appliance OS, embedded OS... you name it - Debian can be used for it. Ubuntu is a desktop OS. That's it - plain and simple... Ubuntu is made from the ground up with the end user in mind for a rich DESKTOP experience. It just HAPPENS to be BASED on Debian. Yes, there is a "server" version of Ubuntu (which I find silly and is a topic for another conversation) but not even that is meant to be as flexible as vanilla Debian.

            Personally I think it's silly to "roll up your sleeves and get dirty" to use Debian as your desktop OS. When I want to install an operating system on my desktop for general purpose use I get out the Ubuntu or the Fedora CD. My firewall at home? Debian. My streaming media box? Debian. My servers at work? Debian. Each distro is tailored to excel at one or a set of different jobs. Those that have a limited understanding of computers in general have a myopic view of the whole thing and expect that Linux is something for a personal computer - and that any distro that doesn't make a PC sing and dance out of the box is simply "unfinished" and "needs work". I'm sorry, but my Debian doesn't need any work or any polishing. It does perfectly well doing what it's meant to do.

        • by CrkHead (27176) on Monday August 16, 2010 @01:01PM (#33265250)
          I think you summed it up fairly well.

          As a project, Debian is most interested in Freedom and stability. Although someone coming from a *nix back ground shouldn't have much trouble, someone new to computers or coming over from one of the dark sides is likely to.

          Enter Ubuntu. Their primary interest is getting Linux on the desktop. Debian is an ideal base because it has everything, so you just need to keep current on the unstable version and put some chrome on it.

          Grey beards keep their Debian and the whipper snappers stay off the lawn.
        • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Monday August 16, 2010 @01:10PM (#33265356) Journal

          Men use Gentoo. REAL Men use Linux from scratch. REALLY REAL MEN, write their own OS.

          Debian is for wussies. Ubuntu is for wussies who at least have the balls to admit they are wussies.

    • by arkane1234 (457605) on Monday August 16, 2010 @11:52AM (#33264374) Journal

      Actually most base Ubuntu as "That one that's based on Debian".
      I refer to it as Red Hat on training wheels :)

      • by CAIMLAS (41445)

        So what's that make Redhat? Ubuntu but with a fork in the eye if you want to change anything?

        Snark aside, upgrading an RPM system still makes me nervous - not as nervous as rebuilding a BSD system's ports or something similar on Gentoo or slackware, but certainly more so than on Debian. Even Ubuntu is less of a nightmare when it breaks.

        • by cparker15 (779546)

          The last time I used Fedora, it was as easy as using Debian. yum felt a lot like aptitude. No more dependency hell!

    • by Kepesk (1093871) on Monday August 16, 2010 @12:04PM (#33264542) Homepage

      It's actually kind of sad that most people identify Debian solely as being "that one that Ubuntu's based on".

      Not really, I'd say that's a compliment to Debian. To create a basic system solid enough that the most popular Linux distribution is based on it? That rocks!

    • by StormReaver (59959) on Monday August 16, 2010 @12:09PM (#33264602)

      It's actually kind of sad that most people identify Debian solely as being "that one that Ubuntu's based on".

      Why? Debian is incapable of appealing to a mass audience. Ubuntu is a necessary extension that fills that need. Debian is exactly where its developers put it.

      • Eh? Flip those.. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by itomato (91092)

        Mass audiences are incapable of finding appeal in Debian. ..for good reason.

        What appeal could they find in a well organized toolbox, when all they really want is a shiny red hammer?

        • by Abcd1234 (188840)

          What appeal could they find in a well organized toolbox, when all they really want is a shiny red hammer?

          Hey, if using Debian makes you feel like your ePenis is a little bit bigger, more power to you.

          Me, I've gotten over it. I was a Debian user for years after suffering through Slack and RedHat (if you've never installed Slack from floppies, you don't know pain...). Then I discovered Ubuntu. What? Suddenly things like networking and wireless just working without having to hack config files for hours? A

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by AusIV (950840)

            Well, okay, that's not true. Ubuntu has bungled the last couple upgrades to the point where I'm no longer willing to perform an in-place upgrade,

            Really? I've been an Ubuntu user for about five years now, and the last three or four releases are the only ones that haven't been bungled. I realize this is just my personal experience, but I was under the impression they were getting better.

            • by Abcd1234 (188840)

              Well, maybe I'm just responding to unbalanced criticism. My experience upgrading (I think) 8.04 -> 8.10 wasn't exactly smooth, and I've heard no end of issues with subsequent upgrades. But, meh, who knows, maybe those are just vocal minorities... problem is, if there *are* issues, it's hard to unfuck a fucked system. :/

    • by CAIMLAS (41445)

      Nonsense. Ubuntu is that one based on Debian, but with more crap and less clean.

    • As an online discussion decomposing the software stack of a linux distribution grows longer, the probability of RMS bursting in and saying "It's actually kind of sad that most people soley identify the GNU toolchain environment as 'Linux', which is just kernel." approaches 1.

  • by darealpat (826858) on Monday August 16, 2010 @11:46AM (#33264294) Journal

    So far as being easy to use goes, I give Mepis more marks than its more popular cousin Ubuntu. Those that have tried it will understand. And I am not a KDE fan boy, not with my fond memories of RH 7.2

  • apt-get install love (Score:5, Interesting)

    by doublebackslash (702979) <doublebackslash@gmail.com> on Monday August 16, 2010 @11:48AM (#33264314)

    Debian, making installing dependencies a reflex rather than a compulsory chore. That alone would have gotten my praise. Then they also bolted on an incredibly stable and useful kernel and software stack on top of that.

    Good show! (I know I got the order wrong, but thats the order of importance to me)

    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      Apt works great, true.

      Though it's not much better than my latest experiences with Mandriva, an RPM based distro. I have had quite a share of problems with RPM and dependencies... but this seems to have been solved quite well by now.

      That said: running Debian as server, and I love it. Super stable, it just works, nothing to worry about there.

      Running Ubuntu 10.4LTS as desktop now. Not happy. The user interface is great, but the system is unstable. I experience crashes, software weirdness (network that doesn

      • by marsu_k (701360) on Monday August 16, 2010 @12:50PM (#33265108)

        I really, really wish people would stop comparing Apt and RPM, the actual comparison would be dpkg vs RPM. And just as pretty much nobody uses dpkg directly, the same applies to RPM. People use one of the various frontends (yum, urpmi, what have you). While at one time automatically resolving dependencies was godsend, it's nothing special now.

        (I'm quite impartial to the debate, pacman [archlinux.org] is where it's at. It would be nice to see an actual apples to apples comparison for a change though)

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by jimicus (737525)

          Thing is, yum and urpmi were fairly late to the game in Redhat - yum originated in YellowDog and urpmi originated in Mandrake. I went from Slakware to Redhat and - when I learned about urpmi - to Mandrake. When I went back to redhat a few years later, I couldn't believe that RedHat still couldn't automatically install dependencies in order.

  • Damn you slashdot (Score:5, Informative)

    by Spyware23 (1260322) on Monday August 16, 2010 @11:48AM (#33264322) Homepage
    Is there -any- possible reason for this ./ article to link to http://digitizor.com/2010/08/16/happy-17th-birthday-debian-and-some-interesting-history/ [digitizor.com] instead of linking to the _official_ birthday page: http://thank.debian.net/ [debian.net] Also, like kwebbles mentioned, it's really sad you sad to bring up Ubuntu. It's Debian's birthday, you insensitive clods.
  • Happy birthday (Score:4, Insightful)

    by drunkennewfiemidget (712572) on Monday August 16, 2010 @11:50AM (#33264330) Homepage

    To the distro I keep crawling back to. I always go off searching for the next great thing, and realise debian was the great thing all along.

    And ubuntu is second rate (at best) compared to debian. Ubuntu's got severe stability problems. debian almost never fails me.

    • Re:Happy birthday (Score:4, Insightful)

      by IrquiM (471313) on Monday August 16, 2010 @12:08PM (#33264586) Homepage

      Why are you always going off to search for the next great thing if Debian is so good?

      I've dual booted myself, but only to try out different distros (like debian, ubuntu, etc) - I've never been "off to search for the next great thing". If you're happy with what you've got - stick with it. New distros tend to be either specialised in one field, or tweaked beyond useful (read ubuntu). Stick with the good old ones, that you know work, and try to help them instead! :o)

      (Personally, I'm sticking with Slackware)

    • Re:Happy birthday (Score:4, Insightful)

      by interval1066 (668936) on Monday August 16, 2010 @12:33PM (#33264866) Homepage Journal

      "Ubuntu's got severe stability problems."

      Such a bald-ass simple statement really requires back up. I've not had ANY stability problems, much less severe. And I've been running this distro since Feisty Fawn. The worst thing about Ubuntu that I've ever experienced is its ridiculous desktop color schemes, and they never seem to get any better, but that's easily changed.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        This is /. I'm all about the hyperbole.

        In all seriousness, though, there's plenty of documented issues. Many of which have bitten me or a friend/colleague:

        - Pressing the 'wireless lock' button on a coworker's netbook would kernel panic.
        - My wife's netbook would randomly crash, and on reboot have lost half its filesystem.
        - Major (recent) releases have shipped without working WPA.

        And yes, I understand many of these may be upstream's fault, or someone outside of the Ubuntu world, but these same issues didn't

        • - Pressing the 'wireless lock' button on a coworker's netbook would kernel panic.

          Not on mine, nor anyone else I know. So you offer one personal event as proof that the distro is flawed? Not good enough.

          - My wife's netbook would randomly crash, and on reboot have lost half its filesystem.

          Never seen a corruption of any file system, EVER. Same as first point.

          - Major (recent) releases have shipped without working WPA.

          Really? Which ones? WPA security is all I've ever used (as using WEP is foolish) and in fact

          • by ZosX (517789)

            Every version of Ubuntu I have ever installed had its own issues. Maybe you have the best linux supported hardware in the world or something, but if you just dump ubuntu on some pc with cheap, crappy hardware, you are likely to start feeling some pain. I've even had issues with ubuntu in virtualbox in the past, though that was more likely due to the virtual x drivers. I'm just saying that ubuntu is not this magic linux distro that you can just install on anything and expect everything to work without droppi

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mikael_j (106439)

        You should check out the Ubuntu forums after a new release, it's obvious that they tend to overlook things they shouldn't be overlooking.

        Over the years they've managed some pretty neat fuck-ups such as replacing the disk encryption system without testing if it was possible to migrate encrypted volumes (it wasn't, not without serious pains anyway) and randomly breaking all sorts of "little" things.

        And I have no idead what they've done with the networking subsystem but I'd love to know why Ubuntu is the only

        • "You should check out the Ubuntu forums after a new release..."

          This goes for any release of anything under the sun. The rest of your objections I've not had any experience with, except to say that I can definitely say that I've not had any problems with ipv6 WITH ipv4.

      • by cnj (87028)

        There are three possible meanings to the phrase

        Ubuntu's got severe stability problems

        .

        a) A system has (more properly a "largish" subset of systems running the Ubuntu distribution have) stability problems.

        b) While the machines themselves are stable, there could be significant changes in the distribution over a relatively short time.

        c) The distribution has a psychosis.

        I'll let others approach a and c. As for b, the distribution does have stability issues as compared to most mainstream distributions, let alone Debian-stable. I've yet to go thro

      • Such a bald-ass simple statement really requires back up. I've not had ANY stability problems, much less severe. And I've been running this distro since Feisty Fawn. The worst thing about Ubuntu that I've ever experienced is its ridiculous desktop color schemes, and they never seem to get any better, but that's easily changed.

        Well, the Linux community has redefined 'stability' to mean 'does not randomly crash', making this an impossible argument, but I will attempt the impossible!
        Stability used to refer to developer/administrator/user interfaces not changing, thus not breaking any dependancies. Obviously large swaths of what make up Linux, to include the kernel itself does not consider that a worthwhile goal and the term took on the meaning "does not crash", or "future updates do not cause crashing". For any definition of cras

  • Thank You for Debian (Score:5, Informative)

    by samoht (101985) on Monday August 16, 2010 @11:50AM (#33264340) Homepage

    If you want to say thanks:

    http://thank.debian.net/ [debian.net]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 16, 2010 @12:02PM (#33264524)

    When did having birthday parties for software programs become all the rage? It's almost as disturbing as how so many of these programs are now teenagers. Here's some of the drama we'll be able to look forward to over the next year:

    - Internet Explorer will get its driver's license and crash its first car, because everyone knows how unstable it is.
    - Debian will join the Army rather than go to college, as mandated by the Debian Constitution. And because it has no friends.
    - OS X will pick a fight with Firefox on the elementary school playground after Firefox steals on WebKit's lunch money.
    - Windows will be that creepy adult chaperone that hangs around at, like, every high school dance because it wants to be cool.

  • DFSG (Score:3, Interesting)

    by vlm (69642) on Monday August 16, 2010 @12:30PM (#33264812)

    The main advantage I got out of Debian rapidly approaching 15 years ago was the DFSG Debian Free Software Guidelines

    http://www.debian.org/social_contract#guidelines [debian.org]

    That saved me from a mighty holy war being brewed up by the IT department. They tolerated it and left the engineering department alone, which worked pretty well.

  • by volkerdi (9854) on Monday August 16, 2010 @12:33PM (#33264870)

    Anyone who was actually using Linux in 1993 knows the manifesto came a couple of years before anything else.

  • Google (Score:5, Funny)

    by phrostie (121428) on Monday August 16, 2010 @12:37PM (#33264928)

    What, and no custom page from Google?

    I feel unloved.

  • Don't knock Ubuntu (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rueger (210566) on Monday August 16, 2010 @12:37PM (#33264938) Homepage
    I don't entirely get all of the Ubuntu complaints.

    Over the years I tried maybe fifteen or twenty different Linux distros. (back to the days of buying boxed sets of Mandrake floppy disks!) Each time I went back to Windows because I invariably ran into some problem that I just didn't have the time to figure out and fix. You know, little things like printers, modems, and video.

    It's not that I don't like fixing things, or even learning new stuff, just that with Linux it was always so damned painful.

    Two months ago I installed Ubuntu using their little Windows installer app, and I haven't looked back. Aside from one occasion when a specific Windows program wouldn't run under WINE, I have had no reason to fire up Windows. And when I did.. well, yuck.

    You may call Ubuntu "dumbed down", but it's honestly the first distro I've seen that worked flawlessly out of the box with virtually no fiddling.

    And of course you can still fire up a terminal window and enjoy the command line.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by bsDaemon (87307)

      I once had to patch the vfat file system driver in a development kernel so that I could save my History paper to disk and take it in to school because that was easier than getting my non-postscript printer to work. Screw printers.

    • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Monday August 16, 2010 @01:25PM (#33265524) Homepage

      Simple: geeks like to justify their superiority complex.

      No, really. I started off in the bad old Slackware days, and you couldn't help but feel hardcore when you got your damned printer to work after fiddling with lpd and magic filters. But guess what happens as you get a little older? You stop giving a shit about that stuff. You just want to get on with it, already. Suddenly tweaking and fiddling with config files in /etc doesn't feel hardcore, it feels really fucking boring.

      So while the rest of us pick a distro that just works out of the box, and so is labeled "dumbed down" because we don't have to manually edit config files, the young geeks can go on showing off how awesome they are because they switched to Gentoo and get to fiddle with their compiler flags.

      As an aside, I still think Debian kicks ass. But no one would ever claim its a polished desktop Linux distribution (it can certainly become one with a bit of effort, but I've gotten past enjoying that kind of effort)... for a server, though, it's peerless, IMHO.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by vlm (69642)

        But guess what happens as you get a little older? You stop giving a shit about that stuff. You just want to get on with it, already. Suddenly tweaking and fiddling with config files in /etc doesn't feel hardcore, it feels really fucking boring.

        You fix that problem at the start by by purchasing the correct hardware, not installing the correct distribution. I've been doing that since '93, its really quite easy.

        Also in the past two decades or so I've noticed that the "stuff that only runs under windows" like winmodems, winprinters, winscanners, is generally, garbage and a complete waste of time under any OS, when compared to "standardized real stuff".

        I was never able to buy and use a winmodem in the 90s, but I don't feel it was much of a loss.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Abcd1234 (188840)

          You fix that problem at the start by by purchasing the correct hardware, not installing the correct distribution. I've been doing that since '93, its really quite easy.

          Yeah, I've been attempting it since 94', and people like you have been claiming it's "really quite easy" for the last 16 years.

          Obviously step 1 is "buy supported hardware". But for years, basic wifi didn't work out of the box in most Linux distros. That had absolutely nothing to do with driver support, and everything to do with the applicat

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Abcd1234 (188840)

            BTW, on CUPS, credit should actually go to Michael Sweet and Easy Software Products, who is the real progenitor of the product (though, like KHTML, Apple has done a good job of taking that project and building on the work of the original authors, who I hope are now very well off for their efforts).

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