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Debian GNU is Not Unix Linux

Happy Birthday, Debian! 172

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:"
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Happy Birthday, Debian!

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 16, 2012 @06:21PM (#41017555)

    RedHat wasn't released until November 1994, almost a year *after* Debian.

  • Re:Yay! debian! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 16, 2012 @06:22PM (#41017569)

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

  • 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?

  • 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 [] in the "Kernels" area.

  • Re:Debian (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 17, 2012 @04:36AM (#41021381)

    When viewing this picture [], zoomed out, one can easily see that Debian is by far the most successful parent distribution.

  • 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.

If all else fails, immortality can always be assured by spectacular error. -- John Kenneth Galbraith