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Debian Etch: Solid, Crufty, Some Assembly Required

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Linux

Debian is the the quietest big Linux distro. I see hourly posts on Distrowatch, Slashdot and Digg about the latest builds of Ubuntu and SUSE, and even Mark Shuttleworth’s wearing of a KDE t-shirt is considered news. I presume that things are fine inside Debian and that no gnus is good gnus, but also I believe, as Oscar Wilde said: “What’s worse than being talked about is not being talked about.”

I’ve written a number of posts about Ubuntu and Debian on this website in the last few weeks, saying that: in principle I should be running Debian, that Ubuntu is too small a team for the size of their customer base and buglist, questioning the size of the fork Ubuntu has made, questioning whether Debian is stagnant, etc. I decided to see if I could test any of these assumptions, so I grabbed the latest Etch bits from the Debian-testing tree and installed it on a 2-year-old Sony VAIO laptop.

Even though I had grabbed just a daily build, the very nice Debian installer recognized my hardware, it generally installed and ran like a champ. However, my hopes and expectations for Linux in 2006 are greater:

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