Is Debian stable a good desktop distribution?

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Is Debian stable a good desktop distribution?

Postby mfv » 2017-05-31 23:38

I have been using Debian and Ubuntu alternately for about 10 years. Now I'm with Ubuntu 16.04 in my main desktop computer, and I'm pretty pissed off by its instability. I will be switching to Stretch as soon as it comes out.

Ubuntu entices you with its latest versions of all programs, and everything looks beautiful with a simple interface and easy configuration for the end user. Eye candy.

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

I usually use audacity and man, it's unusable. Kdenlive also crashes often, and today even the GIMP segfaulted in my face.

In terms of stability Debian takes the cake, but software is usually dated and not updated. Maybe you could face the situation where you need a certain version of a program that isn't compatible with the system's glibc version and then you can't re-compile the whole system, so... you need a virtual machine. And good luck with that if you have a slow computer.

And in your experience, is it really so much more stable than Ubuntu?

I want to know what regular/somewhat advanced Desktop users could tell me about their experiences.

Any constructive input would be appreciated.
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Re: Is Debian stable a good desktop distribution?

Postby dasein » 2017-05-31 23:46

Debian-vs-Ubuntu has been covered thousands of times in hundreds of venues over a period of >10 years. Go read all of that existing trollbait and report back if you have actual questions.

Install Debian in a VM, or on a spare hard drive, or burn a live medium. Experiment. Decide for yourself. Just be prepared to spend significantly more time and effort setting up Debian.
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Re: Is Debian stable a good desktop distribution?

Postby sunrat » 2017-05-31 23:56

mfv wrote:And in your experience, is it really so much more stable than Ubuntu?

Yes. As long as you install packages made for Debian.

Ubuntu are much less strict about what random packages are installable, especially PPAs. PPA quality varies from perfect to dangerous. 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.
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Re: Is Debian stable a good desktop distribution?

Postby morgon » 2017-06-01 00:02

I don't know your level of computer/Linux/Debian skills, and I don't know your notion of "good".

And I don't use stable (and I don't use KDE), so maybe all of this is irrelevant to you.

But I switched from Ubuntu to Debian testing many years ago and never looked back.

The problem with stable is that the packages tend to be really old versions.

But testing is (for me at least) a nice compromise between recent versions and stability (testing is not experimental mind you).

So my take is: Yes stable is (probably) quite good and if you run a critical server you may consider it but for a desktop system I'd recommend testing.
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Re: Is Debian stable a good desktop distribution?

Postby mfv » 2017-06-01 00:48

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.
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Re: Is Debian stable a good desktop distribution?

Postby dasein » 2017-06-01 02:00

mfv wrote:I think I'll give "testing" a try. It sounds reasonable.

If one imagines that "life with eternal upgrades" qualifies as "reasonable."

mfv wrote:Does testing get "broken" more often in terms of packages?

Yes. That's why they call it "Testing." (Catchy name, huh?) And yes, sometimes the breakage is catastrophic. And some of those times, the fix is slow to come.

So if stability is your supposed reason for ditching Ubuntu, it's unclear why you would pick something that's, well, not stable.
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Re: Is Debian stable a good desktop distribution?

Postby MALsPa » 2017-06-01 05:07

Is Debian stable a good desktop distribution?

Yes. For me, it is.

The Ubuntu LTS releases have worked out well for me here, too, though. Not quite as "solid" as Stable, but not all that bad.

I don't like to mess with Testing until a few weeks after the Testing freeze, but that's just me. A friend of mine has been running Stretch/Testing since (I think) last summer without issues (or so he tells me).

Depends on what you do with your system, I guess. I keep Stable on my "main" machine, and I have a few other distros/installations on other computers (Arch, Ubuntu LTS, Debian Testing for the past few months, etc.). For sure, other users report different experiences than what I've seen here. As they say, "YMMV."
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Re: Is Debian stable a good desktop distribution?

Postby alan stone » 2017-06-01 07:35

mfv wrote:... I will be switching to Stretch as soon as it comes out.

Ubuntu entices you with its latest versions of all programs, and everything looks beautiful...

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

In terms of stability Debian takes the cake,

And in your experience, is it really so much more stable than Ubuntu?


A friendly suggestion. :wink:
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Re: Is Debian stable a good desktop distribution?

Postby zorzi » 2017-06-01 10:14

Hello,

I moved from Ubuntu to Debian for two years.

Don't want to go back at any price...
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Re: Is Debian stable a good desktop distribution?

Postby wizard10000 » 2017-06-01 10:48

I'm gonna recommend KDE Neon. I ran Neon during almost all of the freeze (back on Sid as of last weekend) I was mightily impressed by it; latest KDE on an LTS base - what's not to like?

Debian Unstable is generally about a week behind Neon; Testing would normally be a couple weeks or more.

I will say that I run a fairly lean installation of KDE; when I moved back to Sid I kept most of Neon's configuration and TBH Debian uses a tiny bit more RAM (< 10MB) at idle than Neon does but that's probably because Sid is offering KDE 5.8 and Neon is running 5.10. I wouldn't have a problem recommending Neon to anyone who wanted latest KDE along with a little stability.
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Re: Is Debian stable a good desktop distribution?

Postby Hallvor » 2017-06-01 12:40

I would suggest another way of attaining knowledge than anecdotes from random people on the Internet.

You need to decide: Do you want stable or recent?

You want it all, but you can't have it. If you want a compromise, I guess Ubuntu is fine.
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Re: Is Debian stable a good desktop distribution?

Postby furquan » 2017-06-01 16:58

dasein wrote:
mfv wrote:I think I'll give "testing" a try. It sounds reasonable.

If one imagines that "life with eternal upgrades" qualifies as "reasonable."

mfv wrote:Does testing get "broken" more often in terms of packages?

Yes. That's why they call it "Testing." (Catchy name, huh?) And yes, sometimes the breakage is catastrophic. And some of those times, the fix is slow to come.

So if stability is your supposed reason for ditching Ubuntu, it's unclear why you would pick something that's, well, not stable.


Yes, if someone wants stability Debian Testing doesn't really make much sense. I'm not sure why it would be more stable than, say, Ubuntu. Sure it will give you more control and you won't have to deal with broken PPAs and such but that's it. Unless you have a more credible reason to choose Debian Testing over Ubuntu, I don't think it is such a good idea. Ditto for Sid (Sid and Testing aren't that far apart, just that Sid breaks more often while Testing does not).

Why not go for Debian Stretch with the backports repo? It makes much more sense since you need stability and the backports repo has usually reasonably newer software than Stable. Check this thread out for more backported software: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=127574
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Re: Is Debian stable a good desktop distribution?

Postby rivenathos » 2017-06-02 02:56

I have been running Debian Stable since Etch. Yes, Debian Stable makes for an excellent desktop distro, especially if you want everything to work properly all the time. I hate surprises, and with other distros such as Ubuntu, things would change/break with regularity. With Debian, I set everything up once, ride for a few years, then upgrade to the next stable version. Solid reliability.
Currently running Debian 9 GNOME on a Dell Inspiron 1545 and a Dell OptiPlex 3010.
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Re: Is Debian stable a good desktop distribution?

Postby VentGrey » 2017-06-05 17:31

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:
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Re: Is Debian stable a good desktop distribution?

Postby HuangLao » 2017-06-05 20:04

If you want stable and are interested in Debian then choose stable. if you complain about Ubuntu crashing then using Debian testing or Sid/unstable does not make much sense.

Ubuntu LTS is based off testing and Ubuntu 6 month release is based off Debian Sid, although testing and Sid do seem more stable then Ubuntu, they are still by no means stable and anyone claiming otherwise is most likely lying. Just like anyone claiming to use Arch for 3+ years and no crashes is well ......
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