The Unthinkable: Moving From Ubuntu to Debian 5 Lenny
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I am thinking the unthinkable…..I am considering changing from Ubuntu 8.10 for my desktop to Debian 5. I have been running the Debian 5 Lenny candidate for awhile and have bee very pleased with the stability and features. It actually functions and acts more like the distribution I need and work on than Ubuntu. Not so say that Ubuntu is bad, just that I typically do not need or use the latest applications. I mainly work on my Linux desktop for about 60 hours a week. So I really need something I can count on. Again, not that Ubuntu has let me down, it has never really crashed on me but I do struggle with bugs from time to time. I use my GUI desktop to work from as I manage Linux servers, either Ubuntu or CentOS.
Buy Debian Linux on DVD or CD
Debian has a philosophy that is more like Red Hat/CentOS in that the focus is more on testing to insure stability of the whole system than to provide the latest and greatest applications. I am weary of checking bug reports for Ubuntu, especially on the server end. In one recent week working on Ubuntu servers I had to work through 3 bugs that cost me a lot of time and energy that could have been spent elsewhere. Every time I talk about bugs in Ubuntu I get riddled with attacks, but what I have discovered is that most of the attacks are emotional responses from people attached to Ubuntu but not those who spend 20-30 hours a week working on configuring and managing Ubuntu servers. Sorry but Ubuntu needs to do a better job on the server end in terms of testing.
Basically the security issue is the same as stability. It is even more important now in terms of servers. Security is always related to the testing of applications, that is where many of the security issues develop. This is where Debian 5 has done more testing, at least from what I can see and ascertain than is done with Ubuntu. Debian seems to take security more serious that Ubuntu. I remember writing an article on how it was unthinkable for me to see the first Ubuntu desktop with no firewall option at all. Or even worse, calling the UFW firewall “uncomplicated” in current versions of Ubuntu. I am happy to write an iptables firewall and be done with it.
I do not need many features, in fact I can easily be happy with a system that has less features. I am tired of the bloated desktop that takes CPU cycles but that I do not use. I am probably looking at moving to Fluxbox on Debian. I see where some have labeled the icons of Debian as the worst on the planet, well not quite but they are not as nice as Ubuntu but so what?
Debian comes with 18,733 packages. Debian 5 Lenny will have 5 DVDs to download with those packages, that is simply beyond any other distribution. The scope is not just in relationship to the packages that are offered, these packages are maintained by volunteers who cover the globe providing insight and thinking from various cultures and backgrounds. Of course I recognize that all distributions are international in scope but Debian 5 is a group of volunteers which separates them from a group of paid programmers run by a corporation.
5. History and Purpose
This paragraph from the Debian web site sums up the history and purpose of Debian. Now certainly it has not been a golden road of tranquility, as there have been problems, but for the most part this purpose is seen throughout the distro.
“Debian was begun in August 1993 by Ian Murdock, as a new distribution which would be made openly, in the spirit of Linux and GNU. Debian was meant to be carefully and conscientiously put together, and to be maintained and supported with similar care. It started as a small, tightly-knit group of Free Software hackers, and gradually grew to become a large, well-organized community of developers and users”
All in all, some of this may be a result of having used Ubuntu for several years and yearning for a change. But I think now is the time as Debian 5 Lenny is on the way.