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Re: Which OS? Was "I do consider Ubuntu to be Debian" , Ian Murdock

On Sat, 2007-03-31 at 09:51 -0400, Douglas Allan Tutty wrote:
> On Tue, Mar 27, 2007 at 05:41:45AM -0700, Michael M. wrote:
> > What has made Debian a great fit for me over the past months is its
> > beefed up efforts to make testing a more viable option for users (for
> > example, by providing security updates for testing).  I started using
> > Etch some months ago, perhaps close to a year ago, pulling in just a few
> > packages from unstable, and it has been a great fit for me.  Until the
> > past few months, when it has increasingly come to seem stale to me.
> > It's only natural, then, for me to question whether *I* really fit in
> > with your definition of "We the Debian people."
> > 
> Why don't we reframe this as:  What is the best OS/Distro for Michael?
> Perhaps you have some conflicting needs that requires a non-standard
> answer?  I _think_ that what I hear that you want is:
> 	More recent software than what is in stable or testing (when its
> 	frozen).
> 	Less dynamic than Sid

That pretty much sums it up, the important qualification being testing
*when it's frozen.*  Prior to the freeze, and for at least a while after
it began, I was happy with testing.  That's the only reason I am
frustrated with Debian's reluctance/refusal to commit to a schedule.  If
I knew, for example, that for up to six months out of every two years,
testing will be frozen, I could live with that.  If that were the case,
testing would be the optimal distro for me more than 75% of the time,
which would be good enough.  But as past and recent history (Dunc-Tank
tanking, etc.) has indicated, Debian has no inclination to do that, and
many Debian users appreciate its reluctance to do so, for reasons I can
understand.  I just don't happen to be one of them.

> What about:
> 	Debian stable or testing to run your hardware with a *buntu in a
> 	chroot?  Gives you a base OS that won't crash but more recent
> 	software.

Yikes, that sounds complicated!

> Is Linux for you?  What about one of the BSDs?  I've been looking at
> OpenBSD; they release every 6 months (their Release is like Debian's
> Stable), with security update (source patches) as necessary.  Following
> every security update even if it doesn't apply to you, you end up
> running their Stable.  Their Current is like Debian's Sid. 

I have tried FreeBSD and quite liked it.  I didn't keep it around
because, at the time, FreeBSD slices weren't accessible from Linux OSes,
which made bouncing between Linux and FreeBSD problematic.  However,
someone on this list pointed out a month or two ago that the situation
has changed.  Multiple file system types make me a little nervous -- I
was happy to leave Windows behind once and for all in part because it
freed me from the NTFS/ext3 divide -- and switching to any *BSD would
bring back that issue, but it would be worth it if I found a *BSD to be
a better option for me because I could eventually leave Linux behind
like I did Windows.  OTOH, in terms of alternative OSes (alternative to
the dominant OS today), Linux seems to have more momentum behind it, and
a wider range of hardware support.  It would be kind of ironic to ditch
Linux just as a company like Dell is preparing to sell computers
preloaded with Linux.  All my Windows & Mac using friends already think
I'm a masochist for using Linux (my friends are non-techie liberal arts
types, as am I) -- it would only confirm their opinion if I dropped
Linux just as it's making mainstream headway!

Anyway, I never looked closely at the advantages (or lack thereof) of
one *BSD over another.  FreeBSD seemed to me to be the most user
friendly, and it's the one that the desktop-oriented projects, like
DesktopBSD, PC-BSD, and FreeSBIE, are based off.  That was just an
impression I had at the time, I would certainly look into the others if
I decide to try that route.

> They can release every 6 months because they only focus on the main OS.
> Third-party stuff (upstream) is in packages (binary) and ports (source
> tarballs pre-tweaked to compile properly on a given release level).
> Using the ports and packages system is supposed to be similar to
> using aptitude from the command line.  It brings in whatever
> dependancies there are, compiles anything required, and installs it.
> It also will uninstall.
> It sounds to me like this may be a viable option for you:
> 	Stable, reliable, OS
> 	Upgraded every 6 months
> 	Fairly recent third-party software.
> So tell us what your ideal OS would be and do.  There's enough cross-OS
> experience on this list to give good suggestions.
> I'm not marking this thread as OT since a discussion on why Debian may
> not be working for someone, and what a user's needs are, is important
> for Debian folks.  So lets _not_ have a flame fest.  Lets help a debian
> user with a fundamental problem: his OS isn't doing what he needs it to
> do.

The "perfect" OS for me would be Debian testing in a non-frozen
state ... it has everything:  the power of apt (with a truly awesome
management tool in aptitude, which I love);
recent-if-not-necessarily-bleeding-edge software versions, a huge
software repository; plenty stable, with very infrequent breakage
anywhere; manageable, rolling updates (I like, in general, to update
about once-a-week) with no real need for upgrading; flexibility -- no
preferred windowing environment; no binary blobs installed by default,
but still available if you need them (I do use Flash, lame, w32codecs,
Sun's Java, and non-free unrar; I don't use nVidia's proprietary driver,
nor MS fonts, Adobe Acrobat, nor any other non-free software I can think
of).  I like Gnome and would be reluctant to abandon it, but I could
probably survive with XFCE or even just Openbox; I don't care for KDE.

Of those I've tried, my favorite non-Debian-based distro is Arch Linux,
the caveat being that Arch is very bleeding edge and more prone to
breakage here & there than Debian testing.  It's more like Sid, in that
respect.  Arch was inspired by CRUX, which is probably too advanced and
D-I-Y for me, and CRUX was developed along *BSD lines, like Gentoo.  In
many ways, a *BSD might really be my best bet.  Is there anything else
that compares favorably to Debian testing out there?

Michael M. ++ Portland, OR ++ USA
"No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions
of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to
dream." --S. Jackson

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