One thing the growing prominence of GNU/Linux has triggered is more slander from the powers that be. Like a true paid evangelist of M$, Jack Germain wrote,
“Debian may be a granddaddy in the Linux world, but the latest version of the software isn’t much to look at. Debian 7, dubbed ‘Wheezy,’ is about as exciting as its name is unattractive, and it’s certainly not a showcase for the latest distro developments. To be kind, this latest Debian Linux release has little or no flash-bang impact under its hood.”
It’s disgusting that such stuff gets published on Linuxinsider. Clearly the authour is an ignorant outsider:
- “it is not a showcase for the latest distro developments. To be kind, this latest Debian Linux release has little or no flash-bang impact under its hood.” If he wanted the latest developments he could use the testing or experimental flavours of Debian GNU/Linux. He knows that because he writes later, “You have your Stable Debian, you have your Testing Debian and you have your Unstable Debian.” so lack of the latest packages is not a fault of Debian GNU/Linux but an abuse of the stable flavour. You don’t criticize the centre of the football team for not being a wide receiver…
- “You must download the specific version and burn the installation disc rather than bolting on the desktop shells from the Debian distro storehouse.” This is false. The APT package manager can bring in whatever DE or flavour of Debian that you want. apt-get install ldm xfwm4 xfce4-goodies xfce4 will do amazing things if you want a lighter desktop. There certainly is no need to burn a different CD. Just select nothing from the tasksel screen of the installer and reboot the resulting minimal OS. APT will do it all from then on.
- “You also will not find support in Debian 7 for the typical downstream add-ons that make using the Linux OS the joy that it has become….one of my biggest disappointments with Debian 7 is its stark installed base of software….Wheezy’s repository is much less complete than those of other distros. That forces a reliance on manually adding software sources and relying on the Synaptic Package Manager; the trial-and-error process of discovering what works or does not work adds to the discomfort.” Let’s check the repository, shall we?
apt-cache search e|wcshows nearly 37K packages. Has he even looked in there? The presumably more popular Mint fits on one DVD. It takes 10 DVDs to hold Debian Wheezy. Is the authour mathematically challenged?
- “If my experience is any indication, however, Wheezy also will not recognize some essential hardware components. For example, while I had no problem establishing a hard-wire Internet connection, Wheezy does not see my wireless connections.
On some of my portable gear, Wheezy claimed that no firmware was found. Mostly, though, Wheezy just plain old does not work with the wireless circuitry on new and older computers. There is no provision for doing anything about it.” Of course there is. Debian GNU/Linux has a repository filled with all the firmware required to run many wireless gadgets but those are put in a separate compartment because binary blobs are not Free Software. One can use installation CDs with firmware included from http://cdimage.debian.org/cdimage/unofficial/non-free/cd-including-firmware/. Besides, it’s the Linux kernel that runs the drivers and most distros use the Linux kernel from kernel.org. The ability or not to run particular hardware is almost independent of distro. I have installed Wheezy on a bunch of wireless devices even before release and only had one ancient notebook that required a bit of work by me. You would think an insider would have lifted the hood of Debian GNU/Linux before writing such a damning review.
- “Good ol’ Stable Debian 7 has some aging bones in its skeleton. For example, it runs the Linux 3.2 kernel released in January 2012 . In case you are wondering, the latest kernel is 3.9.” Again, he skips Debian GNU/Linux “experimental” which does have 3.10-rc5 if he wants it and he can always download and build a kernel customized for his system from kernel.org. That’s what I do, just for fun.
unxz linux-3.9.6.tar.xz;tar xf linux-3.9.6.tar; cd linux-3.9.6;make mrproper;make oldconfig;make -j 6;make modules_install;make install;shutdown -r nowjust takes a few seconds of your time and a few minutes of your PC’s time. The -j parameter is the number of processes you want to run in parallel. It could be 1 to a number similar to a few times your number of cores or RAID 1 devices. There will be an optimal number to get the job done faster. Of course “1” will give the least disruption of your system.
Oh, and 3.2 is supported until 2016 upstream…
- “One major success, though, is that Debian 7 supports UEFI installations on x86-64 hardware. It does not, however, support Secure Boot. So I must also guess that I won’t have much of a chance of getting it to dual-boot should I buy a new computer packing Microsoft Windows 8.” Again, suggesting a mis-use of Debian GNU/Linux, Free Software, must dual-boot with “8”. Blame M$ for that nonsense, not Debian.
- “you must track down and install Adobe’s Flash plug-in.” Not so. I use Google’s Chrome browser which includes flash-playing automatically. Flash is deprecated software anyway. Adobe doesn’t ship if with 64bits for GNU/Linux anyway. Again, this is not Debian’s problem but Adobe’s.
I was using Wheezy for most of its existence in production systems. There were a few bugs two years ago but very few lately. It is one of the most solid distros you will ever see. I recommend it for newbies and experienced users. There is a reason many experienced users of GNU/Linux like Debian. It works for them. It will work for newbies too. I have used it with students for many years and now my granddaughter who is just 4 uses it.
One wonders why TFA was written. Early on the authour wrote, “Debian is the foundation for many other more modern Linux distros, including Ubuntu, Linux Mint and so many more.
Nevertheless, it is considerably less appealing as an everyday workhorse operating system”
I wonder what he wants for a horse, a bucking bronco? Debian GNU/Linux is a good ride. It carries a heavy load for more than half the world of GNU/Linux.