Considering switch to Debian

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Considering switch to Debian

Postby Tribulation » 2010-01-21 17:09

I've been using Ubuntu for a few years but it's started to piss me off. I get some problems with it here and there that come from absolutely no where. Long boring story short, I ran into update problems when I updated to 9.10 last night that seem to have come from no where, and that mixed with other problems in the past was the last straw. So I thought about switching to Debian but wanted to ask about what I might need to expect to do or find different about it from Ubuntu. A couple of things:

- I can use the CLI, I'm no expert but I can use it so I'm not too worried about having to use it in Debian. I'm not even sure if the CLI is needed much in Debian anymore.
- Ubuntu is more automated than other Linux distros. Should I be aware of anything in Debian that I might have to do manually that is automated in Ubuntu? I'm not asking for every little thing, just general stuff. Installing and updating drivers, changing screen resolution, etc.

Is there any other tips or information that anyone would like to share about the switch from Ubuntu to Debian?
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Re: Considering switch to Debian

Postby AdrianTM » 2010-01-21 17:17

I'm sure you'll be able to use Debian successfully, the only thing that you need to accept is that new releases will be about one every 2 years or so (and with no clear schedule), so if you are fine with using slightly older packages in exchange for stability Debian is the best choice for you.

Few things will need to be configured manually, for example Flash, if you need it to run on most of the sites you might need to uninstall the default free player from Debian and install the proprietary one from Adobe (from non-free repo), but that's about it. Oh, and you'll use Iceweasel instead of Firefox, but that's mostly a name change.

And there's no better way than trying... go on and install it and enjoy, post if you have specific questions.
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Re: Considering switch to Debian

Postby Tribulation » 2010-01-21 17:37

I doubt that the release schedules will bother me as long as the system doesn't feel TOO outdated. Hell, I'm still using Windows XP. I've also manually installed Flash on Ubuntu before but it's hell getting it to work, I have a 64-bit processor so I have to use the 64-bit version of Flash.... I'm tempted to just use Debian 32-bit so I hopefully won't have as much trouble with that. Is there any real perks to using the 64-bit version other than it being able to recognize more RAM? Also, would you suggest Lenny or Squeeze?
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Re: Considering switch to Debian

Postby Bulkley » 2010-01-21 18:35

Tribulation wrote:I doubt that the release schedules will bother me as long as the system doesn't feel TOO outdated. Hell, I'm still using Windows XP.


That's a common experience of people new to Linux. We dual boot for a couple of years until the day we suddenly realize that we haven't been over to the dark side for a long time. Then we strip off Windows and use the space more productively.

Since you have been using Ubuntu, you have some exposure to Debian. There is a learning curve moving to pure Debian but it's not as bad as you might imagine. You can certainly find a lot of help here. My suspicion is that after a couple off years with Debian you would not find the problems that you are having with Ubuntu to be so onerous.

I do suggest that you learn a bit more about CLI, some basic vi and file manipulations. Eventually, with any system, you will muck it up (we all do) and it helps to know how to fix it when you can't have a GUI.

Why don't you try a live-CD?
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Re: Considering switch to Debian

Postby nadir » 2010-01-21 18:46

Tribulation wrote:I doubt that the release schedules will bother me as long as the system doesn't feel TOO outdated. Hell, I'm still using Windows XP. I've also manually installed Flash on Ubuntu before but it's hell getting it to work, I have a 64-bit processor so I have to use the 64-bit version of Flash.... I'm tempted to just use Debian 32-bit so I hopefully won't have as much trouble with that. Is there any real perks to using the 64-bit version other than it being able to recognize more RAM? Also, would you suggest Lenny or Squeeze?

i got a dual-boot debian-lenny and debian-sid. i dont see much differences between the packages. some packages are installable from lenny-backports (like openoffice, which really seems outdated in lenny). some, like VirtualBox, i installed directly (from Sun in this case).
The advantage of Lenny is that it is very stable (well: squeeze and sid are quite stable too)
Therefor i first would go for Lenny, you may easily upgrade later. The other way around is not that easy.

bout 64/32 i don't know.

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Re: Considering switch to Debian

Postby AdrianTM » 2010-01-21 19:11

I've also manually installed Flash on Ubuntu before but it's hell getting it to work, I have a 64-bit processor so I have to use the 64-bit version of Flash....

I don't know why you had so much trouble, Adobe has a beta or alpha 64bit flash, you just need to download the package, untar it and put the libflashplugin.so in the /plugins folder of your browser, most likely in /lib/firefox/plugins or /lib/mozilla/plugins I did that and it works perfectly.
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Re: Considering switch to Debian

Postby Absent Minded » 2010-01-21 19:13

Hello and welcome to the Debian forum. I think you will find yourself right at home here. I think the biggest thing that you might need to get use to is using su instead of sudo (although Debian can be setup the same if you so desire).

As for your 64bit question, no there is not any REAL benefit to installing the 64bit version at his time. Even the RAM argument doesn't hold much water with Debian as it has large RAM support built into the kernel in Debian (at least that is my understanding of things). I believe you will find that Debian out performs most other Linux distributions as well. Debian Lenny is still using KDE 3.5x where as Debian testing is using KDE 4.3x. There is an 18 month release cycle in Debian. If you use the Yahoo protocol you may want to go with testing as Lenny no longer is up to date enough to work with the new Yahoo protocol. I set "most" of my computers up with testing except my servers where things "have" to work ALL the time. However since I didn't want to jump on the KDE4 banwagon right away I a using Lenny on my main system and have adapted a few packages to run with Lenny. Debian's "Backports" are defiantly good for "most" things you will need to run Lenny and still be up to date.

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Re: Considering switch to Debian

Postby Tribulation » 2010-01-21 19:48

I don't know why you had so much trouble


Neither do I. I know how to install it, I've done it exactly as you said, it's just that Flash refused to work completely for awhile. That was awhile ago though, I haven't had any trouble with Flash since then.

I think the biggest thing that you might need to get use to is using su


I actually prefer su, I've used it before. Sudo annoys the hell out of me.

I think I'll just try Lenny out first, using backports as necessary, and update to Squeeze if needed.
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Re: Considering switch to Debian

Postby nadir » 2010-01-21 19:51

might be you will first be interested in the backports-kernel, which is 2.6.30, while the lenny one is 2.6.26.
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Re: Considering switch to Debian

Postby aj123 » 2010-01-21 23:16

Tribulation wrote:
I don't know why you had so much trouble


Neither do I. I know how to install it, I've done it exactly as you said, it's just that Flash refused to work completely for awhile. That was awhile ago though, I haven't had any trouble with Flash since then.

I think the biggest thing that you might need to get use to is using su


I actually prefer su, I've used it before. Sudo annoys the hell out of me.

I think I'll just try Lenny out first, using backports as necessary, and update to Squeeze if needed.


Installing flashplugin-nonfree automates flash installation for you. Just add "contrib" and "non-free" to your /etc/apt/sources.list or through a GUI like synaptic.

Debian comes in three states: Stable, Testing, Sid. I think you would be better served not using stable as your original complaint is about problems when upgrading stable versions. Testing/Sid are rolling releases. I would consider Testing as stable and Sid as an early release candidate; go with Testing.

As long as you are installing the default desktop of debian you won't have problems manually configuring much. When installing you only need the first CD or DVD; if you want something other than gnome pick the CD or DVD that has KDE, xfce, or LXDE in the name. Graphics drivers are the only thing that is not automated and even then ATI cards are the only thing that may give problems.
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Re: Considering switch to Debian

Postby AdrianTM » 2010-01-22 14:25

Installing flashplugin-nonfree automates flash installation for you. Just add "contrib" and "non-free" to your /etc/apt/sources.list or through a GUI like synaptic.

That's correct, I just wanted to underline that there's not big configuration going on to get flash working, it's just a .so file that needs to be placed in plugins folder of your browser... Don't know why people claim to have so many problems.

By the way Ubuntu does a crazy thing, while the 64 bit Flash is available they install 32 bit with nspluginwrapper which of course sucks.
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Re: Considering switch to Debian

Postby refracta » 2010-01-22 16:05

AdrianTM wrote:By the way Ubuntu does a crazy thing, while the 64 bit Flash is available they install 32 bit with nspluginwrapper which of course sucks.

what...something ubuntu does actually sucks...did I hear that correctly....
So if ubuntu does something that sucks could a person generalize and say 'ubuntu sucks'?
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Re: Considering switch to Debian

Postby Tribulation » 2010-01-23 15:58

Alright, I installed Debian and am about to configure it. I'll likely have more questions later but for now I only have one. Nautilus is a bit plain by default. In Ubuntu I had a side bar with which I could select other locations and a browser. I've been looking through the preference menu of nautilus but I can't seem to find anyway to enable these features.
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Re: Considering switch to Debian

Postby refracta » 2010-01-23 16:34

'always open browser windows' is the option you are looking for
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Re: Considering switch to Debian

Postby nadir » 2010-01-23 16:39

just in case you are as blind as i am
nautilus -> edit -> preferences -> behaviour -> third point if you count from the top
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