When I first came into Linux world, the first distro I tried is Kubuntu (I got it from my friend). In that moment, I was so impressed but later little upset by its policy to not includes multimedia codecs as default. Worst, I had no Internet connection and so I was absolutely blind.
Because of my eager to explore “another operating system”, I chose to convert all my mp3 music collection into oggs. I happily worked hard to explore KDE 3.5x desktop but not long time later I was bored and rapidly sought another better distro and then I found Mandriva (version 2006 at that moment). With multimedia codecs included as default, and then I immediately thought “This is the one”.
Day by day passed, I was enjoying worked with Mandriva Linux but then I found Ubuntu (version 6.06 LTS) and I suddenly I was so amazed by its GNOME desktop. I thought “What is it? It looks so different. It has no Windows taste.. It is awesome...” So my adventure with Ubuntu began and from that moment I have became Ubuntu user. I go to Internet Cafe to Google so many howtos to use Linux desktop (particularly GNOME desktop and Ubuntu) and not long time later I got the point of using Linux desktop.
Evolution happens and Linux desktop has grown so rapid. And today, we have GNOME 3, KDE 4, LXDE and XFCE 4.8.x. Controversies born and people got so many confusing choice in Linux desktop and distro. I still hold Ubuntu as my default operating system and don't have any other explorations with other Linux distros. But recently, I got a little sensitive issue about Ubuntu and it upstream, Debian. Some people said that Ubuntu has became to far from its upstream, in packaging and in desktop customization. The result is, though Ubuntu that become “ultimate” desktop, it brings a side negative effect that Ubuntu has became more heavy from “Pure” or “Vanilla” Debian desktop. Logically, pure Debian desktop is lighter than Ubuntu. But is that true? Lets we see.
As we know, Debian has three branches : (1) Stable, (2) Testing and (3) Unstable. Stable, as shown in its name, is the main tree, the main release. It provides stability, but less up-to-date (or even not up-to-date, compared to another Linux distro life cycle). It has no certain release date in its early releases. But, since Debian 6 (Squeeze), its developer team decided to set the stable release cycle to every 2 years once.
Testing, is a development branch of the next Debian stable release. It has more new and updated packages and softwares, but “less” stable than the stable. Unstable, is the “cutting-edge” or “bleeding edge” branch. It has no release date, because it is a place where developers put their newest project into Debian repository. Then, every package in unstable repository, will be tested by Debian developers and then passed to Testing repository.
Because of its dynamics, I than decided to choose Debian testing to be tried. Because of it has no LiveCD version of Debian testing, I need to use a distro that based on it, and my choice is given to Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE). It uses Debian Testing as based and in its homepage, claimed as “more reactive than Ubuntu”.
I chose LMDE 201109 and this is the result :
Installer is good, though it has no complete choice in partitioning like in Ubiquity (Ubuntu installer). If we have two or more harddisks, we must choose one of them, and then we must choose one partition to become /root partition. We could also mount another partition but only in the same harddisk we chose.
Installation took no long time to be completed. It is absolutely great compared to Ubuntu instalation. We have to wait about more than 20 minutes to install Ubuntu, and even in older computers, it could be more than 30 minutes.
LMDE 201109 brings GNOME 2.30.2 as its default desktop. It is great for us who still deeply in love with old school GNOME 2 desktop (like me). I love so much with this desktop.
Strangely, it is mixed with some stuffs taken from GNOME 3 project, such as : Gnome Terminal and Gnome System Monitor.
I look at Gnome System Monitor and it runs slightly more light than Ubuntu.
Not like Ubuntu, LMDE is unable to automaticaly mount another FAT or NTFS partition. If we didn't mount them at the installation, we will be asked to give root authority in every time we want to mount our FAT or NTFS partitions. It is ultimately different compared to Ubuntu. In Ubuntu, “everything” is automatic.
I got very annoying trouble with GIMP. It often crashed when I made image editing with it. It is closed suddenly, again and again. I love GIMP and because of this trouble, I was of course upset.
Speed issue between Ubuntu and “pure” Debian, for me, is not really a reality in real. Debian is just slightly more light than Ubuntu, but not extreme fast. About stability issue, it is another particular issue. An Ubuntu bug, is also a Debian bug. Though, of course, sometimes, it is a particular Ubuntu bug and didn't occur in Debian (like in Ubuntu Natty desktop, I found my desktop logout suddenly if I use Classic Desktop).
Ubuntu is made as a polished and easy to use Debian. The choice is ours, both of Ubuntu and Debian are Debian with its different goals and visions.