Debian is among my favorite Linux flavours. Debian is definitely the chocolate of all Linux flavours. Melt it, chill it, blend it, chocolate rocks in all forms, like Debian and its derivatives Mepis, Mint, Knoppix, Damn Small Linux. It’s the fall-back, the old reliable that always gets you up and cheery cos it never lets you down to start with. Even Ubuntu, the most famous open source operating system to ever penetrate the mainstream, is a Debian derivative.
Debian has enabled my easy exploration of Linux as an all-Windows, Linux-in-crisis computer user. In fact, when you get down to brass tracks, Debian converted me. Hallelujah! A kindly friend installed Simply Mepis (KDE) on my 2 year old HCL and I simply fell in love with it from Day 1. Debian (including pre-release Squeeze), is stable, never breaks and is unbelievably easy to use.
So why Debian?
The answers are the same as Why Linux?.
It’s rock solid stable.
The latest version is just one click away.
Upgrades are just a single command away.
It’s a DIY thing. Or not, if you ain’t the tinkering kind.
So the other day when I read they’d rolled out the stable Squeeze, I thought I’d jot down a few points in support of Debian. I’ve been using Squeeze for over 6 months now. It is basic and stripped down and one of the first installs I managed all by myself. I took an agonizing 48 hours + to ensure I didn’t screw up my brand new assembled PC, but it was entirely worth it. And I only took 48 hours because I wanted to research every single step before I hit enter. Yea yea, lame and wary, but I learned a lot and I suggest all Linux Babies take the time and effort to do it slow and easy like I did.
Today for my readers (existent and imaginary ones), I’m going to outline my favorite Debian advantages/features.
1. Easy Installation
Read the manual (this is the link for 64 bit PCs) and heed it well. With one functional laptop beside me to Google from, I successfully managed to install WIndows 7 and Debian Squeeze side by side and it wasn’t half as tough as I’d imagined it to be.
I started with Windows 7 (of course I need Windows to play on! Game makers don’t really build with Linux users in mind). Post install, I logged in to Windows to ensure it worked and then I moved on to the Debian Installation.
I followed the installers’ super easy instructions without a glitch, partitioning my drives manually so I could distribute my 1 TB of space wisely (5% Windows & 95% Linux). The first and only error I noticed was, despite my efforts, Grub did not list Windows even though a quick check (fdisk -l or ds -h)revealed my Windows Partition existed just fine. This could be remedied within minutes whenever I needed it, so I left well alone and moved on because like all others who need to pay bills, my machine had to be fully functional by Monday. And it was. It hasn’t crashed once since then. And I have no complains.
2. Advanced Package Tool (Apt-get)
Debian’s package manager is awesomeness personified and it’s the thing that gets new comers hooked. It’s the command line tool to upgrade, install and update stuff in Debian from the Debian repository and its numerous mirrors. The installation process automatically sets up the apt-get tool and from there on, any user is set. Just open up a terminal and
apt-cache search application-name spits out the latest version of the application you seek, plus any related application you may need to get your funk on.
apt-get install downloads and installs the application for you.
It can’t get easier than that.
3. Super-helpful Community
Debian is supported by an incredible community of (power)users, developers and patient kind folks who help idiotic Linux babies like yours truly and who create all sorts of programs to the benefit of the average user.
4. A Million Useful Toys
Debian has more trinkets to toy with than the toddler next door. Its been around long enough for our beloved geeky community members to have created a thousand and one useful, easy to get, easy to customize tools that are available to all who crave it. Need an invoice manager? Go get it. Need to automate something you do regularly. Google for it and you’ll find dozen simple ways to do it.
5. Freedom Is My Fundamental Right
Debian gives absolute idiots like me the choice to pick and chose toys with varying levels of difficulty. Can’t handle the back-end? No problemo – you never have to see it. You can get a tool with a graphical front end for pretty much all the regular command line issues. So don’t worry about complexity.
6. Rescue Tool
The average Debian distro comes with its own set of rescue tools. If something breaks, or if your grub disappears and you can’t boot into your machine, you can use the same Cd to log in and fix things. You’ll be able to do everything you usually do (like use the browser to figure out how to fix your machine). And if you can’t fix your issues, you can transfer your data and just reinstall.