Is Debian stable a good desktop distribution?

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Re: Is Debian stable a good desktop distribution?

Postby HuangLao » 2017-06-05 20:06

VentGrey wrote:I've been using Debian too, for a desktop/laptop daily use it's great but those outdated packages seem to be the problem, I don't blame Debian it is (Arguably) the most stable linux distro out there, and it's just not worth it to sacrifice that title for a desktop distro, but everything seems to work just fine, for my laptop i use Debian testing, for me it's the perfect balance between Stability & current packages (That is when Debian is not frozen) :mrgreen:


unless you are a developer and need the latest packages then having them is useless towards the effectiveness of Debian as a workstation/desktop etc...

Debian testing is also the least likely to receive security updates in a timely manner and has the most holes and bugs that can last weeks or months. Keep that in mind as you surf the net, Debian Sid and Stable have security updates.
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Re: Is Debian stable a good desktop distribution?

Postby sunrat » 2017-06-06 00:02

HuangLao wrote:...Debian Sid and Stable have security updates.


Not exactly. Stable has the Debian security team. In Sid updates come from the package maintainers and eventually get to Testing.
https://wiki.debian.org/DebianUnstable# ... updates.3F
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Re: Is Debian stable a good desktop distribution?

Postby jmgibson1981 » 2017-06-13 14:07

I've only had Jessie on my laptop for a week or so now. The difference between Jessie and Ubuntu 16.04 LTS is mind boggling.

Zero problems whatsoever. I've managed to keep an almost pure Debian system. Only non-official packages are the insynchq repository for google drive, and I backported makemkv from the ubuntu ppa. Otherwise everything is official debian repositories. It has been a dream come true how solid everything is, and everything works first time every time.

Some people go on about needing the newest versions of programs and apps. I disagree. The majority of the time, what has changed as far as the end user is concerned? Nothing. Even the older versions in Debian still get security updates so it is a wash. I personally don't need the absolute latest version of whatever and I rarely see why anyone else needs them as well.

In my mind your desktop / laptop should be rock solid and reliable. Constantly having to fix this or that is not my idea of enjoyable computer use. Most people I know don't like that either. Near as I understand most people just want their computer to work with no fuss. Debian does just that. It doesn't fight with me, it does what I want, when I want and that is all I need.
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Re: Is Debian stable a good desktop distribution?

Postby HuangLao » 2017-06-13 21:33

sunrat wrote:
HuangLao wrote:...Debian Sid and Stable have security updates.


Not exactly. Stable has the Debian security team. In Sid updates come from the package maintainers and eventually get to Testing.
https://wiki.debian.org/DebianUnstable# ... updates.3F



Yup, I was counting the new packages as security updates...but technically they are not.
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Re: Is Debian stable a good desktop distribution?

Postby ruffwoof » 2017-06-13 22:37

But does not Debian Stable contain many bugs, but that aren't considered as being security risks and as such don't get fixed, just recorded. Hundreds in Jessie for instance.

Tempted to switch over to FreeBSD from Debian after some months of usage but having discovered that. Very early days however (just installed FreeBSD into a VirtualBox just a day ago).
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Re: Is Debian stable a good desktop distribution?

Postby bdtc1 » 2017-06-14 01:52

We use Debian Stable with backports as needed for newer stuff. You still get the security updates, and the most popular/important newer stuff is pre-packaged specifically for use with Stable, often right from SID.

For example, Stable/Jessie has backports from SID for Libreoffice, Inkscape, xserver-xorg-video-intel, and newer kernels are available as well.
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Re: Is Debian stable a good desktop distribution?

Postby dasein » 2017-06-14 02:04

bdtc1 wrote:the most popular/important newer stuff is pre-packaged specifically for use with Stable, often right from SID.

Purely pedantic point: Testing, not sid.
https://wiki.debian.org/Backports
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Re: Is Debian stable a good desktop distribution?

Postby bdtc1 » 2017-06-14 03:40

In the case of Libreoffice, Inkscape, and xserver-xorg-video-intel, it's the same version for Jessie/Backports, Testing, and SID.

Edit: Also linux-image-amd64 is the same for jessie-backports, stretch, and sid.

The point being that you can get some pretty new stuff via backports while using Debian Stable with security updates. This was useful for some new laptops we have, for example.
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Re: Is Debian stable a good desktop distribution?

Postby alan stone » 2017-06-14 05:22

ruffwoof wrote:But does not Debian Stable contain many bugs, but that aren't considered as being security risks and as such don't get fixed, just recorded. Hundreds in Jessie for instance.

Difference between bug and vulnerabilty.
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Re: Is Debian stable a good desktop distribution?

Postby Lysander » 2017-06-23 09:36

mfv wrote:Now when it comes to stability I have to say it is a piece of garbage.


I wouldn't say Ubuntu 16.04 was "a piece of garbage". I ran Ubuntu 16.04 LTS for several weeks at the beginning of this year and had no problems with it whatsoever. I personally think - in terms of stability, usability and for those learning Linux - it's an excellent distro.

sunrat wrote:I'm no fan of Ubuntu but your crashes are possibly due to some incompatibilities introduced by packages you installed or configuration rather than Ubuntu itself.


That's what it sounds like to me too.
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Re: Is Debian stable a good desktop distribution?

Postby furquan » 2017-06-23 11:26

Lysander wrote:
mfv wrote:
sunrat wrote:I'm no fan of Ubuntu but your crashes are possibly due to some incompatibilities introduced by packages you installed or configuration rather than Ubuntu itself.


That's what it sounds like to me too.

Yeah, it's very easy to misconfigure packages in Ubuntu through the misuse of PPAs, 3rd party repos and whatnot. You have to know what you want and not suffer with the shiny new stuff syndrome. Numerous times I have people who added that PPA just because they want a newer version of some software as it's released and ended up with their packages messed up when the PPA froze upon an upgrade. Perhaps Snaps (or Flatpaks) can fix this but it's too early to say.

That's why I find Debian's package configuration better as compared to Ubuntu even though they're essentially the same APT/deb.

Ubuntu is good to get people started with Linux because you'd get less hardware problems and other hiccups but if you want a better distro and can spend a bit of your time installing it then Debian is absolutely as usable.

I run Ubuntu on my Laptop because it's stable (LTS releases are quite stable, for the most part) with a no-nonsense, no configuration desktop which is usable out-of-the-box (be warned though, "usability" is highly subjective). Plus it seems to make good use of my 1366x768 screen when I auto-hide the launcher as it embeds menus in the titlebar (GNOME-shell does that too but not with 3rd party applications, unfortunately). I might switch to another distro in the future though but my laptop is old and I'm afraid there will be unavoidable problems both during and after the installation. On all other machines, Debian with Xfce is enough to provide a fast, usable and highly-configurable desktop for me.

Bottom line -- if you need a secure, stable and non-bloated desktop go with Debian (Testing and Sid are not considered to be stable though). If you need a desktop with all the latest "shiny new stuff" don't bother, Fedora or Ubuntu or a rolling-release distro will be better for your needs.
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Re: Is Debian stable a good desktop distribution?

Postby bester69 » 2017-06-23 12:16

mfv wrote:I think I'll give "testing" a try. It sounds reasonable. I have never used it in a production system because of fear of instability and the notion that it's not, well, stable. But after Ubuntu...

I think that what they may have gotten right with the dreadful PPAs is that you don't want to update all your system to use a single piece of software. And if you are an end user, family desktop pc, you don't want to sit and compile the latest qt to get X application running.

Does testing get "broken" more often in terms of packages? Should I hand pick what to update or should I update everything everyday? Did you ever have to do a complete system re-install because of this?

Thanks for the constructive input.

Go for Testing, and forget about backporting and old apps. One advice, before to go for testing, I would wait for some months (4-6) before the switch, its recommendable to wait for some time before the system settle down first updates. With debian testing i would schedule updates once/twice per month, its continuously updating itself.
I have tested a lot of linux distros, Arch derivades (manjaro), Opensuse, Ubuntu and Debian, and the best thing to go for, is Debian-Testing.
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