Daily Archives: May 7, 2011

Debian Endeavors

I’ve been a Debian user since way before starting with Ubuntu at some critter release some years ago. To me, Debian is the grand master of open source projects. Its the indicator of success for distributed projects out there. Ubuntu just uses the power of the tools that debian wrote years ago.

Its interesting that the one tool which I tend to use almost every day when interacting with Linux servers or desktop systems is “apt-get”. But yet it was never really meant as a production tool and more meant as a conceptual proof of concept about how a package manager should/could work.

I left SuSE way behind some years ago because of the so-called “rpm hell” I ran into more than a few times. I just tired of the whole major, minor, sub, sub-sub, package names which could screw up your whole day. On debian, these things just seem to work.

Then I ended up at Celestix managing Windows security projects. I had to build out a QA group to ensure we launched products that had a nominal set of testing done. This included after a bit supporting Windows updates, some additional updates for windows flagship security and vpn products. What a mess! Whoever came up with how Windows updates works should be taken out and garroted. The thing is sick and stupid. It takes way too much effort and it insures that a whole universe of folks keep their jobs. Linux got this right a decade ago.

Even more right on Debian though. Its so dead simple to update, upgrade, or stay at the same level. As an example, if you are “tracking” what is called “testing” which most of the people I know that run Debian use; you just always follow testing. Releases come and go with cute little names. But testing is testing. It just flows and works. On ubuntu, you have the concept of 6 month updates but I never liked the update thing so I tend to back things up I want to USB and then just re-install from scratch. Its not that I don’t trust the updater; its just that I don’t trust it.

Ubuntu has really not evolved of late though. It seems to me that each release really is not so much different than the last one. Until Natty and Unity came along. To me, that’s a step backwards. They should have spent all those dollars on Unity on building better integration points, ensuring that the distribution worked on more hardware, that better support for upgrades was in place. I don’t really blame them though. Innovation is hard to spell and even harder to practice. Looks at the differences in use from XP to Vista to Windows 7. ¬†Windows 7 has the primary difference of actually working when compared to Vista; but a lot of people still swear by XP. Personally, I never liked XP all that much either; but I would take it over NT4 Workstation. The joke at the GAP was never move your mousie too close to “Network Neighborhood” or a reboot would be required.

Anyways, this Saturday I brought Debian testing (wheezy) to a T60 near me that I rebuilt with a new palm rest, new memory, new disk drive and battery. It was fun. I spent some time reading up on new laptops but I cannot see buying anything new for awhile. Five year old laptops like the T60 and the Z61T for a work system, are just fine for me.

Tomorrow is the edge day back to work. I actually have to work a bit tomorrow because people I work with are in Sydney and tomorrow is Monday there.