back to article Disentangling the Debian derivatives: Which should you use?

There are probably more variants of Debian than any other Linux distro, which can make it confusing. To provide some clarity, The Reg has lined up the main suspects. Toy Story, the movie that saved Pixar (and Steve Jobs' fortune), was released in 1995. Although Debian 0.01 appeared in 1993, you can date Debian from Toy Story, …

  1. FatGerman
    Joke

    Splitters!

    (See title)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Splitters!

      Or do you mean cheeky forkers

  2. Neil Brown

    Debian

    At least, that is my choice. (For both server and desktop machines.)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Debian

      I stick with RHEL and derivates (Alma Linux, Rocky Linux) and SUSE/openSUSE on the server and SUSE/openSUSE on the desktop. Mostly because I get longer support cycles, QA seems to be better, there's less breakage between updates and I get packages which, while not necessarily the latest, aren't ancient.

      But each to their own I guess

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge
        Linux

        Re: Debian

        But each to their own I guess

        There you go, being all reasonable!

        1. m4r35n357 Silver badge

          Re: Debian

          . . . and off-topic!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Debian

        [Different AC]

        It depends on what you are using your OS for, of course, but of late, it seems that more and more of the quirky scientific/research software created by quirky academics seems to get packaged for Ubuntu and/or Debian increasingly often, and as for RHEL and friends, very much not so much (and/or then you fall into the horrible morass of compile from source with endless library requirements, many of which are too new to run on RHEL clones anyway).

        For that reason, and also the recent implosion and recent not quite cooled fallout of the debris of the RHEL clones, my workplace is currently transitioning to Ubuntu. (There's obviously nothing wrong with RHEL, etc, if they Work For You, but it does seem in some areas that their very long lifespan has now become a little bit of a hindrance.)

        1. Tom 7

          Re: quirky scientific/research software created by quirky academics

          I like to play with these things from time to time. Some of them are actually more complicated than Linux itself and have cultures that extend across thousands of people and millions of boffin-hours. I do worry that some of these things may just curl up and die due to a core component being non-upgradeable due to some quirk that current and future generations cant grok. Some of these things are really good but you need two or three years of hand holding as an undergrad to get into them to any degree(sic).

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Debian

        As 10cc used to sing

        Art for art's sake

        Money for god's sake

        While Linux used to be a fun hobby the legacy Unixes which put a roof over my head are deader than a Norwegian Blue and so Linux is having to become a job and there are more people prepared to pay for Dead Rat skills so these days I tend to work mostly on RHEL and it's clones.

        I do keep meaning to have a real play with Devuan as it seems to offer the best chance of separating the behaviour of modern Linux kernels from the behaviour of systemd and the sprawling tentacles of its ecosphere or at least systemd-udevd.

        How much of the stochastic nature of device initialisation is due to parallelism within the kernel or within systemd's udev?

        The systemd dev team seem fixated with Linux on a laptop whereas my paying customers see it as a server operating system and tend to have significantly more NICs and HBAs and so their boxes behave in an altogether different manor.

    2. KA1AXY
      Linux

      Re: Debian

      Used Ubuntu, until they went all blocky and Untiy-like.

      Currently on Mint MATE 20.3, which seems to work just fine for me.

      1. Ian 55

        Re: Debian

        Went Mint when Unity happened, went back to Ubuntu when Ubuntu MATE happened because Mint kept breaking..

        sudo apt-get update

        sudo apt-get upgrade

        sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

        .. to do major version updates.

        Currently still using Ubuntu MATE, even if upstream Ubuntu keep doing things to try and reduce the number of pesky desktop users.

  3. steelpillow Silver badge
    Holmes

    No irony there, then

    "...there was no particular pressure to improve the Debian installer."

    "Although it's been one of the leading distros for over 20 years Debian has remained famously hard to install."

    1. Kurgan

      Re: No irony there, then

      Which is absolutely false. I find really much harder to install Centos, when it comes to disk configuration that is not, of course, the default one.

      1. Neil Brown

        Re: No irony there, then

        Yes, it's a weird one. The graphical installer works well, with plenty of notes / hints as you go.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: No irony there, then

          I had already installed a few Debians without knowing it was hard to install and I hadn’t noticed anything hard about it.

  4. steelpillow Silver badge
    Pint

    Devuan

    "Given that the Debian project would benefit from more money and more people as it is, we'd be happier to see Debian simply offer a choice of init systems during installation, and the two projects merge back together."

    Hooray! At last I am not the only one saying so.

    1. Zolko Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Devuan

      Now that Pottering has defected to MICRO$~T, there shouldn't be any excuse left to keep that abomination as unique choice. Binary logs ??????

      1. VoiceOfTruth

        Re: Devuan

        It's not just the binary logs. It is the feature creep and tentacles everywhere.

        1. Crypto Monad Silver badge

          Re: Devuan

          This gif is at least 8 years old:

          https://www.muylinux.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/funny-systemd.gif

          And since then, systemd has taken over more. Caching stub resolver, anyone?

          1. David 132 Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: Devuan

            I made a joke in another article's comments a few days ago about systemd taking over every aspect of the linux platform, and ended my comment with hyperbole along the lines of "some distant future version will even..." (here, I racked my brains to think of something as far away from init scripts as it was possible to imagine) "...handle DISK PARTITIONING, hahahahaha"

            Only for a fellow commentard to point out that yes, systemd now handles disk partitioning too.

            Truth, stranger, fiction, etc etc.

            1. steelpillow Silver badge
              Joke

              Re: Devuan

              Definitely time Linux and systemd gparted company, then.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Devuan

      Duvuan uses Sysvinit, which Debian used before they changed to SystemD in 2014. If you want a fantastic Devuan + Openbox experience, MIYO Linux already has the basics (networking, sound, task bar) ready to go for you.

      1. steelpillow Silver badge

        Re: Devuan

        Devuan defaults to sysvinit but it offers a choice of two or three other init systems when you install it.

        1. Kabukiwookie

          Re: Devuan

          Which is what Debian should have done, were it not that some extremists wantes their brand so much that they'd happily take away your choice, as it doean't affect them.

    3. Ian 55

      Re: Devuan

      One problem is that there are several Debian devs who refuse to let 'their' packages use anything other than systemd, to the point of actively removing support for anything else.

      This is clearly against the intentions of the original vote, but It's a bit like the way that Brexiteers decided the referendum was an unarguable mandate for the hardest Brexit we've got.

      1. Number6

        Re: Devuan

        Careful, you'll be telling us that Emacs is better than vi next.

    4. Justin Pasher

      Re: Devuan

      Not to discredit the work on Devuan (which I have not personally used), I wish people would stop acting like you can't change the init system in Debian. While you do not have the choice during the installer, you most certainly can (even in the latest stable release, Bullseye) change to sysvinit after the install.

      Granted, there are some packages that truly just cannot be installed without systemd, but that's largely to blame on the individual package maintainers, not on Debian itself. They've actually done a surprisingly good job with keeping sysvinit compatibility for most things. It's mainly some of the graphical desktop related programs that are more problematic.

      1. steelpillow Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Devuan

        But if you change your Debian from systemd after the install, a huge array of stuff breaks and your OS suddenly has a functional app pool the size of a gnat's gnadgers (and full of nasty hidden surprises). The suggestions is just ignorant propaganda.

        If you /really/ want to get useful stuff working, you have to do the whole Devuan rebuild thing. Which, ahem, is precisely why Devuan is what it is.

        1. Justin Pasher

          Re: Devuan

          By all means use Devuan. I'm not saying you can't and shouldn't. Just stop selling the lies that you can't use the OS with sysvinit.

          I've been running sysvinit versions of Debian on servers since Jessie, and I've been able to get by just fine. Maybe I should clarify that this is largely on the SERVER side (although I've done it on some desktops as well). It is perfectly possible to make it work, so I really don't understand all the down votes, unless it's simple due to people going by what they've heard and not what they've experienced.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. steelpillow Silver badge

            Re: Devuan

            "I've been running sysvinit versions of Debian ... and I've been able to get by just fine"

            There is a big difference between running sysvinit with no systemd installed on the one hand, and installing both, initialising with sysvinit and then unknowingly handing over to systemd for all the other things it does. Most folks mean the former, I have a sneaking suspicion you are doing the latter.

            To expand on that: many Debian packages record systemd as a dependency. Therefore, even if you go for sysvinit, your Debian install will almost certainly pull in systemd anyway. The apps that depend on it will then run just fine.

            1. Justin Pasher

              Re: Devuan

              "I have a sneaking suspicion you are doing the latter."

              Nope. No systemd init on the system. The OS is installed normally, then systemd is swapped out with sysvinit. When I say sysvinit, of course I'm only referring to the init system; that's all sysvinit is.

              apt-get install sysvinit-core

              -- reboot

              apt-get purge systemd

              Then block the systemd-sysv package from getting installed via apt_preferences(5). Keep in mind that the systemd package is different. While I normally don't have that one installed either, it is sometimes possible to install it without worrying about switching your init system. They've broken apart the systemd functionality quite a bit in an attempt to make running sysvinit easier.

              Is every single package in Debian still installable? Of course not (unfortunately). That's why I said some onus is on the package maintainers, and some just want to force systemd for no truly valid reason (see Ondřej Surý, the maintainer of the PHP package and bugs like 952895 or 959174). What ends up happening is someone comes along and extracts systemd-specific functionality into its own non-systemd module, like elogind or systemd-standalone-tmpfiles. Other times you have to get creative yourself to get around it. It's definitely not geared toward the novice Linux user.

              Is the situation pretty or ideal? Absolutely not (that's why things like Devuan exist). However, it doesn't mean you can't do it in Debian. I was not on board with their decision to switch to systemd, hence the reason I try to stay away from it.

          3. SImon Hobson Bronze badge

            Re: Devuan

            Just stop selling the lies that you can't use the OS with sysvinit.

            It's an even bigger lie to suggest that Debian will reasonably do much without systemd - unless, as already pointed out, you do a Devuan on it to fix all the gratuitous dependencies. The reality is that it's not really about init - it's about all the other stuff the systemd folks decided needed "improving" (improving in quotes there as some of the replacements are clearly inferior to what they replace - like using sntp instead of ntp).

            You try really excluding systemd from a Debian installation and you'll find ... not a lot of packages that will install.

            Now, that could have been sorted - "all" it needs is for package maintainers to support both the systemd and non-systemd ways of doing stuff. But they aren't, and the systemd folk appear to have a policy of making their systemd replacements for previously working stuff incompatible with the other alternatives. SO if you have to do two ways of logging, two ways of another thing, two ways of something else, ... then that's a lot of work and I can understand package maintainers not wanting to do it.

            I recall when the completely fudged vote was done, there were claims that "you'll still be able to ..." - but even back then I could see that was never going to last even a short time, and it wasn't long before I could see that that was the case.

            TL;DR - it's not really about the init (PID1) although that's a big part of it. It's the attitude of just trampling over everything and fixing stuff that wasn't broken, and gleefully removing choice that really pees a lot of people off.

            EX-Debian user.

            1. Justin Pasher

              Re: Devuan

              "You try really excluding systemd from a Debian installation and you'll find ... not a lot of packages that will install."

              I guess my definition of "a lot" is very different.

              First and foremost, I'm not a systemd fan. That's why I try to get rid of it. I've used it, and when it works properly, it's not that bad. When it doesn't work, that's when it's a royal pain. Things that were once simple to debug become ten times harder because you're not just fighting a simple shell script.

              If I am pretty much forced to use systemd (like in Ubuntu Server), I'll disable as many of the "extra" services as possible, like timesyncd or resolved, and use other programs meant for that sort of thing. I still use rsyslog over journald as the primary means of logging.

              For my experience with servers, I've been able to run Debian under sysvinit for many years with services like Apache, nginx, Varnish, PHP, Postgres, MariaDB, memcached, node.js, Docker, and all sorts of other very commonly used setups. I'd say those systems are doing "reasonably much".

              Is it easier to just run Devuan instead? Probably. I've never tried, so I can't give a first-hand account. I don't know how easy it is to drop in a package built for Debian (most probably work, but I'm sure some don't). If I had to offer up a concern, it would be wondering how long the Devuan guys will continue to make releases. I don't know what sort of financial backing they have to keep them going, so they may fizzle out or they may continue to be a strong systemd-free alternative.

              1. FatGerman

                Re: Devuan

                I don't have any money on this fight, but

                >> Things that were once simple to debug become ten times harder because you're not just fighting a simple shell script.

                Having looked at many of these shell scripts, one thing I would never describe them as is "simple". A systemd unit file, OTOH, is something I worked out how to do simply by looking at one at changing 2 lines.

                >> I'll disable as many of the "extra" services as possible, like timesyncd or resolved, and use other programs meant for that sort of thing.

                So you're taking a system, trying to remove certain parts of it and replace them with other parts under a different system, and then complaining it's complicated?

                As someone who tries not to look at the engine unless it stops working, there's very little difference to me between sysvinit and systemd. I don't honestly care which one I have, I just want a computer.

                1. Justin Pasher

                  Re: Devuan

                  "Having looked at many of these shell scripts, one thing I would never describe them as is "simple". A systemd unit file, OTOH, is something I worked out how to do simply by looking at one at changing 2 lines."

                  I've been dealing with programming for over 25 years, so I will give it to you that "simple" is a very subjective term. By simple, I'm referring more to the idea that I can add a few echo statements or run the script in debug mode to trace what's going on. systemd is a black box. It will fail to start processes, yet report that everything is fine. You are then stuck trying to trace what's happening on your own. To use your engine analogy, it can be like trying to diagnose a modern engine that's giving error codes without an OBD reader.

                  "So you're taking a system, trying to remove certain parts of it and replace them with other parts under a different system, and then complaining it's complicated?"

                  My big rub with systemd is the NIH syndrome it suffers from. Tools already exist for a lot of functionality that systemd just tries to duplicate. Sometimes it (thinks it) adds a few useful things, but other times there's no reason for it to exist. Many of these tools are supposed to be optional (i.e. "extra"), so removing them should not affect any functionality. That's why I don't equate it to making the system more complicated. However, systemd often blurs the line between modular and dependent components.

                  "As someone who tries not to look at the engine unless it stops working..."

                  Based on that, I'm assuming you are more of a desktop user. In general, I wouldn't say Debian is geared toward desktop users, although I used it in a desktop setting. It's shines more n server environments, and people that run servers typically do look a lot more at the engine.

                2. SImon Hobson Bronze badge

                  Re: Devuan

                  Having looked at many of these shell scripts, one thing I would never describe them as is "simple".

                  A fair bit of that is not actually to do with init, but with other (related stuff). An init script can be just a couple of lines (I've done that occasionally). but some package maintainers do seem to enjoy making them somewhat more complicated than seems to be needed.

                  A systemd unit file, OTOH, is something I worked out how to do simply by looking at one at changing 2 lines.

                  As already pointed out, this is where systemd really screws you over. In effect, it's moved a chunk of those "complicated" scripts into a black box of compiled code that you can't fiddle with. I'd go further than suggesting it's like trying to diagnose a modern engine just by the warning light - more like trying to diagnose a modern engine when it craps out but doesn't even put any warning light on.

                  With a script you can put some judicious echo (and other) statements into the script and (for example) dump to state of the environment into a file together with some "I got here" messages which can allow you to peek inside the system at the time the problem is occurring. OK, that's not "shell scripting lesson one" standard, but it is doable for someone with fairly basic shell skills - and 100% better than a black box that "just doesn't work right".

                  But this whole unit files vs "complex" shell scripts debate is a bit bogus anyway. There are alternatives to SysVInit, and several are supported (to a greater or lesser degree so far) in Devuan - and from what I recall reading, at least one of those has a config setup similar to systemd unit files. One of the things Devuan offers is not just the ability to stick with SysVInit - but to use your init of choice (apart from SystemD - you have the choice to go back to Debian for that).

          4. Kabukiwookie

            Re: Devuan

            Just stop selling the lies that you can't use the OS with sysvinit.

            That completely depends on your definition of 'use'.

            The result of removing systemd from Debian, results in a for most people unacceptably broken system, where the unfortunate soul spends more time workng around everything that's broken, than acrually using it for any productivity.

            It's like saying that you can 'use' a car if you take off 2 of the wgeels and the steering wheel and throw the ignition key in the Thames.

            You can sit in the driver's seat and loudly grow 'Vroom' all day, but you're not getting anywhere.

  5. navarac Silver badge

    Debian and LMDE

    Debian on one machine and LMDE5 on daily driver. As someone else said, each to their own I suppose!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Debian and LMDE

      LMDE 5 is pretty, but did I see Wayland creep in there? Is it still incompatible with NVidia drivers?

      IBM is pushing Wayland with RHEL just like they pushed SystemD.

      1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

        Re: Debian and LMDE

        [Author here]

        TTBOMK Cinnamon does not support Wayland, as of yet.

        LMDE uses Cinnamon and offers no other options.

        Therefore, no, I don't think you get Wayland on LMDE.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Debian and LMDE

          After a bit of digging- Ubuntu 20 actually comes with Wayland by default. While Cinnamon uses Gnome components, Wayland is currently broken.

  6. Spoobistle

    no way to "try before you buy"

    So have I misunderstood what "Debian live" is?

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: no way to "try before you buy"

      [Author here]

      Not the default, is what it is. ;-)

  7. wolfetone Silver badge
    Pint

    Worth raising a glass to Ian Murdock, because without him there'd be no Debian really.

    1. Ian 55

      And Ian Jackson for giving us dpkg.

      1. Benegesserict Cumbersomberbatch Silver badge

        And Peter Jackson for Lord of the Rings

        And Peter Everitt for the Saints' 1997 Grand Final appearance

        And Rupert Everett for My Best Friend's Wedding

        And Rupert Murdoch for... bugger all, really.

  8. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Debian just boots into the installation program – there's no way to "try before you buy"

    Typing "debian live image" into DuckDuckGo brings up https://www.debian.org/CD/live/ as the first hit - the way in to official live images and unofficial images with non-free software included. It will take a little more clicking to get to the list of images but there are images for several desktops. Yes, the route to get them could benefit from some tidying up but they're readily available.

    At https://www.devuan.org/get-devuan the first option listed is a live image, available in any desktop you want so long as it's Xfce. Again a few additional clicks are needed before you're downloading from a mirror.

    One thing I would complain about with Debian - and hence Devuan - is that for a long term support distro there's a strange reluctance to ship an LTS version of KDE.

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      [Author here]

      The thing is that *you need to know that you have to do that.*

      The same is true of openSUSE: yes, these things exist, but they are not the default, and for non-experts, they are effectively hidden away.

      In both cases, the images that you actually might want to use are hidden, hedged about with spurious warnings (openSUSE: "do not use these live images to install a computer"; Debian: "non-free images are unofficial and unsupported").

      They are only findable if you know you want them, in which case, you probably don't need them.

      That is not good. That is bad. That is obfuscatory and unhelpful.

      But they are old decisions and so are now enshrined received wisdom and the respective teams are very reluctant to change them.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    .....and then there's folk who want to flee from Apple.....

    ....and who find elementaryOS absolutely fabulous!!!

    ....beautiful to look at....and absolutely no need to use a (dreaded) terminal session......

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: .....and then there's folk who want to flee from Apple.....

      It looks a bit cluttered to me - or do those panel things at top and bottom autohide if you want them to? and then there's the latest idea of cluttering up the title bar with extra controls.

      Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder.

    2. ICL1900-G3

      Re: .....and then there's folk who want to flee from Apple.....

      Seriously, learn to use Bash, it is so incredibly useful, you won't regret it. We'll, hopefully not.

  10. Gene Cash Silver badge

    APT was a killer feature

    I was in "RPM dependency hell" with Red Hat at the time, and when I found out you could just say "ok, grab everything you need to upgrade and install it" with mostly just "apt dist-upgrade" then I switched to Debian Testing (Sarge at the time) and I haven't looked back. I've only had Testing break my system once in all those years.

    "By default, it also doesn't include either Snap or Flatpak" is a feature, as far as I'm concerned. Every app does not need another corresponding copy of the OS. I've also migrated to Devuan myself. I tried writing a systemd init script once. Just once. I also tried writing scripts to auto-download pictures from my camera, and that was the motivation to move to Devuan.

    1. nematoad
      Happy

      Re: APT was a killer feature

      I was in "RPM dependency hell..."

      Yes, me too, so that when I discovered PCLinuxOS had all the tools from Mandrake and it had the apt system of package management that was it, and I have stuck with PCLOS ever since.

      There's something about systemd that puts me off trying the likes of Debian and its derivatives so although there might be features that would appeal to me I have tended to steer clear. Keeping my boxes on the straight and narrow is one thing, wrestling with a vampire squid is another.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: APT was a killer feature

        "There's something about systemd that puts me off trying the likes of Debian and its derivatives"

        Devuan is a systemd-free Debian. Best of both worlds.

        1. hplasm
          Pirate

          Re: APT was a killer feature

          Devuan - (because) No Shit (SystemD)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: APT was a killer feature

      Apt was the killer app for Linux ~1998. It's what made me love Debian.

      Although I distro-hop all the time, I always come back to Debian + Openbox for my daily driver. It's rock solid and it "just works" when you sit down in front of your computer.

      1. amacater

        Re: APT was a killer feature

        Glad you like it - I'm fondest of the name, myself ...

  11. MarkB

    Ice Cream flavo[u]rs

    '[Brian] brightened up. “Do you know,” he said, “my cousin said that in America there's shops that sell thirtynine different flavors of ice cream?”

    This even silenced Adam, briefly.

    “There aren't thirtynine flavors of ice cream,” said Pepper. “There aren't thirtynine flavors in the whole world.”

    “There could be, if you mixed them up,” said Wensleydale, blinking owlishly. “You know. Strawberry and chocolate. Chocolate and vanilla.” He sought for more English flavors. “Strawberry and vanilla and chocolate,” he added, lamely.'

    1. David 132 Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Ice Cream flavo[u]rs

      Stretching your (well, Sir Pterry/Neil Gaiman’s) analogy perhaps too far, I wonder what the Them would make of the Goats’ Cheese, Marionberry & Jalapeño ice-cream I bought from the somewhat hipster-ish Salt & Straw last week?

      1. Tom 7

        Re: Ice Cream flavo[u]rs

        In 1970 my dad was teaching summer school in Oregon and we went to Portland to a place that served 57 (IIRC) flavours of ice cream. They did a thing called the Pigs Trough which you got for free if you finished it. A couple of my dads grad students managed it - I've seen smaller planters in city centres!

      2. MarkB

        Re: Ice Cream flavo[u]rs

        I had a look at Salt and Straw - they obviously haven't learnt the fundamental truth that while lavendar may be non-toxic, that is not the same as edible.

  12. nijam Silver badge

    > Debian has remained famously hard to install.

    Well, "famously" perhaps, not actually in fact. Not for the last 10+ years, ISTR.

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      [Author here]

      Since I see people are quoting Pratchett and Gaiman, may I quote Monty Python?

      "I'm feeling much better!"

      It is. I am absolutely not denying that.

      I think that the issue is that it got a lot better years after multiple other distros had got underway making Debian easier to install, and they have not gone away. Indeed, they continue to proliferate.

      1. David 132 Silver badge
        Happy

        The Debian installatiøn røutine once bit my sister.

        1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

          It turned me into a newt!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Debian is one of the big 3 distributions that has lasted through history (The other two being Slackware and Red Hat derivatives). Arch was independent and only recently gained market share because of their very vocal and self-identifying user base.

    1. Smartypantz

      gentoo

      Was actually also fine, ran it for a couple of years in the 00's, the switched to debian, and never looked back :-)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: gentoo

        I have never run Gentoo other than in a VM to see how their package manager worked. Gentoo was another independent distro started around the same time as Arch according to the Linux distribution timeline:

        https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b5/Linux_Distribution_Timeline_21_10_2021.svg

      2. dajames

        Re: gentoo

        gentoo ... Was actually also fine

        Gentoo is brilliant -- I used it for a few years and learned a lot about Linux by doing so -- but it is hard work if you just want to get the job done.

    2. steelpillow Silver badge
  14. Blackjack Silver badge

    Linux Mint Debian Edition is nice and works on my laptop. Now if only there was a Devuan version...

  15. Benegesserict Cumbersomberbatch Silver badge

    The sharp-eyed watcher of Toy Story 3 will spot the Debian logo amongst the kinder kids' artwork hanging from the ceiling in the day care centre. Nice little bit of reciprocal acknowledgment there.

    1. Ganso

      The Linux kernel's maintainers also have fun with the code names, providing such jewels as:

      "Charred Weasel", "Psychotic Stoned Sheep", "Fearless Coyote", "Holy Dancing Manatees, Batman!"

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux_kernel_version_history

  16. sabroni Silver badge

    because all of its stable releases are codenamed after characters from that film.

    Grow the fuck up.

    1. hammarbtyp
      Linux

      Re: because all of its stable releases are codenamed after characters from that film.

      Yes why don't you have a modern naming conventions like windows such as

      3.1

      NT

      95

      98

      2000

      Me

      XP

      Vista

      8.1

      10

      11

      Much easier to remember

      1. wolfetone Silver badge

        Re: because all of its stable releases are codenamed after characters from that film.

        "Much easier to remember"

        Easy to remember yeah, difficult to forget as there isn't enough brain bleach in the world to rid me of the memories of Vista.

    2. Graham Dawson Silver badge

      Re: because all of its stable releases are codenamed after characters from that film.

      No.

    3. Ganso

      Re: because all of its stable releases are codenamed after characters from that film.

      Nope. Shut up.

    4. sabroni Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: because all of its stable releases are codenamed after characters from that film.

      See, you can all play nicely when you remember to hate MS!

  17. Steve Graham

    No it isn't

    Don't keep calling systemd an "init system". If that was all it was, it wouldn't be so controversial. I'd probably still think it was a badly-designed init system though.

    I was a Slackware user, but switched to Debian prior to 1.0 and used it for everything for 20 years until migrating to Devuan in 2017 or thenabouts.

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: No it isn't

      OK, that's a fair point. It *is* more than just an `init`.

      What else do you suggest we call it then? Ideally two words or fewer. :-)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: No it isn't

        "poettering Turd"

        "fuckwit soup"

        "poettering puke"

        1. David 132 Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: No it isn't

          Well, let's see how good the Register's obscenity filters are and call it:

          "Semprini Belgium".

      2. Graham Dawson Silver badge

        Re: No it isn't

        A master control program. I realise that's three, but it feels suitable.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: No it isn't

          yes the MCP is quite fitting...

      3. dajames

        Re: No it isn't

        What else do you suggest we call it then? Ideally two words or fewer. :-)

        A festering carbuncle on the face of an old friend?

        Oh, shorter ...

        Kernel cancer

        (it's not part of the kernel, but it wants to take it over)

  18. chakr

    The apt command

    The apt command was created for Debian and copied by derivatives like Ubuntu. Your statement that Debian got it from Ubuntu is outrageous!

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: The apt command

      I am not talking about the APT toolkit in general here, you understand. I am talking about the `apt` command, an entirely different thing, which is an easy-to-use wrapper around APT and its many subcommands.

      This is APT, the Advanced Package Tool:

      https://wiki.debian.org/Apt

      It is normally manipulated from the command line using command such as `apt-get`, `apt-cache` and so on. For example:

      apt-get update && apt-get dist-upgrade -y

      That's two separate invocations of the `apt-get` command.

      Another common one is:

      apt-cache search tilde

      Debian offered a wrapper around this called Aptitude:

      https://wiki.debian.org/Aptitude

      It is invoked similarly:

      aptitude update

      Since Ubuntu 16.04 apt-get, apt-cache etc. have been supplemented by the `apt` command, which replaces various separate apt-get and apt-cache commands:

      apt update && apt full-upgrade -y && apt autoremove -y && apt clean && apt purge

      or

      apt search tilde

      You no longer need to know the difference between apt-get and apt-cache and so on. The `apt` command does them all, just as `aptitude` did before it. It also has nice pseudographical progress bars, which I personally like.

      There is a nice summary of the differences here:

      https://itsfoss.com/apt-vs-apt-get-difference/

      Debian included aptitude by default and it was the recommended tool. AFAIK Ubuntu never installed aptitude by default in any version, and v16.04 introduced the new `apt` command which does much the same thing.

      1. chakr

        Re: The apt command

        Thank you. I stand corrected.

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