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back to article Good news: Debian 7 is rock solid. Bad news: It's called Wheezy

Debian, the daddy to many a Linux distro including Ubuntu and Mint, has been updated for the first time in more than two years. Codenamed Wheezy, Debian 7 actually brings the GPL operating system up to speed with some of its more famous offspring, though, true to its roots, Debian's stable release continues to focus on just that …

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Debian's a nice distro.

But I'll stick to my variation based on Slackware, thanks.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Debian's a nice distro.

and I'll stick to mine (Mageia) also, but thanks for all of the coverage of everything Debian ...

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WTF?

Re: Debian's a nice distro.

Thanks for the status update guys :\

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@Eadon (was: Re: Bleeding Edge)

Did you know that continuously trying the same thing, and always getting the same result whilst expecting a different result, is a sign of insanity?

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Re: @Eadon (was: Bleeding Edge)

Like Nokia releasing Windows Phones, and expecting to turn a decent profit?

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@wowfood (was: Re: @Eadon (was: Bleeding Edge))

Yes. Nokia had better product over a decade ago. I'll stick with my 5185, thanks ;-)

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Re: @Eadon (was: Bleeding Edge)

@jake Did you know that continuously trying the same thing, and always getting the same result whilst expecting a different result, is a sign of insanity?

He obviously doesn't as he continues to post the same crap over and over again. Where's the straitjacket icon when you need it?

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Re: @wowfood (was: @Eadon (was: Bleeding Edge))

Nokia peaked with the 7110.

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Re: @Eadon (was: Bleeding Edge)

> Did you know that continuously trying the same thing, and always getting the same result whilst expecting a different result, is a sign of insanity?

Not if the one continuously trying the same thing resides in a cupertinian lemniscate namesake, in which case it is a sign of innovation.

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Re: @Eadon (was: Bleeding Edge)

So a man with an axe trying to cut down a tree should just give up, and move to the asylum, right?

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Re: @Eadon (was: Bleeding Edge)

If he expects a result other than the tree falling down, then yes.

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Happy

Re: @Eadon (was: Bleeding Edge)

But even a dull axe removes some material and you make continuous progress and the tree will fall: Whereas posting the same comment over & over is not only failing to gain traction, it is actually doing its part to move the Linux movement backwards by reinforcing stereotypes about OSS users. .

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Happy

Re: Bleeding Edge

"They got it right in the 1970's" is still true, however, and no mention of Microsoft, surprise surprise.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Eadon (was: Bleeding Edge)

@Steve Foster - When you hit a tree with an axe, it tends to react to that, you're not doing the same thing over and over, you're chopping down a tree.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bleeding Edge

Do you even know what "Bleeding edge" means?

Clue - it's the bit before the cutting edge.

If you think that nothing has improved in UNIX since the 1970s, you go further to prove your total lack of any technical knowledge beyond that of a helpdesk operator.

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Boffin

Re: Bleeding Edge

"Unix is "bleeding edge". They got it right in the 1970's and nothing since has improved upon it, nothing has come close."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plan_9_from_Bell_Labs

Rob Pike and the other surviving plan 9er's may choose to disagree

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Re: Bleeding Edge

VMS then OpenVMS was pretty rock solid but was architecture specific until very late.

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Re: Bleeding Edge

I knew Ritchie and Thompson at Bell Labs. If you said that to Ken, he would have turned and walked away without saying anything. Ritchie would have laughed.

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Megaphone

Re: Bleeding Edge

"For those that want shiny AND technically brilliant - Linux Mint is the way to go, which is built on Debian in any case."

Really Eadon, you have GOT to stop eating day old sushi.

Debian is just as easy to install and set up as Mint, plus its a rolling distribution (unlike Mint) and supports encrypting the hard disk at install (unlike Mint).

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Unhappy

@jake: Re: @Eadon (was: Bleeding Edge)

Eadon still got 7 upvotes, which is more than I've had on a single post in a VERY long time.

Despite him pissing off many Linux users, the core fanbois are still behind him. He's a silver, FFS. Based on current levels, I will hit silver in 3 years time.

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@Jamie Jones (was: Re: @jake: @Eadon (was: Bleeding Edge))

Who cares about thumbs ("votes")?

As implemented, they are completely meaningless in this forum/context. So are the "badges". In my mind, ElReg has completely cocked up both concepts.

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Re: Bleeding Edge?

If you think the Unix of the 70's and 80's was perfect you REALLY need to read the UNIX Haters HandBook (UGH) http://web.mit.edu/~simsong/www/ugh.pdf . Every reason why the Unix of that time was inferior to contemporary OS's is laid out in excruciating detail. Like Windows it wasn't good, but again just like Windows it was convenient.

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@Jake @Jamie Jones Re:Votes and Badges

It's all very silly and they are just a crude attempt at Skinner Boxes to keep us reading the site. But I disagree about the badness of the implementation. Unlike on some sites you don't get interesting stuff down-voted into oblivion just because the message or messenger is unpopular (eg Reddit)

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But what can it do?

Having the latest versions of utilites is nice. If you're a hobbyist, that confers bragging rights within your group of nerdy friends who are still running last month's version.

Having the latest and greatest kernel can be a good thing, too. If you happen to need support for new hardware (and most kernel relases these days are for bug-fixes, hardware support and minor tweaks that nobody notices). It can also be a bad thing, when bugs creep in, or if poorly thought out changes cause more hassle than they're worth. However, ultimately an O/S is a bit like the engine in your car - it does its stuff unseen and if you do need to get involved with it, that's probably a sign that it's failing.

So, as with any new release of Linux, Windows, Android and any other software release that comes along (not just the O/S, but the apps too) the big question for people who just want to get stuff done is always:

What will this let me do, that I couldn't do before?

Maybe new user-level functionality, old stuff that's significantly (i.e. not less than 100%) faster, with all major bugs fixed, better integrated, documented properly or downright novel stuff that nobody has thought of before. When I see a release that answers these questions, rather than just listing out: this app has been updated to version 10.4 and that utility is now version 3.66 and this other one has had a major upgrade to 0.2 THEN is the time to take note. So long as releases just come with lists of version numbers, I'll continue to assume they are intended for the geeks.

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Linux

Re: But what can it do?

While the question is undoubtedly valid for a commercial OS, i.e. one you pay for and therefore expect to provide better to be worth the cost of upgrading, free software doesn't really have the same limitation.

In fact, I'd go further than that. With commercial OSs, there *has* to be a long list of questionable 'new' features just to persuade anyone to buy, irrespective of whether any of those features are actually useful or even wanted.

With a free OS like Linux, and Debian in particular, those considerations simply don't apply. The updates and improvements may only be incremental, but since it's not costing you anything, any improvements are just that - improvements. They're not simply marketing tools intended to hoodwink you into getting your wallet out. I said 'Debian in particular' for a reason, by the way. That reason is the fact that most users of Debian (and many other Linux distros) will hardly ever reinstall from scratch to get the latest and greatest version anyway. If it's set up to do so, an installed system can update itself seamlessly from one version to another with the user hardly even noticing. It won't even need a reboot unless there was a kernel update.

That's precisely why a super-stable, incrementally upgraded system like this is perfect for actual production use, not just for geeks. It quietly gets on with doing it's job (or gets out of the way of you doing yours) more or less forever instead of insisting on regular user intervention.

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Re: But what can it do?

> With a free OS... but since it's not costing you anything,

Well the cost is in one's time, even for a home user. There is a measurable "cost" in terms of the hours taken to to a major software install - even if no money changes hands. This still has to be justified, unless software installs & upgrades are your hobby. For those of us who see OS's and applications merely as the means to an end - getting stuff done - upgrading is an annoyance and a risk that needs to hold out the promise of some significant benefits for the time it takes - time that could be spent on doing something we like.

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Re: But what can it do?

Time taken to install???? My laptop came with W7 'installed' I turned it on and it went into some upgrade thing. After 45 minutes it was still fucking about so I switched it off, stuck in a Mint DVD and 25 minutes later had a working system.

So Linux was cheaper and faster to get working so I could do things I like.

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@Tom 7

No kidding. My very cheap laptop came with win7. What it did wasnt so much run as crawl in pain. It was not in a realistically usable state and MS updates (needing the reboot!) was painful. So slow my mouse would lag! That was after removing crapware in hope of improving the experience.

I too went for the latest mint and you wouldnt know this was a cheap laptop. It takes a little longer (personal observation) to boot but it uses vastly less resources and runs like a medium power system. Instead of 10+ seconds to open an application it now takes 2-3. Updates take a vastly shorter time to install and it demands no reboot.

I have nothing against windows, I believe in the right OS for the job. But win7 was not the right OS to put on this cheap laptop. XP could have worked I reckon.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Tom 7

You just needed a ReadyBoost compatible USB key. Would have made all the difference.

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@Pete 2

"Well the cost is in one's time, even for a home user. There is a measurable "cost" in terms of the hours taken to to a major software install - even if no money changes hands."

I agree with that to be honest, but that's also because I run my own business. Its easy if you end your working day and then can basically do whatever you want; the pay check will be in the mail (so to speak) at the end of the month. It becomes a bit more of an issue if you have to pay for your own time (which sometimes means that you're still working around 2am because you're trying to get a job done as quickly as possible).

But there is justification here. As others mentioned already it's not so much a collection of new features which gets presented here; with Debian it's more of a "re-evaluation" (as I like to call it) of the whole distribution and a check up on how things (still) work together. If there have been any issues in the past with package dependencies and such which would have risked a big impact then these are the moments those can be addressed.

Then there's also the more obvious issue of upgrades. Stable is just that: stable. So it often uses older (but still supported) versions of the software. But even with open source environments there comes a time where people need to move on; stuff changes, things work differently and older versions get obsoleted. And that is what this is also about: newer software versions which have proven to be stable will be implemented. Even if that sometimes means that there are only minor changes.

It's not only about features, with Debian stability and continuity are also key issues.

As said: I agree with you on your time = money comment. But also realize that the "oldstable" release will be supported where security updates are concerned for approx. one more year. So there's plenty of room to plan for an upgrade.

But if this model doesn't work for you, then well... Maybe it's time to look into other models. The BSD environments for example strictly separates 3rd party software from the base system so that upgrading also becomes easier. But just as with Debian a release of the base system is approx. supported for two years, where it actually becomes often more strongly advised to consider an upgrade.

Then there's always the option to go commercial and look into stuff like RedHat Enterprise Linux. Or their free counterpart CentOS.

Which is another issue to keep in mind here: if you don't like this model then there are plenty of other Linux (or more Unix-like) environments to chose from.

In the end keep well in mind that you get much more than you paid for. Never underestimate the time and effort that goes into keeping an OS like this supported.

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Stop

Re: But what can it do?

"Well the cost is in one's time, even for a home user. There is a measurable "cost" in terms of the hours taken to to a major software install..."

I'm guessing you've never used apt then?

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Following the request in the story about the Wheezy release

Could Chris N's comment be kept as a reminder of the approach to dealing with Windows: Slow? Throw more hardware at it!!

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Coat

Re: But what can it do?

Hes probably more of a yum kinda guy haha

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Linux

Re: @Tom 7

5 thumbs down! jeez Louise. Linux fanbois much.

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Megaphone

Re: Following the request in the story about the Wheezy release

although I do see Linux has a readyboost-like solution - i.e. using a USB key for swap partition. Google it. (Other search engines are available)

It makes sense when you think about it.

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Flame

Re: @Tom 7

How about Microsoft sort out their piss poor file system I/O ? They have had a lot of money and time (30+ years) to do it, free to rip-off research + source code (eg: BSD) and so far they have failed to address their rubbish file system performance since I first fired up Win 3.1 donkey's years ago.

Personally I gave up waiting for them to fix it with NT4. I recommend that you give up the USB sticks and multi-billion dollar SSDs and give a linux distro a try instead. It'll save you a hell of a lot of time in the long run.

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Re: But what can it do?

'Well the cost is in one's time, even for a home user.'

- which was precisely my point about not actually needing to spend any time at all on upgrading with a system like this. Install once and you can 'upgrade' it on a permanently rolling basis for year after year without having to spend any time doing so. That's real saving of your time. Upgrading is only an annoyance when it's a faff, and a Linux system is usually a no-brainer to keep properly up to date.

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Re: But what can it do?

There is a measurable "cost" in terms of the hours taken to to a major software install - even if no money changes hands.

Hours? I think not. This is Debian we're talking about.

user@machine >su

Enter password

root@machine >apt-get dist-upgrade

(You can walk away now. You're done. The machine can finish updating itself without your help.)

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Meh

Re: But what can it do?

If anyone on a techie forum is seriously asking this question, then the answer is quite clearly:

For you, nothing.

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@Roo Re: @Tom 7

Finally! Someone says it!

Hard disks are quieter and faster now, but that's the only thing that has somewhat hidden the fact that the MS OS still makes the hard disk thrash like hell for no real reason.

I recently used windows 7, after a windows break of nearly 3 years, and couldn't believe they have the same crappy IO and memory/swapping routines that they always had.

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@Roo Re:NTFS

Isn't ResFS kinda meant to be a successor to NTFS? What little info I kind find on it points to it being pretty much unusable in a production environment at the moment, though.

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FAIL

Re: @Roo @Tom 7

An anonymous thumbs-down without any refute. And you MS fans say that Linux people are fanbois

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I think I'll wait for a while...

To let Wheezy prove it's mettle as a stable release...

Me - an early adopter? Well, OK, sometimes...

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Re: I think I'll wait for a while...

Meh, I've been running Wheezy for ages as the testing branch. It's stable, no worries there. If you stick to stable with Debian you'll never be an early adopter. You have to run testing at least and maybe even unstable or (getting really scary here) experimental for that.

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It was a pig to install.

I installed it on an old toughbook, that had previously been running an older debian happily.

It refused to connect to my wifi. (The old version and everything else I try are fine.) It did recognize an old usb-ethernet adapter that I bought a couple of years ago and had never had any success with, however, so I used that.

The grub install failed, so I repeated the install and let it do the partitioning, rather than re-use the old layout. I told grub to install on the first partition, (hoping it would leave the bootmanager I need for CD boot, it didn't.)

However it now boots successfully, and I found that disabling dual wpa/wpa2 support in favour of wpa2 only allowed it to connect.

The media player dies in a heap. (Perhaps it needs a P3?), but apart from that it looks like it runs OK.

I burnt a CDROM successfully.

Given the hardware, it works quite well.

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Re: It was a pig to install.

Please take the time to install reportbug and report the issues you found so that fixes go into updates.

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Joke

Social contract?

Commies.

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Re: Social contract?

better than dot-Commies

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