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Re: Desktop user: Etch or the next testing?

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On Tue, Apr 03, 2007 at 09:12:32PM +0200, Joe Hart wrote:
> Michael Pobega wrote:
> > >
> > > [Etch ships with an old glibc, and is getting bad reviews
> > > because of it. This is holding x86 users back, when they could
> > > be running Ubuntu or another Debian based distro] (Note: This is
> > > a paraphrase, not what was said)
> > 
> > Depends who you're aiming to appeal. I run a x86 machine, and I really
> > see no problem with an old glibc. I'd rather have Debian stay the
> > stable distro it is than worry about having everything "up to date".
> > It's not the computer you're aiming to please, it's the end user. And
> > it's up to the end user to decide what he/she wants out of a
> > distribution.
> Very true.  Nothing is forcing anyone to choose Debian, unless of course
> it is forced by their employer, but somehow I doubt that.  You're quite
> correct in pointing out the end user is the target, but I sometimes
> wonder which end user Debian is targeting, administrators or average
> people wanting to get work done with their computer.
> The way I see it, it could be both.  The greatest benefit I see to
> Debian is the fact that one can install a minimal system and then build
> it to suit their needs without having to compile anything if they don't
> want to.  There are only a few others like that, and they don't have
> near the number of developers that Debian has, nor do they support
> nearly as many packages.
> Joe

The thing about Debian is that it had most of things I was looking for
in a distro, at the time I was distro-hopping:

1) A democratic and community based distro

Right now I'm young and just learning Python, so I really can't do
much. But when I graduate from college I'm planning on developing for
whatever distribution I choose. Debian's firm commitment to staying
community based and democratic is definitely a plus, because I know in
five years when I'm out of college it will still be here for me.

2) A distribution that supports free software

Not just supports, but encourages. Debian also goes the extra mile to
have the DFSG, which in my opinion should be a license in itself. I
use Debian with only the main repositories enabled, no flash
installed, and all of my CDs burned to .ogg format. I'm a firm
supported of open source software, not only that but free as in
freedom software. The only thing I use that is non-free would be for
my ipw3945 wireless, but that's because I can't live without my
wireless (I paid for it, why not use it?).

3) Stability

I use Debian testing, and although that isn't the most stable release
of a distro ever it sure beats a lot of others (Ubuntu, Fedora, and
others) when it comes to stability. Testing is a nice, stable rolling
release, and I also feel like I'm doing my part to help the next
stable release by reporting bugs that I run into in testing. Although
I haven't seen too many, I report every single one I see.

4) Rolling releases

Even though Debian releases are given names like "Woody", "Sarge", and
"Etch", testing and unstable are really rolling release distributions.
The only other distribution that has rolling releases (Or, no releases
at all) is Gentoo, but Gentoo didn't have a strong stance on free
software or stability, and their developer base seems to be falling
apart, so I decided not to go with Gentoo (Plus their mailing list is
slow as hell. Eight threads in a month?)

5) A Strong Foundation

Let's face it, Debian has been around since the early 1990s, and it is
one of the oldest, still alive and kickin' it distros. Even though I
wasn't around for the big bang, or the new millenium, or the release
of Sarge even, I still think that having a strong foundation is a
great thing for a distro. Over the years Debian has attracted
thousands of developers and hundreds of thousands of users, including
both home and server. Debian has forked off into hundreds of
distributions, and sparked some of the biggest changes in how
a GNU/Linux distributions as a whole works with dpkg and APT. Debian
is also the foundation for:

DSL: Best lightweight distro available
Knoppix: Best (And first?) LiveCD distro released
Ubuntu: Biggest GNU/Linux distribution ever conceived, especially
after only two years or so

Debian invented the .deb filetype, and until the rise of Ubuntu .debs
were fairly universal, and worked on pretty much any Debian based
distribution (Because most stuck to the Debian standards). Debian is
still, to the day, the only distro that can handle reverse
dependencies. And APT/aptitude is a deadly combination, where one can
customize his/her system and maintain packages with almost no trouble.

6) A Great Package Manager

Portage is nice, Yum is okay, and Pacman is different. But APT is
hands down the best. Sure APT doesn't deliver all of it's packages in
source form, or deliver a shiny GUI to handle everything (Although
Synaptic does this), but it does do what it should great; And that is
handle packaging. With some user knowledge and experience, and a bit
of time, anything is possible with APT. And because it was written in
a low level language, APT is amazingly fast compared to Yum (And most
other RPM based package managers).

7) A Large community

Debian has, in my opinion, the largest and most knowledgeable
community available to any distribution. Between the forums, mailing
list, and IRC, one can get the answers to any of his/her questions in
almost no time. The people on IRC are generally very helpful,
especially the regulars. The forum goers are very helpful, although
not as knowledgeable as IRC/debian-user in my opinion. And of course
the mailing list, where it takes the longest to get an answer, but
usually the answers are of the best quality. 

These are the reasons I chose Debian as my distribution of choice. One
can argue that Ubuntu's forums are larger than anything Debian has,
but does larger generally mean better? Or does it just mean more
people complaining that Automatix borked their install?

Sorry to go off-topic a bit, but I feel that this was nessecary to
show that not everyone uses GNU/Linux to have up to date programs.
Some people actually have standards when they look for a distribution,
and not just "Does Beryl work in it?".
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