Friday, June 8, 2012

Review Debian Squeeze 6.0.5 : The Father of Linux Distro

Last few months I was thinking of testing Debian. Why? Because all Ubuntu and Ubuntu derivatives derive their origin from Debian only. However, net reviews said that Debian is not for beginners; hence I refrained for sometime till I had enough expertise in handling minor/major problems in Ubuntu and derived OSs.

This week I downloaded Debian squeeze (debian-6.0.4-i386-CD-1.iso) from http://www.debian.org/distrib/. Both 32-bit and 64-bit editions are there. Once downloaded, extract it to any folder and click on the .exe file inside. It will do the initial install and ask you to restart for complete installation. Store the iso file in an usb as it will come handy during installation.

The installation guide is fairly simple and self explanatory. Debian automatically tracks the iso file in the usb drive during installation and will guide you in the rest of the process. You have to create a separate partition for Debian and keep the computer connected to internet to download the applications and GUI. To avoid it you can download the 4.5 GB installation files, write it to a DVD (bootable) and install the OS from there. I have unlimited internet plan and preferred the first approach.

Once the installation is done, I checked the RAM and CPU usage - it is 2-7% CPU & 130-140 MiB RAM. Incredibly lower than Ubuntu based distros! That is because Debian still uses Gnome 2.30.2 and it is much lighter than Gnome 3.



Performance-wise Debian is truly father of all linux distros. Fast, customizable, zippy and complete. Default applications include:

  • Internet: Iceweasel (similar to Firefox from Mozilla only), Epiphany browser, Empathy messenger, Ekiga Softphone, Evolution mail client, Liferea feed reader and bit torrent client
  • Office: OpenOffice is present with writer, calc, present, draw, base, etc.
  • Photo editor: GIMP, Inkscape, Shotwell
  • Webcam: Cheese
  • Media player: Gnome Movie player, Rhythmbox (for music), audio CD extractor, Basero

All apps you prefer are in the Software Center (System -> Administration -> Software Center). In addition, you can also add Ubuntu/Mint repositories as well.

All in all a complete distro. I downloaded VLC player & a Docky in addition and replaced Iceweasel (as it kept crashing when I installed adobe flash plugin) with Firefox. For Docky, process to enable compositor is given in my earlier post.

As a distro it is stable and every 6 months you won't need to replace it as in Ubuntu or Mint (or even Fedora) and also it uses Gnome 2. I was using Ubuntu for quite sometime and then shifted to Mint after Maya release. Now, for sure I am going to use Debian for quite sometime. I haven't uninstalled Maya yet but may not use it that often as I was till last week. Debian stole my heart!

19 comments:

  1. I have been using Debian for quite sometime and just tried mint for a couple of days. I am now back to Debian. I agree with you!

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  2. Installing it and i hope it's more stable than current Ubuntu 12.04.1 LTS

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    1. Debian is always more stable than Ubuntu. Try Linux Mint 13 Mate/Cinnamon - it is customizable and you can change the Windows like desktop. I found Linux Mint 13 to be more stable than the parent distro Ubuntu - no Unity (thank God!) and the desktop looks really elegant and highly functional.

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  3. been using debian since squeeze became stable. honestly i also dun get it why they said debian is hard to use. installing vlc and restricted codecs is quite straightforward

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    1. I rate Debian as a highly functional desktop and very useful for power users. If Debian is hard to use then Ubuntu/Mint too are hard to use :), as simple as that. I used Debian 6 for more than a year to later shift to PCLinuxOS because of it's rolling release. With Debian the only problem is that you have reinstall your entire set up once a new version comes up! That was one of the reasons for me to migrate from Windows to Linux.

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  4. Yes, I'm about to try it. My biggest complaint about it before was it's slow release cycle, but that was a couple of years back. Mint's look just kept reminding me of windows, and the concept just made me cringe. They've done their best to fill their niche, but that niche seems to be ex-windows people, and of course ubuntu unity dumpers (that's just as distasteful as windows in my book -- but I digress...
    Yes back to the future, back to debian ;-)

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    1. Hi Jamie, if you are looking for the latest applications in Debian, please try Debian wheezy. I guess the stable release for Debian wheezy is just round the corner. Once the stable release is there, I'll try it out.

      Mint is the best Linux OS that I tried out so far. It works perfect on any system out-of-the-box wherever I have used it. Also, if you hate Gnome 3 or Unity or KDE 4, XFCE is there to rock your world! Mint, as I know, is greatly customizable. Currently I have Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon and XFCE in two of my systems. I, too, hate the Windows look that is by default in Mint. Hence, I used docky/cairo dock to make it look quite attractive and different from Windows. So, bottom line is that Mint is very customizable with Mate/Cinnamon/XFCE unlike Unity.

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  5. I don't know why people hate so much Unity, I find it very functional and slim. The downside on Ubuntu is that it's definetely not stable. I had a problem in every release, and that's why I use linux, to not have problems. I'm installing Debian, but got stuck on something stupid, the wi-fi key where I am is not on a HEX or ASCII pattern, so I have to use wpa_supplicant, and, well, it's too much effort...

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    1. Hi Patrick,

      The main thing that bugs me is the instability of Unity. Unity is helpful, undoubtedly, but even a docky can serve that purpose. Unity hogs a lot of resources unnecessarily and makes the OS very unstable. However, Unity is getting better with every release and I guess by 3-4 releases, it will be much more stable than what it is right now.

      Regards,
      Arindam

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  6. Hi Arindam!

    My name is Utkarsh Sevekar. I've created a new Linux distribution based on Debian stable and Debian Sid (2 different versions). It's called Rebellin Linux. It's gorgeous and comes with loads essential stuff covering every aspect of our computing lives.

    Would you please review it on your blog for me? It's pretty new and I need your help in getting the word out. It's just a plain sincere request. Please review it for me. It's quite awesome and wont disappoint you as a user.

    Here's the website link:
    www.therebellin.com

    Youtube Intro Video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RHcgiAnDGI

    I've no words to describe how much I appreciate your time and help.

    Thank you so much.

    Utkarsh.

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    1. Sorry Utkarsh, I don't review any Linux distro which is not free.
      Regards,
      Arindam

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    2. Utkarsh Sevekar. Please stop pimping the trash that you cobbled together from FREE software. OpenSUSE, Slackware, Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, LinuxMint, BSD variants, are all available for FREE and the developers of these systems have more talent than a few script kiddies who got together and tried to make a few bucks on something that is available for FREE. While I admire your enterprising ambitions, the manner in which you violate the very spirit of Linux and open source software, makes me want to vomit. Imagine if Linus Torvalds felt the same way you do ? You would have to BUY his kernel to build your crap. You make me sick. I hope you die of stomach cancer

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    3. Agree wholeheartedly. These guys defy the very spirit of Linux and makes me sick as well.

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    4. Excellent review of Debian. I'm currently running Wheezy Official Snapshot amd64, in a dual-boot scenario with Linux Mint Maya 13 64bit.Wheezy is a recent release from march 18 2013. been a while since I've used the "real" Debian. I'm impressed with the boot and shutdown speed, and did notice the quirks in flash / iceweasle. Of course, i'm using a testing release so expect bugs. I prefer Linux Mint over all the Linux distros. I used slackware quite a bit, and love it still, but Mint is my go to system. I respect most of the distros and appreciate the hard work the developers have put into them all. After reading your review, I wanted to take a look at where Debian is. Thank You for a decent review.. Keep up the good work

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    5. I agree with your refusal to review Rebellin as it is not free like the software it is built upon, but I feel that "Anonymous" goes much too far with his attack in the final hateful sentence, which you "agree wholeheartedly" with?

      Other than that, great site and many really helpful reviews.

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    6. :) yes, hopefully Utkarsh takes care of his stomach well.

      Anyway, thanks for liking my blog and finding my reviews useful.

      Regards,
      Arindam

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  7. I use debian squeeze.It is difficult to learn.But once sth is learnt it is sooo easy and soo stable.

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    1. Completely agree with you. Debian is rock solid. I am waiting for Debian 7 to come out.

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  8. Its very interesting post, good job.

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    ReplyDelete