I know… Linux distributions and their funky names. But this one is a quality distribution. I had never tried Debian or a Debian-based distribution before, and I have to say I’m impressed. Debian itself is an interesting community. It has three “releases” (stable, testing, unstable). Stable is always incredibly out of date, while unstable takes new updates as they are available.
The key to any Linux distribution (IMO) is the packaging method. My first experience with Linux was with Red Hat and Mandrake (now Mandriva) which are RPM based. It was incredibly frustrating and a pain to sort out dependancies. I then recently tried Gentoo, which is a source based distribution (basically you download the raw source and compile it for your specific machine). This was better, however much slower to get things running. You also had to know lots of the inner workings of Linux and whatever window manager you were using (KDE in my case). This was a good experience as it taught me a lot, but it wasn’t “it.” It took too much effort to get things to work. If I wanted to do Linux as a primary system, it need to “just work” but also be customizable… Linux’s bread and butter.
In the last few weeks, there has been a big todo about Ubuntu (Gnome-based) and Kubuntu (KDE-based). They were Debian based, but more user focused. Thinks were just supposed to work. I tried it on my laptop (which I find to be a good litmus test for Linux because of all the hardware issues) and was very impressed. Hotplugging works, networking setup works (even wireless), and the Debian-based packaging system (apt-get) is in my opinion a superior system. Even more, WINE has progressed far enough that I can run almost all my “windows-only” software! Anyway, I’ll post more thoughts later on.