I’ve finally decided to switch back to Debian. In fact, I did so about a week ago. Both my workstation and laptop now run Debian; and I’m much happier with Debian than I ever was with Ubuntu.
Way back when, I was one of the first people to switch to Ubuntu, under the promise of both Mark Shuttleworth and his people, and all of the Debian developers switching sides (apparently, since then, many of those developers either develop for both Debian and Ubuntu now, or switched back to Debian only), that Ubuntu would be what Debian was supposed to be: an easy to maintain, perfectly stable, often updated, desktop distro.
I believe, now, that Ubuntu is none of those things. Ubuntu, instead, is nothing but an attempt to turn Debian into something like Fedora: a desktop distro that puts user friendlyness over sane software development.
I deleted my
/usr/* directories, and appended
/var, and used the 20060829 daily built Etch Debian-Install netinst CD to install in my already existing parition. I can say the new installer is way better than the one I used back in the Potato days (which was the last time I actually installed Linux on my workstation, I only dist-upgraded to Ubuntu instead of reinstalling).
I’m actually surprised how modern this installer is. For one, which surprised me, is that it automatically detects and sets up my Firewire port to be able to network on, the only flaw here is that it gives me an option of using
eth1 as my default network adapter but doesn’t actually tell me
eth1 is my Firewire port.
Second, it can automatically retrieve my computer’s hostname and domain because I statically assign IP and FQDN based on MAC with
dnsmasq (which provides both
dnsd) on my router. It saves me a few keystrokes, sure, but it is still a neat feature.
The only missing features I’d like to see is a mention of console output on F5, and a terminal on F2, which I only knew were there from previous experience with Debian installers. Plus, I’d also like to see the ability to add a pre-existing directory to use debs from, so I don’t have to re-download things if I already have downloaded them once.
After install, I quickly ugraded to Sid.
A few other things I noticed Debian has and Ubuntu doesn’t, is that Debian’s
apt-get now has the abilty to download just the updated parts of a package index instead of the whole index (on supported mirrors, anyways). Even on DSL, downloading 5+ megs of package indexes takes a good 30 to 45 seconds, now it just takes less than 5.
In addition, and I’m not sure what caused this, I no longer have very sluggish
apt-get performance when installing or removing packages. I think this may be because my Debian install was ancient and had eventually gotten
dpkg‘s various state files gummed up, but where a simple
apt-get install of a small package would take a few minutes, it now takes a few seconds.
All in all, Debian is still the distro I remember it: clean, lean, well designed, a dream to administer, and not bloated to hell and back with lots of defaultly installed packages no one uses. Also, is it me, or does Debian also boot a good ten seconds faster than Ubuntu?