What is a "Real" Debian User.

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What is a "Real" Debian User.

Postby rickh » 2007-11-16 04:29

I am occasionally (regularly?) accused of elitism, arrogance, general grouchiness, or, as Telemachus put it recently, "chest thumping". In that thread the question is posed, "What is a real Debian User?" I thought it was worth more than a sentence, so I decided to pose it as a discussion.

Anybody can install Debian these days, and a lot of people with limited Linux knowledge manage to get far enough along to come here asking how to fix the messy situation that resulted from their fumbling attempts to get some basic configuration added to the system.

People who can take a few hints and run with the ball have what it takes to become Debian Users (note capitalization) as opposed to the wannabees. A few thoughts about what makes the difference.


1. Debian Users decided on Debian for the "right" reasons. DD, Martin Krafft listed those reasons thusly:
You should run Debian if:
- You are an experienced user and know what you want.
- You want to efficiently manage an OS for a controlled environment with a finite set of requirements.
- You prefer stability to the bleeding edge.
- You need a secure system rather than one with the latest bells and whistles.
- You want to get down to the core of Linux.
- You have many friends running Debian.
- You are willing to invest some time and work now for later ease of maintenance.
- You are a perfectionist and a purist.
- You are socially sensitive with respect to freedom of software.
- You are curious to know about Debian, and do not mind climbing the Debian learning curve.
- You are curious about the Debian community, and what joins thousands of people to a common goal.
- You want to use Debian for whatever reason, and you are self-confident about that desire.

You should probably choose something else if:
- You are new to Unix.
- You need to use top-of-the-line hardware.
- You want to run Debian because "it is cool."
- You want a working system and are unwilling to figure out how it works.
(If you are looking for something that "just works," try one of the Debian derivatives.)

2. Debian Users respect the Debian Social Contract. That doesn't mean, they only use "free" software, but it does mean that they are aware of the difference, understand and support the reasons Debian has made that commitment, and do use free software when it is equivalent to non-free options for their expectations. (Example: They use Iceweasel, not Firefox.)

3. Debian Users understand the /etc/apt/sources.list file, and the ramifications of changing it.

4. Debian Users are conscious of "the Debian Way." They understand basic concepts of managing a Debian system such as a minimal install, and the differences between Stable, Testing, and Unstable.

5. Debian Users hold themselves to a high standard in the observation of Linux conventions. They don't run day to day activities as root. They study before asking questions. They use Google. They run basic firewalls, and upgrade regularly to keep up with security updates. They appreciate the command line and learn to use it for those applications for which it is especially efficient.

6. Debian Users know there is no other distribution more suitable for the promotion of Linux in a personal or professional environment.


I, personally, believe that people whose questions and comments show a lack of appreciation for those points deserve to be mildly scolded and that their questions should generally be ignored, or joked about. Since I really do try to stay out of trouble here, I generally choose the "ignore" option.

Debian maintains the highest standards of any of the major distributions, and those who claim to be Users of it should be held to a similar measure.
Last edited by rickh on 2008-06-04 18:16, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby Ingov » 2007-11-16 05:08

Debian is just a box to play, brake, make money and do anything you like for free.
And religion, too, for some guys, if they prefer.
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Postby CocoAUS » 2007-11-16 06:18

Ingov wrote:Debian is just a box to play, brake, make money and do anything you like for free.
And religion, too, for some guys, if they prefer.

That's pretty much it. Debian is a freaking OS, get over it. If you want to make it your religion, fine, but don't get all upset when others don't do the same.
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Postby llivv » 2007-11-16 06:28

I very much like the notion " since you asked" that 987687 had.
To me the only really real "real Debian users" are Deb and Ian !!! We are all just wannabe "real Debain users" in line behind them.

posting from twm, again arrrrrrrr!

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Postby detly » 2007-11-16 09:09

I use Debian because I don't like "black boxes." I like to take things apart and tinker with them, and that includes the operating system, the software itself and even the kernel. GNU/Linux distributions allow me to do this, and Debian allows me to do this safely.

There are two things that really raise my ire: people who denigrate the efforts of volunteers (or demand more from them), and people who claim I'M WRONG for liking Debian for the above reasons because THEY hate it for other reasons.

Things that annoy me, but I can always ignore, are people who act as though they've been forced to use Debian when they haven't, people who want Debian to be more like some other operating system (WHY wouldn't you just use the other one in the first place, dammit!), and people who have a mission to convert the world to Linux.

Debian is one way to use a computer. There are thousands of others. Live with it.
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Re: What is a "Real" Debian User.

Postby lemoicavalier » 2007-11-16 09:25

More to the point, how does one define oneself without branding oneself with useless labels?

In the big scheme of things the title "Real Debian User" it's probably even less meaningful then the fact that I'm running "Sid, KDE 3.5.8 Kernel"; at least the latter gives people a point of reference when they're reading one of my comments!

And to answer your question with even more questions:

What do we gain as a community by separating the "unwashed masses" from "The Illuminated"?
Why chastise those who are just getting their feet wet?
Why do you feel the need to turn the Debian community into an Elitist bunch, specially when the rest of the community as a whole is trying to wash away that very same stigma that we've been carrying for oh-so many year now?

If I sound a little harsh it's only because I loathe Elitism.
That's just one of the reasons why I now stay away from the Usenet; and as to why I moved away from Mandriva and MS Suse... Too many people answering with nothing but "RTFM"...
I'm glad that this community frowns upon this kind of behavior! And sorry that you don't feel that way; buy why join a community if all you're going to do is sit a-top of a high horse, pointing and laughing at those who don't even have a clue as to where to start?... Oh, wait!... They do know where to start! That's why they're coming to us!!!

But I digress! If I continue going this way I'm just going to turn this into "Does helping in linux forums really help?", Part 2... A topic which I decided to stay as far away as possible.

One point I do have agree with: Gone are "the old days, the bad days, the all-or-nothing days" when you need it an MIT degree to be able to install Debian... And for that we should all join hands and give thanks to the powers that be! Thanks to them, the unwashed can finally gaze upon the glory that it's Debian without bursting into flames!... Oh... Wait... Comments like that is what I'm against to, isn't?
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Postby detly » 2007-11-16 09:42

But there's a difference between being elitist and just being sensible and refusing to tolerate BS from people...

What's wrong with RTFM as an answer when the answer is clearly in the FM and requires only cursory Ring?
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Postby john_h » 2007-11-16 10:28

I agree with those who dislike the elitist tone of the OP (after all, a "real Debian user" is just someone who actually has Debian installed on their system and... uses it).

However, we have to recognise that Debian is not a particularly "newbie-friendly" distro. Perhaps there are times when the best advice to give to someone who is asking very n00bish questions on a forum such as this is: "Try Ubuntu first".

To put it another way: Debian may well be the last distro you ever use, but it's probably best for it not to be the first.

Personally, I got into using Debian through using a more n00b-friendly Debian derivative (Libranet, RIP), and that could well be a better route for most people than jumping straight in with a Debian install disk.

And it is certainly true that an appreciation for "the Debian Way" will make going up the learning curve easier to bear.
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Postby canci » 2007-11-16 11:32

Debian can be anything you want really, and so can the users. Here is a list of my recommendations:

- N00b or not, be some1 who wants to fiddle till it works - otherwise you'll stop at something
as banal as installing your fonts.

- Be aware that some hardware may not work like on SuSE, *buntu, Win, MacOS

- Be aware that most of the software will not be brand new unless you're mature enough to handle Sid

- Questions? Issues?

Read this: http://www.debian.org/doc/manuals/debia ... ex.en.html

and this: http://www.debian.org/doc/manuals/refer ... ex.en.html

Still questions left?
http://www.google.com ---> type in the issue followed by HOWTO and Debian

Still questions left?
http://forums.debian.net <--- post a q here!

It's as easy as that! Which means that Debian is very well meant to be used by n00bs.
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Postby hkoster1 » 2007-11-16 13:04

Highfalutin' rhetoric, my take on it. Most people here would never have started with Linux if they had accepted Martin Kraft's guidelines... I started way back out of curiosity with a copy of Slackware, then some Debian < 1.0 version, spending weeks to get X going, making an ass of myself in some newsgroup. I don't want to keep a similar experience from new users, as making mistakes is one fine way to knowledge. This whole idea about Real Debian Users shows such static thinking -- reality is that newbies are being born every day.
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Postby EMD » 2007-11-16 13:05

detly wrote:Things that annoy me, but I can always ignore, are people who act as though they've been forced to use Debian when they haven't, ... and people who have a mission to convert the world to Linux.

Oh!, but it's OK when Microsoft pushes its operating system, office suite, server, media player, internet search engine and file formats on us? So what are we supposed to do? Lie down and let Microsoft mow us over?

What do you use a computer for? To cruise the internet, write an email and type an occasional letter? Microsoft Windows is perfect for you. Just remember to scan for viruses regularly,

I'm not so lucky. I analyze large datasets and I cannot use Microsoft Windows for the task because that fat pig of an operating system gorges itself on 500 MB of RAM. Thanks to Microsoft's doors-wide-open security, the virus scanner then sucks away another 250 MB and my statistical package has to nibble on the few crumbs of memory left behind.

"No problem!" you say. "Go ahead and install GNU/Linux if it makes your life easier."

Well, it's not so easy because the corrupt bastard who runs the IT department has his head shoved all the way up Bill Gates' ass.

So my best bet is to "convert" as many people as I can to GNU/Linux in the hope of creating enough demand for it that the IT department folds under the pressure.

Yes. I do have a mission to convert the world to GNU/Linux and if you don't like it, ...!
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Postby Bro.Tiag » 2007-11-16 13:39

I run Debian, therefore I am, a "real Debian user". Full Stop.

As to elitism & arrogance, I do not see it here in these forums, although I do see some misunderstanding knowledge and confidence.
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Re: What is a "Real" Debian User.

Postby actionM » 2007-11-16 13:40

rickh wrote:Debian Users know that they have the best distribution.

Yes! Go Debian! To me, Debian is similar to your favorite sports team. If your favorite team is playing a home game then you better be cheering for the home team or your just a half ass fan and some redneck is gonna throw a beer in your face. I hate sports, but I love Debian!

And just because rickh doesn't leave a smiley face after every comment like the rest of us do, doesn't mean he's an elitist :)
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Postby Lou » 2007-11-16 13:42

I speculate a "real debian user" is a user who knows what he is doing. I use the CLI because for me, it's the fastest way. I don't enter the X system or wander in the internet as root. Basic stuff that some newbies do not want to do because they're lazy/ignorant.

I say, let them do whatever they want, let them learn the hard way.
Debian is not a fad so you can brag to your friends still using Ubuntu how smart you're.

I use Debian because of the minimal install option i get, for the easiness of installing packages, for the amount of packages i can install. I use google constantly, there are so many things i don't know and others i forget at my age.

Debian/Linux has rules you have to learn very well in order to innovate and find easier ways.

I ignore certain newbies, not because they're stupid, but because they're IMO, a bunch of cry-babies, spoiled brats, who want things the way they were in ubuntu or windows. Ignorance is forgiven, we all are to some extent depending on the subject, but laziness?

The moment you choose Debian you have to make a commitment, Debian is not for newbies per se, is for newbies to want to learn and follow the norms specified. What norms? Study, follow instructions, investigate with the search engines, question intelligently after you have read about the subject first. Nothing wrong with not understanding, the problem is sitting on your ass waiting to be spoon-fed.
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Postby hcgtv » 2007-11-16 13:53

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