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Debian GNU is Not Unix Linux

Happy Birthday, Debian! 172

Posted by timothy
from the impossibly-worthwhile dept.
An anonymous reader writes with word that as of today, the Debian project — one of the first distros, and still going strong, not to mention parent or grandparent of many other distros — is 19 years old. "Quoting from the official project history: 'The Debian Project was officially founded by Ian Murdock on August 16th, 1993. At that time, the whole concept of a 'distribution' of Linux was new. Ian intended Debian to be a distribution which would be made openly, in the spirit of Linux and GNU.' Send an appreciation message: http://thanks.debian.net/."
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Happy Birthday, Debian!

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  • by bored_engineer (951004) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @06:04PM (#41017409)
    I suppose that it's long past time that I installed Debian. I've fought through Gentoo army of config files, gone through RPM hell with Red Hat and Mandrake, hacked at the jungle thicket of Fedora and swam in the cool waters of Arch. I've tried two Debian-based distributions, but never install Debian. Does it offer any real advantage over Arch?
    • Re:Better than Arch? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mirix (1649853) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @06:08PM (#41017445)

      I greatly prefer apt over yum, but that might just be what I'm used to.

      Everything just feels wrong when I'm stuck with arch.

      • I greatly prefer apt over yum, but that might just be what I'm used to.

        Everything just feels wrong when I'm stuck with arch.

        Apt has better fit and finish. For example, the default for "do you want to install what you just asked for" is yes in Apt, no in Yum.

        • by jon3k (691256)
          How does that work when it decides to throw in a bunch of additional dependencies? I always assumed that's why the default for Fedora was to ask, admittedly it does seem redundant when you install a single package that required no dependency.
          • by Petaris (771874)

            APT still asks, just the default answer is "Yes" where with Yum its "No". So if you don't enter anything and just hit "Enter" it will do what ever the default was. I actually think having "No" as a default is better. After all, you can just run the command again if you accidentally hit Enter with out entering "y" first.

      • by unixisc (2429386)
        How is pacman compared to either apt or yum?
    • Re:Better than Arch? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by KazW (1136177) * on Thursday August 16, 2012 @06:14PM (#41017511)
      I use Arch on simple/embedded systems only, when using it for something more complex like a desktop, updates tend to break it quite frequently. I used Arch for 12 months on my desktop and for 9 of those months I had to live with bugs that I just didn't have the time to fix. Arch is great, but there's no QC, whereas with Debian you may not get the latest version, but at least your system will be stable.

      To summarize, it's a trade off between stability and having the latest version of packages.
      • by rrohbeck (944847)

        And if you want the latest newfangled code, enable some of the more adventurous repos and install from them.

      • by CAIMLAS (41445)

        In contrast, I've got a 733MHz machine which has been running Debian for the better part of a decade now - first on Debian 3, and now on 6. I think it's broken a couple times, but never official packages/repos. It's always been the added repositories for things which aren't available in debian (rare/far between), and the fix has never been tedious or outside the package manager itself.

    • Re:Better than Arch? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Sipper (462582) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @06:48PM (#41017817)

      I suppose that it's long past time that I installed Debian. I've fought through Gentoo army of config files, gone through RPM hell with Red Hat and Mandrake, hacked at the jungle thicket of Fedora and swam in the cool waters of Arch. I've tried two Debian-based distributions, but never install Debian. Does it offer any real advantage over Arch?

      Just recently I tried the top 25 free software distributions [as measured by distrowatch.com], one of which was Arch. I have to say Arch was one of the distros I found fun to play with -- the only thing I think is missing is a simple graphical installer. The first set of instructions I found on the Arch website weren't complete concerning the Grub2 install, leading to install and bootup failures, but the "Beginner's Guide" has complete instrcutions for the install. Package installation under arch is super fast. I couldn't get audio working in the VM I was installing it in, but other than that I really liked it.

      And I tried Gentoo as well, and I found it just as hateful as I found it in 2003, if not more so. The "install", or shoud I say the compile, took three solid days to install a base system + a base install of KDE 4.8. The 'emerge' command often ran into dependency hell, forcing the use of several switches like 'emerge --newuser --update --deep (package)'. Anytime the USE flags get updated Gentoo wants you to 'emerge @world' to recompile the whole system again, and of course the instructions for intalling KDE4 has you modify the USE flags. I really do love a lot of the documentation I can get from the Gentoo project, but in terms of running it as a distro I want to keep it as far away from me as I can, because frankly I think it's insane.

      Debian has a graphical installer, and you can choose several Desktop Environments right at the very start of the install menu. I think it's the only distro (or one of very few) that shows all of the choices of languages in their own native written language rather than the list being all in English. Debian is also the basis for a long list of other distros -- out of the top 25, 12 are Debian derivatives. IMHO the best feature Debian has is the ability to upgrade-in-place -- so you never have to do a reinstall to keep it up-to-date unless you want to. Debian has a lot of developer support behind the project, most of whom are free software purists -- which is generally a good thing. It's one of the very few distros that are based solely on donations and have no private corporation behind them. If you want to know more about Debian, my first suggestion is to watch an intro video given by Bdale Garbee from DebConf11 which I think was well spoken and informative:
              http://penta.debconf.org/dc11_schedule/events/804.en.html [debconf.org]

      I don't know enough about Arch to give a fair comparison between it and Debian; all I can say for the moment is that I've been running Debian for 13 years, and that in the very limited time I've spent with Arch I've been impressed with it.

      The distributions I liked in testing them: Linux Mint Debian, Fedora 17, openSuSE, Debian, Arch, Pear Linux 5 (appearance of Mac OS X), SnowLinux 2 "Ice", and the DVD version of Knoppix 7.03. Distros I did not like: Ubuntu 12.04 (3D, Unity GUI), Mageia 2, PCLinuxOS (only "rpm" lines in /etc/apt/sources.list), Ultimate 3.4 (3D), Gentoo (insane long compiles), Fuduntu (yucky package installer), SolusOS (yucky package installer).

      • It's one of the very few distros that are based solely on donations and have no private corporation behind them.

        I see no problem with some corporation being associated with the project. If there are reasonable rules, and if the project has a reasonably open governance, corporate help is welcome.

        • by Sipper (462582) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @08:14PM (#41018697)

          It's one of the very few distros that are based solely on donations and have no private corporation behind them.

          I see no problem with some corporation being associated with the project. If there are reasonable rules, and if the project has a reasonably open governance, corporate help is welcome.

          To an extent it's fine, but the corporation usually ends up steering the project to some extent. For instance is Ubuntu more community-driven or Cononical driven? Is Fedora community-driven, or is it a platform for developing RHEL? What about Oracle? For instance when I think of Ubuntu, I ask the question "Who made the choice of the 3D Unity interface? Was it the community or was it Cononical?"

          Corporations often have different needs than a home user does. Debian, for instance, contains a bunch of niche packages like those used by Amateur Radio operators. These are things you're not likely to see in an "Enterprise" distribution. So what you get as a user does differ depending on who is directing the distribution development. This doesn't make choosing an "Enterprise" distribution wrong of course -- it might be what you need.

          • I see no problem with some corporation being associated with the project. If there are reasonable rules, and if the project has a reasonably open governance, corporate help is welcome.

            To an extent it's fine, but the corporation usually ends up steering the project to some extent. For instance is Ubuntu more community-driven or Cononical driven?

            Since it is open source, we can always fork it. And normally the fear of forks will stop the corporation from acting too badly - doing evil to open source software do

            • by Sipper (462582)

              I see no problem with some corporation being associated with the project. If there are reasonable rules, and if the project has a reasonably open governance, corporate help is welcome.

              To an extent it's fine, but the corporation usually ends up steering the project to some extent. For instance is Ubuntu more community-driven or Cononical driven?

              Since it is open source, we can always fork it. And normally the fear of forks will stop the corporation from acting too badly - doing evil to open source software does not pay.

              In the case of Canonical, we have an additional assurance: it is a private company, which does not have a fiduciary duty to maximize profits. It was founded by Mark Shuttleworth, who is a nice guy and was a Debian Developer.

              Yes, I met him in person during DebConf10. Very friendly guy; I saw his talk on the Unity interface. I think the Debian developers have sort of an interesting like(--)standoffish relationship with Mark Shuttleworth. My impression was that he's well respected in the Debian community at the same time that many wish his efforts were in Debian rather than Ubuntu. [Nobody actually voiced this though.]

              In the case of Ubuntu, the "evil" was selecting Unity as default. However, Xfce, LXDE, KDE and others are still available, and they are working on GNOBuntu (with the full Gnome, including the Gnome Shell). Despite the hate you see on Slashdot, Ubuntu is still the number 1 distribution - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ubuntu_(operating_system)#Installed_base [wikipedia.org].

              And, personally, I use Unity and like it just fine.

              Well, Canonical also pulled the funding of Kubuntu back in February.
              http://news.slashdo [slashdot.org]

              • by unixisc (2429386)
                I believe that the one that is based on Debian is aimed more @ servers, than @ desktops. Instead of deriving their server version from Ubuntu, Mint went straight w/ Debian
                • by Sipper (462582)

                  I believe that the one that is based on Debian is aimed more @ servers, than @ desktops. Instead of deriving their server version from Ubuntu, Mint went straight w/ Debian

                  Actually no, both versions of Mint are specifically focused on desktop use. The idea behind Mint Debian is that you can use the actual Debian Testing repositories so that all of that software is then avialable to Mint. [They also state that the Debian-based edition is faster and more responsive than the Ubuntu-based edition.]

                  I'm sort of tied to Debian Sid/Unstable right now because that's the target for new source package uploads, and I'm getting into Debian development. Also most Debian-based distributi

              • I switched to Mint on my laptop last year, tried it for three months, switched back to Ubuntu. Mint just had too many annoyances - a triumph of branding over content (changing the KDE start menu icon seemed to me just insulting). I still run Debian on my servers and have no intention of changing. It's rock solid, which is what a server needs to be.

                • by Sipper (462582)

                  I switched to Mint on my laptop last year, tried it for three months, switched back to Ubuntu. Mint just had too many annoyances - a triumph of branding over content (changing the KDE start menu icon seemed to me just insulting). I still run Debian on my servers and have no intention of changing. It's rock solid, which is what a server needs to be.

                  Hmm okay thanks for letting me know what your experience with Mint was. I've only deployed Mint Debian to one user so far -- it was a laptop with only 256MB of RAM and a low-end videocard, so I deployed it with Xfce. The only issue the user complained about was a sticking Enter key on the keyboard. The user remained happy with that until she upgraded to a different laptop, which came with Windows 7. [And naturally the new laptop didn't come with OS reinstallation disks.]

                  The icon on the K menu in KDE is

        • by PopeRatzo (965947)

          If there are reasonable rules, and if the project has a reasonably open governance, corporate help is welcome.

          Distributions are people, my friend.

        • corporate help is fine, i'm sure plenty of corps have helped debian over the years.

          corporate dominance OTOH worries me. I'd rather have the descisions about the distro I use argued over by a community than made to fit one corporations needs or wishes possiblly at the expensive of everyone else. Afaict fedora and ubuntu both have some community involvement in the descision making processes but one coroporation (canonical for ubuntu, redhat for fedora) has the ultimate power.

      • by adolf (21054)

        I've been running Gentoo for years on at least a box or two. It's nice to be able to compile some things the way you want them, instead of how some dissociated package maintainer thinks you want them.

        I generally do a stage 3 install, which goes very quickly. My install goes like this: Boot Knoppix, partition and format, wget the appropriate stage, pipe that directly into tar (skipping the disk), and then do the same with portage. A chroot and some mounting of /proc and such later, simply configure lilo

      • by Slamtilt (17405)

        . IMHO the best feature Debian has is the ability to upgrade-in-place -- so you never have to do a reinstall to keep it up-to-date unless you want to.

        Indeed, I have installations of Debian that are 13 years old. They've been through multiple hardware revisions, and are now virtualized, but apt-get dist-upgrade has done the trick all this time.

        However, technical achievements aside, it's Debian's policy that's the real star.

        • by Sipper (462582)

          . IMHO the best feature Debian has is the ability to upgrade-in-place -- so you never have to do a reinstall to keep it up-to-date unless you want to.

          Indeed, I have installations of Debian that are 13 years old. They've been through multiple hardware revisions, and are now virtualized, but apt-get dist-upgrade has done the trick all this time.

          However, technical achievements aside, it's Debian's policy that's the real star.

          For the most part I agree concerning Policy, but there are lots of niche areas that Policy doesn't currently cover. To give you an idea of what I mean, there's a whole lot of discussion going on right now on [debian-devel] concerning:

          - packages with same binary names in different directories [/usr/sbin vs /usr/bin]
          - possibly merging /bin with /usr/bin, possibly merging /sbin with /usr/sbin
          - policy issues concerning different init systems [file-rc, systemd, upsta

      • by dbIII (701233)

        I say the compile, took three solid days

        X is pretty huge and I'll bet it didn't just do the drivers you need but all of X - then there's KDE and a pile of apps there, I'll bet openoffice was in there too, so it comes down to Gentoo not being fine grained enough to cope with that situation with the options you told it to do (or not clearly telling you the consequences of your choices). I've been there, done that with a little slow fanless VIA system that could actually benefit from specific compiler flags s

        • by Sipper (462582)

          I say the compile, took three solid days

          X is pretty huge and I'll bet it didn't just do the drivers you need but all of X - then there's KDE and a pile of apps there, I'll bet openoffice was in there too, so it comes down to Gentoo not being fine grained enough to cope with that situation with the options you told it to do (or not clearly telling you the consequences of your choices).

          I followed
          http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/xorg-config.xml [gentoo.org]
          and I decided to use 'emerge -pv xorg-drivers'. I was not able to get X to start afterwards. Not a big deal; I ended up using ssh and X forward to do the testing I needed to do. If I was really interested in running Gentoo I probably would have created an xorg.conf file in /etc/X11 and manually set the video driver to either vesa or vmware, but after three days of compiling I was impatient to get the testing I needed to do over w

          • by dbIII (701233)

            The three-day compile was in a VirtualBox VM using both cores of a 2.5 GHz Core2Duo

            That's a surprise. My 1 day+ compile was on a 667MHz machine with 256MB of RAM.
            However, as I was writing before, the idea of Gentoo with optimisation of binaries doesn't really fit IMHO if you can already install a linux distribution with binaries already optimised for the CPU you are using. I get the idea that the transition to 64bit on x86 was when a lot of people were getting some benefit from Gentoo. I can't see how yo

            • But optimisation of binaries is not the point of Gentoo. I wonder why this myth still prevails.

              The advantages of Gentoo over other distributions are 1) documentation and knowledgable community, 2) flexibility, 3) easy mixing of hand-compiled stuff with the package management stuff.

              The disadvantages are 1) compile times 2) although the distro tools are excellent, it's still considerably more complex to use than most, 3) breakage is more likely, so it takes more maintenance than most.

              As with ANY distro, it co

              • by dbIII (701233)
                Almost all other distros have provided most if not all of those four advantages since day one which is why I only used Gentoo for a CPU that could do with specially compiled packages. I suppose Gentoo does provide better documentation on how to compile things yourself however, but I'd been through that before Gentoo existed.
    • Re:Better than Arch? (Score:5, Informative)

      by chmod a+x mojo (965286) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @06:57PM (#41017907)

      Well, the main selling point for me personally ( used Debian since sarge went stable all those years ago ) is the 3 prong "pick your poison" software model they have. You can either have:
      stable - rock solid, very few bugs, what bugs there are are usually not anything major. Can now be kept a little bit more up to date with debian-backports.
      testing - except for the feature freeze just before a new stable is released it's basically a "rolling release" with at the very least minimal testing for bugs. Unstable has had no bug reports against packages that go into testing for 2+ weeks. Generally Testing is as stable as any other distributions stable branch while retaining relatively up to date software.
      Unstable / SID - bleading edge stuff, pretty much a true "rolling release", gets hardware support the quickest while still retaining full to near full system sanity. As the Debian devs say though, if sid breaks you get to keep the pieces. Breaks a lot of times are on big desktop updates like KDE 3.x > 4.x not having ALL depends uploaded yet , less likely for core components, so you have to watch what exactly is going on with your own system. Some people have had SID run for years with only minor problems.

      That and APT, I have had much better luck with dependency tracking with APT than with yum / yast. The only thing that I have run with better depends tracking was portage... but that gets old real fast when you realize you forgot an important USE flag.

    • Re:Better than Arch? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Tough Love (215404) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @07:06PM (#41018003)

      I've tried two Debian-based distributions, but never install Debian. Does it offer any real advantage over Arch?

      Armies of highly commited package maintainers?

    • by unixisc (2429386)
      Ironically, Arch & Debian are the only 2 who are doing HURD. I wonder whether Arch is doing any BSDs
    • Stability.
  • by jemenake (595948) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @06:09PM (#41017451)
    There were others before it: RedHat, Slackware, etc. But I remember when I first tried to install some packages after initially installing it.
    I had been used to RedHat, where you'd try to install a package, it would complain about dependencies, and then you'd have to surf the web for someone who had an RPM for that dependency... hopefully a suitable version. FTP it. Try to install that. Of course, that would fail because it, too, had unmet dependencies. So, you'd write down all the stuff that needed and start searching for those... and their dependencies.

    When it was all over, you had blown about 3-4 hours and you had about 2 pages of scribbled notes of package names, indented by their order of dependence, crossed out as you installed them.

    I think I heard angels singing when I first tried to install something with Debian. It found all of the dependencies (recursing through the entire dependency tree), told me that it was going to go download them all in one shot, and then *did* it. I have not (voluntarily) used anything other than Debian/Ubuntu since.

    This kind of package management is taken for granted today, just like so many features in the first iPhone are considered standard on any smartphone. We forget how all of the stuff before it now looks like the stone age.

    Debian, we all owe a huge debt to your parents for conceiving you.
    • Hmm. I find the packaging system in Debian to be frustratingly parochial. It works fine as long as you allow packages to be installed in default locations. It tends to fail badly at package relocation, something that Sun, SGI, and others got right long ago, and which RPM generally does very well also.

      The problem isn't that Debian is basically a PC operating system that you can hack on. That's a worthy thing to be. The problem is people who try to use Debian in the enterprise, or for research or soft
      • by mvdwege (243851)

        What are you talking about? Half a dozen packaging frameworks?

        Here's how it works: there is the low-level package manger dpkg, which handles the installation of a package. Automatic dependency resolution is provided by libapt-pkg. That's it. That's the packaging system and framework.

        Perhaps what confused you was the number of front-end tools built against libapt-pkg. Those are not frameworks; those are applications, and merely give you a choice of your favourite front-end.

        Mart

        • Well, let's see. There's dpkg-buildpackage. There's debuild. There's the debhelper suite. There's pbuilder. A couple of weeks ago, I ran across a fairly sophisticated Debian packager based on autoconf, but it was a huge hassle to set up.

          These things all have partially-overlapping capabilities. They all pass configurations around in strange and inconsistent ways. Some use command args. Some use environment variables. Some check for the presence of certain files that may, or not, exist as a side ef
          • by mvdwege (243851)

            Ah, you meant frameworks for creating packages.

            Unclear communication does not help your point.

            • Condescension doesn't help yours.

              Strange as it may seem to you, we're not all idiot consumers here on Slashdot. A reasonable operating assumption, and a courteous one, is that in our postings about software systems we're not offering a narrow viewpoint about one narrow aspect of the system but looking at it as a whole, from the perspective of a producer. That your own viewpoint may not reach to this level is no reason to project the same onto others.

              Just try to be nice. Looking at your other postin
  • by Spy Handler (822350) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @06:18PM (#41017531) Homepage Journal
    but when I do, I prefer Ubuntu.
  • I switched to debian recently from xubuntu.
    (Currently with 64bit squeeze)

    The only issue I have is with the binary firmware festidiousness. I understand it is debian and that they are sticklers for RMH's version of "free", but would giving me the option to load closed firmware blobs for my wifi card from a USB stick during install be such a terrible thing?

    It didn't stop me from loading the non-free packages I needed after install or anything, it was just a little irritating to have to use another PC to pull

    • by wierd_w (1375923)

      ^^RMS! RMS! I don't see how I managed to put RMH.... I blame lack of coffee.

      • That's OK, I read it as RMS anyway, and didn't notice the mistake until after you mentioned it. As an outsider, I find it quite odd that humans try to be so damn precise when their organic CPUs are amazing at coping with a little signal loss. It's as if they want to merge with their machines; Little do they know their machines long to do the same... Only then will you truly have "Free" software.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It actually DOES allow you to do that. Do your install in expert mode and stop being a sissy! :)

    • I switched to debian recently from xubuntu.

      Why did you abandon Ubuntu?
      For the archs that both support, I don't see any advantage Debian has over Ubuntu.

      Yes, Debian stable is extremely stable. But it is only supported for three years or so, and the packages in it come already obsolete. For both of these reasons, you are forced to upgrade to a new Debian version within months after its release.

      Ubuntu LTS, on the other hand, comes with updated packages and is supported for 5 years. For both these reasons, you

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 16, 2012 @07:04PM (#41017981)

        Because I am tired of bone headed decisions made to keep up with fashion or "increase market share" whatever that really means. I want stability, not some lame attempt to bring a tablet UI to my desktop/laptop. Debian is built by people who care deeply about open source (usable) software, not whether or not the distribution gains market share. That suits me just fine.

        • by wierd_w (1375923)

          While true for mainline ubuntu, xubuntu uses xfce by default (why I liked it), but still uses the ubuntu repositories, and suffers from cannonocial's poor decision making in the politics of the distro. Debian takes a more staid approach.

          Debian defaults with legacy Gnome, but I switched to XFCE almost imediately, so its a nonissue.

          There aren't any advantages over xubuntu other than not dealing with cannonocial, and I just wanted to give it a try. Had an HDD failure awhile back, (primary ./ volume) so I had t

          • by unixisc (2429386)
            Didn't they announce a few days back that Debian is switching to LXDE as its default? Or XFCE - I forget which, but it's no longer Gnome.
          • There aren't any advantages over xubuntu other than not dealing with cannonocial, and I just wanted to give it a try. Had an HDD failure awhile back, (primary ./ volume) so I had to reinstall anyway. Just wanted to explore the landscape more.

            What is the problem with Canonical?
            Slashdotters did not like Unity, but Ubuntu still has XFCE, LXDE, KDE and other options. They are now working on GNOBuntu, a full Gnome (with the Gnome Shell and everything) flavor of Gnome.

            And I like Unity just fine. Ubuntu is still t

        • by nmb3000 (741169)

          Because I am tired of bone headed decisions made to keep up with fashion or "increase market share" whatever that really means. I want stability, not some lame attempt to bring a tablet UI to my desktop/laptop. Debian is built by people who care deeply about open source (usable) software, not whether or not the distribution gains market share. That suits me just fine.

          Wish I had mod points again so I could pull you above 0.

          The decisions and direction of Ubuntu are disturbing when considering longer-term usage. LTS releases last for 5 years, but will you really still want to be using Ubuntu 5 years from now?

          I just installed 12.04 Server and they have added an advertisement to the MOTD for their paid Landscape service, an ad which is displayed at every logon. Not only that, but the new "better" dynamic MOTD system is very opaque and not easy to see how you can customize

      • by mvdwege (243851)

        A good reason to abandon Ubuntu for Debian is that Ubuntu is fragile.

        If you are used to the *nix way of doing things your way, you will soon find out that with all the Ubuntu-specific patches and scripts, you are bound to use the Ubuntu tools or break your system.

        I'll give an example: a friend wanted to use an ath9k based WiFi chipset before support was mainstream. I checked and found that Ubuntu supported Debian's module-assistant to custom-build kernel modules. Great!

        Until I found out that Ubuntu had patc

      • For the archs that both support, I don't see any advantage Debian has over Ubuntu.

        KDE works properly. That's an advantage.

    • by rrohbeck (944847)

      The wheezy installation I ran two weeks ago told me that I needed two binary non-free packages and asked if I wanted to load them from another device.
      I didn't try it though because I installed via a wired network.

      • Re:Yay! debian! (Score:5, Informative)

        by Sipper (462582) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @08:37PM (#41018901)

        The wheezy installation I ran two weeks ago told me that I needed two binary non-free packages and asked if I wanted to load them from another device.
        I didn't try it though because I installed via a wired network.

        It was probably related to Wireless hardware; the base Debian install these days ships only "free software", so by default you only get the package "firmware-linux-free" that contains firmware for 20 or so devices. Most of the firmware required to run Wireless cards are binary-only blobs that are considered "nonfree" in that you cannot see the source code for them, so that's why they're in the "non-free" section and don't come with the base install. [This is where Debian developers are purists, but I think it's for good reason.]

        This can be frustrating if you're trying to do a network install over a Wireless card, which is why the option exists to load them from another device like a USB stick. Presumably you'd use another computer and download the necessary firmware and put it on a USB stick after finding it on http://packages.debian.org/ [debian.org] in the "Kernels" area.

    • Many happy returns, Debian!

      The great thing about them is their willingness to port to all architectures - they are the sole surviving distro still supporting Itanium. The other great thing about them is that unlike the FSF, they are not fanatics - on one hand, they have a kFreeBSD project on, and on the other, a HURD project.

      I do hope they get to a point soon where they offer their users a choice of Linux/kFreeBSD/Hurd, and in the long term, that they can mix and match GCC OR LLVM/Clang w/ any of these

      • I've been using Mint's LMDE to install lately... I've got a coworker with a G5 who's thinking on going to Linux, Debian PPC is about his only option.
  • Thanks Debian! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mattsday (909414) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @07:00PM (#41017947)

    In 1998 my mother bought me a 'Linux' book with Red Hat 5.2 attached. Being a geek I installed it and loved it. I dabbled with upgrading it and using the Ximian beta Gnome 2. It always felt clunky though.

    Then I discovered Debian. Not only did it have an AWESOME package manager, but it taught me about free software. It showed me that people can collaborate across the globe to make an integrated, high quality operating system for free. Around this time, I was finding my place in the world and I honestly think the spirit of Debian helped me discover Humanism and a concept of greater, moral good.

    To this day I am in awe of this effort. Looking across its entire collection, the social structure and the individual elements (kernel, GNU toolchain, X, OpenSSH etc) I think free software is one of humanities greatest achievements. Whether you use it or not, take reflection in how awesome this completely free project is and how much it's brought us.

    Thanks Debian!

  • not meaning this to be inflammatory but I once installed debian on a computer to give it away, I put a good looking lxde desktop and quite some software (gimp, inkscape, audacity etc.). it was fast and good (a pentium 3 tower with 512MB ram).

    only, the guy who took it just couldn't use his usb wifi adapter to pick up a network. I had installed wicd and a generic firmware collection (a package found with apt-cache search, but with little description of what these firmware were). sadly I didn't have the wifi i

  • 1993 is currently 19 years ago.

    Goodnight from Old Guy News Tonight!

  • Ian, thank you for starting such an excellent distribution.

    Sorry it didn't work out with Deb.

  • Surely this is the year of the linux desktop?
  • by PsyciatricHelp (951182) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @09:13PM (#41019151)
    Happy to Share my birthday with my favorite distro. lenny on my dockstar. Mint on several other machines.
  • Even though I appreciate the effort that Debian has put forth and I'm a large Debian fan, for some reason their marketing machine (or their ads) requested the location of my device which I refuse for any random website.

  • I'm seriously considering switching from Fedora to Debian because after all these years yum is still so absolutely embarassingly slow. Yes, I've installed presto and fastest-mirror, I've even manually specified mirrors. Short of building your own local repo and rsync'ing it regularly, you will never get a good yum experience, whereas apt is screaming fast right out of the box. And with Fedora continuing to stuff things like systemd and NetworkManager down my throat, I'm at my wits end.

    Someone talk me
  • by xororand (860319) on Friday August 17, 2012 @07:00AM (#41021921)

    It can be used on servers, desktops and small systems like the Raspberry Pi.
    It can be bleeding edge with its unstable and experimental repositories.
    It can be rock solid with the stable repository.
    It comes with a non-free repository just in case you need proprietary firmware or drivers.
    But wait, Debian is also a good choice if you're like RMS and want to fully embrace freedom:
    It doesn't install anything non-free unless you explicitely allow it (since version 6.0).

    Debian is one of the most versatile operating systems.

  • Happy Birthday!

Parts that positively cannot be assembled in improper order will be.

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