Why I still like Debian

Last Updated on October 3, 2010 by Dave Farquhar

Say what you will about Debian–the development process is slow and plodding, the distribution is always trailing-edge and Debian is always the last to get everything–but installing it today reminded me why I still like it.I need a temporary holding place where I can experiment. I want to move my genealogy page to a new piece of software, and I want to migrate this blog to WordPress.

The only spare computer I have right now that works reliably is an ancient P2-266. I don’t know how that ended up being, but I’ll work with it..

The system has 192 MB of RAM. I have a pile of DIMMs, but it doesn’t like most of them. So 192 it is.

Ubuntu’s installer won’t load on this system. It tries and tries, but after several hours, the only result is a graphical screen with a heron on it and a mouse pointer.

Debian just loads in text mode and doesn’t complain. It asks a few questions along the way, and it’s slower than the last few installs I’ve done, but it’s steady.

I’m confident I could get it to work on my 486 too, if I had the need or inclination (I don’t). I’ll save the 486 for the day I want to set up a DOS box for some old-school gaming. Probably in another 10 years.

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2 thoughts on “Why I still like Debian

  • August 19, 2008 at 11:20 am

    Not to mention that the only really catastrophically stupid thing they’ve done lately (OK, maybe aside from the DFSG vs. GFDL or whatever it is problems) is the SSH hole from a few months ago. Why did it stick out so much? Because it’s unusual for Debian to fail in such a big way.

    I still love Debian. My desktop machine is still running it. If I need something newer, I can compile it.

    • August 21, 2008 at 9:34 pm

      Compared to the insane number of Microsoft hotfixes that get released every month, Debian’s are nothing.

      And every month when I patch 180 Windows servers and meticulously coordinate their reboots, I think of Debian and apt-get upgrade. Sometimes I say rude things about the people who thought moving our software from VMS and Unix to Windows was going to make everything cheaper and easier too.

      We have five-nines uptime, but it’s because we literally have five of everything so we can reboot half of them without anyone noticing… if we’re careful how we choose that half.

      I can hear my son now when people ask what his dad does. "Daddy reboots stuff."

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