In the previous part of this long inventory post, I've finished with Debian Etch. After a year and a half of distro hoping, I've decided that I'm experienced enough to try the new Debian Etch. I've already had an experience with the Ubuntu alternate installer, and I knew more or less what I was doing.
But back then, if you read something about Debian, the constant theme was that Debian is hard and only for advanced users. But hey, there's Etch. It had a new shiny fancy graphical installer. So I downloaded the CD, burned it and started the install.
Being young and sometimes impatient I started the install with out reading the help options. Hence, I was encountered with the curses installer and not the new fancy graphical installer. Which made me a little bit confused. But since I've already installed Edubuntu and other version of Ubuntu which then came with that installer I successfully finished the installation.
When I've finished the installation, I had a more or less of Ubutu on my laptop, except for the fact that theme was blue... Now I had to configure the Intel IPW2200 wireless chip and install multimedia codecs. I can't say it was a breeze. I was a little bit tedious for the IPW2200. Today, however, the modules required to operate this device are already included in the kernel and it is much easier. Multimedia codecs where possible thanks to Debian-multimedia project. And that's it I had a Debian Etch.
In the first two months, I continued to work excessively on the Ubuntu installed side by side on this computer, while Etch was there just for learning and inquiring. After the first two months, I felt that there is not to much of a gap between Ubuntu 7.10 and Etch. I decided that if I would like to help Ubuntu, it might be better to help Debian. So I decided to upgrade for Lenny, and see how life is in Testing.
My past experience with upgrading Ubuntu warned me about that. Every upgrade broke something else on my laptop. In 6.10, I had both suspend and hibernate working perfectly. Then upgrade to 7.04 broke it. Then upgrade to 7.10 prevented mounting of USB stick being auto mounted with user permissions, which was really annoying, because I had to do a clean install.
Nevertheless, I upgraded. The upgrade was clean and smooth, and surprisingly nothing broke. I tested it for about two weeks just to be convinced. I could not believe it. And then I discovered that the sleep mode is working. That was the last straw for Ubuntu. I hate how long it takes to boot. And it's not battery friendly. So putting the computer to sleep, and successfully waking it finally convert me to use Debian on a daily basis.
I was very afraid of the title 'Testing' but I must say this: I found Debian Testing much more stable than any Ubuntu I've used. This is actually a very bad Marketing decision, even though I can understand what's behind it. Debian is a community project and can not supply security updates for two branches and maintain 4 branches (Old-Stable, Stable, Testing and Unstable). And rumors say that Unstable is also very stable. Even though I can't personally testify, but the fact that a lot of Distro developers lean on the Unstable branch, like Ubuntu, Dreamlinux, Sidux and so on, means something. So, I think, for a home user and laptop users, who are not running web servers and mission critical applications I can safely recommend Debian Testing\Unstable mix. In the next post, I am going to describe what I use Debian for and with what programmes (In short, Everything+). But that's already for the next post.