Debian 10 Buster Distro Challenge

I thought it might be useful if we linked any references or community created content linked someplace. Does that make sense to anyone? I’ll start.

I know that Dorian has a video he created, perhaps we could like that here too?

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Yes, absolutely. I’d love to see whatever content people are creating. I’d like to think I see most of it by way of Twitter and YouTube but I know there’s a lot I’m not seeing.

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Really like the way that review was written/shown off.

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I too have been using (or trying to use in the early days) Debian for years. I had Debian 10 on a partition on one of my laptops (in it’s Testing guise) for probably 9 months and it’s was rock stable (OK, that may not mean much to those living in California or other earthquake zones).

It was alongside ArcoLinux on another partition (with the rolling release “advantage” of latest and greatest software, but to be honest for my (simple use) neither seemed better than the other, neither caused me problems but then my kit isn’t “latest and greatest” either (Lenovo ThinkPad T430, i5-3320 with a 1600x900 screen and 2 SSDs, with the 1st a 256GB for MX-18 and the 2nd 500GB ADATA drive where the optical drive used to be, partitions in 3).

I’ve used the Xfce desktop (my preferred DE) on both. I will be keeping both on that machine and will continue to boot into both “just for a change”.

Right, I decided to use the Debian 10 release version on a different machine (Dell Latitude E6510) with a similat 2 x SSD setup and deleted Devuan off the 2nd SSD partition. I used the Live Debian 10, non-free firmware .iso. Man, the graphical installed was the easiest Debian install I have ever done… it didn’t seem like Debian.

I have setting up my 1st use Xfce Panel down to a fine art by now so no problems other than I think I had to “sudo apt install orage” to get my preferred Panel clock. I have my own scripts to do updates, install my standard selection of applications and do backups of my /home directory to a USB HDD and that all worked (of course they would - it’s Debian).

I’ve continued to boot into the Debian 10 partitions (the upgraded Buster/Testing one and the release Buster one) for a change from MX-18 now and then. To be truthful, for day to day “doing stuff”, for my simple uses, and on my not-new kit, it all works fine and MX-18, Debian 10 or even Arco all feel the same and do the jobs I need just fine, (even my scripts have been updated to work on Arco).

So many great distros these days, so different to 2003 when I finally ditched Windows from all my personal machines.

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My first post, yay!

So, I’ve been using Debian 10 for a short minute now, and I’m fairly pleased overall. Back when I first tried Debian 9, it just wasn’t for me. The way things worked didn’t click with me and it wasn’t worth the time nor the effort for me to adjust to. But here I am, some two years later and I think it’s definitely a good fit now. Or, at the very least, it’s entirely usable for me… Though it’s not inherently a cakewalk.

Saddling up the horse!

I’m a fan of shiny new installers and I’m a fan of implementing new things like systemd-boot and throwing GRUB into the bin… But I can certainly make an exception for Debian here, as it more than makes up for what it lacks in sex appeal when it comes to operational value. I used the netinstall ISO which allowed me to choose any desktop of my liking (I went with GNOME) as well as get SSH installed and enabled out of the box. The partition manager was fairly easy, and what I especially liked about it is that the automagic partition setup was editable after it was done. So I was presented with the recommended partition scheme, and then I could just click on a partition and change it or remove it or create new ones. Other autopartitioners just don’t do that, so props Debian! All in all, the installer was just a nice experience for me, despite my love for things like Pop!_OS’s installer.

Not so fast bucko… You forgot the Nvidia drivers!

Well… I should have seen it coming, but I didn’t because I left my brain at home. Alright… I’m at a black screen with a blinking cursor. I know, it’s the always-feared black screen… It’s not that bad though, like, at all. So I’mma just ignore the people screeching “AMD” as if it makes up for the fact that their cards still can’t deliver. It was a simple hop into the adjacent TTY with a Ctrl+Alt+F2, log in and edit the repo list with sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list and adding contrib non-free to the end of each entry. Save and sudo apt update && sudo apt install nvidia-driver. Easy-peasy, don’t squeeze the lemons because they have feelings, too! Reboot, and BAM! I’m brought to the beautiful GNOME Display Manager login screen. What an absolute legend.

Wanna play a game? No? Too bad, I have 1000 of them for you!

Seriously, what the actual heck is up with Debian coming with a thousand games preinstalled? That’s just… weird. So here I go… sudo apt purge gnome-games gnome-mines gnome-mahjongg gnome-sudoku gnome-nibbles quadrapassel gnome-chess gnome-klotski hitori iagno four-in-a-row five-or-more aisleriot lightsoff gnome-robots swell-foop tali gnome-taquin gnome-tetravex. Should that be necessary? Absolutely not… But it’s okay… We all have our moments and Debian is just having one, very lengthy, kinda gruesome, very annoying moment.

You don’t get a choice!

So it comes time to install my browser. I’ve got the Chrome deb file downloaded from the official site and I’m ready to get kicking. Here we go… sudo apt purge firefox-esr… Wait… Now Chromium is installed? Alright, let’s fix that. sudo apt purge chromium. And now Firefox is back. Okay, so clearly there was some serious oversight or lack of general sensibility over at Debian during this phase… Especially since there isn’t anything during the removal operation that tells you why this is happening. It just does… And every Q&A that I scrubbed through on various forums didn’t actually fix the issue. Thankfully a very smart and kind man who works on the MX Linux distribution (Dolphin) suggested that I might be able to solve this by getting rid of the LibreOffice Help pages. The ultimate solution required me to run sudo apt purge libreoffice-help-common libreoffice-help-en-us gnome-core task-desktop task-gnome-desktop and then I could finally sudo apt purge firefox-esr. THANK YOU! This kind of issue is just not something I would expect from Debian. I was under the impression that most of the technical choices they made were done with at least some thought and consideration, but this leads me to believe that this just isn’t the case… Moving on.

Well finally… You’re allowed to do the thing now.

So I install all my software, easy peasy. Everything is chugging along. I’m signed in where I wanna be, I’ve got all my packages and configs all nice and done… There’s only one thing missing… Minecraft! So I already know that openjdk-8-jre is a requirement for Minecraft, and I found out that this wasn’t available in the repos, only openjdk-11-jre… So what could I do? Well thankfully this is something Debian is really good at… I was able to find the openjdk-8-jre package via a web search on packages.debian.org in the oldstable repo. I just added deb http://security.debian.org/debian-security stretch/updates main contrib non-free to my /etc/apt/sources.list, ran a sudo apt update and then I was able to install openjdk-8-jre and after that, Minecraft! The great thing about this is that it won’t impact the rest of my system. Everything else is using the new repos. Perfect!

So I finally did it.

Here I am, running Debian 10 and actually… I like it! Sure, GNOME is a couple versions older than I’d like, but I’m also running on X, which means that if the shell does decide to crash, it just restarts and I don’t lose any of my work. And until GNOME can do that under Wayland, it’s probably not going to be an option for me. I never expected to come to like Debian, but here I am. Who knows, I might just stick around, too! I currently see zero reason to switch. While I had some frustrations, the positives far outweigh the negatives. I’m absolutely going to be donating some money to Debian because they certainly deserve it. Now to install it on my other machines!

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Great review! Thanks for providing an account of your experience. Very interesting to read and helpful to know how you overcame your issues. I do have to say that I was hoping for at least one screenshot of the finished product. :wink:

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Ask and ye shall receive! :smiley:

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Somehow I missed this last week, this is a fantastic review! more please

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