I seem to be the lone person totally indifferent to it.
Nope, you're not alone...
The Debian Project may not be that slow with new releases, but sometimes it feels like it. The project typically releases a new version "when it's ready," which seems to work out to about once every two years lately. Debian 8, branded Jessie, in keeping with the Toy Story naming scheme (Jessie was the cowgirl character in Toy …
For desktops, sure whatever. For servers, good luck in the needless fight!
For choosing bleeding edge packages, I'm not sure how much the distro matters compared to the desktop. So Stable, Testing or Sid might not matter once you're up and running. Articles/stories always seem to neglect that. Of course you can get it to run, but then a "Stable" distro might not seem so stable after all.
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[systemd] ...speeds up shutdown times by force killing processes if it has to, which can have unexpected consequences if you're in the middle of something.
Indeed. I am very happy with Linux Mint 17.1, but come shutdown time it simply kills any running apps, even those with open files. Result = regular file corruption for me. Even Windows isn't that stupid, and pauses to let you close files. Thanks, systemd!
To be fair, if I had a penny for every time I wished Windows would just stop executing any process that hasn't terminated within 5 seconds from shutdown I'd be filthy rich. As it is, I never get to see my laptop actually power off (eventually) when I leave - not even an angel could stick around for that long, even if seemingly nothing at all is open anymore. Anyway, I find the concept of relying on system shutdown to save one's otherwise unsaved work exceedingly curious to say the least. No program, ever, should wait until it's terminated to save anything it has to save - nor should any human ever rely on that.
Then there's something wrong with it, or the network it's sat on.
Don't know about 7 but 8 is pretty good at listing the things that are stopping it closing and letting you say you don't care. If you're not seeing a screen like that (and you are on a relatively modern version of windows) then it's unlikely that it's a user app causing the shut down to be slow.
A quick nose in the system logs might shed some light onto the issue, but the problem here is that the workaround (go away and leave it to sort itself out) is working so well there's little incentive to sort it.
"Jessie made headlines early in its development because it opted for Xfce instead of GNOME as the default desktop. Eventually, though, Debian went back on that decision and you get GNOME 3.14 if you accept all the defaults in the installation process."
That happened in the development phase for Wheezy as well. Now Joey Hess has moved on, I wonder if it will happen in the Stretch cycle. Google for Joeyh's posts to the debian-devel mailing list for the reasons behind XFCE4 as default.
I installed from the live MATE CD. Reasonable selection of software on boot. Install time about 20 mins with no Internet connection(*), added a sources.list file manually, then a walk down to the Selly Sausage cafe in Selly Oak to install all the extras (R, LaTeX &c) on their fast wifi.
(*)I switch the wifi switch off, allow the wlan0 detect to fail, then select 'do not configure network at this time' option then continue. Decline popcon, and decline network mirror prompt. Use the sources.list generator to set up a suitable list for apt-get later.
Pint: no sausage icon
I'm happy to try new things and have a spare SSD to play with, but for the 'ordinary domestic user' I'm fairly sure there would be no advantage for me over using Linux Mint 13, as I have done for two years now (I accept all level 1,2 and 3 updates and make partition clones at regular intervals). Can anyone say if I'd see improvements or anything notably different?
Well, 17 is three better.
This like saying Babylon 5 is a half-way compromise between Deep Space Nine and Saturn 3.
LM 17 can only be considered 4 better (as its four releases after 13 and, in this universe, 17 minus 13 still equals 4), or 1 better, as LM 17 is the next LTS release after 13.
Gnome on Jessie is quite smooth and, I assume, unadulterated. A batch of extensions is installed but they're not enabled. Screen tearing in XFCE here, with Haswell or an Nvidia 750ti and Debian's proprietary driver, still keep me away, sadly.
Mint's current LMDE Cinnamon updates to Jessie very nicely. Did it earlier this week. It's only a few weeks older.
As a desktop user, I want an init system to stay invisible. So far, systemd has been.
If you are interested in using Xfce without screen tearing, you can do it by disabling the built in compositing and using Compton instead. This actually works particularly well in Debian 8 with any Intel GPU from about the last eight years (at least the ones I've tried) or most AMD GPUs at least a couple of years old with the open source drivers. It has also worked well with Nvidia cards that were about seven years old with the proprietary driver in Ubuntu Studio, so I imagine it would work well with more recent cards as well. Of course, you will need a decent compton.conf file, but you can find one on the Internet.
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