What makes Debian so popular?

Unless you say them wrong, as I apparently do.

Me: Deeb - E - an // eww - bun - two
How I hear other people saying it: Deb - E - an, ew-boon-two

oranges and apples…

Say SLES or SLED and it sounds professional. Say Fedora and it does not sound professional. I don’t agree wrt the debian ‘professional’ sound assessment.

You and I obviously grew up with acronyms, professionally speaking;. Fedora (said quickly, possibly american accent) to me says great professional tennis player; and debian just says “Deb and Ian” got married - definitely unprofessional.

Ubuntu sounds like a distro made in Africa (that’s a non-political statement, @hendersj please note), and it is catchy as in memorable, and yes that helps.

Oranges and apples… Orange is already taken by a mobile network, and Apple, well a distro with that name could be in trouble from Apple and the Beatles (surviving interests). :slight_smile:

You are saying that the result of joining two names(supposedly actual names of persons) deb and ian is professional sounding. :sarcastic:

On 2013-03-14 22:46, oldcpu wrote:
> I don’t agree wrt the debian ‘professional’ sound
> assessment.

I’m not saying that it is rational, but it is a feeling I have found in
several professional environments around here.


Cheers / Saludos,

Carlos E. R.
(from 11.4, with Evergreen, x86_64 “Celadon” (Minas Tirith))

On 2013-03-15 02:36, vazhavandan wrote:
> You are saying that the result of joining two names(supposedly actual
> names of persons) deb and ian is professional sounding. :sarcastic:

As I’m Spanish the name wording doesn’t mean anything to me or the
professionals I work with.


Cheers / Saludos,

Carlos E. R.
(from 11.4, with Evergreen, x86_64 “Celadon” (Minas Tirith))

Well Debian is pretty speed optimized,and you have three variations in one,stable,testing and the unfairly named unstable!The only thing that I dislike about Debian is Iceweasel,I just don’t like the rebranding!Anyway in their forums you don’t meet the friendly group of openSUSE,it’s likely you will meet more of a group of teachers that give bad notes if you ask the wrong questions!:slight_smile:

What, like embarrassing you in front of the whole class? :smiley:

That does happen here too, regularly and people run away to other x,y,z distros.:shame:These are public/community forums and not customer support forums;)I would not expect those who reply to you to be sympathetic with your or my cause.

Sorry for my bad english teacher!lol!

There is some misunderstanding of low-level package manager (like rpm or dpkg) and high-level PM (like zypper, apt, yum etc.) You can not compare apt with dpkg (or zypper with rpm) because it is not the task of low-level PM to resolve dependencies. It is their job to look whether dependencies are satisfied to install a package. If not: printing an error message what packages are required. Other way around high-level PM can resolve dependencies and the installation sequence, but they don’t install packages. That is done by rpm or dpkg.

Debian is a great distribution, I think it is what it all boils down to.
If you like to tinker I think Debian is wonderful, plus the familiarity with its cousin Ubuntu also helps.
I mean it uses apt and .deb, both would be familiar to a long time Buntu user who is turning to debian for better stability or a way out of unity.
Plus Debians reputation as being rock solid also helps, unless you use Sid of course :smiley:

You want to know why Debian is so popular? It’s a long story…

Once upon a time, there was Slackware. It was hard to install, hard to use, and hard to maintain. Along comes another distro called Red Hat Linux. It has an application called RPM, the RedHat Package Manager. It allows the installation of software as packages that are upgradeable and maintainable. It didn’t take long before Linux starting getting some press with the advent of the dot.com boom. The distro on top of the heap? Red Hat Linux. It was still hard to use. RPM still required the user to do dependency checking, which is something rather unique to the Unix/Linux world because applications are built as front ends to other applications, and such. It drove users crazy. Red Hat was a well put together, store-bought packaged distro, then. It was developed by a corporation, by 1998 and had a lot of polish to it compared to other distros that were out. However, compared to today’s distros, it was very cobbled together. However, you mostly got bug fixes and security updates. You had to purchase the next version or download an Open Source version of the distro’s next release to get new updated software.

In March of 1999, a large community distribution released version 2.1, which contained a wrapper application for their package installation system, called APT, or the Advanced Package Tool. No longer did you have to do dependency checking. Along with Debian’s vast repository system, it was a godsend… One problem, though - installation. Installation of Debian was challenging to say the least. It was completely curses based and you had to know all about your hardware as you went through the installer. That pretty much kept everyone short of serious geeks away. There were other Debian based distros, such as Libranet and Lindows that tried to make a commercial success out of Debian, but to no luck.

The following year, Linux Mandrake released version 7.0 complete with URPMI, which had the same funtionality of APT. Linux Mandrake also made the completely Open Source version of their software readily available to the public for download. It quickly became the favorite Linux variety, stealing Red Hat’s thunder. Linux Mandrake started off life as Red Hat + KDE, where Red Hat refused to include KDE because of the licensing of the Qt library, which was not Open Source.

About that same time, a new wave started out as just an eddy in the water - the LiveCD. Knoppix started in 2000 as the first LiveCD that was more than just a rescueCD or just a demo. It featured a loopback filesystem and on-the-fly transparent decompression that enabled you to entirely use the LiveCD as a funtional Linux environment. There were cheat codes that let you install the CD on your hard disk as a useable Debian distro. By 2002, Knoppix started getting noticed. However, it wasn’t until 2005 before Knoppix really tookoff with the release of 3.8.2. Prior to that release, Knoppix would not save any of your settings and such and had to either be saved by the user directly to the hard disk or they were lost upon reboot. Starting with 3.8.2, Knoppix could be booted up again and again and you’d be right back to where you were the last time you left it. However, Knoppix, with its cheat codes, was not exactly user friendly for installation.

In 2004, one of many new LiveCD based distros based on Debian was released. This one had one thing going for it, though - money. It was backed by a dot.com millionaire who had ambitious goals. He freely gave the software away on CD’s they mailed to you home, pulling the rug out from under established retail boxed distros like SuSE Linux, Linux Mandrake, and Red Hat Linux. About that same time, Red Hat decided it was time to throw in the towel on desktop Linux, declaring it unable to profitably establish a business case for it. Instead, they aligned with the Fedora Project to handle desktop duties and to test future development for its prized RHEL. SuSe Linux sold to Novell, who had bigger ideas for it in the enterprise sector, where Novell once dominated with NetWare and launched openSUSE to the community for desktop development. Linux Mandrake, having no major enterprise presence, had financial difficulties and tried to wrangle users into a club subscription service to increase its bottom line, upsetting many longtime Mandrake users. Meanwhile, Mandrake developers came down on a popular 3rd party packager named Texstar, who left to form PCLinuxOS, taking some of Mandrake’s users with him. The big 3 boxed retail Linux developers had toppled.

Meanwhile, here is this new distro getting all this buzz about its owner backing it, who’s freely distributing it on CD’s mailed to your home. It’s a LiveCD distro based on Debian, just like Knoppix. However, it also offered an install CD to easily and permanently install it on your hard drive. So, now, you can test it with the LiveCD, and if you like it, you can install it on your hard drive. One big advantage early versions of Ubuntu had over other Debian derivatives is that it was 100% compatible with the Debian repository. Most others weren’t. Debian made it inexpensive to develop as they could rely on Debian’s development to do the heavy lifting. On the RPM side of the fence, there is no dominant distro that other RPM distros spawned from. SuSE came from Slackware, Mandrake from Red Hat, etc. However, they quickly became their own distros, binary incompatible with anything else. Debian just made sense to develop off of for Ubuntu. Ubuntu had a catchy name too. It supposedly meant “humanity”. Despite the owners claims that he intended to make a commercial success out of Ubuntu, many users flocked to it from the big 3 camps believing it had a benevolent benefactor who wanted to spread Linux as some sort of religion. In the recent 2 years they’ve been dealt a cold hard dose of reality, though, as Ubuntu has yet to break even, let alone show a profit.

So, at that point, the foundations for starting your own LiveCD based distro was there. The Debian derivative LiveCD distro market blossomed. Combined with a lack of RPM dependency hell that many users remembered vividly from early days of Red Had and other distros, and the freely distributed LiveCDs, Debian took off like a rocket.

On 2013-03-27 04:46, ruel24 wrote:

> In March of 1999, a large community distribution released version 2.1,
> which contained a wrapper application for their package installation
> system, called APT, or the Advanced Package Tool. No longer did you have
> to do dependency checking.

SuSE had a package manager, called YaST, back in 1997.


Cheers / Saludos,

Carlos E. R.
(from 12.1 x86_64 “Asparagus” at Telcontar)

SuSE was largely in Europe at that time and as far as I know, YaST did not do dependency checking. RPM, as far as I know, predates YaST because SuSE has always used the RPM package management system. Maybe someone at Suse can provide more info, but as far as I know, dependency checking in YaST did not come before APT.

On 2013-03-27 15:36, ruel24 wrote:
> SuSE was largely in Europe at that time and as far as I know, YaST did
> not do dependency checking. RPM, as far as I know, predates YaST because
> SuSE has always used the RPM package management system. Maybe someone at
> Suse can provide more info, but as far as I know, dependency checking in
> YaST did not come before APT.

I used SuSE at that time and it did have dependency checking. Not as
powerful as now, but it did.

It was limited.
It was text only curses mode.
It was slow.
It managed only one repository. Well, there were no repositories at all.
It did online updates (it came a bit later), if you had internet. Slowly.

Yes, it used ‘rpm’ as the engine behind. It still does.

Packages were done differently: the dependencies section of each package
specified a list of packages it wanted installed previously. Now they
instead specify libraries, and it is the package managers, by parsing
the large metadata files they have to download when they start, which
find out which packages contain the libraries needed by the selected rpms.


Cheers / Saludos,

Carlos E. R.
(from 12.1 x86_64 “Asparagus” at Telcontar)

I used openSUSE some time ago, and always liked it. Then I started using Debian, for at least five years, and love it. It’s reputation for stability goes without saying. Although I been using Linux for awhile, I consider myself an intermediate, and found Debian geared more for server applications then desktop (although I used it as a desktop). Recently, I had a hard-drive failure, and decided it was time to check out another distro. Although I always checked to see what openSUSE was up-to, I decided perhaps it was time to give it another try, so I did.
So far, I really like it. Zypper is a great tool, and find the learning curve from aptitude (apt-get) similar, although I must say I feel zypper feels more robust. As far as wanting a desktop, openSUSE has certainly lived up to my expectations. A friend asked me why I did not go to Linux Mint (Debian edition), my answer is I don’t care for mate nor Cinnamon. Yast is also a great tool, and have to admit it is nice to configure the system with a GUI.
Debian is great, the price you pay for stability is a few year out of date, which normally does not bother me, I find openSUSE stable and more modern. For now, I will stick with openSUSE.

:slight_smile:

I find this an impossible question to answer. I have tried Debian, Ubuntu, Ubuntu UE (that’s Ultimate Edition), and Linux Mint. I found them to be ok, but otherwise was unimpressed. I like the way openSUSE does the menu and I like YaST.

Lately, however, I am doing Gentoo. I am absolutely blown away with portage. The flexibility and the power behind portage is mind blowing.

Main reason why I’ve never used Debian …

Thats why I like using the testing repos, not as much uncertainty like sid.