Fri, 11 Mar 2011
English Countryside, Rain and Clouds

Some absolutely beautiful photographs taken by Kris Dutson of various parts of England. The landscape and the weather have never looked so good.


Why a Switch to Debian from Ubuntu?

I've been a happy user of Ubuntu since Hoary Hedgehog (Ubuntu 5.04). So why am I considering a switch to Debian?

It's a combination of things really :

Ubuntu seems to be going its own way with the desktop - Unity, Ubuntu One (and Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud), global menus for applications, window decorations etc. I'm not worried about a lot of this (and all power to Canonical trying to make a business) but it might start to negatively impact my desktop. It's also a bit of a hard sell when I have to ask people to "unlearn" some desktop interaction painfully learned only recently (e.g. my Mum).

In addition, Canonical (the commercial entity behind Ubuntu Linux) seems to be taking a more active role in trying to monetise the distribution. There's nothing wrong with this per se, but they've been a bit cack-handed recently (e.g. Banshee) and this has left a bit of a sour taste in people's mouths, including mine. Ubuntu has gathered a great community around it, with Mark Shuttleworth as the "benign dictator", but it is a lot more of a closed community than Debian. For good or bad, I prefer the Debian way because it gels more with the free software ethos.

Why not Fedora? I used Fedora a long time ago, only stopping when yum became unbearable (slow mainly) and I got tired of breakage on the (constant) updates/upgrades. But it's better now and yum works very well - as well as Debian's apt. We also use Fedora at work as both a preferred desktop for some engineers and a buildbot master/slave system. I'd be perfectly happy using Fedora and it matches Debian's fee software and community ethos.

But I know and understand the Debian way better now. So, let's see how things go. Long live Ubuntu. Long live Debian. Long live Fedora!