Why I’m Leaving Ubuntu for Debian

I decided to switch to Debian.

I’ve been using Ubuntu as my primary operating system since 2005. Back then it was truly amazing. Before I started using Ubuntu I tried out Red Hat, Mandrake (and later Mandriva), Slackware, Gentoo, and even Debian. In all of them, something didn’t work. Usually it was wifi, but sometimes it was audio or video, or weird X config problems. But when I switched to Ubuntu, all of that went away. Rather than being frusturated that I was still a Linux noob and couldn’t even connect to the internet, Ubuntu helped me get past the initial barriers so I could really dive in. I’m eternally grateful to Ubuntu for this, and I’m very impressed at how successful they’ve has been at fixing bug #1 (though there’s still a long way to go).

However, a lot of Ubuntu’s recent decisions have been turning me off. It started a couple years ago when they changed the default desktop environment from GNOME to Unity. I had played with Unity when it was called “Ubuntu Netbook Remix” and I thought it was a fun toy, and might be easier to use on a touchscreen device than GNOME. But they made it the default before it was ready. Still, I saw where they were going with it and respected them for being so ambitious.

Another thing that started to annoy me was Ubuntu One, their cloud service. I could immediately see that if I were to use and rely on Ubuntu One, I would be locked in. It would be like needing iCloud or something, and I didn’t like that idea. I was also noticing that my OS was starting to want me to buy stuff. Cloud storage space, music from the Ubuntu One music store straight from rhythmbox. It didn’t bother me all that much, but it was definitely a new direction for my OS that I wasn’t a huge fan of.

Around the same time came the Ubuntu Software Center. At first I was impressed. They managed to make something way more usable than Synaptic Package Manager for finding programs to install. It wasn’t always clear which packages were programs themselves or just dependencies of other programs, but Ubuntu added ratings, reviews, screenshots, and a nicer interface. But then they started integrating the Ubuntu Software Center with Ubuntu One. Then they started selling proprietary software through it. Then they started calling programs “apps”, and featuring them with big graphical banners. I don’t know how they decide what programs to feature, but whenever I open it, it always seems to feature a proprietary video game that costs money.

I talked to my friend and colleague Seth Schoen about the Ubuntu Software Center selling proprietary software, and he pointed out that it goes directly against the Ubuntu Manifesto. I looked it up and read it, and it sure seemed that way to me. Only now I can’t seem to find a copy of it. The only reference to the manifesto that I can find on ubuntu.com is in some documentation on an old release:

The Ubuntu community is built on the ideas enshrined in the Ubuntu Manifesto: that software should be available free of charge, that software tools should be usable by people in their local language and despite any disabilities, and that people should have the freedom to customize and alter their software in whatever way they see fit.

Even then, I still was relatively happy with Ubuntu. Then they started adding online search lenses to Unity’s dash, specifically one that automatically searched Amazon for products to buy each time you try to open a program, and the Ubuntu community exploded in controversy.

People were offended that their free software operating system was suddently advertising to them all the time and that their search terms were getting sent to a handful of third parties. I blogged about this on EFF’s website and included a (in my opinion) completely reasonable list of requests. The most important one, with the aim of protecting the privacy of all Ubuntu users that might not dig into their settings, “Disable ‘Include online search results’ by default”, was the one that they most staunchly refused to budge on.

After watching Canonical’s announcement about the Ubuntu phone, I think I understand why. Ubuntu is pulling an Apple. They want to merge the desktop, tablet, and phone, and they want them all to have a familiar and user friendly interface. Only, sadly, Ubuntu’s interface includes sending your search terms to an undefined list of companies, every time, without the option to opt-in. Privacy is clearly not on the top of their priority list. I was looking forward to the prospect of truly open phone, but I can’t trust Ubuntu to protect my privacy anymore. Now my hopes lie in Firefox OS.

Now I’m typing this blog post on my freshly installed Debian laptop. Debian also has documents like the Ubuntu Manifesto (Debian Social Contract and Free Software Guidelines), but I doubt they’ll ever disappear from debian.org.

One of the things that’s prevented me from switching to Debian in the past is that all of the software in the stable repositories is old (one of the reasons it’s so stable). After talking to some Debian-using friends and asking in #debian on irc.oftc.net, I decided to use the testing repositories instead, which is closer to Ubuntu’s set of software anyway.

Debian is still a bit rough around the edges compared to Ubuntu. My laptop requires a proprietary wifi driver that wasn’t present in the netinst cd, but I got it working without too much trouble anyway. I’m running Iceweasel 10.0.12, but Firefox is at 18.0.1 now and I have to do some work to get the latest version. I’m sure I’ll run into other issues too, issues that don’t exist when you use Ubuntu.

But it’s totally worth it, because now I’m using an operating system that I feel that I can trust again.

Update: It looks like the Ubuntu Manifesto (I assume it’s the original, but I’m not sure) is on ubuntu.com. It’s not labeled as the Ubuntu Manifesto, and is on a page called Our Philosophy.

Update to the update: A commenter informed me that, “With the end of the 10.04 LTS support Canonical will silently remove the last traces of its former Manifesto that remained in the LTS documentation. The new marketing take concerning the ‘free of charge’ topic can be found on http://www.ubuntu.com/about/about-ubuntu/: ‘… available free of charge … funded through a portfolio of services provided by Canonical.'”

278 thoughts on “Why I’m Leaving Ubuntu for Debian

  1. railmeat

    I have tried Linux desktop (or laptop) a few times, but it has never seemed worth the effort. It makes sense on the server, though. I am not sufficiently religious about the freedom that open source gives me to make the extra effort and hassle worthwhile. Of course I mostly work on Windows software, that is what our clients want.

    I admire people like you who are willing to do the extra work to live with Linux on the desktop.

    I agree Ubuntu is a disappointment, but it has to be pretty difficult to run a business that give away its’ product.

    Reply
      1. Ernst

        Crossroads: Commercial Ubuntu and Open Ubuntu?

        Personally i have made my choice over two years ago: i moved to Linux Mint. Perfect for me, my wife, my son, one of my daughter, my father and couple of my friends and relatives i have helped to choose Mint too.

        Reply
        1. ikra

          this is what I did… my wife using Fedora 18, my kid Linuxmint and personally I use Debian– Testing. From the very beginning I never like Ubuntu.

          Reply
        2. Tom

          I tried Linux Mint, and as soon as I got an ad due to their use of OpenDNS, I decided it was time to switch to Debian as well.

          However, the lack of stand-by function in gnome-panels, a stable Nvidia graphics driver, an up-to-date browser, a recent version of glibc and so on make me consider installing Ubuntu again (Obviously without Unity). On the other hand, their upcoming Mir display server makes me agree with the “Ubuntu is pulling an Apple.” statement.

          Reply
          1. Van

            Up-to-date browsers? Maybe not in the repos, but there are plenty a simple download away:

            Firefox
            Google Chrome
            Opera (not installable under Wheezy due to older libc6 package)
            Vivaldi (64-bit only currently)

      2. Greg

        Beware Mint, it’s based on Ubuntu so *two* steps removed from “pure” Debian and not all releases are platformed from an Ubuntu LTS release, which means critical bugs (like Heartbleed, for example) we’re not patched for some Mint releases and they remain vulnerable unless the Mint user was savvy enough to realise and manually patch *or* upgrade to a new / LTS-based Mint version. All in all, not great. Personally, I use Fedora for a desktop. I find it the best desktop Linux distribution, have done for some years. Many colleagues use Debian and GNOME3 without issue. No one I know uses Ubuntu any more, even less Mint.

        Reply
        1. Michael Moyer

          Only partially true.

          The “standard” Mint is indeed based on Ubuntu, but mostly just uses their repositories. Mint also is available as pure Debian in their versions LMDE and LMDE2. LMDE2 is all I use on all of my computers. No Ubuntu at all here.

          Reply
      3. Cynic

        So weird you all care so much about the actions of programmers who clearly care as much about a manifesto as corporations do about their values. Time to be hionest with yourself, the only one who cared about that B******** was you.

        Reply
      4. ghz

        Mint wouldn’t make my bluetooth work (streaming audio), it locked up and wouldn’t let me even remove devices.
        something in the tools in unity gets streaming audio right even ubuntu mate doesn’t get it right.
        No other distro I’ve found gets bluetooth right . I tried a bunch on 4 identical thinkpads.

        Reply
    1. CommanderClaw

      One of the main reasons why is because linux in most cases is faster than windows.

      Although that’s changing, especially since Gnome 3 and Unity came out. I noticed that Fedora and Ubuntu has gotten worse in terms of performance and usability.

      I don’t do much customizing, but performance has always been the reason for me. Plus it’s cool to use switch things up a little.

      It seems like Mint is the new thing now.

      Reply
      1. Alex

        I’m curious in what cases Linux would be faster than windows. AMD, for example, is focusing on speed on its windows drivers and focusing on stability when it comes to linux drivers. I fully expect opencl to perform better on windows than on linux.

        Reply
          1. Charles McColm

            I have an AMD A8-5600k APU. Oddly enough the latest Windows Catalyst drivers won’t do as high a resolution as the open source AMD drivers on Xubuntu Linux. My experience with AMD drivers for old hardware is less than stellar, but I was impressed with the driver for the APU.

        1. Artiken

          This is an old post. I realize that.
          To answer your question with low level knowledge.
          Not having an AV scanner, scanning every file that the OS requests prior to actually loading it into memory for actual use, doubles the I/O speed throughput.

          Having ALL of your programs update when your ready to update. Updating in the background, even while your using those programs, and NO reboot (except for a Kernel update) increases productivity.

          Programs that are in the Kilobyte size, rairly in the Megabyte size, versus the Megabyte size or Gigabyte size dramatically improves load times. To verify my numbers, look at the Windows version of Firefox versus the Linux version of Firefox. Smaller program footprint means less RAM requirements and little to no virtual memory and disk thrashing.

          The background file scanning so the context sensitive, ‘is this what you wanted to work on’ can find your programs and documents, is given a very small priority CPU wise and less ram requirements. So there is a lot less disk thrashing and virtual memory swapping for this task.

          Another thing that most people aren’t aware of is microsofts method to make applications ‘seem’ to launch faster is to load the most used applications into memory upon boot. Filling up all available ram and causing virtual memory to need to be accessed more. Don’t forget that the AV scanner also effects this process. Chewing up valuable CPU time.

          Those are the most common reasons why Windows computes run at 1/2 the speed of your average Linux computer.

          Having used both Microsoft and Linux. Another speculative reason is sales. I have noticed since Win3.1 that a couple of months before the release of a new version of Windows. Windows Updates tend to brick your computer to the point that your so frustrated with it and it’s poor performance that you want to throw it out and buy the latest version. I’ve tested this theory by doing a fresh install and denying the auto-update. Not a safe way to opperate a windows computer. Not a Microsoft approved way to opperate a windows computer. But if will regain it’s full operating speed. When I see “critical security update”. I have learned that the text should read, “critical to microsofts financial security update”.

          Reply
          1. Artiken

            I have upgraded several working Windows computers to Linux. Those same machines operate at, easily, double the speed. Stopwatch used.

            If you are doing a very CPU intensive process such as photo realistic 3D rendering or Pi to a million places. The difference is not that much. The Linux machine tends to be only 1/3 faster.

      2. Arjan

        I can relate… but I think people exaggerate a lil.

        I have used Debian since 1996 or so. Liked it better than slack. Ran unstable on my desktop pc and stable on a home server. Switched to Ubuntu on my desktop pc when it looked like it was becoming a nice desktop os.

        I learned to like fvwm’s low hunger for resources when I was using hpux. I used fvwm on linux since my slack days, continued that on Debian and Ubuntu, until I bought a new pc with more than enough spare cycles for the desktop bs.

        I didn’t like Unity at all, fixed that bug like this:

        apt-get install xubuntu-desktop

        I now run XFCE with 2 xfce-panels, one at the top as a start menu/systray/ task bar/etc, one bottom right with only a 3×3 “workspace shifter” I could configure to behave like my FvwmPager. I have 1 big monitor and luv the virtual desktop. Do I mind that’s not the default? No! The default has never been what I want anyways. Also, I perfectly understand why most people wouldn’t want to use fvwm, for example.

        I don’t use Ubuntu One or the search or whatever people complain about. I know it exists but other than that I have no clue what they’re talking about. I guess it’s gone once you install xubuntu-desktop and get rid of unity.

        I have used the software center a couple of times, even for proprietary software. I need Skype sometimes and I’m grateful Ubuntu provides a way to install it. I don’t feel like it turned my desktop into something evil. If RMS doesn’t like it, that’s his problem, not mine.

        I have no idea what Ubuntu’s package manager is like because I got used to dselect a long time ago and to apt-get only a little later. Together they do all I want easily and quicklike so why would I bother with anything else? I use the graphical updater tho, because it’s a lil lazier than using dselect or apt-get in an xterm.

        I just upgraded from 10.4 to 14.whatever-it-is-now, with just one glitch. Xorg was very unstable, I had to get it to work with a different video driver. Not bad for such an upgrade, I’d say.

        Do I mind Canonical making a buck or two with adds or proprietary software? No!

        They still provide an easy way for me to run a linux on my desktop. Thank you Canonical!
        Do I fear any lockin from Canonical? No! There’s PLENTY of linux distro’s to choose from if Canonical’s commercial interests get in my way. They don’t, since there’s an easy way to get rid of the bs.

        Would I want to switch back to Debian on my desktop pc? No, even tho it served me well for years, I can be lazier with Ubuntu. I still like it.

        I will give Mint a go tho, just out of curiosity.

        Reply
    2. Jesus Flight

      I totally agree with this guy because Ubuntu is plenty “Debian-based”; but I respect Ubuntu as a OS; you even figure out how to actually perform certain tasks to the point where I can firmly say Ubuntu has given a better outlook/education on system interoperabilitie[s] in relevancy to those topics.I paid to use Linux in 2001-2004, and was happy with SLAX for casual studying during Summer[s]. It didn’t even matter though, being an average Windows geek wasn’t too bad [I was scanning my subnets &/or [finding subnets from different places and scanning those] through NetBIOS;139, and found a lot of computers suffering from Lack of Password disease… Yeah I never trusted Windows since 3.1 or 1995, or 1998se+. I gave up just 3 years ago after trying for 5 years how to manage Windows in a functional useable format. Yeah right. It’s business strategy; make a system that breaks in time & usage. That’s how we’ll help all the Hardware vendors make money with us too ~Microsoft. Yeah if you know what. I’m running Debian in 2014; I used to use Ubuntu from 2010. Switched back to Windows because I felt I was lacking a bit on it so I studied it up to know what to do [even had a goal to make it employable for service]. Wouldn’t risk it. Even malware these days surpasses the administrative level to through registry edits which lie to your Anti-Virus about being there so remain hidden [using a true Microsoft program]. Mhm there’s a reason Windows is used in schools and government, and it’s good to know how to use… Sure. I’m aiming for a higher reach in understanding foundational aspects of systems and their layered functions so I wouldn’t bother a noob and tell him to use Debian, I’d recommend Ubuntu, Not saying Ubuntu is only for novilce level type people but these days I run LanaDelRey OS. Because I don’t even like reading Debian on my system. & for the not quaint, install it on Windows and progress if you care to learn… I use Debian stable for personal use. My business environments wouldn’t be.

      Reply
    3. Blue Nexus

      Then you don’t really know what you are looking for.. Or, you didn’t look far enough.. Unlike Windows. Linux has dozens of completely different GUI’s called desktop enviroments. Look up screen shots of Kubuntu and Linux mint. They are very Win7’ish in feel and looks. Linux can run most windows programs. It has a few and 100% or closely compatible program that is free, in which on Windows it cost 100’s (or thousands) of dollars. And *some* versions has an app store much like Android & Iphone. MOST programs from these pseudo-app stores are free. They also automatically download, automatically install, and it automatically places a icon on the “start menu” and work perfectly. Also, unlike Windows’s start menu, each program type is automatically organized under categories like “Internet” , “Office” , “Graphics”, “Media” ect ect.. Windows piles every single program into one huge clunk on their start menu. . If Windows 8 is your thing then there are many Win8 concept type of Linux variants too. You may want to stick with something Like Ubuntu, Kubuntu, or Linux Mint, these are all VERY easy to install. You will not need any driver disk, and will not have to configure any hardware at all if you choose to do the auto-install.

      Reply
    4. Blue Nexus

      Then you don’t really know what you are looking for.. Or, you didn’t look far enough.. Unlike Windows. Linux has dozens of completely different GUI’s called desktop enviroments. Look up screen shots of Kubuntu and Linux mint. They are very Win7′ish in feel and looks. Linux can run most windows programs. It has a few and 100% or closely compatible program that is free, in which on Windows it cost 100′s (or thousands) of dollars. And *some* versions has an app store much like Android & Iphone. MOST programs from these pseudo-app stores are free. They also automatically download, automatically install, and it automatically places a icon on the “start menu” and work perfectly. Also, unlike Windows’s start menu, each program type is automatically organized under categories like “Internet” , “Office” , “Graphics”, “Media” ect ect.. Windows piles every single program into one huge clunk on their start menu. . If Windows 8 is your thing then there are many Win8 concept type of Linux variants too. You may want to stick with something Like Ubuntu, Kubuntu, or Linux Mint, these are all VERY easy to install. You will not need any driver disk, and will not have to configure any hardware at all if you choose to do the auto-install.

      Reply
    5. Francisco De La Cruz

      I have to agree with you, I have been a contribuitor to ubuntu in many ways. Unfortunately I feel that
      Ubuntu has pull the carpet from under our feet. with this new release of 12.10 I believe that they have managed to keep many follwers out in the dark.
      they manage to start a parade of good people leaving.

      Sorry we have to see people like jumping the boat too.

      Best regards,

      Francisco De La Cruz

      Reply
    6. unabounded

      Ubuntu runs way better and faster than disaster called Windows 10 which is also the biggest spyware around. Everything works out of the box on my ThinkPad laptops and my Skylake desktop. In fact the ThinkPad X250 came with Windows 8.1 and by 10, the system was crawling whereas in same system, Ubuntu LTS flies.

      Reply
  2. ella

    When I started to use Linux was with Ubuntu (~3 year ago). Months later I switched to Linux Mint Debian Edition and then, because a friend, I met the Debian proyect. I love their community compared to Ubuntu as a business.
    I think that you took a good decision.
    Debian has one way -to me- and I trust them about my privacy.

    ah, and maybe you could try with Sid or Experimental respositories to update your software.

    greetings from southamerica 🙂

    //by the way, sorry for my english.

    Reply
  3. Rob

    You can have stable, well-maintained software or you can have the latest versions. You can only pick one.

    Debian tends towards stability. And — since it’s not 2002 — having the latest versions isn’t crucial.

    Take Iceweasel, for example. What’s changed from 10 to 18? Well… not a whole lot. Debian backports security fixes, and as far as features are concerned the Firefox ESR releases (which Debian bases Iceweasel on) don’t miss anything that you’ll need to browse the web.

    I get that version envy drives people away from stable, but it shouldn’t drive beginners to testing… ’cause there’s a reason that’s not considered a stable release…

    Reply
    1. micah Post author

      @Rob, actually you can have both. You can use stable repos (or in my case testing) for your operating system, and install specific packages from experimental or sid. To install the latest Iceweasel on my testing repo, I added this line to /etc/apt/sources.list:

      deb http://linux.csua.berkeley.edu/debian/ experimental main

      Then:

      apt-get update
      apt-get -t experimental install iceweasel

      Now I’m using Iceweasel 18.0.1. From what I hear, Debian testing is actually quite stable. Ubuntu is based on testing and experimental, so my Debian is as stable as what I’ve been used to.

      Reply
      1. Sharp

        Micah,

        You can use pinning to tell apt to prefer the experimental repos for apps like iceweasel and icedove, while prefering testing for everything else. It’s what I do. I also have unstable in my sources.list just in case there is a dependency which an experimental package needs.

        http://wiki.debian.org/AptPreferences

        Hope you and others find that useful!

        Reply
    2. Omari

      You can get both stable and the latest with Slackware. Of course the tradeoff is that Slackware does not come with as many packages as the larger distributions, and its package manager is not as sophisticated.

      Reply
    3. John

      Web browsers should be constantly updated. Talk to any web developer and they’ll tell you the same. HTML5 and CSS3 browser support gets better in each subsequent version of FireFox, Chrome, Safari, and surprisingly even, Internet Explorer.

      A huge part of the pain of being a web developer is having to support crusty, ancient web browsers. Stop making it harder for web developers to create awesome content for you!!

      Reply
      1. Alan

        Actually, the version present in debian stable is an ESR release. It would have the long-term support anyway, as Firefox ESR is targeted at businesses who don’t necessarily need the web to be all shiny and what-not. Debian just renames it “Iceweasel” for license reasons (Not as dumb as it seems at first).

        It’s easy enough to upgrade if you want, it’s called “Debian Backports”, and anyone who wants to run debian stable on a desktop should know about it.

        I actively avoid using many of these new features that make the web “better”, as they are also responsible for a massive number of browser vulnerabilities. It’s usually a waste of bandwidth and CPU anyway. I prefer my information to be un-diluted by wasteful web design. Sometimes I even use a text-mode browser for things.

        Reply
      2. Van

        That’s why software engineers make the big bucks. If software engineering were easy, you would get paid McDonald’s wages. 😉

        Reply
  4. Crinos

    I made the same switch a couple of years ago, and haven’t regretted it. Debian might have seem stuffy and not as exciting as Ubuntu, but it did(and still does) deliver me what I want from a distro.

    The first thing I do on a Debian desktop system is add the repo from here: http://mozilla.debian.net/ (or if the Mozilla packages have moved into experimental, it gives succinct instructions on how to best install them).

    I now run unstable/sid and the breakages are surprisingly few. All I have to do is remember not to run an update when I don’t have 15 minutes to tidy up any issues(but I can’t remember the last time I had any).

    I started using Ubuntu when I got one of the 5.04 CDs shipped to me, so it made me sad to leave, but I think it peaked around 2010 and then started going down a direction I didn’t want to follow. So I didn’t 😉

    Reply
  5. Trevor

    What happened Linux Mint? Sure It’s Ubuntu based but they change almost all the things you complain about and you still get the benefits. There is even a Debian based version that I have not tried, but I hear it’s also slick…

    Reply
    1. micah Post author

      I used Mint for a couple weeks, and it was really usable. I will definitely continue to recommend it to people who are new to linux or just don’t feel like dealing with their operating system.

      But I’ve actually been interested in using Debian for a long time, mostly because of the development community and the awesome social contract, etc. I also like having easy fine-grain control over what proprietary stuff ends up on my computer. I realized when I was using Mint that I had java installed and running in Firefox, something I didn’t want at all.

      And I also recently got inspired by Coding Freedom by Gabriella Coleman. It goes into great detail about Debian, and it made me excited about it.

      Reply
  6. thatiam

    You can try Ubuntu’s minimal CD (~ 30 MB) which will install only the bare minimum packages. This boots to the command line. From there, you can install gnome-shell, xfce, cinnamon or whatever desktop environment you want.

    Reply
    1. Alan

      But that still puts you at the mercy of a company that’s been making some pretty flaky decisions.

      I am probably not alone in that I’m more comfortable with a more community-oriented distro, and one that doesn’t change for the sake of change.

      I like that I’m using (And soon will be contributing to) a distro that will have been around for 20 years this august, and continues to grow by thousands of new applications each release. I can feel reasonably confident that I’ll still be running Debian in 5 years and that it will continue to be reliable, unobtrusive and committed to the founding principles.

      Reply
  7. Brandon

    I really like ubuntu and unity myself, unity is an excellent interface for a laptop. The shopping lens was implemented poorly, but doesn’t bother me since its easy to remove/disable. Even with some commercialization ubuntu will always be far more free and open than windows or osx.

    Reply
    1. Jan

      I liked it until I realized that they had no rolling version update. That killed it for me. 🙁 I now use the cinnamon desktop under ubuntu.

      Reply
      1. Yaro

        Um…. Ubuntu’s not rolling release, either.

        Look at Arch, Gentoo, Debian Testing/Unstable, or LMDE, that’s real rolling release.

        Reply
  8. Ross

    I’ve just installed 12.04 on a refurb desktop I got. I also installed Cinnamon and Gnome Classic DE’s and I’m experimenting with them. So far, I’ve found Unity OK, but I’m not as happy about the disappearing bar on the left. Perhaps because it doesn’t come back when I want it, or as easily, anyway.

    And I still prefer a menu. But I agree that it’s probably better for a tablet or phone.

    Ross

    Reply
  9. Franklin

    I could immediately see that if I were to use and rely on Ubuntu One, I would be locked in.

    Okay, so let’s say that I didn’t see this immediately and now have 10GB of files stored at U1. Any suggestions on how to get them moved to a comparable service so I can switch to Debian?

    Reply
    1. micah Post author

      Thanks for pointing this out. Do you know if this is the original Ubuntu Manifesto that used to be published on ubuntu.com? Or an edited version just to make up the philosphy section?

      Reply
      1. me

        The “our philosophy” text on the ubuntu site does not contain the part of the manifesto that you quoted anymore.

        Reply
  10. plotfi

    You are listing all things that pretty much any comercial (not proprietary) OS is doing. I personally do not use ubuntu (I go between debian, kubuntu, os x, and a modified ipad3 for my desktop tasks), but I do think they are the closes to building a common consistent comercial variant of linux that most people can use. I would much rather have ubuntu out of the box on a pc I bought than windows, and I think that is the direction canonocal wants to go. So it makes sense that they dable in some of the things that the comercial systems like os x, android, chrome os, windows, and the android variant that runs on the kindle are all doing (paid for apps on app stores, advertisment, etc). I don’t disagree with your reasons for switching from ubuntu, but I’d say at least give them credit for trying to get linux on more desktops out there where so many distros have failed.

    Reply
    1. Mark Purcell

      I really like this comment. I acknowledges the very real problems with what Ubuntu is doing, but it also searches for ways we can take the positive out of the Ubuntu model. We are searching for ways FOSS can grow and spread, and maybe Ubuntu will get swallowed by the proprientary world, or maybe it will die, or maybe it will re-liberate itself from the Amazon nonsense, but whatever happens, we can learn lessons from their experience and try to increase the number of active users who are ready to take control over their computing ecosystem and connect with other users for mutual support. Maybe Mint can mobilize these lessons quickly. It seems it is already combining usability with non-commercialization…

      Reply
    2. Adam

      I know this is an old post, but this is exactly correct.
      Ubuntu is Linux *for the masses*. It’s not for the hackers and the programmers who just want a CLI OS.
      If you want to get Win/Mac users to switch, then you need to have things that PAID OSes already have.
      Driver support. Users don’t want to Google for wifi drivers and compile them, they want it TO WORK.
      Easily-Installable Apps. Win/Mac users are USED to paying for apps; the Ubuntu Software Center isn’t a surprise for anyone who isn’t a die-hard FOSS fan.
      Having things just work out of the box. I paid my dues, I spent my hours setting up distro after distro and tweaking each one to be exactly what I needed at the moment, but most normal users don’t want this! An OS, with a few preferences they can change, that runs solid and looks beautiful and supports software is all 80% of the population needs. If it’s free, even better – though honestly, after dealing with distro after distro, I’ve started donating to Ubuntu – BECAUSE IT WORKS, and I don’t have to mess with it anymore.
      13.10 is a rock-solid OS, and Unity is a fresh new look (it’s what Win 8 Metro should have been, really).
      I could give Ubuntu to my mother, and she could use it reliably. Probably Mint too, although she’d probably think it’s ugly/antiquated looking after comparing it to win 8 or Unity.
      Anyway… Ubuntu may not be Linux for Everyone, but I definitely think it’s the first real step toward a usable, beautiful Linux that could honestly convert some other-OS users.

      Reply
    1. Jason

      I’ve used Linux since about 2005. I’ve distro hopped quite a bit. As time goes on, I realize I don’t care too much about the newest and exciting features as I do the system working without a headache. When I fire up Debian, I feel like I’m in a time capsule. Oh, I have to somehow figure out how to get Broadcom drivers working again? Holy 2009 Ubuntu. These days, Ubuntu does what I need it to with as little fuss as possible. I would love to try Arch. Maybe I’m missing something, but last time I fired up Arch in a VM, it had a CLI interface to get things moving… even for the partitioner. I hate to sound like a wuss, but considering my busy schedule, I just don’t care. I don’t have the time to fuss with things like that. If Arch had a GUI setup that was worth a damn I might be more likely to try it, but at the end of the day, I have to get work done. This is why Arch didn’t win me over.

      On the contrary, if there’s an Arch spin that has all of the Arch goodness with a GUI installer that I can blaze through in no time at all, I’d be game. Until then, meh. Ubuntu is doing what I need, so I’ll likely stick here.

      Reply
      1. PdK

        @Jason:

        I totally see where you’re coming from regarding time spent to set up Arch. The first time you install Arch it may take you a week to get where you want to be. But if you make some notes along the way, it pays off because you only ever have to do it once. It is truly a rolling release and really quite stable if you make sure to read the announcements on the Arch homepage before an upgrade. And if you ever feel like doing a clean install, second time around should only take an hour or two. Sure, that’s still a lot longer than the 20 minutes it takes to install Ubuntu, but you’ll do it far less often. I’ve been bitten too many times when upgrading from release to release in Ubuntu.

        Not to mention the wiki and community are second to none.

        Reply
      2. Tyler

        Here is a writeup from Lifehacker about a distro called Archbang. According to the article, Archbang has a graphical installer, and it leaves you with a minimal window manager instead of the command line. You may want to give Archbang a try.

        Reply
        1. Stone Forest

          Been there, done that, twice, & it failed.
          #1: No mobile broadband support; Ubuntu has had this since 2009 at least.
          #2: Failed to boot, total on-screen panic.
          My printer drivers are ‘obsolete’, according to Arch. How can a printer driver be obsolete, when the printer still works? I’ve been using the same drivers, release after release, in my custom built Ubuntu-based, OpenBox-fronted installation.

          Reply
      3. David

        You could either try archbang which is a arch variant of crunchbang. Or you could try Chakra which is based on arch and honestly has come the farthest in rpoviding a consistent look to all programs that I ahve ever seen. My only gripe is that looks very much like osx. Also antergos is nice I used it as a primary desktop for about 6 months nice thing about it is you choose which desktop enviroment you want on install the choices are Cinnamon, xfce Gnome 3 and Razor-QT. It’s pretty stable but I got tired of the weird little anomalies I kept running into I am a relative noob. Here is a list of other ones I can’t vouche for the rest just these ones I have tried.

        https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Arch_Based_Distributions_(Active)

        Reply
  11. Alex

    I started with redhat 5.0 back in the days (1998?) then switched to Debian and always sticked to it on the server but tried a few others on the desktop.
    I was running Ubuntu for a while, now trying mint, but the next time I have to reinstall a desktop I’m very much considering going back to a 100% Debian setup. It’s just more stable and democratic to me.
    Though I might keep Ubuntu for laptops and the like, time will tell… 🙂

    Reply
  12. Ruben Berenguel

    I gave up on Ubuntu earlier… When I (temporarily) crippled my netbook by trying to dist-upgrade from the command line (how on Earth could I think about dist-upgrading from the command line!? This was the answer I got from the Ubuntu users I knew.) Someone suggested I used Arch, and I have not (ever) looked back. As far as Linux goes, it is my go-to system. Great documentation, great upgrade methods and overall as happy as I could be. Give it a shot if you have the spare time (installing is similar to Debian, you’ll need a little “patience” :D)

    Ruben

    Reply
  13. Jonathan Mergy

    Great article and I appreciate all the points. Ubuntu is declining. I recently migrated off OSX to Ubuntu full-time on my MBP. But, Unity is horrible so I tried GNOME, then KDE and eventually stuck with XFCE and been super-happy.

    I can see moving to official Debian as an option on the next time I want to pull the trigger on whether to stick with undoing Shuttleworth trying to monetize or ditching it.

    Reply
  14. krpalospo

    I was using debian for 5 years during the college and I love debian but When you need more than 1 day to customize all thing in your operating system to get the better configuration, it’s not a good thing Ubuntu and their derivates improve that, you can get a system really usefull in 1 hour even less, I was in Xubuntu I think it’s better choice if you need produce really fast results.

    Reply
  15. Calinou

    Suddenly: Xubuntu. 🙂

    Xubuntu is pretty much “Ubuntu without the downsides”.

    There are many reasons I don’t use Debian (testing?) anyway, to be honest:
    – no easy way to install proprietary drivers (there are ISOs with firmware, but they are very hidden, and still no easy way to install NVIDIA drivers)
    – installer is way less user friendly (it is faster than Ubuntu’s sometimes), also Unetbootin cannot be used to make bootable USB drives as far as I know (what if you’re on Windows? well, it’s the only way you can put it on an USB drive)
    – slightly less packages than Ubuntu
    – even in testing, software is outdated due to freezes (can Debian developers understand not everyone runs a 24/7 Apache web server?)
    – smaller community that thinks the world is a sad thing where nothing is a joke?

    Reply
  16. Gwen Hayes

    Just FYI, I use Debian unstable (a.k.a. sid) all the time, on both my desktop and production servers. It causes occasional issues, but not very often. And they’re mostly dealt with by holding packages until some issue or another gets resolved. If you’re willing to put in a bit of a learning curve and learn how to use snapshot.debian.org to get an older package if you need it, it’s actaually fine as a day-to-day environment.

    I even grab packages from experimental sometimes. Right now, I have git, iceweasel 18.0.1, and GCC 4.8 with x32 support taken from there.

    Frankly, I have no idea what Debian “stable” or even “testing” is like.

    But I’m someone who is slowly migrating non-critical servers to 3.8-rc5 for stability testing. (I just found a crash bug this morning, so have it backed down until I can put together a proper bug report.)

    Reply
    1. Rob

      Same here. I actually enjoy (sad I know!) using Synaptic to juggle the fine line between Sid and Experimental updates on a daily basis. I just can’t help myself, it’s daily routine. Right now I’m ignoring the GTK3.6 related stuff for now..

      Reply
  17. tony

    It amuses me that the vast majority of people who say {ubuntu,mint,fedora,etc.} is easier than Debian have never actually used Debian.

    I tried Ubuntu back in about 2007, after having used Red Hat and Fedora for about 7 years. In 1.5 years of using Ubuntu, I don’t think I’d ever had to fix more stuff that regular updates broke. Ugh.

    I switched to Debian Stable in about 2009, and updates have never broken anything. Nothing has ever broken on my Debian Stable system, ever. Upgrading from Lenny to Squeeze was the easiest, fastest OS upgrade I’ve ever experienced in my life. Debian Stable is, well, Stable, and secure. And it didn’t install a bunch of bloat and nonsense that I then had to remove to get a clean system.

    So, I don’t understand how Ubuntu is “easier”. It’s always been a mess, imho.

    Ah, and old packages…yeah, sometimes this is an issue, but for stuff where I really want to stay on the bleeding edge, I just install from the upstream sources, rather than Debian packages. (I’m a professional translator, for instance, so do this with OmegaT, a program for translators).
    I’m using Iceweasel 17.0.1, btw. Only had to add the mozilla-debian.net repo someone mentioned in an above comment.

    With the real ease of using and maintaining a Debian system, AND, the way Debian actually puts there money where there mouth is in regard to upholding the principles of the Free Software movement, I honestly can’t imagine I’ll ever have a reason to switch to something else (I do play with other distros from time to time, but I believe Debian will, as long as it exists, remain my goto for all my web servers and production machines).

    Reply
    1. Samuel

      Hi Tony
      I believe you don’t see how it is easier because you are and advanced user. I have just recently started to use debian and ubuntu (and i will try lubuntu soon), as far as i can tell, using ubuntu is very easy and intuitive for us noob users, more than debian, while using debian itself isn’t hard either…

      As a side note, someone posted above the following:

      ” …they are the closes to building a common consistent comercial variant of linux that most people can use…”

      ” …I don’t disagree with your reasons for switching from ubuntu, but I’d say at least give them credit for trying to get linux on more desktops out there where so many distros have failed…”

      For me (and probably many other users), it’s ubuntu what got me here, not debian, not even linux.

      Reply
  18. Kernc

    I went from long time Ubuntu, through LMDE for almost a year, to pure Debian Wheezy, stable soon-to-be. I intend to stay with Debian as I love the philosophy behind it, and I will recomment it anywhere. Using Debian, I am closer to the “source,” and I also like my software to work. 😀

    In the past few days I gathered a bunch of tweaks and preconfigurations that create a very polished and usable (e.g. by my mom) Debian Xfce OS. I call the small project debfix: https://github.com/kernc/debfix

    Reply
  19. K. Aning

    Before I make this comment I will like to point out that I switched from Unity on Ubuntu to Crunchbang Linux, which is essentiall a tweaked openbox DE running on Debian and I am thus far happy with my decision. And I respect your decision for choosing Debian, I have a special place in my heart for Debian, they have kept it close to my philosophy for so long and (somewhat) continue to do so. I must say however that I can find an argument “for” ubuntu where you have argued “against”

    Having said all that I can say that I agree with you on the Unity thing, but I would choose Unity of what Gnome has become any day.

    About the paid for games on the ubuntu software center, I don’t see how that violates the ubuntu philosophy – if anything it gives you an option for other software outside of the Ubuntu remit, albeit paid for. Yes they are advertising paid for software and you didn’t ask for that, but they have to keep the Canonical electricity running I presume and that means paying bills and such, they need to figure out how to make money from a free product and aligned services, which is not easy at all especially if the primary audience of their product are not paying for the product (ref: Twitter – they are still trying to figure that out).

    Also I don’t see Ubuntu One being any different from the likes of Dropbox, or even google drive in terms of Lock in. Even ubuntu one daemon is open source while dropbox isn’t… but I digress. Any form of cloud storage will require a daemon and client that you need to install on your computer (unless of course we’re talking about box.net), there are clients for windows and os x i believe. Granted that you will always have to use Ubuntu one, but point me to any other cloud storage system that will not require you to use an API or bit of software that they don’t provide themselves and does not constitute a lock in and I will go away and say no more.

    To be honest, I can say for a fact that every time you connect to the internet, blog, or do anything social or share anything on the internet, you give up some privacy. That’s not to say that I condone the blatant hawking of amazon stuff on the Dash. In fact I hate it because it slows down my computer that bit more.

    In order to fix Bug #1 as you put it Canonical has to proliferate, in that getting onto as many platforms as possible is the way forward to compete with those guys so I see nothing wrong at all with attempting to unify their platforms, that’s not to say that I will be rushing out to buy an ubuntu phone (although I would like to have one), but at least they are making a brilliant attempt in a very hostile environment.

    Reply
  20. Venkatesh

    Thumbs Up Micah. This is what all Ubuntu users feel. I was promoting Ubuntu to my all my known friends to make them step in to new OS – LINUX, in this case Ubuntu as it was once friendly with GNOME. But now those friends are asking me for Ubuntu alternatives as they find Ünity difficult to use. Most of the Linux users says, Unity Sucks !

    So now a days I’m promoting Mint !

    Reply
    1. Jason

      I’d like to point out an obvious flaw in your comment, as you’re making generalized statements as if they are somehow fact. I was one of the most vocal Unity haters from the beginning. But something changed with 12.04. I began to use Unity. Now, I love it. I use KDE, Gnome, XFCE, and Unity all relatively heavily. There are pros and cons to each. I can assure you from my 13.04 machine I’m typing on that Unity is actually really, really nice. If you don’t like it, that’s fine and I would never consider arguing against your personal opinion. All I’m doing is calling out your blatant ignorance in regard to your fact-based statements. Not all Ubuntu users hate Unity.

      Reply
      1. Louis

        I can assure you from my 13.04 machine I’m typing on that Unity is actually really, really buggy. Yes, Unity got significantly better than it was originally but it plateaued at some point. Encouraged by the improvements, I endured the bugginess for a while but some time this summer I hit my breaking point. I switched to running Gnome 3.6 on my 13.04 installation and never looked back. Now I’m planning to switch to Debian rather than upgrade to Ubuntu 13.10.

        Reply
  21. Dookie Brown

    I still run ubuntu simply because the repos and ppa system. Thanks to minimal installation disc, I can skip all of that canonical aids. Install base packages, proceed to install kde-minimal package, and I’m done. IMO kde is the most polished and stable environment available – has been since 4.5

    Reply
  22. Arup

    Ubuntu is maturing and developing into an excellent alternative OS to Windows, if that bothers true blue Linux users, they always have the option. I have been using and evangelizing Ubuntu since version Dapper. I have always been a OS/2, Unix and LINUX users and even when I tried to use Windows, it never ever had any appeal to me and only gave me grief. Canonical has had gumption and courage to take their path and in that sense, they have bought desktop Linux to folks who years back wouldn’t even consider LINUX.

    Reply
    1. micah Post author

      Ubuntu is definitely maturing into, and has been for some time, an excellent alternative OS to Windows. Perhaps that bothers some Linux users who like their OS to be exclusive and harder to use so they can feel cooler, but I’m not one of them. I think Ubuntu’s popularity is great.

      Which is why it saddens me to see Canonical make decisions that are specifically anti-privacy.

      Windows 8 has a unified search, similar to Dash. If you want to find a specific show in Netflix in Windows 8, you actually go to the operating system-wide search and search for your show there, and just select Netflix as what you’re trying to search.

      But there’s the key difference: you have to select Netflix, or you aren’t sending your search terms to Netflix. If Netflix ever came to Linux, and there was a Netflix Dash lense, you would be sending every single search term to Netflix, not just when you intended to search Netflix for a show.

      Windows 8, as horrible and confusing to use as is it, protects privacy better than Unity does. And Canonical knows this, because we (users of Ubuntu) have told them very loudly, but they’ve chosen to ignore it. That’s what bothers me about Ubuntu, that it sacrifices privacy for perceived gain in market share. They can do it without sacrificing privacy, but they aren’t.

      Reply
  23. evzen

    Definitely agree with the article outlining comercialization of Ubuntu. Alternatively one can swap to Xubuntu or Lubuntu.

    I am user of Fuduntu!

    Reply
  24. Luca Bruno

    I use sid/experimental for my desktop. I would never suggest to use testing for any desktop because it’s more “unstable” than sid. It’s because if there’s a fix in sid, you have to wait at least a week to get it in testing. Even if it may seem strange, for this reason things break less often in sid than testing if you are aware of critical bugs with apt-listbugs (so that you don’t upgrade if there’s a bug affecting you).
    Then I use some packages from experimental because there’s some software that too old even in sid (such as iceweasel).

    Reply
  25. Debia

    Have been using Debian before Ubuntu exist.

    Noticed that there’s a Ubuntu-lization of Debian.

    Many Debian news site have more Ubuntu news that Debian news.
    Just notice that this Debian package has been referred to as Ubuntu, rather than Debian.
    http://i49.tinypic.com/3522loo.png

    If this trend continues, sad day for Debian.

    Reply
    1. Ben

      Just out of curiosity, have you added Ubuntu repos to your Debian installation? I’ve been running Debian (on a dual boot with Slackware) since the late 90’s, and I’ve yet to ever see any package labeled as Ubuntu. But, I only use the standard Debian repos and am quite happy to run off of testing. I’m just curious as to how that happened, but I don’t think there’s any way that Debian includes native Ubuntu .deb packages in their repositories.

      Reply
      1. Debia

        No, never added any Ubuntu repo. In fact didn’t even know how Ubuntu repo/ppa looks like.

        Anyway, try to do this in a Debian terminal : aptitude show update-notifier

        You will get this:
        Package: update-notifier
        State: installed
        Automatically installed: no
        Version: 0.99.3debian11
        Priority: optional
        Section: gnome
        Maintainer: Julian Andres Klode
        Architecture: i386
        Uncompressed Size: 349 k
        Depends: gconf-service, libc6 (>= 2.7), libdbus-glib-1-2 (>= 0.78), libgconf-2-4 (>= 2.31.1), libgdk-pixbuf2.0-0 (>= 2.22.0), libgdu0 (>= 0.2),
        libglib2.0-0 (>= 2.16.0), libgtk2.0-0 (>= 2.14.0), libgudev-1.0-0 (>= 146), libnotify4 (>= 0.7.0), libx11-6, gconf2 (>= 2.28.1-2),
        update-notifier-common (= 0.99.3debian11), python, update-manager-gnome | update-manager, notification-daemon, gksu
        Recommends: apport-gtk, synaptic, software-properties-gtk, anacron
        Suggests: ubuntu-system-service
        Breaks: update-notifier-common (< 0.99.3debian)
        Replaces: update-notifier-common (< 0.99.3debian)
        Description: Daemon which notifies about package updates
        Puts an icon in the user's notification area when package updates are available.

        See for yourself.

        Reply
  26. Atjesse

    Ok. Its rougher than Debian to get it up and running, but Arch and their KISS philosophy rocks! Once its up and running, its super stable, super fast system (coz i choose what stop in my system) and I fell in love at first sight itself unlike other 100+ Deb/Ubuntu/Fedora based distros i’ve tried! Every other software’s up-to-date (even ubuntu’s not upto the mark to catch up with Arch in this arena!) and i should not forget to mention pacman, the only install manager which could win my heart over apt (which i’ve been using since ’07!)

    Reply
  27. Atjesse

    And if you are not planning for this big jump, Pinguy (Ubuntu plus Gnome minus Canonical’s stupidity) and LMDE (its Debian which, and more user friendly) are super cool! But still nowhere around Arch!

    Reply
  28. Peter

    I just installed the GNOME Panel and I never use Unity. Actually I have KDE and GNOME Panel installed and I’m happy with them. Fortunately Canonical doesn’t force people to use Unity, yet.

    Reply
  29. forthurst

    Your complaint is that on the Debian testing branch you only have Iceweasel 10.0.12 but Firefox is at 18.0.1.

    I am running Debian Squeeze 6.0.5 but with Kernel 3.2.0.0 and Iceweasel 18.0.1.

    How? It’s all to do with your Software Sources so that in addition to the base system, you add more recent software and software which is not part of the basic system from selected Repositories.

    Reply
  30. Erik

    I moved from Ubuntu to Linux Mint during winter 2009-2010 and i haven’t had to come back. So far Mint has been perfect distribution for me and my family. During the last 2 years i have installed Mint, not Ubuntu, to over 10 other desktops and laptops. And with no problems at all. Nowadays is have recommend Windows-users who have had problems with Windows to try some Linux Mint LTS-version.

    Reply
  31. Ben

    After taking the time to read through all of the comments, I just wanted to clear something up about Debian as a long time user. The entire philosophy of what Debian is supposed to represent, in terms of FOSS and the FSF/GNU is in no way similar to Ubuntu. Debian is a much more open ended distro, in that it is truly GNU/Linux. The simplest way to explain to a new/novice Linux user is that Debian ultimately seeks to be an intellectually “free” operating system in line with Richard Stallman’s original vision for GNU.

    For anyone still scrolling down to read this, please visit gnu.org to understand the history of the GNU operating system and it’s relationship to Debian. Debian is a Linux distro, but it is already (an albeit buggy) BSD distro as well. And, although it may not happen this go round, Debian intended to put out the first GNU mach kernel Operating System with Wheezy. Ubuntu is not, and never has been, committed to advancing the GNU OS. I’m not faulting or criticizing them by any means for that, but this idea that there is a 1:1 comparison to be made between Debian and Ubuntu is very flawed.

    Reply
  32. Peter

    I have a slightly different take on this. Linux has never enjoyed mainstream appeal. As such you have hundreds of programs that never quite work as well as on windows because the developers either loose interest or they run out of money, or they know nothing about user interfaces. You have drivers that are hacked to work, games have to run through an emulator and then don’t work all that well a lot of the time. The version of Photoshop I use for my business cannot function in Wine- the menu’s are all screwed up and so its either turn to windows or run Gimp which I’m sorry to say is years behind.
    Along comes Ubuntu and for the first time people outside our little community are sitting up and taking note.
    Companies can now start porting over their good commercial software because the numbers are starting to look a little more inviting, and there is a place to sell it. That has attracted the attention of Valve, who are now porting their games to run natively on ubuntu, which could snowball. Yes Tux cart and Open arena are cool games, but come on, you cant compare those to Crysis and GTA.
    Most people need commercial software for their day to day activities because there just aren’t any free alternatives. So the question is, would you rather dual boot into windows to run half your applications, or be able to run everything on linux?

    As far as commercializing ubuntu, well they need to make money somehow. they can either keep it small and community driven and vanish into obscurity, or find some way to finance this machine. If I’m buying through amazon, why not go through the dash and give them a bit of commission. And if I don’t like being advertised to, then install a different lens.

    Yes they are doing some things that people don’t like, but the other distro’s haven’t really made much of a splash in the market in the last ten years and lets be honest they’re not likely to in the next ten. Ubuntu is probably the only one that is really thinking HUGE. The more people start seeing Linux as a viable alternative, the quicker we will see proprietary drivers, better apps, games etc without having to give a penny to Microsoft.
    I will continue to support Ubuntu because I want to have a linux phone that docks into a linux os and can run the same programs. I want to see linux on my TV. I want to see the people that put hours of their time into developing these cool things in their spare time get the recognition they deserve and even make a decent wage out of doing what they enjoy, but I’m sorry to say, but that’s not likely to happen anytime soon if Canonical closes their doors because no one else is thinking in that direction.

    Reply
    1. Stone Forest

      Hear-Hear!!!

      Well put, Peter.

      I personally don’t care whether every driver or bit of software if FLOSS. What Canonical are doing is realistic, & relative to the real world, rather than being stuck in some autistic, hypocritical, Stallmanesque vacuum, where freedom only applies to software, unless of course one demands the recipe (source code) for the meal one orders in a restaurant, or the design & manufacturing plans (source code) for the vehicle one uses for transport.

      Yes, I too would like to have a computer in my pocket, one that is entirely compatible with all my other hardware, because it’s the same operating system on all of them. Compare this to the absurd & not necessarily software intercompatible number of versions of what is nominally the same version of M$W. What I would really like is a version of Ubuntu that could replace the utterly vile piece of Linux-based garbage known as Android to make a phone user-friendly.

      Unity is something of a leap, & as with the W8 interface, people resist change; but as a friend (& a complete newcomer to *nix) who needed a new OS put on a Dell laptop with a broken version of W6 put it, “Wow!!! It (Ubuntu/Unity) is just like using a cellphone.”

      I’m glad Ubuntu is moving forward. The rest of Linuxland can stay on the fringes, arrogant in self-righteousness Ubuntu-bashing. I don’t hear them raging against Android or ChromeOS or Red Hat.

      Reply
  33. Dan Roddy (@danroddy)

    I’m with Peter on this one. I’m a happy Windows user who only came to Linux and Ubuntu because the £50 refurb Dell I picked up on eBay came OSless. I really like it. It’s quick, easy and does what I need it to. But to pretend that it is any realistic replacement for the PCs I use at work is absurd. Until there is decent money to be made from users – somehow, any how – then software on Linux will remain generally behind its competitors.

    Complaints about Unity remind me of my colleagues at work moaning vociferously about “terrible Windows 8” or “awful Vista” and proudly explaining that they resurrected a copy of Windows ME off some old CD-ROMs to get a decent operating system (I still like XP since it just works. Unity is not a terrible mistake. It’s progress. You’d get used to it. For me the worst thing is that whole menu-in-the-top-bar-not-the-window thing. That’s terrible UX as far as I’m concerned. Is that Unity? I don’t suppose it is; it’s a feature of OSX too so I imagine it’s a *nix thing (I wouldn’t know, and as time goes by, I doubt I’ll care for much longer – I’ll get used to it).

    Stallman used the phrase “free as in free speech, not as in beer”, but it seems to me the complaints always are about a lack of free beer – like moochers at a party not bothering to bring their own bottle.

    I donate to Wikipedia and try to make some contributions to various FOSS projects as and when I can, or I can convince employers it’s a fair thing to do. If all Canonical ask in return for their pretty and easy to use OS is an attempt to try to sell me some stuff I can choose to ignore, or even just switch off, I think it’s a pretty good trade.

    Reply
    1. Ben

      I’m not going to name drop here, but I’ve been an active developer, volunteering my time free of charge for years, to a certain Linux distro. I’ve never complained about anything, and never had the slightest urge to use anything other than a UNIX like operating system. The last time I paid for software was around 1999 when I bought Quake for Linux, and I make my living as an engineer. This idea of “mooching” makes no sense, and I find it extremely offensive to be quite honest with you. There are thousands of people who work in IT fields donating their time to provide intellectually and commercially free software; Stallman did just talk about “intellectually free”, he brought it into existence. As to this idea of people clamoring for software and that being the downfall of Linux, I don’t know what business you’re in, but if you rely on servers, I can guarantee you that having a “pretty and easy to use” OS is not exactly at the top of your requirements list. Granted, your comments are typical of people who switch from Windows and expect GNU/Linux to be a free version of it, but they are totally uninformed.

      I have to say, you two utterly missed my point about the viability of fully free distros as well. I and many users have been with the same distros for well over 15 years. In my case, Slackware and Debian, which are roughly 20 years old and probably the two least commercial, mainstream distributions going. This idea that Linux can’t survive or be viable if it doesn’t embrace Canonical’s model is just ridiculous. Ubuntu only got off of the ground because of Debian, and Ubuntu has yet to contribute back half as much as it has gotten. You obviously don’t get the difference between what the Linux kernel is and what the GNU OS is, despite the fact that I provided you links to educate yourself, so I feel like I’m wasting my breath here. Hopefully the author of the article writes a follow up explaining what the Linux kernel, as well as contrasting it to GNU/OS and the FSF.

      Reply
      1. peter

        Granted, your comments are typical of people who switch from Windows and expect GNU/Linux to be a free version of it, but they are totally uninformed.

        Yes- but Canonical is attempting to do that very thing which is something the hardcore linux enthusiasts don’t understand or/and dont like.
        Linux will survive without Ubuntu, but it’s not likely to become ^^^^ without them.

        Reply
    2. Luís

      But to pretend that it is any realistic replacement for the PCs I use at work is absurd. Until there is decent money to be made from users – somehow, any how – then software on Linux will remain generally behind its competitors.

      You must be living back in 1993. In the GIS field FOSS is well ahead of commercial products in many areas, especially in what concerns data and process available through the web. R is another good example of a product that simply sent the commercial competition back to where it came from. And I could go on…

      Reply
    3. Phil

      Yes this is late as I don’t know what but please speak for yourself. I have been using nothing but Linux computers at work for the past 5 years or so. On Unity some people will like it and other won’t. It is what it is. I don’t. But the menu on top system of Gnome 2 (which you can easily change) is just fine and I’ve found it to work better than Windows for me. And quite a few Window users change their bar to show up on the top or side as well. Unit can be seen a progress because its pioneering new grounds… not because Gnome sucked.

      Reply
  34. Markus

    I used Debian for many years. And by heart I will always be a Debian-Guy. I also share a lot of your impression about Ubuntu. Sill sine Ubuntu 10.04 I use XUbuntu LTS on all my desktops and Debian stable on all my servers.

    On the Desktop I just want to have more or less up-to-date software and still release cycles which doesn’t force me to re-install or update my system every few months. I know no other Distribution than (X)Ubuntu which provides this combination. With the flavour ox Xubuntu it is possible to enjoy this benefits why dissociate myself as much as possible from all the Ubuntu branding and “feature” intention by Canonical as much as possible.

    Before I switched to XUbuntu I used Debian stable and testing on my desktops. But both no longer match my needs. People here said that Debian stable is really stable in the sense of bug-free software. I have to disagree. The intention of Debian stable is to stay stable in terms of package dependencies, configuration, and requirements. I remember one Debian stable, was it potato? Which shipped a Firefox version which was a early release candidate of Firefox 1.0. Nobody can tell me that a early release candidate is more stable than a stable release. Nobody can tell me that a KDE 4.4.5 (version in debian stable) is more stable than a current KDE version. It’s the job of the projects to release stable software and to take care to improve both features and stability, that’s why normally the latest stable release from a project, maybe after the second or third bug fix release is normally the most stable version. The job of the Distributions is to create a combination of all this programs which work nicely together and make this as stable as possible. But this are complete different meanings of “stable”.

    Debian testing was also no longer a solution for me. Because I need both, stable (and more or less up-to-date) software and stable distribution. The first think is not provided by Debian stable and the second thing not by Debian testing.

    I’m sure many Debian developer know about this “problem”. That’s why they also think about solutions from time to time, like CUT. But sadly until now all this ideas never result into real implementations.

    I would love to go back to Debian on my Desktop. But unfutunaletly at the moment XUbuntu LTS are the only Distribution which cover all my needs, stable, reasonable up-to-date and sustainability.

    Reply
  35. laite

    Vote up for xubuntu, have been distrohopping around quite a lot, but it seems I always come back. These days I have Xubuntu 12.10 on my main computer, 12.04 LTS on my laptop. I *really* wanted to like debian, but after running into so many troubles with my hardware I just didn’t feel like trying anymore (wheezy doesn’t even boot on my laptop without proprietary drivers, which I would have to install there blindly since screen is all garbage… no thanks).

    With Xubuntu I get the best of ubuntu in terms of ‘everything works’ and xfce4 which is amazing, traditional DE. Also, xubuntu has to be one of the prettiest distros by default, one of the few where I don’t feel the need to instantly change settings after clean install.

    Reply
  36. openWeb

    I really tried to be friends with Ubuntu – at least every time i get a new laptop at work, because everyone here uses ubuntu, even on the iMacs… But i am totally no friend of the gnome or even unity desktop and kubuntu is way from being perfect… Another thing i really did not like was the huge dependency-tree… Everytime you tried to install something, you have to pull a whole lotta stuff you will never need or use. On the other hand as a php-developer: Have you ever tried to install a pecl-package directly!? What a mess to find out which *-dev-Package to install if there is a missing dependency!!!

    The biggest disappointment was not really ubuntu-based but a problem with all the binary distributions out there: i have an older ati/amd graphics card in my current laptop and ubuntu installed the binary drivers. But they were not compatible, so i really hab to find out, how to get rid of the black screen and how to enter break keys in grub2… If i try to install the driver in gentoo, it at least is compiled partly and simply breaks compiling if graphics-card is not compatible…

    So yepp, i’m a gentooer since years! It runs customized on my laptops, my pc, my servers and even on my raspberry pi… I finetune every single system by using the right use-flags and i am sure only things are installed that i really want! And currently i own a amd 8-core pc… so compiling everything is not really more time-wasting than scanning the whole dependency-tree to install something in other distris. AND (don’t know why…) gentoo is the only distribution i know that performs several installing tasks parallel…

    Reply
  37. Ron

    I used to get Ubuntu going in a flash on my out of date PCs. These days, I need to struggle hours and hours on end and tryinbg to get the Ubuntu to work on my AMD Sempron and my Intel Atom PC all of which are really recent PCs. I faced thousand of panic kill in the installations and after spending hours and hours, Ubuntu never even appear on my PCs. I reverted back to XP and those PC works, albeit at a snail pace, as compared to Ubuntu which did not get installed at all. U called this advancement ? Ubuntu is going to kill itself.

    Reply
  38. miksuh

    I have been using Debian 15 years now, since 1998. I have been wery happy with it. I have ALWAYS used current stable Debian on desktop, laptop and server. In my opinion those claims like “software in Debian is too old” arerubbish. I have never felt that way, Applications and other software in Debian really is not that old. I want system which is stable, works perfectly and lets me consentrate on working with computer intead of continuous bug hunting, configuration an software problem solving etc. That’s why use stable Debian and not Ubuntu or Debian’s development version.

    Reply
  39. Luís

    Hi there Micah. I started using Linux in the 1990s and so far my experience has been very similar to yours. When I finally got everything up and runing with Ubuntu my personal computing experience changed dramatically, to the better. These days I also feel my trust on Ubuntu fading away, I haven’t dropped it because I became an Unity addict and due to expectation around the concept of superphone, that promises again to change my personal computing experience.

    That said, the issue with the Shoping Lens is much more serious than most folk realise. Odds are high that it is in breach of EU legislation. For that reason I decided to create a Petition directed at Canonical requesting changes to the Shopping Lens in order to bring it to clear lawfull territory. Although the folk from Canonical have killed any attempt of mine to promote this petition among the Community, I won’t be dropping Ubuntu for now. But if by the time the Ubuntu Phone OS comes out on retail handsets this hasn’t been corrected I may take a path like yours.

    All the best.

    Reply
    1. micah Post author

      Just signed the petition.

      I really hope Ubuntu decides to start protecting privacy by default again. I like Ubuntu’s ambitions, and what they’ve done to popularize the GNU/Linux desktop. It sucks that they’re going this route.

      Reply
  40. Phil

    I ended up here because I’m looking to leave Ubuntu just the same. My reasons are similar though not exact. I get the same feeling about Ubuntu and their new UI stack they plan to launch that I had about Windows Vista which is what gave me the final push to move to Linux full time. Ubuntu is pulling to far into being a specialized distro to me. Its getting a bit opinionated and I’m looking for freedom to use what I want. As it stands now Gnome Shell seems to be a bit buggy on Ubuntu and if you don’t do the remix you’re not really getting Gnome Shell anyway.

    Now I think it may be time to leave Ubuntu and I was just looking around for the state of Debian and how much of a chore it is to keep up with fresh packages. From the looks of things it doesn’t seem bad at all. I’m trying to get LMDE installed on a VM to play around with but I may just put it on a stick and install it in a new partition on my laptop. I’m thinking maybe it could offer Debian with some extra polish. But after reading some of the comments here I might just take the Arch challenge and build up what I want from scratch. The idea of fresh packages with decent stability is appealing to me and after almost 7 years of using Linux full time I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty. Quite honestly you had to do that even with Ubuntu when I got started with it for desktop.

    Reply
  41. yin

    Thanks for all the opinions. The privacy isssue started to get realy bad on ubuntu 12.10… I can only wonder what they have in store for 13.04… I think I may just move to Debian… Going 100% pure is always a good thing for the soul. Hard to do since I have been using ubuntu for the past 5 years…. but change is good 🙂

    Cheers all!

    Reply
  42. James

    I do applaud you for making the effort to act on principle – many users worldwide sacrifice freedom for convenience or even just for fun (I’m looking at you, proprietary games). We need more people that are willing to act on their convictions and “run free” as much as possible.

    It’s interesting that you have the interest to switch to Debian exclusively, since that’s been on my mind a lot lately. After five years’ worth of distro-hopping (always gravitating back to Debian and its derivatives), there’s no denying that you can find ease of use or difficulty no matter what you choose. Just in my experience, though, the “ease” part comes at different times and for different reasons. The installation process is usually a breeze for both Debian and Ubuntu, and I usually know how to configure either one to work optimally. The one exception I’ve run into is on my laptop, a machine that was built to reject anything but Windows 8, now forced into an uneasy submission. Proprietary drivers, much as I don’t like the idea of them, usually get the best results for battery life and overall performance.

    I’ve been telling myself for 3 months that I can’t get around this, since my laptop display doesn’t agree AT ALL with free drivers. To that end, I’ve been using Xubuntu on the laptop and Debian Stable on all my other machines. Would it be worth the effort to switch the laptop over? Yes. Would there be any downsides other than the time involved? Not sure.

    The only way to know is to make the switch, and at least I know I’m not the only one giving this a shot. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Reply
  43. Jay

    Hi, Micah

    I love GNU/Linux. I found it in 1998. I bough a packaged version of Redhat 4.0. KDE was not included and Gnome was just finding it’s footing. Congratulations on starting your walk with Debian. I find that it has what I need, and that’s good enough for me.

    I feel that the spirit of GNU/Linux is choice, and the means is a personal preference. I think of it terms of the choice between stick and automatic. Others have a more personal ethics built around a right to freedom in computing. Keeping an open mind and finding what works for you will be similar in almost every way as becoming an adult.

    Reply
  44. vcrpex

    good move. i started out in ubuntu 9.04 til 10.10. but after tat I have switched to Debian Stable which i am still currently using. so far so good. my netbook is still on 10.10 but no longer supported. would change to debian soon when i find a spare usb drive. after chasing the so-called latest software during the ubuntu days, i ask myself do i really need the latest cutting edge software? my answer is really a resounding no. i guess different ppl have different needs. i am not even on liquorix kernel or backport. though i do install firefox instead of iceweasel. I do my own website using kompozer and gimp. i reckon for most ppl, they usually do not use the most advanced features of photoshop most of the time either. i know plenty of graphic artists who use photoshop for a living as well. the only difference might be the additional plugins that might be available to photoshop rather than gimp. in general, most things can be done in gimp as well. choosing which distro or os to use it is a choice. thats the beauty of having options rather than just windows or osx. plus for Linux, it is legally free. no longer worried about using pirated software.

    Reply
  45. James

    So how’s the switch treating you, Micah?

    I certainly can’t complain much. Following some instructions for EFI installation on this laptop, I’ve managed to get the kind of Debian experience I was hoping for in a surprisingly short amount of time. While the installation took some doing, the configuration has been straightforward and not at all demanding. All other considered (so far), here’s what I’ve observed:

    Pros for Debian Wheezy:
    Faster boot time than Ubuntu on this machine, uses less memory too
    Hardware support is as good in most areas as Ubuntu
    Error messages are easy to understand and very seldom pop up.
    Some packages that were a pain to get working on 64-bit Ubuntu “just work” on 64-bit Debian. In my case, Tor, zsnes, and Skype were the most difficult ones in Ubuntu.
    No Ubuntu spyware scandals here!

    Cons:
    Sound works flawlessly the vast majority of the time now, but there have been a couple of times I’ve booted straight into a Pulseaudio error that cuts the sound. A reboot fixes this.
    EFI support still isn’t very refined and I wonder if trying to dual-boot with anything else would break the system. There’s probably only one way to know.
    Recording video from my webcam is annoying and laggy. Haven’t tried to fix this yet, but I’m not in a hurry anyway.

    I hope everyone who’s made this switch gets as good or better results!

    Reply
  46. gnumonk

    Micah,
    One more point you have missed, Whenever you fully upgrade the Ubuntu system with apt-get dist-upgrade, It will break something. This is not the case with Debian Gnu/Linux.

    Reply
  47. Thanasis

    My first Linux encounter was Red Hat back in 2001 on a lab desktop we used for heavy calculations. Then I tried Fedora on a desktop, but I only went for a dual boot system on a laptop with Kubuntu 8.04.
    The big change came with Ubuntu 10.04, which I installed on the single-boot laptop I am actually using to post this (I also got a Windows refund for it!)

    Over the past three years I have seen Ubuntu and Debian versions come and go, but I have been very conservative with staying with Ubuntu Lucid. Why? Because I work a lot on my laptop and:
    1) I want to spend less time installing/upgrading/tweaking my OS than actually working with it. Ubuntu does this nicely and since I have already taken the time to do this with Lucid, why go through it allover again?
    2) I want a consistent behavior. I don’t need a Unity or Gnome-shell DE turning things upside down when I least expect it and when I need to actually work.
    3) I have fine-tuned my system to an enormous extent over the past three years, so that I can work faster and get an aesthetically pleasing behavior. I have assurance that my customizations will all survive a version upgrade (let alone a distro change). I know that dot directories are supposed to do just this, but programmers often just decide to change the location of the settings directory between versions (e.g. LibreOffice).

    These being said, it starts to bug me having to constantly add ppa’s to be able to use the latest software on my old Ubuntu version. In some cases this is not workable (e.g., i just found out that I cannot install mozilla-plugin-vlc on my current system).

    So, what I am planning to do, when I decide I can spare a couple of weeks is (and thanks for the inspiration):
    -try an upgrade to 12.04 LTS with a Gnome classic DE (call me conservative, I’ve been called worse!)
    -seriously give a try to Debian with Gnome classic/cinnamon or something of the sort
    -try Linux Mint

    Arch, Slackware etc are not on my list because, as I said, I want to quickly go back to work without investing on another learning curve.

    As a final note: I can hardly remember my life with Windows, although I was quite a power user at the time. I am so much more satisfied with GNU/Linux that (even with the occasional driver glitches and lack of certain killer apps) I am glad that all that M$ mess is finally behind me.

    Reply
  48. minemax

    Unity sucks (original gnome 3 sucks even more though), but Debian is far from perfect as a desktop. It seems like Linux is overrated in general. 🙁

    Reply
    1. Anand

      Sure,

      Unity Sucks, GRANDLY, no distro can come without Synaptic. Why can’t you guys follow the debian policy ?

      GNOME 3 SUCKS even worse. Your Shell extensions are not upto the mark.
      and the Fall Back Session in GNOME 3 SUCKS more worse at least with Ubuntu 13.04 onwards.

      Gone guys are having a new steve jobs who will take our money and then die as a legend.
      MACs surely suck more. No one tells or dictates how I will operate my Desktop, Better I go back to Windows if I have to.

      At least Windows is far better to have given us the Windows Explorer. And
      now the Gnome and Ubuntu Guys are removing what they have been loved so far about. Freedom to choose anc configure.

      Has anyone tried even opening a shell within a folder within the fucking files(renamed from Nautilus which was far beter).

      It is death of UBUNTU, just get school and college guys and housewives and grannies to run your desktop.
      It was such a beautiful desktop and I swore and moved MS guys to use it around 2 years back, but it is not Canonical’s problem, it is the fucking gnome and GTK guys.

      If it was not the Kernel issues, and inability to connect to WPA secured networks, I would have never upgraded from 11.04 Ubuntu.

      MINT guys, you have done a great job, but the system is not stable yet. Hope you can keep continuig your great work. I would love to see a few better themes that work well.

      Regards,
      Anand

      Reply
      1. lepusfelix

        Ubuntu comes without synaptic? But…. I have synaptic on ubuntu. I didn’t install it myself, but I use it more than I use that silly software centre thing.

        Reply
  49. Larry Wilson

    As I’m writing this, I am installing LMDE. I too have steadily losing faith in Ubuntu since either Gutsy Gibbon or Hardy Heron (I forget which). Unfortunately, it seems that Ubuntu and Canonical have made the same mistake that Microsoft is now making with Windows 8: trying to create an all-singing, all-dancing OS that has to be dumbed down to the lowest common denominator in order to be that.

    I settled on mint because it was still pretty close to Ubuntu, and it even has the feel of the old pre-Unity versions, without the kludginess. It also didn’t hurt that my closest fallback distro, Fedora 18, was getting royally trounced and that OpenSuse is still in bed with Microsoft. I briefly considered Sabayon, but I’m not quite up to the challenge just yet. For now I’m gonna give LMDE a chance, and hope that its praises are indeed merited…

    Reply
    1. Jason

      I never really understood the argument about Ubuntu creating an interface that works on all platforms. Unity will scale accordingly to it’s own proportion based on what device you are using. In desktop mode, you have a full desktop. In phone mode, you have a Unity-esque (but still wildly different) interface to work with.

      Truth be told, I’d argue that Ubuntu is the only one doing it RIGHT. OSX is failing hard, Windows 8 is laughable. Neither of those are hitting the sweet spot for desktops/laptops/tablets/phones as they are one singular interface that will remain the same on all devices. But Ubuntu… taking Unity which scales differently to better suite each device… now that makes sense.

      But hey, I’m just taking 2 and 2 and getting 4. Others see it differently.

      Reply
  50. TaKeN West

    I have used Debian for years. Once in a while I’d venture onto to something different to get a feel for what was going on in the distro world. I like its stable release because I use Linux for its secure nature. I don’t need or require the latest and greatest, what I need is for it to work and work well without having to keep up with all things new.
    I have hated Unity and anything resembling it since it first came on the seen. I don’t find these desktops to be useful whatsoever (on the desktop) and I absolutely hate their look.
    While I’m not specifically a windows user I recently install windows 8 and it is horrible just as these new Linux desktops are horrible. These might all be great for a tablet and i get that But for desktop use its downright atrocious.
    I stick with Debian because it doesn’t feel the need to update when everyone else does and I like that it doesn’t force its user to deal with crappy apps. It is VERY customizable (and sooo many distros base their builds from it).

    Reply
  51. likana

    Please correct the final note you added to the article.

    “Our Philosophy” is a different document.

    With the end of the 10.04 LTS support Canonical will silently remove the last traces of its former Manifesto that remained in the LTS documentation.

    The new marketing take concerning the “free of chage” topic can be found on http://www.ubuntu.com/about/about-ubuntu/ :

    “… available free of charge … funded through a portfolio of services provided by Canonical.”

    Reply
    1. micah Post author

      Thanks for this, I just added another update. So Ubuntu no longer has a manifesto then?

      Their new marketing doesn’t say the same thing anymore. Now it just seems to refer to Ubuntu, not software in general. It says: “The vision for Ubuntu is part social and part economic: free software, available free of charge to everybody on the same terms, and funded through a portfolio of services provided by Canonical.”

      Previously their manifesto said that “software should be available free of charge, that software tools should be usable by people in their local language and despite any disabilities, and that people should have the freedom to customize and alter their software in whatever way they see fit.” They must have changed their minds on this when they decided to start selling proprietary software through the Ubuntu Software Center.

      Reply
      1. mpt

        Not that anyone will read this, but likana is completely mistaken here, and I’m surprised you never took a minute to verify their claims.

        That paragraph from the 10.04 installation guide, referring to the Ubuntu Manifesto, has been repeated in the installation guide for every Ubuntu version sinceincluding 14.10 last month.

        This is mind-blowing to me, as someone who has worked for Canonical since 2005, because there has never been an Ubuntu Manifesto. The paragraph originally comes from the first version of the ubuntu.com front page. Notice how even then, it wasn’t linked to anything, because there was nothing to link to.

        I remember being told that that first version of the site was written, in a hurry, the night before the 4.10 release. Maybe the team intended to write a full manifesto sometime. I’m glad they never did. Manifestos are terrible.

        Reply
  52. Dave

    I have been feeling the same way as the writer. I’ve been particularly happy with 13.04 its a dream system haven’t faulted it. Drives my canon WiFi printer perfectly well does everything really. Absolutely no complaints at all but for the issues highlighted. Looks like i’ll load up Debian on a spare drive and see where it takes me. Very much appreciate the blog sometimes someone has to actually say something to push you over the edge,,,,,arhhhh.
    Greetings from Brisbane Aus

    Reply
  53. zmeicho

    Man, you wrote THE ABSOLUTE TRUTH! You described what I feel about ubuntu so damn well!

    I know it is not polite to type with big letters, BUT I WILL, BECAUSE THE PEOPLE WHO CONSIDER USING UBUNTU ARE ABOUT TO MAKE HUGE MISTAKE!

    How I miss 10.04.. brilliant ! but faded like an old memory!

    Now money and ambitions destroyed Ubuntu, the first step was unity, second was referring to amazon, and the third is Mir..

    BYE BYE UBUNTU! That was the end of my journey with you!

    Reply
  54. Painless

    Ubuntu is heading down the same lines as Android, they realise that 95% of users these days own smart phones and touch tablets, thats reflected by simply looking at the Ubuntu Touch Wiki and looking at how many devices people are hoping to see Ubuntu Touch eventually working on.

    But yes Ubuntu does have privacy issues with the Unity interface, for one thing Geo-Location tracking being bundled into Unity, it would be nice to have the options to turn that off or even do as Android users do and Fake your Location.

    You can find the app’s for that in the Google play store just look for GPS Spoofer or Fake Location, thats whilst you try to ignore the fact your Hosts file is loaded with literally thousands of advertisers. Because this is how big buisness see’s revenue, shoveling advertising in peoples faces. People who dont want such aggressive advertising on linux have always been able to limit it by installing Firefox & the noscript addon. Saddly the NoScrpt addon is not available for the Mobile Android version of Firefox – and to make matters worse Ubuntu has happily announced its intention to replace Firefox with Google Chrome!

    That is hardly leaving the final tweaking or seting up of your operating system down to the End User, but rather shovelling an opionion of what you feel they would like and more importantly what will please a load of people in Advertising looking to profile millions of customers with customised adverts!

    Debian & Arch are pretty rock solid and unlike Ubuntu & Android – do not insist that you should be running Google Chrome!

    Reply
  55. Painless

    When I fire up android what would I like to see? Well for one thing the entire Linux Base-System would be nice so when I type: who in a terminal it tells me error command not found and apt-get installer would be nice so I can pick and mix and rip out the parts I dont want. The first things to go right out of Unity 8 if I ever get around to giving it a try would have to be Chrome and Geo-Tracking.. If I want the device to pin-point somthing with the GPS well it would be nice to see Kismet or Aircrack-ng or even dare I say it google maps with an on and off switch, which saddly dont appear to be around in the Android Repos certainly not around in the Touch repos because they’re taking time over what should and shouldnt be available to you as an end user because it would seem no one can compile stuff natively for ARM architecture. But it’s nice to see some other things creeping in like GnuPG for android and debian for ARM also available on the play store. Perhaps one day we might actually see a desktop with an intuative touch display that lets you the end user choose your own privacy level.

    Reply
    1. Painless

      StrongSwan implematiation for Android… IKEv2, KrB5 these are things slowly creeping in… SELinux on Ubuntu? No sorry you have to make do with AppArmor and on Debian if you want an intuative firewall, you might want to steal one from the UFW and GUFW Ubuntu Repos! They compile quite well and work surprisigly well too.

      Reply
  56. Mr Bee

    I am sticking with Ubuntu for server for now, I have a few Debian Squeeze boxes too but like the idea of 5yr LTS enough to have made me swap to Ubuntu for server stuff, for now at least…it has been pretty good in the last year on my own projects, no real big headaches to speak off…

    Desktop, yeah this is all a bit naughty really, plus im no fan of unity, it just doesnt suit me and I ve been using Mint with Cinnamon and Mate for a little time now and am quite happy with it so far…I also have an OpenSuse desktop which seems to work well too…though I don’t really delve too much into it or RPM distros right now as I’ve been more than happy with the Debian based Linux for some time now.

    Good luck all…

    MrB

    Reply
  57. Jacque

    If you are interested in Debian, then maybe keep an eye out for the Upcoming MakuluLinux 3.0. It is debian based ( Rolling release ), Featured on 3.8 Kernel and pretty much makes Debian as easy to use as Ubuntu/Mint does.

    Some screenshots can be found on http://www.makululinux.com. A beta version should be out in the next few weeks.

    Reply
  58. TK-999

    As for those recommending distros based on Ubuntu, here are my 2¢s. While migrating to, say, Mint or removing the lens’ package with APT fixes the issue of Unity’s search lens, the underlying issue is something way more serious, and, if I interpreted the post correctly, that is what troubles micahflee—the direction in which Ubuntu is going is something you can’t fix by uninstalling the lens, or installing another desktop environment.

    In addition to this, Ubuntu-based distros will continue to use Ubuntu’s package repositories. Thus, they are still at the mercy of the Ubuntu package maintainers, whose actions will keep on affecting them. For instance, it’s been almost two weeks since Debian merged important chromium-browser updates into stable-security on May 23, and a week since DSA-2695 was published on May 29 yet the Ubuntu chromium-browser package’s report on the same issue was not acted upon since May 23, and remains two stable versions behind.

    Reply
  59. DebianFanboi

    I made a similar switch from SuSe to Debian… in 1998. And I never looked back. I knew from the start that this is a life long relationship (lol). dpkg/apt was, is and hopefully will always be superior to rpm.
    I tried Ubuntu when it first came out but I disliked the idea of not having a real root account (which was the first thing I ‘hacked’ in ubuntu to make it feel more like Debian). To use the bleeding edge on my Dekstop I always used backports and later on ‘pinning’ (very powerful tool). Currently I use kde packages from siduction (kde fanboi since 1998). With add-apt-repository from package python-software-properties you can even use ppa’s. Back when WineX came out I could even dump windows and if a client demands it I use VirtualBox!
    Do the next step and try packaging software and become a debian package maintainer!!!

    Reply
  60. Karl

    Have tried Ubuntu, Mint, Debian, and OpenSuSE. Out of them all, I found Debian using the least resources (e.g. memory) on ititial startup and login. Debian no harder to configure than Ubuntu or Mint, though have to admit that Debian took a few more extra steps to configue resttricted codecs (e.g. DVD, mp3). I prefer Synaptic Package Manager over YaST in OpenSuSE anyday. Debian 7 looks great and is solid. Can choose from multiple graphical displays (Gnome 3, Gnome Classic, XFCE, KDE). Switching from Ubuntu 12.04 LTS to Debian 7 stable.

    Reply
  61. José Padrón

    I use Lucid at work and right now i am installing Wheezy over an old T60 for testing before moving to. Have a repo site at company servers. Also tried Precise and Mint 12. Will check propietary software for switch.

    Best regards

    Reply
  62. Mike Frett

    It’s kinda funny, since before Ubuntu, Linux was barely a Dot on the Desktop. When I left Windows last year I needed an OS that has a system in place that allowed me to BUY Games and Apps (Mostly Games like Torchlight); Xubuntu (Ubuntu) was the only one that had a Software Center that allowed Devs and Companies to sell their product if they chose. And the people flocked to Ubuntu, and Linux is now on the rise.

    I’m sorry that you feel their is no room for Paid Software in the Linux World, times change. Valve believes Linux is an emerging Market for Games, and I believe that in order to advance and be more than some hobby distro; other major distros need to make room for paid software. If you build it, they will come. Mark took that risk, and so far it’s working. If the old hats don’t like it, they can go to the corner and pout.

    Reply
    1. TK-999

      Proprietary software also bring in security risks that may have been avoided if the source code could have been scrutinized by package maintainers and the rest of the developer community. Examples are Oracle’s Java implementation and Adobe Flash, both of which are far from transparent and face a constant stream of attacks. Plus, tt’s difficult to integrate, say, Adobe Flash if you need to use Adobe’s upstream bug tracking system instead of the distro’s own, and only have compiled, unsigned binaries downloaded from Adobe’s site to work with.

      Further, Linux is not an obscure system, seeing how it dominates the server market, and it has always seen attacks against it. Adding proprietary software and attracting a large amount of users who have little to no technical knowledge of the system further increases its vulnerability. With every layer of smoothing, “app stores,” update notifiers and other conveniences, the risk of security bugs grow, as the system ends up more and more complex.

      Finally, it’s not entirely clear for me why you believe that distributions need to go the Ubuntu way. One can run software like Microsoft Office on Debian or Fedora through the Wine interpreter layer, download Flash from Adobe’s website, install Opera, or get Skype if they desire—without necessitating incursion into user privacy, providing a meaningless “software center” for promoting paid software. Thus, why is the goal attracting a flock of users who have little to no idea of the workings of the system they are running? That’s where Windows is. Surely is quantity better than quality?

      Reply
  63. Roger

    I, too, am returning to Debian from Ubuntu/Kubuntu. I started in 1998 on Debian, switched to Gentoo for a couple of years, and then switched to Kubuntu in 2007 or so. Recently, I’ve noticed that the decisions Canonical is forcing into the software aren’t the best. While it’s great that Canonical chooses to develop Linux, it is not so great that they are forcing bad decisions about which packages are being used.

    The money thing is another; I understand their crying need for money, but for heaven’s sake don’t become Windows.

    Then I find out that Canonical installs spyware on the desktop — I’m sorry. I will not allow this on my machine. If I cannot trust them there, how can I trust them anywhere? How do I know that some vague and required dependency isn’t phoning home to Canonical? A thief is a thief is a thief.

    Not on my desktop you don’t.

    Goodbye, Kubuntu. It’s been nice knowing you.

    Roger

    Reply
  64. Timothy

    Also, if you use other Ubuntu flavors (like Xubuntu and Lubuntu), you will feel better.

    For me, I use Lubuntu on my 2nd gen Core i5 laptop (waste of sys resources), and I like LXDE’s GNOME 2-like feeling. And I never use (L)ubuntu software center (I’m a synaptic fan).

    Reply
  65. John

    I would agree im not too happy with what Ubuntu has done with their built in shopping lens whatever.. least can be uninstalled removed etc. I think Canoical whatever could of done better with the privacy aspect. its one of several reasons alot are on linux over windows and some extent mac.. Paid software is fine it incourages people to spend more time to create better things in the end.. people spending time to make software and get no ROI on the time invested simply the products arent going tobe as spectacular as paid products.. Example Gimp vs Photoshop.. What Canoical could of done better only integrate the paid software in their software center and not put it in any other aspet of unity or the desktop etc.. Theyre just pulling a microsoft/apple with that

    Reply
  66. Sublime

    I have been a Linux user for about 5 years and started with Ubuntu. When they switched to unity I switched to Mint 12 and feel in love with Gnome 3. Then Mint switched to Cinnamon as the default DE and so I switched to Debian. What a nightmare it has been. Three systems all running Wheezy that break daily and after an upgrade to Jessie they are screwed. Things like Calculator are no longer usable even though it is installed. What a mess it is and the outdated libraries and software make it impossible to compile or use any software in development. The good news it Gnomeubuntu is now an official derivative of Ubuntu and the first computer I have switched over runs so much faster, no driver issues, I can run new software and the best part I have my Gnome3. Time to switch the other two over to Gnomeubuntu and be back to a stable up to date OS.

    Just be sure to turn off all the crap complained about in this post (ubuntu 1 etc)

    Reply
  67. BW

    Nice move, i can second a dozen years of use of testing as a pretty stable desktop. Glad to feel people realize about ubuntu and its artificially cool stanza when all they want is to own a proprietary linux 🙂

    Reply
  68. Leslie Viljoen

    You do realise that Mark Shuttleworth has been trying to make Canonical profitable since day one right? If Canonical cannot somehow make money, they can’t continue to sponsor development of Ubuntu indefinitely. Please don’t complain about existence of completely optional and non-obnoxious for-pay products and services, it’s only fair that Canonical get *something* back for the millions of dollars they have put into Ubuntu. Even though I mainly use Debian, I’ve signed up to Ubuntu One and have bought software and music through the Ubuntu Store – because I have made heavy use Ubuntu for many years now and I want to help Canonical be sustainable.

    Reply
    1. micah Post author

      My main complaint against Ubuntu, more than anything else, is that they send Dash search terms to their own servers by default, without prompting users if they want to opt-in.

      Most Ubuntu users are unwittingly sending private data to Canonical when they’re just trying to open a program or search for something locally. Canonical reserves the right to give this data to a variety of third parties. This is messed up. There’s no reason at all why Canonical can’t make money and stuff respect the privacy of it’s users at the same time.

      The other stuff, with selling proprietary apps, and with Ubuntu One? That’s fine. Selling proprietary apps shows that they’ve really loosened their commitment to free software, but it’s not directly harming anyway.

      Reply
    2. zarg

      I agree that Canonical should be able to get something back, and would happily have supported them with donations had the whole OS not moved in a contrary direction to how it was when I first started using it. I appreciate that they have to make a policy and stick to it, and I truly wish them all the very best and hope they succeed. And I’m certain that, for many, Ubuntu is a perfect OS. It just started feeling too much like Apple and Microsoft products for my liking.

      Reply
  69. Chris

    It’s a shame that switching to Debian meant that your hardware wasn’t supported and Firefox was old. Debian project needs to focus on fixing those rough edges if we are ever going to encourge people to try it as their first Linux.

    Reply
  70. kierkegaardo

    I’ve been trying linux distros for over ten years now, and although I’ve used them for long periods of time, I was never able to remove windows finally from my computer. I liked ubuntu quite much, but it always had stability problems that I couldn’t accept; Debian, on the other hand, wasn’t as usable or updated as I needed to.
    On that basis, I was delighted by Debian 7. It’s the best distribution I’ve tried so far and since it came out, I didn’t boot on windows again. I have been using it for a couple of months and I find it awesome: it’s really solid, it’s updated, it’s much more user friendly than it’s previous versions and, obviously, it’s free as in free software. Finally, I’m starting to think my windows dependency is starting to evaporate thanks to Debian.

    Reply
  71. Bogdan

    🙂 I find this searching for a pidgin crash at startup on my debian Wheezy. I would not install pidgin if empathy would save contacts alias and show their avatar pictures.
    I started with debian in 2006 and remained with it since. I had lots of problems getting all the software
    to run but finnaly was able to find solutions. At some point I had Ubuntu which wasn’t bug free either.
    Despite empathy and pidgin, Wheezy seems stable. No video crash/screen freeze so far. I also had experimental but gnome-shell is a mess when it comes in settings – proxy/network and other stuff you need (to solve you have to write in conf files).
    I don’t like new gnome 3.4.2 because you cannot customize panels I and really really loved gnome-system-monitor on my panel! But as a + it works really fast. Iceweasel 10.0.12 is just as good as latest firefox, didn’t had probles loading any web pages. I use Wheezy at work, other programs like Lotus Notes 9 installed perfectly. NVidia rocks! XFi-Creative suks though…. only drivers to hear something and for those to install you need to follow up 100 steps how to.. (exaggerating). USB WiFi network it’s also a problem on older kernels (<3.2) and the supported list is kinda slim. Installing some network printers drivers may require some driver search and headaches.

    Reply
  72. dona

    TOTALLY agree with this article on all counts, and I quit for the same reason. By then I was so hacked-off at Ubuntu that did didn’t even want to know about Mint, which is Ubuntu based. Then someone told me that there was a version of Mint that was based totally on Debian without the Ubuntu connection. I tried it, and haven’t looked back. All Mint’s user-friendliness, all the goodness of Debian, and not tainted by Ubuntu in any way. If you haven’t tried it, give it a look.

    Reply
  73. Digger

    Here’s a Great Debian Distro that I’ve been using for about a month now called SolydXK. There’s two different desktop environments Xfce and KDE . It’s very stable and highly polished. All of the Debian fans shoul give this a look. Here’s their site ->> http://solydxk.com/ .This distro is without a doubt my favorite to date , enjoy …..Digger

    Reply
    1. Eli

      I agree with Digger, SolydX-64 is awesome. Have it running on 3 PC’s. home-built Intel Core2Duo system, an AMD Sempron desktop, plus a Dell Latitude d530 laptop. Runs great on all of ’em.

      Reply
  74. Hi-Its Me-No

    On the whole, I concur. I Started using Ubuntu since 9.10 and was much impressed when it came to 12.04. From there it went a little downhill for me & very much when they removed the ‘compact list’ view & many other features I expect from an OS. I didn’t mind the Amazon & U1 etc. as they were removed as part of my installation routine. Linux Mint LMDE very much corresponds to my heart; it gives me all the needful features of a stable & well thought-through OS, the user-friendliness of a MS-Windows, support for BTRFS & all top-notch partitions, heck, it even allowed me to configure a RAID ARRAY on an ICH7 controller which is INCAPABLE of doing so, especially when both IDE drives are connected to the same port! And all it needed was to add ‘mdadm’. Before that I didn’t even know what RAID is. It allows resizing, renaming, encrypting & taking ownership of partitions (as should all Linux’s). As for Lubuntu: I ran that from 12.10 till April. When the new version came, it ‘updated’ over 80Mb of data only to then tell me the new version has arrived but that had to be installed afresh (just like Peppermint too, by the way). As for social networking, boot-up & shut-down speeds, radically low memory usage (~187mb) & simplicity, my preference is now Peppermint OS – the better cross between Ubuntu/Lubuntu&LinuxMint. Xubuntu is not worth the bother if U run an older-spec machine. But then I have altogether NINE installed that I can choose to use, some only for Demo purposes. Ubuntu, Kubuntu, (the new) Ubuntu Gnome, Linux Mint 15 as well as LMDE, Cylon Linux (because I’m from Sri Lanka), Kali Linux (based purely on Debian, but not really an OS as much as a TOOL), Peppermint OS & also WindowsXP. Most sit on around 20-30Gb partitions on an extended partition but anyway use only around 5-6Gib space. AND ALL (except the last) ARE TOTALLY FREE!!!! Of course there are many more mentioned above & some not. All in all, it depends what U want the OS for. But the Debian Mint works JUST as good as the Ubuntu-version Mint 15, even though it needs FAR LESS ‘updates’. Come to think of it, if U have to pay a lot for internet, your FAR better off with any Debian rather than Ubuntu distro as the latter really swallows data. The best thing whether you have a low-spec machine using 32-bit processor or a new one, most Linux’s RARELY need even ONE Gb of RAM leave alone SWAP space. It really makes you wonder why they now ship with 6-8 Gb & what type of Apps really need so much RAM & processing power, because essentially, you can get the same work done with your ‘old’ trusted machine provided you put in the right OS (for you).

    Reply
  75. Stone Forest

    So your whole reason for abandoning Ubuntu is based upon your dissatisfaction with Unity interface + Ubuntu One + Ubuntu Software Center?

    The fact, is that it’s not necessary to buy into all that commercialism to use an Ubuntu base.

    Try this: http://madbox.tuxfamily.org/ , which is Ubuntu-based, & which I have used almost exclusively ever since I discovered it in 2010. All I needed to do was remove Chromium browser & install Synaptic, to have a minimalist, Ubuntu-based system that I can do with whatever I want. I prefer OpenBox , & I now have a few different versions (‘Office’, ‘Multimedia’, ‘Developer’, etc.) of what is essentially Ubuntu on a few different netbooks, only one of which has 1GiB of RAM, the others having 512MiB, more than enough for an operating system that rarely uses more than 200MiB. Try that with PCLOS or Fedora with OpenBox; both need at least 100% more RAM.

    Having an Ubuntu base means that all my old hardware still works, because the .deb drivers, etc., still work (the .tar & .rpm drivers do not work in their respective distros). It also means that I have mobile broadband support, out of the box. This is also why I have given up on every other distro base. Try these things on Arch or Slackware or their ‘user-friendly’ derivatives: they still don’t seem to have heard of MBB.

    Why stick with the idea of having to use a preconfigured distro from Canonical, when you can effectively build your own and still benefit from being based in Ubuntu? I tried (bloated) Debian 7 LXDE: it failed, it failed to install GRUB, which should apparently be fixed by release 7.1. I don’t think I’ll bother. I’ll stick with MadBox/Ubuntu-Minimal & benefit from a reliable distro base, which can also be upgraded, which means that I’m not really using MadBox anymore.

    I also like the fact that MadBox does not have a forum, just the author’s website with a few technical notes: http://davidmadbox.wordpress.com/category/madbox/ , if you want to build from the ground up.

    It’s easy, I am not a ‘guru-power-user’, but I’ve custom-built my ‘own’ system, & learned more from looking at the system than I have from any forum. It’s easy!

    #Just one bug to report: the newer version of GRUB fails to install, when running update/upgrade.
    #Solution: get the .debs from the online repository http://packages.ubuntu.com/ , (invoke file-manager as root), put them in /var/cache/apt/archive & run ‘sudo apt-get upgrade’ in terminal (or just use Synaptic).

    Reply
  76. Ronny Moore

    I hate to see you flee Micah. Stay and see Ubuntu evolve into a single global harmonious Linux system that will run on anything, will run everything. You, like so many, are not seeing what is happening. It is evolution, change, growth towards a new, as yet undreamed of, entity striving for survival and, ultimately, control of its environment.
    Ubuntu IS your future. Relax and accept it. Study the forces that cause it to move in the direction it has taken, consider the fates of those that have not taken these turns and adaptations, sift through the silicon sands to discover the failures that have died along the way and piece together those advantages that have survived change and embrace the organism that has emerged and you will find Ubuntu.
    Micah, Ubuntu is your mother. Ubuntu gave you birth, guided you and taught you the true meaning of FREEDOM and how to survive on your own. Ubuntu set you free in a world of snares and predations and licenses and EULAs that have been a tarpit for all the other distros.
    Ubuntu alone will walk with you into the next period of existence, the Cybercene Era, the age of machines and men fused into an inseperable, indistinguishable, living, thinking, symbiotic organism grasping for understanding and control of the world and universe in which they exist.
    You are so young, Micah. You have only lived a few years. You will be lost if you run away, confused, always chasing after every distro that promises you milk but gives you piss. Stay with you mother, Micah, and drink her milk. Grow strong. Sit at her feet and learn. She will give you lessons every day that will guide you your entire life.
    Take your mother’s milk and strengthen your body, let her be your guide every day you interact with the world around you, let her bring truths and revelations and knowledge to you. Let her be the shield, the firewall, the protector that sifts all that is and let her present to you what is good and nourishing to your soul. Do not trust strangers to do this.
    You are the child of Ubuntu. Stay rooted with her and grow with her. Learn all you can from her. Do not allow yourself to become a flaccid, placid shirker, a lurker in dark, ill defined distros adorned with perfumes, plucked eyebrows and fancy dresses that hide the corruptions, the illnesses, the evils within. They will lead you down dark passages to nowhere.
    You are the child of Ubuntu. All children, when their mother taught them to walk, want to run from her, they want to be adults but they do not know the costs, the sufferings, the agonies that they have to pass through.
    Your mother has dressed you, given you the clothes you need. As you have grown your clothes have changed, the diapers gave way to underwear, and you put off your pajamas for jeans. She taught you a new way to express yourself, she gave you new styles to explore and to make you look good. She is readying you for your high school prom. She has given you a new suit to wear. You may feel strange in that suit but it is good. Your mother knows it is good and one day you will realize that it was good for you. And you realize your mother is good and she is forgiving. She is good and she is waiting. She is good and she will rejoice when you return to her.

    Reply
    1. Marco

      Ubuntu is a PRODUCT from canonical, . It comes from a commercial site (.com). Don’t let any body deceive you, little tiger!

      Reply
    2. GhostlyDeath

      Not to burst your bubble of insanity, but I do hope you know that Ubuntu was born from Debian. So rather in the way of your saying, Micah has found God (which is Debian). So to counter your siggestivism, you better switch to Debian right this moment!

      Reply
  77. ptolemy

    Interesting to see this blog go on for so long. I too went through numerous linux OS’s since 2000, arriving at Ubuntu early on in the game. Ubuntu began to irritate about two years ago with unity and I began spending a lot of time at the command line trying to undo what Ubuntu was doing. I decided if I was going to spend that much time at the command line I may as well use Debian and get what I want. I am happy with that decision. It’s worked out well. Some how Debian seems easier than it used to be, or maybe I’m finally learning something,….

    Reply
  78. lichking

    No, don’t use Arch. Try LFS the whole fun starts the time you play with it. And talk about god (debian) Offensive Security has found their own god (Kali).

    Reply
  79. fattyz

    Great article and comments. Way back around 03? I put Ubuntu 9.xx on an old laptop that couldn’t run xp. When I saw that compiz cube spinning around on so little system resources I thought I’d arrived at the holy grail of the desktop. Two years later I was still sitting around ‘tweaking’ it and my wife was ready to divorce me. I’m the network admin at home and all my users have consistently hated it. (nothing works) I finally gave up when no matter what I did or tried to do in particular with peripherals there were always issues that took research and trial and error to sort out and it just got to be WAY more trouble than it was worth. (endless pasting sudo apt-get into terminal) Trying to keep 2 OS up to date is a nightmare one’s enough so my 3 pc’s, 2 tablets and 4 iphones all get along nicely with the Win 7 network. I’d love to be on open source, I’d love to see the Gnome desktop and Compiz fusion and Emerald. But it’s a part time job and I don’t need it.

    I put 13.04 on a USB stick today and wasted a couple hours. What was I thinking?

    Reply
  80. zarg

    Great article and comments! Like many others, having once been a staunch advocate of Ubuntu, I became disillusioned with all the Unity / Zeitgeist / Software Center / and other bloatware shenanigans.

    About 6 months ago I moved to Debian Wheezy and instantly wished that I had done so a lot earlier. The only niggle I found with Debian Xfce is that, compared to Ubuntu and in particular Xubuntu, it’s a little bit ugly out of the box. (I found this article because I thought it should be relatively straightforward to apply Xubuntu’s looks to Debian and so I Googled “make debian look like xubuntu”. I haven’t found a tutorial or howto yet.)

    Does anyone else feel that Debian Xfce could benefit from a bit of visual styling? I’d be happy to help by contributing graphics and so on (I’m a professional graphic designer) but I’m a bit clueless when it comes to the coding and operating system side of things.

    Reply
    1. Arthur

      What makes Xubuntu look nice is the greybird theme, the Elementary icon set and the Droid Sans font, I think. Not just that – Xubuntu has a nice OSD for volume and brightness changes that other Xfce “bare” installs do not have. I am not quite sure which packages are installed in Xubuntu, but the above theme/font combination should make Debian Xfce look pretty much like Xubuntu.

      Reply
      1. zarg

        Thanks Arthur. Also, the default font rendering in Debian Wheezy with Xfce is really ugly by comparison to Xubuntu, so I installed Infinality, which has improved that aspect quite a bit.

        Reply
  81. Chris

    “I could immediately see that if I were to use and rely on Ubuntu One, I would be locked in.”

    Yeah. There’s nothing that screams ‘lock in’ more than cloud storage that’s accessible with an open web API and open source sync daemon. Back to Dropbox I guess.

    Reply
  82. John OShock

    What about SolydK? KDE4.11 on top of Debian…..
    It kinda meets all these things somewhere in the middle using Debian Unstable with a bit of screening for stability. Works well straight out of the box

    Reply
  83. frodo

    i agre with the author of the article on the following notes:
    unity- i dont like innovation. i like old menues i have to scroll through for hours.
    ubuntu one- this is terrible to have the user account info in one spot.
    “buy stuff” – a sure sign of a downfall in any civilization is the idea of people making money. i am still miffed that i cant trade corn and beans for compiz speed tricks. whats worse is selling tshirts with a mascot on them to support a community. evil bastards.
    selling propriatery software- again, making money is evil. we all know its better to have 25 music players who only difference is a name change, that display fractal images but cant play music. and all selling established software does is invite outsiders to use the same thing i use. or worse, it invites potential developers to contribute to my distro. the unwashed masses! damn ubuntu for progress.
    search terms- this is the worst offense. sure i can disable it. sure its annonomised. but why should i have to. its not like browsers do it. its not like websites/blog sites track you. its not like the nsa knows everything you do regardless of how well you protect yourself. do they? now im confused. browsers use analytics, websites/blogs use analytics and we all know nsa uses them. but im willing to look the other way for for them.

    Reply
  84. Tryfon

    Excuse me, but I can’t find the phrase “free of charge” anywhere in both “About Ubuntu” or “Our Philosophy” pages. The word “charge” is not mentioned either. The only place where I can still find it in the official Ubuntu website is the “What is Ubuntu?” page of the 12.04 Documentation.
    I don’t like these developments at all.

    (Not to mention that the Ubuntu One client and integration sucks big time compared to its competitors.)

    Reply
  85. cheers

    I agree with the post however while I was eager to try Debian unfortunately it put off of by driver problems. I still wanted a Debian based system so I opted for Lubuntu, the light version Ubuntu, such that I don’t get the whining but still have an Ubuntu system. I have more than one machine so use this for an old laptop and I’m satisfied that I can load the latest software on it!

    Mint bursted on the scene as a better Ubuntu so there’s always competition. The great thing about Linux is that the differences are a strength.

    Reply
  86. Cynicist

    These complaints seem odd to me. Ubuntu One for example is more open than Dropbox, the source code is out there free for other distributions to package if they want it. The idea that proprietary software or selling software is bad is short sighted imo. Open-source and free is always preferable but things like highly complex 3d games or software like Valve’s Steam just aren’t going to be that way for obvious reasons, but that doesn’t mean users shouldn’t have access to them. I also don’t see how offering that software goes against the Ubuntu Manifesto, since everything that is produced by Canonical as a part of Ubuntu is free/open-source; You can’t expect their statement to apply to everyone who participates in the Ubuntu ecosystem if you want access to convenient things like Dropbox.

    The only part of your complaints that I sympathize with is that you don’t like Unity. Personally I think it is a fantastic modern interface but I know that it isn’t for everyone and that can’t be helped. Anyway, I get the desire to switch to Debian if you don’t like the commercial ideology of Ubuntu, but please don’t disparage them around privacy concerns. They claim to anonymize the results on their own servers before sending requests to third parties (why distrust them on this and yet trust their software for so many years?) and make disabling this functionality an easy one button click. The reason it isn’t opt-in is because the average computer user wouldn’t even be able to find the feature much less enable it, which would make offering it pointless.

    I’m a happy Ubuntu user (linux veteran of over a decade, starting with Gentoo 0_o) because I’m tired of being required to tinker to get functionality instead of simply having the freedom to do so for fun. In contrast to many who see Ubuntu going in a new and unpleasant direction, I see a continuation of their progress in making Linux usable for the masses without compromising the spirit of free and open-source in the process.

    Reply
  87. Bull

    I’m also leaving Ubuntu for Debian. I went on board with Gutsy Gibbon which was a delight but that started to change release after release and when I installed Perfect Pangolin 12.04 it took me more than 3 days to install Ubuntu and clean out all the spyware crap like Zeitgeist, Geoclue and so on after seeing strange unsolicited outbound connections that could only mean that my privacy was being stolen by this “open source” platform. After that cleanup, I was never sure if they didn’t include extra “features” in their “security updates”. Ubuntu sold out it’s users!

    Reply
  88. Kasun Chathuranga

    Whats wrong with canonical earning some extra bucks from gaming ? FREE does not always imply that you dont have to pay , its FREEDOM !!! Grow up kiddo !!!

    Reply
    1. student

      Why pay for previous century technologies that you can legally get for free? Luckily in open source there always are alternatives.

      Reply
      1. student

        And one thing more. Yes, it is true that free software does not mean free of charge. However, there is a difference between 1) paying developers for implementation of particular feature needed by community, 2) inventing something “revolutionary” (in reality a minor achievement at best, or worse a counterproductive idea) and then spending some effort/budget to convince the public of its “revolutionary” value and 3) being an object of 3rd party marketing without choice. The guys decided to go 2) and 3) and they have full right to do that. And users not happy about that fact are free to switch threir distro.

        Reply
  89. Alex

    A lot of the changes that you do not like about Ubuntu seem to be strategies for addressing bug #1. Ubuntu and Debian are not competing for the same users. Ubuntu depends on Debian having a healthy community with knowledgeable people.

    Unity: Unified interface between mobile and desktop (see what Microsoft is doing with the Metro UI and merging mobile and desktop).
    Ubuntu One: Who doen’t have a cloud service? You can uninstall it or not use it.
    Software Center: I still use Synaptic. Calling programs “apps”: Modern user-centric terminology. Whose idea was it to call them “programs” in the first place? Programs are for computers, apps are for people.
    Search Queries: Creepy invasion of privacy, but so is everything mobile.

    I tried switching to Debian but things didn’t work as smoothly, so I’m still on Ubuntu.

    Reply
  90. RB

    Frankly as time passes I’m starting to dislike Ubuntu more and more with each and everyday. It’s not only the radical changes they make with ever couple of releases in the interface, privacy etc. It’s the altering of the good idea that was behind all that or at least what was sold to us by Shuttleworth. I understand that business is business and cheese costs money, but isn’t why the whole paid support is all about? Let’s not forget that Canonical’s developers are probably the smallest portion of developers who work on Ubuntu. And all those others do it just like that – no money-gain at all! Canonical starts to bind Ubuntu to various commercial companies and gets probably some good cash for that and yet others do its work. This is also one of the major problems with open source software – people earning money on the back of others. I might be an extremist when it comes to that but I do believe that if it’s staits it’s open source AND free, income (via donations etc.) should be for the sole purpose of keeping it up and running. Support on the other hand can be commercial and there’s nothing bad about it. If it wasn’t for the few applications/frameworks I’m working with on a regular basis and the fact that they are maintained only for Ubuntu (I tried compiling one once in Debian and found out that 2/3 of the necessary libraries were missing from the repo; compiling those led to another wave of missing dependencies and so on), I would have dumped Ubuntu even before the last LTS 12.04. Indeed Canonical has altered the philosophy that’s behind Ubuntu and in a quite silent, nasty way, which means that they DO realize what they are doing, which accordingly enrages me even more.

    Reply
  91. kaddy

    Dude…. one of the beauties I found with Debian is the ability to eg: use the stable base (wheezy currently)
    and add the testing / unstable / experimental branch into your sources.list to make newer software available at all times. You have to use apt-pinning to ensure your system strictly keeps wheezy as the main repo to install / update from but you can invoke an “apt-get -t ‘branch’ install ‘package foo’ to install newer versions of specific apps you want and keep those specific packages updated from the repo you installed from…

    I like to have my cake and eat it… and I can do that while running Debian stable with apt-pinning and mixing branches… works great for me!

    Reply
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  93. daffy_duck_nj

    I just recently got back to trying Debian. Its installer is vastly improved, though still text based. I tried the LXDE Live USB version (wheezy). It was fine, but I didn’t feel like going through a lot of manual configuring. Still, it seemed to be faster than Lubuntu, which I’ve used for about a year. Before that, I used Vector Linux (Slackware based) for several years in a few PC’s, always alongside Windows.

    Right now I have Linux Mint Debian Edition using the MATE desktop. It seems to be a good mix of Debian’s robustness and openness, combine with the ease of use from Ubuntu, without the Unity headaches. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think Unity’s bad, I simply don’t prefer using it at all (even in 2D). I have to go through too many clicks just to get to some settings in Unity IME. At least the Windows guys haven’t completely taken away the desktop… don’t even talk to me about the Metro UI, I actually prefer that to Unity!

    So ATM, it’s LMDE + Windows 8.1 + Ubutntu Studio 13.10 for the multimedia stuff. All of that is loaded on a ASUS X54C laptop I bought for $350 in Sept. 2012. It had Win7 at the time, but upgraded to the $15 Win8 offer at the time as my PC was qualified for it. I might actually want to go back to Debian with LXDE, though. (I’ll give it a few days.) I’d love to have at least one working pure Debian setup somewhere. I’ve always liked Debian over Slackware… haven’t tried Red Hat or any of its kids, haha!

    Reply
  94. AP

    I first started using Linux in 2008. I started with Debian → Ubuntu → Mint → Ubuntu. The reason for hopping is pretty much the same for everyone: coming from Windows, Mint was the only distro where my wifi worked out-of-the-box and all required codecs came pre-installed. A month or so later (after getting use to the system, reading a little bit on the web about the different distros – e.g. discovering I had to install the restricted codecs package in Ubuntu :)) I went back to Ubuntu. Was happy with it up to Unity. In-between I tried a couple of other distros (e.g. Kubuntu, openSUSE, Fedora, Arch,…). Was never too keen on KDE (so Kubuntu and openSUSE didn’t appeal to me). Nowadays, I have Arch (Gnome) and Debian (Sid) (XFCE) installed in my computer. I never had any problems with my Debian Sid installation (no crashes, no freezes, nothing). Nevertheless, I wanted to install Debian in another home computer, one my wife and kid usually use. Because I know they just want an OS that stays out of the way I was thinking of Debian Stable (perhaps just backporting one or two applications – like LibreOffice). I was recently googling about the advantages of the different Debian releases and to make a long story short found in one forum someone stating that the stable aspect of Debian Stable is a bit overplayed. He based is argument in the fact that all packages, applications and desktop environments (DE) have bugs that are fixed over time. So if, for instance, Fedora releases Fedora 20 with Gnome 3.10, it has to be more stable than Debian with Gnome 3.4, since Fedora’s Gnome release has been further polished and hence it has to be less buggy and more stable than the previous releases. I always assumed that bug fixes for any application, package, DE, were “incorporated in the system” (using normal system updates) without the need to wait for the next release. Am I wrong?

    Reply
  95. Hector

    You’re right my friend… you’re right. I love the Ubuntu 10.04 interface… but when they change… I give up.
    I like Debian, OpenSuse and Xubuntu. I prefer Xubuntu because is light. Still a Ubuntu, but only with the basic.

    Reply
  96. Bunt

    Well to be honest and fair i only agree on privacy issue part. Closed source are device drivers too and closed source is Flash player. You use?

    What i am trying to say is if somebody offers everything from FOSS and user can choose if it wants paid music, paid closed source software… i think this is not that different on Debian is it? Debian does not come by default with software like that but Steam support is what some Debian user desire for example?

    Privacy that is another issue indeed and here they have work to do.

    I still believe no other Linux distribution has a shot to make a dent compered to Ubuntu and because of that i will and do educate users how to protect their privacy and still use Ubuntu.

    Reply
  97. Bunt

    And about GNOME 3 that is not something for general public in its current state and after GNOME 2 i think Unity is better alternative for now. Debian does not have Unity AFAIK? I know i would not recommend GNOME 3 based Linux distribution to average PC user and on Linux distributions if Unity is not an option then probably i would recommend KDE4 but in the past i recommended GNOME 2 over KDE4.

    Reply
  98. motaz

    I have switched yesterday from Ubuntu 12.04 to Debian wheezy, because of Ubuntu unstablity. I always get errors in Ubuntu.
    I have started using Ubuntu since version 8.
    After installing Debian I get a missing proprietary (RealTalk) wireless adaptor in my Levnovo T400 laptop, but I get it in the repositories after enabling non-free software.

    Are you still using Debian instead of Ubuntu until now?

    Reply
  99. nanker phelge

    Wow, that post reads almost like my own experience verbatim. Ubuntu sure helped the easing into Liniux process, but I eventually preferred the LTS b/c it seemed to me the push for a new release every 6 mos. meant something for me, from about Ubu 6 or 7 onwards, that was previously working was now broke.

    I made the move to Xubu for a year or to get away from gnome, which was alright, but I found the solution for me in #!

    What a great OS that is pretty minimal and easy to config to the 9’s how ever you want. I have learned a lot, and I feel a lot less GUI dependent that ever before. I tried Arch too which was just a bit too bare bones for me, but good on one of my older laptops where I only run a shell without x.

    I (sometimes) feel the pain too though with Deb stable, but for me it is so seldom that its not evn worth a look back.

    Reply
  100. VuurDraak

    !!-Joke Alert-!!

    I think your all evil, every single person writing here is using free software along with tainted proprietary BIOS code !!
    No one should use proprietary software !!! Remove your BIOS !! Remove all other firmware from your mouse etc too !!
    !!-Joke Ends-!!

    I’m a happy user of Ubuntu LTS precise 12.04.4, it rocks.
    When I hear Richard Stallman on youtube tears come in my eyes and I agree with most he is saying, Linux needs people like him, it’s good that the argument he makes is pushed.

    That said I need a usable PC, and when I buy a graphics card for 200+ Euro I want it to work.
    I use proprietary drivers in Windows XP & Windows 7 (I got a triple boot system), why would I now not use these drivers in Linux ?.? I payed for these drivers …. So I’m going to use them.

    If a GPU maker comes along that can give me just as great graphics as Nvidia can and also gives me GNU GPL licensed drivers, great I will go for that, reality is though there is no such thing around to chose.

    I started Linux once with Red Hat and later Open Suse, and got 3D running, after maybe a week of trying stuff, finally on my Open Suse box, I was amazed back then to run some 3D games.

    Ubuntu is much more easier though, proprietary drivers are handed to you and stuff just works out of the box. Nowadays I run stuff in Linux I could have never dreamed of before, I run Civilization IV, Tropico, Planeshift, Day of Defeat, Half Life, Counter Strike, Team Fortress 2, Dota 2 and mostly World of Tanks.

    I run World of Tanks with Wine 1.7.4-CSMT @ 30~72 frames per second at max settings on my Geforce GTX 660, there is a great Ubuntu community out there, and always people who experience the same problems as you as Ubuntu has so many users. I only go to Windows if stuff really doesn’t work in Linux.

    12.04s dash is not phoning home to Amazone (a feature that can be switch off in privacy settings with a simple click in v13) and other stuff people don’t like can be easily replaced. I have no problems with Canonical trying to make a buck, although I agree that the Amazone thing in dash should be opt-in.
    I have blocked also some other persistent internet connections to Canonical, like geo-ip and I do not use Canonicals NTP time servers. Some Canonical addresses simply point to 127.0.01 in the hosts file.

    It sort of amuses me though that people who claim that they want the freedom to change their OS the way they want it to work, don’t change stuff but immediately go to another OS if one feature of the standard package in an OS is not what they like. I plan to stay with Ubuntu as long as it’s the easiest and most supported OS, specially game wise. Valve’s Steam is officially supporting Ubuntu and that’s for me good enough of a reason to stay on Ubuntu. Unless people rather see me gaming on Windows of cause 😉

    Why am I playing games on Linux rather then the two other OSes installed ?
    Ease of use, in Ubuntu virtually all programs are in the repository, only some games I play are not and they auto-update as soon as you start them. I’m very lazy and Ubuntu helps me not to worry and be lazy, thank you Ubuntu 🙂
    Of cause it’s also fun playing around with Linux, but Linux is finally getting somewhere. Linux needs kids, moms & grandfathers who want to use it, Linux is still cool, people want to use it, but the reason people don’t, is because Linux can not do all the stuff people want to do with their PC. A PC is a machine that’s there to do the things people want to do with a PC, play games, talk to friends, listen to music and movies etc. Most normal people do not care at all if Debian is more stable then Ubuntu or if Arch Linux is more hipper than thou, people want a usable PC and Ubuntu is trying to give that to people. In the end most support by game company’s will go to the Linux that is most used, and with 0.5% of total global OS shares that’s Ubuntu.

    Reply
  101. VuurDraak

    Looks like the post above me is a commercial to Amazone, maybe it’s Mark Shuttleworth, the poor guy needs some cash as nobody is buying or giving anything to him 🙁

    In a youtube video somebody said that the items sold through Ubuntu One run in the hundreds, max 300. (for a single item) That’s not a business that’s a hobby. I can understand why Mark is getting so desperate to try anything to get some money in.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKwWPQ1Orzs (25:45 is where the talk of sales on Ubuntu is)
    [ Published on Apr 29, 2013, “Why Linux Sucks” from Linux Fest NorthWest 2013.]

    At the same time Microsoft is virtually giving away their OS to normal people, as long as your willing to go to the Piratebay and build your own PC. MS will give you updates to your pirated OS and not kill it. I’m also a pirate rawwrRrr. Reality is that people are voting with their feet and rather steal an OS that does what they want then use some free stuff that doesn’t work. People don’t buy PC’s to use it as a table to put beers on.

    Reply
  102. Drew

    The advantage/problem with Ubuntu and it’s derivitives is that it’s designed to come as a package deal. Sure, there are some 20,000 packages you can download to “customize” your system, but the basic layout (Unity), the kernel, pieces of key system software, none of it is meant to be swapped or modified. That’s why Ubuntu has several sister distros. Mint does the same thing, releasing the Mint core with different desktop environments layered on top. You can switch between them, but it’s messy.

    I came to Debian out of necessity. I have an old Dell OptiPlex P4 desktop housing a 12 year old Nvidia card. Newer kernels and drivers have dropped support for this hardware, and Debian was the only system I tried that would let me keep an old kernel, and thus, an old graphics driver too. It wasn’t easy to put together, but in the end, this ancient relic was turned into a useful desktop. It even plays Minecraft.

    That’s what Debian brings to the party. Out of the box, it seems stodgy, but if you want cutting edge, you can easily use Backports (or take some risks and pull packages in from Testing or Unstable), picking and choosing the components that will drive your system. This gives you much greater hardware flexibility, and it also teaches you a lot in the process. I’ve brought Debian to my ’07 Toshiba laptop and my partner’s brand new Acer V3-571 as well, and by adjusting the packages and kernels used, I’ve had no issues with any hardware or functionality.

    Then there’s the Canonical issue. Over the last couple of years, the Ubuntu Manifesto has disappeared, as you noted, for a more commercial approach. Developments in Ubuntu are rarely pushed back to Debian (Mint contributes more to Debian than Ubuntu does these days what with Mate and Cinnamon vying for a spot in Jessie). The online searches, integrated commercial services, the list goes on. Ubuntu is slick looking, but it’s becoming more and more like using Windows in so far that you’re not sure you can trust the system or its intentions.

    Nice to see others thinking the same way.

    Reply
  103. Stephan T

    I (went) am going the same path as you, with the difference that I dropped Ubuntu in favor of Mint in a hurry. That was when Katya came out, now we are at Petra. I am usually running 3 distros on 3 partitions (Debian 7.4, LMDE and Petra) for exactly the reasons you outlined….Petra grabs the wifi and Debian does not, so I will work that out later…and so on, you get the idea. 2 of the distros, LMDE and Debian also can share /home. Windows is no longer present and has not been for 5 years. If I screw something up in one distro, I boot from the other one and fix it.
    I almost forgot: the old audacity which is still in the wheezy repositories transcodes from flv to mp3 without any problem, LMDE and Petra have the newer audacity and that functionality is gone for good.

    So, the gist of it all is flexibility, and I get “IT” working on one distro and then see if it is fixable in the others.
    I even ported the entire LMDE system to nilfs2, but I discovered that there is no real advantage over ext4.

    Bottom line: I am getting tired . But as long as I have a photo editing and music collection platform that isn’t microsoft, I will keep doodling with Linux, and nothing else, for now.
    Greetings, all!

    Reply
  104. William J. Lawyer

    I am a network supervisor for our city government. My reason for using Linux on our servers is largely economical. Microsoft server licensing is, IMO, a complete rip-off. After buying the server license, the CALs, and additional “server” licenses for things like mail, or SQL “Server” the MS licensing can cost more than the server hardware. With Linux the primary cost is the server hardware, with some labor to set everything up and configured properly.

    And Linux is rock-solid stable. While MS servers have become fairly stable in recent years, they have NOT eliminated all the security holes that plague their O/Ss. So most of our MS servers have been virtualized, with plans to convert the remaining ones to VMs in the near future.

    As for speed, let’s face it. Even the fastest machines spend most of their time waiting for user input. They wait faster, but they still spend a lot of time idling. (Okay, this is not as true for gamers, but for real work, I stand by the wait faster concept!) Where you see the real performance of Linux is on older hardware. Linux will run quite acceptably on old hardware – hardware that Win7 won’t even boot on.

    I also started with Redhat. I later installed Mandrake for a short time. I tried Gentoo – but frankly never got it working, LOL! Later I installed Ubuntu which was pretty slick at the time. I started using Aptosid when we adopted it at work a few years ago. It’s easy to install and set up, and is quite solid. When Aptosid forked, on advice of one of the experts I know and trust, I moved to Siduction. It wasn’t as clean to install as Aptosid, but was stable and responsive when installed – with one hitch. I could never get the closk to stay set properly. It would reset to Greenwich time with each reboot!

    Now I’m using Debian “Jessie” and I think this is one I’ll stay with for a long time. I’ll likely install a Windows VM (probably XP) for those few times when I have to use MS. But I now do almost everthing at home with Linux.

    One last thought – a “plug” really! If you use Linux and have not tried Kingsoft Office, you owe it to yourself to install it. IMO it’s way better than Open Office or Libre Office.
    🙂
    wjl

    Reply
  105. james1052

    Thanks for this article. Good insight. I think this comes right down to how to make money in the open source world. Canonical is still not making money, although they hope to someday. 😛

    Reply
  106. Mark

    Stumbled upon this article whiles searching for a solution to the continuous rebooting of a new Debian Wheezy dual boot installation with Windows 7. I can’t say how disappointed I’ve been at the installation and the continuing problems with Linux desktop editions.

    I started with Red Hat/Fedora, Moved to Mandrake/Mandriva, was frustrated and returned to Windows and then Ubuntu created a stir and so I returned to Linux until Ubuntu started locking me out by mysteriously messing with user account passes.

    A few days ago I read about an open source video editor that I thought sounded more pro than the one I use on Windows, I installed Ubuntu with the intention of testing the editor. Within hours I was frustrated by the amount of crashes on a machine that shares Windows 7 generally without a hitch. I thought maybe Debian would be a better bet since the editor comes bundeled with AVlinux that is build on Debian. It took me the better part of three days to just install Debian with all the network/Wi-Fi issues and then getting a desktop since that was not installed in the buggy process.

    After this experience I don’t know if I should complain about Windows or about Canonical trying to make some money if it will mean delivering a more consumer friendly product.

    Am I disappointed? I sure am as one who embraces the open onkwledge and technology movement.

    Reply
  107. Mark

    Stumbled upon this article while searching for a solution to the continuous rebooting of a new Debian Wheezy dual boot installation with Windows 7. I can’t say how disappointed I’ve been at the installation and the continuing problems with Linux desktops.

    I started with Red Hat/Fedora, moved to Mandrake/Mandriva, was frustrated and returned to Windows and then Ubuntu created a stir and so I returned to Linux, until Ubuntu started locking me out by mysteriously messing with user account passes.

    A few days ago I read about an open source video editor that I thought sounded more pro than the one I use on Windows. I installed Ubuntu with the intention of testing the editor. Within hours I was frustrated by the amount of crashes on a machine it shares Windows 7, which works generally without a hitch. I thought maybe Debian would be a better bet since the editor comes bundled with AVlinux that is built on Debian. It took me the better part of three days to just install Debian with all the network/Wi-Fi issues and then getting a desktop since that was not installed in the buggy process.

    After this experience I don’t know if I should complain about Windows or about Canonical trying to make some money if it will mean delivering a more consumer friendly product.

    Am I disappointed? I sure am as one who embraces the open knowledge and technology movement.
    (Pardon the dual post as there were some errors to be corrected)

    Reply
  108. pseudonimo

    I also switched from Ubuntu 10.04 LTS to Wheezy.
    It was not easy to install Debian, I could not install Grub nor LILO, until I zeroed all the unused space in the disk, and the partition table, just leaved the boot sector.
    And installed Debian placing the disk in an USB case, as recomended in some help forum.
    After that the installation was terse. Now Debian is running fine, much more faster than Ubuntu, because it does not install uneeded daemons.
    Now I configured Gnome 3, with a menu similat to the previous version, which I already know.
    I do not like to change everything just to follow a sutpid fashion, like the iDiots avid to buy the last gadget just to earn a status of adict-conumer.
    When one use a computer to work, one does not want to waste time learning how to use the computer as a beginer just because one marketting expert changes everithing to look differtent with a false promise to be better.
    Many people adopted Ubuntu from Windows, because they were tired of all the unneeded services (daemons) that just slows the machine. Windows also has a cryptic way to configure, with the false argument that their interface is easier for users.
    Android is a derivative of Linux, but not free, it also has a cryptic configuration, and an App Store that spyes what one installs.
    Ubuntu is becoming a new android like system.

    You are wrong saying that Apps is how the programs are called now, let me explain the difference:
    App is a name formed by the first 3 letters of the word Application, as such, it is just a part of an application. For that reason, Apps are incomplete programs, got it?

    That is an important limitation of Android, the available “Apps” are fragments of programs, you need to download many either bought or gratis Apps to have some functionallity that could have with a similar program that you can download from a true GNU/OS distro.

    Tired of all the incongruent changes of Ubuntu, I decided a new attempt to install Debian, this time, which took me too much time, but after all I have a succesfull installation.
    I know that Slackware is hardest to install but much more stable because one compiles everything. When I have time to explore it I will.

    Freedom is important, more in nowdays where ACTA is gaining the adderence of many corrupt governments like the mexican which signed it against the recommendation of the past congress. The new congress changed all the constitution even in the stated as unchangable principles with no discussion, one of the laws under discussion is more radical than ACTA being more intrusive. Poor mexicans they are not even aware of that yet.

    Move to GNU/OSes that adder to freedom ideals, Ubuntu is a fake free os.

    Reply
  109. hadrons123

    Yes, canonical has terrorized ubuntu in so many ways. I was using gentoo for the last one year and fedora, Debian, Arch linux previously on various systems I owned.

    I accidentally wanted to check how Xfce 4.11 is doing since only xubuntu14.04 is the only distro offering it for the last few days.

    After all these years of distro hopping and scouring the internet all I learnt is there is abosolutely no need to use the other distros when Xubuntu offers such a polished distro experience. You can do all the hunting you want with arch linux or unstoppable compiling gentoo and always alpha class software fedora too, but when it comes to peace of mind you need a polished distro which will cover all the bases and with a Good LTS support. I like centos for these reasons. But its not a good home desktop distro. You will have to do a whole bunch of alchemy(3rd party conflicting repos) to bring centos to the laptop or desktop. Fedora is not good desktop distro out of the box but at least better than centOS. Arch and Gentoo are essentially “let’s throw the kitchen sink away” distros. There is no concept of polish there.
    Linux mint is basically ubuntu with green clothes. Except for cinnamon there is nothing that is being created at Linux mint. 99% of all the packages in mint are from ubuntu repos. The mate desktop is 95% old gnome 2 code with 5% current fixes only for compatiblity with newer linux components like gtk3 and upower etc.

    I like debian a lot. But when it comes to polish, it is nowhere near ubuntu or even Mint. There is too much politics and bickering going on inside to let users have a polished distro experience. Ironically debian will have BTS page for multimedia packges like VLC , smplayer and flash player(adobe) and a neat debian bug tracker and mailing list for those, but they won’t let the users have the pleasure of using the wireless and ethernet firmware in the install CD(Debian deliberately doesn’t ship firmware) when they are already available in the offiical repos. You need to read the mailing lists to understand that almost all the distros are same, just a different flavor in each one them.
    There will be support for anything in this world. Ubuntu community is so big with lot of love and lot of hate. Each one will have such a difficult time understanding one another.

    One day you will like ice cream another day chocolate and it goes on and on and on…… Linux is same.

    Reply
    1. pat

      Agreed with this guy. Like it or not poeple like esthetics. Debian for all it is isn’t pretty.

      Something I forgot too add regarding “free”. I’d like to think that if you really did get much use out of a distro you’d do the decent thing and throw the team a donation anyway.

      Reply
    2. Steven

      I know this is an old post, but have to throw in my 2 cents — Debian is really the mother of all GNU / Linux distros now, and its main hangup is the lack of firmware when installing. You have to scramble to find the firmware files, and by default, the installation shell is very limited. Of course you can work around everything if you know what your doing — but a novice user is out of luck. This firmware issue is precisely why Debian is not mainstream.

      But here is the thing … NO ONE IN THEIR RIGHT MIND USES THE DEFAULT US DEBIAN INSTALL DISKS.
      Get the “unofficial” version with firmware and necessary non-free stuff already included, like here below, or dozens of other mirrors:

      http://cdimage.debian.org/mirror/cdimage/unofficial/non-free/cd-including-firmware/7.6.0/i386/iso-cd/

      They should put precise directions to the firmware/unofficial versions of their install disks right on the front page of debia.org. This would vastly improve a first-timers experience. The first thing I install on any debian system is Synaptic, because only the creators of apt know how to use it.

      > apt-get install synaptic

      Reply
  110. thomas

    Its the same old argument. Whats wrong with Ubuntu trying to bring Linux to the masses. For the amount of hate Microsort get youd think everyone would be rejoycing. I have to laugh at the “ethical” arguement.

    I bet 90% of the posters on here aren’t vegan and running about in plastic shoes. I suppose some people want to keep Linux their own little secret. Sad really. Your dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t.

    Reply
  111. thomas

    Forgot too add. Whats with all the hate? Debian users hate Ubuntu and Mint users. Arch hate them all. Gentoo hate all of them. Linux will never make it. Canonical seem to be the only ones who are trying to take it any way sort of mainstream and they get slated. Regarding the privacy thing and the Amazon thing… You do know you can switch all that off right? Why no hate for Redhat?

    Reply
  112. pat

    I really don’t get some of the above coments. Like “I used to use Ubuntu but now use Debian and its far better” or the same with Mint.

    They’re 99% the same.

    Also, some of you must be real unlucky with bugs. I’ve ran Alpha’s and Beta’s of distros and never had a problem. I’ve ran windows for years and never got a a virus once. Lots of strawman arguements. But thats the Linux community for you.

    The only problem I ever ran into was no sound on Debian 6 which I just couoldn’t be arsed trying to fix. I’m now using Testing with no trouble. I’ll probably change to Unity (I think its great) tomoroow and CentOS the wek after that.

    Reply
  113. tsturzl

    Selling software through Ubuntu isn’t a bad idea. It might grind your gears because it’s proprietary software, but there is nothing that’s forcing you to buy/use this software. The general fact is that as developers we still need to make money, and not always does an opensource model work in this situation. For instance I’m creating a game framework, the game engine is opensource, but the editor is closed source. That’s a great opensource business model, and pretty generic at that. However if you’re selling a single piece of software, it’s hard to opensource a fragment of it in some cases. Also Ubuntu One sells cloud storage because it costs money to host, this isn’t preventing you from using dropbox or google drive as an alternative, however these services also charge for extra storage.

    I’m assuming they’re moving towards “apps” rather than programs because apps are more system specific and are typically based around a framework for that platform. This often makes security and integration much more simple for the developer and the end user alike. “App” isn’t just a trendy word, it carries its own benefit. Where as a program to me is something like a Web Browser, Game, or something along those lines that’s not necessarily interacting with component of your framework or really needs to conform to your UI. Components of an OS are programs, and apps are tools that add to the OS in an integrated manner. In a technical definition Apps are a software that directly help users perform tasks, whereas a computer program is simple a set of instructions that run on a computer. If that clarifies this seemingly gray area in computer science.

    I don’t think ubuntu is that bad. I’m not a big fan of Unity, because I like to see the grit of the machine and I’m not afraid of spending lots of time working with command line. However, ubuntu is making a great stride towards its goal, and though its been heavily scrutinized for being “bloated”, “non-linux like”, “too user friendly”, “shiny”, or what ever people are saying this month about it, it’s been the most popular linux distro for a great number of reasons. Debian’s packages are too often times way too outdated, and Ubuntu all together has more packages. Ubuntu is pre-configured, and as I’ve gotten older I’ve realized I don’t have a week to fine tune my linux environment to have the coolest Conky script on the block.

    Reply
  114. Hans Damgaard

    Listen guys, the pro and contra arguments above on Canonical mostly makes sense. However, the reality of the grim world is that we just need a vision for the devices out there, As you know, the PCs are selling in rapidly decreasing numbers. So Shuttleworth is a visionary who has realized, that without a combined system, Linux is a dead duck. Sorry, but this is the sad reality. So, I stick wit h Canonical, donate quite decently at each LTS upgrade and really hope that Canonical has oomph to create the critical mass we are in dire need of. I consider the above discussion as removed from this world: The developers NEED money, plenty and fast, to keep up with the rapid development is mobile devices. If Linux is not there very ,very soon, well our beloved operating system will be but a parenthesis in history. And yes, I know it is the underlying system on a bunch of devices, but it must be recognized by the masses to remain interesting. If this means, that the non profit aspect suffers somewhat, well .. just look at the alternatives. For the real world, Canonical is the most serious contender to keep Linux relevant. Btw: I stick to the PC, nothing compares.

    Reply
  115. Don@tas

    I can completely related to the Lee’s ideas. My first affair with ubuntu system was using 9.04 version and it was great system, great sense of freedom and control after using windows os. However things changed. Some of the improvements made in UI (unity, auto-hiding globalmenu) under canonical leadership in my view were fuelled by the need to gain control over the system’s legal rights and over the user. This model of business by harnessing Open source community is well known and that’s where Ubuntu was and is going. But I completely understand this move, after all, Mark Shuttleworth was pumping his own cash into this whole thing, and the compromise was inevitable. Barriers to entry to OS business are huge, yet he is still pushing forward. Maybe after Edward’s NSA scandal more businesses will consider moving to Ubuntu and its great, because both Open source hybrids (like ubuntu) & pure open source can coexist. I think everyone in open source community who supports free and open software should be grateful to canonical and Mark, because many innovations in ubuntu were fed back into Debian and to open source community. From my own perspective, I’m also moving back to Debian gnome3 and want to be free from free market/capitalistic philosophy, free from commercial influence, free from spying etc. Most of us spend a lot time using OS, and it has to be free and completely open, just like internet, which provided a great medium for escapism. Unfortunately the nature of all business organisations is to dominate hence gain control over users & suppliers, as well as limit powers of stakeholders upon which they depend. The good thing is that those users who don’t afraid uncertainty and a bit of learning, will always have a choice.

    Reply
  116. Eric Sebasta

    Linux Mint has whipped the pants off of every standard “desktop” Linux installation since Linux Mint 8, Ubuntu 6.

    It still does. I build custom distros and most of the time, I build from Mint because it is just better then starting with a stock debian or ubuntu distro and adding all the proper drivers, fixing annoyances, etc, etc…

    One quick example, the lastest 14.04 xubuntu gets confused when you shut the lid on a laptop. REALLY? There are more laptop “desktop” users then desktop computers now. That is posted as a minor annoyance and Ubuntu rolls on…

    Reply
  117. P.

    This article is more than year old, but it’s still very actual.

    Like the author, I did not like Ubuntu since Unity, Ubuntu One, Amazon stuff. I switched to Fedora and tried to work in Gnome3. I’ve used F17, F18, F19 and F20 beta. I liked the freshness of programs – for example, it took just a few days to get the latest version of Firefox, but at the same time I did not like to receive a new kernel every week. I did not like the way Gnome3 was evolving, by becoming dumber and dumber, by hiding and removing specific features with each version and in despite of that – becoming more resource hungry.

    Last week I’ve tried Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7. Like Debian, they also have “their own policy”. By default, NTFS is not supported, neither VPN connections. The user must install packages from many repo’s to get necessary programs, and hope to get around the dependency conflicts. So, I’ve switched back to Fedora 19.

    What I learned so far? There are no perfect linux distribution and desktop environment so far. Remember the days when there were just a few? Gnome, KDE, XFCE, LXDE – just choose one you like. This causes fragmentation amongst linux users. And the things slowly gets more complicated with Ubuntu dropping X.org. I would like to hope, that there will be one or two “big” distributions in the nearest future, which will be stable/modern/user friendly at the same time.

    Reply
  118. Hafidz

    I love Ubuntu, easy and less headache with hardware support. Get the minimal CD version and run it with I3 window manager or other tiling wm and use all the modern hardware the world has to offer and you are in heaven. This runs on my laptop

    And/or run ubuntu with Unity on your htpc and big screen TV with xbmc installed. Everybody from your grandma to your children will love you!!

    Better yet, spend time on Arch and keep on fiddling with it until you never want to use other OS again. Hey, its your play PC, arch rocks and they have everything and its KISS complexity confusion will keep your life occupied 🙂 Slim rolling design with tiling window manager is the way to go ! Runs on my play PC

    Even better, grab a copy of freebsd 10 and feel the need to go back to ubuntu. Waiting for the OS to load will make you kill yourself but zfs is there to save you from the horrors of all the hardware incompatibilities. Add-in pcbsd tools, mix-match your system/software management the way you want it and you wonder how on earth the hardware supports sucks more on freebsd/pcbsd and bsd in general. It is the perfect OS.

    So, it really doesn’t matter which OS you choose, as long as it helps you do your work, makes you happy fiddling with it, less questions from your grandma and family members. Just use whatever that serves the purpose. I will take windows/macosx anytime if some of those nice softwares/toys are free… of course , throw in zfs and I’ll stick with it. My data worth so much more than any of the OS.

    Reply
  119. Steve

    Well why i’m not using linux at all is due painfully discovery that even deb packages are not compatible and it is largest linux app repository, that i do not mention installing from source – user choce software install under Linux is living nightmare, can do not, is not supported and so on and list goes infinite ! This only shows how not user friendly Linux rely is. Developer –prescribe– what and how is to be used – no user freedom for advertised free and open source this is 1 milion times greater user limitation that was ever implemented in win !!! Running Win Xp until dead and buried to infinite !!! Linux is not salvation it’s living hell !!!

    Reply
  120. Michele

    I tried Ubuntu, really I did.
    But I couldn’t get used to Unity..
    I tried it with Gnome but for some reason the stuff the mac way of open/close/minimize buttons down your throat and that was the limit for me..
    Installed Debian, haven’t been happier.

    I did go from Gnome to KDE though. Gnome was okay but I like the eye candy that KDE brings.
    Installing it without a desktop and manually installing KDE does leave you with a few missing essentials so it’s a little more work than when just going with the Debian Gnome Desktop.

    Of course installing Debian with the Desktop and installing KDE afterwards would have been easier and faster but I wanted a clean system without gnome installed.

    Reply
  121. Blue Nexus

    Ubuntu sux under Unity.. Get Kubuntu if you want the Win7 fell of KDE Plasma. It has all the nice things Ubuntu had before they screwed it up.. There are also Gnome 2 & 3 variants, though I cannot remember the name of those OS’s.

    Reply
  122. Bob

    What has worked adequately if not very well for myself is dual and multiple booting of different OS’s (Operating Systems) on one or more hard drives.Create the partitions first on the hard drive or hard drives that with OS will be installed. Microsoft Windows requires installment on a primary partition with the NTFS formatting and needs to be installed first. Linux can be installed after Microsoft Windows on a primary or extended partition. I use the ext4 formatting for my Linux OS installations.. The Linux Swap partition can also be installed on a primary or extended partition after Microsoft Windows is installed. . Do not be alarmed when you are using Microsoft windows if you do not see or find the Linux partitions. Linux will see the Microsoft Windows partitions and if not use the NTFS toolkit for Linux. I have found that Microsoft Windows (XP SP3, version 7, and version 8.x) plays nice in dual and multiple booting environments. My personal preference is Microsoft Windows 8 install first, then Linux Mint 17 Gnome amd64 (Linux Mint 17 Cinnamon if you like t Microsoft Windows version 7 look and fell). Then if I want a 3rd Linux OS you can install Debian or Ubuntu. A 1 GB Swap partition is usually more than adequate however there are still ongoing debates over how large or small to make the Swap partition. This configuration basically give me the best options (Microsoft Windows, user friendly beginners Linux, and intermediate or advanced users Linux). It also keeps the hard disk partitions to 4 on a single hard drive. I hope that is helps the t Microsoft Windows and Linux community.

    Reply
  123. Bob

    Addendum to previous post….I post Linux 17 Gnome when I meant to post Linux 17 Mate. I intentionally did not specify which version or architecture (i386, i586, and64) for the Debian or Ubuntu Linux. It varies depending on the computer hardware. Sorry for the typos. It should read: My personal preference is Microsoft Windows 8 installed first, then Linux Mint 17 Gnome amd64 (Linux Mint 17 Cinnamon if you like t Microsoft Windows version 7 look and feel). Then if wanted a 3rd Linux OS can be installed such as Debian or Ubuntu. My apologies to everyone reading my posts. Bob

    Reply
  124. Bob

    Addendum to previous post….I post Linux 17 Gnome when I meant to post Linux 17 Mate Sorry again, Lack of adequate sleep perhaps….lol I am still getting used to the Gnome to Mate transition…though I have never had any desire to Mate with a Gnome….. 😉

    Reply
  125. Ben

    Just curious — are you still on Debian? Or did you defect back to Ubuntu? I noticed your tor-browser launcher is a PPA, so I wasn’t sure if you’d gone back to Ubuntu or not… I’m curious to know your reasons either way. Thanks for carrying the crypto torch!

    Reply
    1. Micah Lee Post author

      These days I use several distros. At the moment, I’m primarily using Qubes, mostly with Debian AppVMs, and sometimes with Fedora AppVMs. Qubes is kind of a pain in the ass to use, but has some big security benefits over traditional operating systems (like Debian, Ubuntu, Windows, OSX, and most everything else).

      But I also have a computer with Ubuntu that I use to test software I develop, and to release PPA software. Ubuntu still has an enormous userbase, and the most quality software available to Ubuntu users the better.

      After using Debian for a long time, there are some distinct advantages that Ubuntu has: it’s simpler to always have new, well-tested software. You don’t need to install stable then decide between using testing or sid — you just install the latest version and it works. The fact that Ubuntu built and supports the PPA infrastructure means that that just works too. And I actually like that Ubuntu is one of the few distros that has swallowed the EUFI secure boot pill — I can lock down my BIOS more effectively if I’m running Ubuntu.

      But I totally <3 Debian and their dev community, and am excited that both pieces of software that are currently available in my PPA will soon be apt-get installable directly from Debian Jessie, and shortly there-after in Ubuntu 14.10 (because Ubuntu still picks up packages from Debian).

      So in summary, I don't have hard feelings against Ubuntu. When I use it I simply turn of the spying anti-feature, and then it's a pretty good OS, and because of that I still recommend it to people. I also really respect Debian's ethics and free software leadership, and I recommend it to my slightly nerdier friends.

      Reply
      1. Ben

        Thanks for the follow-up 🙂 I must say, I have a similar issue with the Debian testing / Ubuntu conundrum. I agree most closely with Debian’s core philosophy of free software, but testing repos are under active development and bug / security backport lags from sid and stable make me nervous, although I haven’t encountered an issue *yet*. But I know it’s a possibility, and it’ll suck when (not if) it happens.

        I’ve been keeping an eye on Qubes for some time now, and now that RC2 is out I might just have to give a try… But I have a feeling I’ll end up settling back on Ubuntu until either Qubes v2 is finished up or Debian testing moves to stable.

        Thanks as always for your great work for the community!

        Reply
  126. Dora Smith

    I’m thinking about moving from Kubuntu to Debian.

    It looks as though to follow the only documents or books on how to use Debian I’d have to have a degree in computer science.

    I’m specifically interested in alternatives to Windows 8. Compared to that, I’ve no idea what you’re talking about with Ubuntu being designed for smart phones and tablets. Windows 8 makes even Mac look user friendly. (You can actually install MAC on a compatible desktop for $20)

    I haven’t encountered those ads yet – maybe people got so mad they withdrew them. This was written in 2013 and it’s now 9/14.

    Reply
    1. Dora Smith

      One other thing; I would not want to use such an old version of Firefox. Many features on current web sites will only run on a current browser. And what is the deal with needing an OS’s own version of Firefox? Cannot Debian use Firefox? Particularly since Firefox itself is featured on Mint and Ubuntu.

      Reply
  127. canoodle

    Good choice!

    While ubuntu does great things on laptops.

    I mainly use Debian as server or VMs on OSX.

    and i usually start with the net install minimal iso from debian, less software = less trouble.

    i love the minimalistic approach…

    It’s good to hear that you have chosen free software as in freedom…

    Reply
  128. canoodle

    ok i have one old laptop that runs knoppix which comes with minimalistic window manager desktop “xfce”… and everything works! even youtube and wifi! ;-p

    Reply
  129. Sajith VK

    Since you mentioned about Ubuntu phone and fireFox OS, sailFishOS will be a clean and better alternative. It is open, and available for high-end phones as well. Firefox OS is equally good, but devices with firefox os falls in the lower end of the spectrum.

    Reply
  130. Hashish

    Nice discussion.
    Searching this terms “choose distro fuckin choice best” in google brought me here.
    But the ? is : How long can u keep ur data?
    Nevermind what OS u use.. A picture will ALWAYS REMAIN .JPEG/PNG. Never .DEB .UBU

    MSDOS HDD Style:
    } PRIMARY=30GO XP / 40GO 7ev3n / 40GO UbuntuGNOME
    } EXTENDED=40GO NTFS for important file / 20GO Qimo 2.0 for my kidz / 20GO BackBox / 25 GO OpenSuse

    XP = old good days, mp3 stands for winamp.EXE, RIP 🙂 = everyday use
    7 = nothing but XP tuned (dont like it) = once a week (hey? are u alive?)
    UGnome = Multimedia, internet (micahflee.com) = everyday.
    Qimo 2.0 = they luv Tuxpaint, GCompris … when mum is out.
    BackBox = Audit. sniffing around… = week end
    OpenSuse = computer colossus = week end

    LinuxMint? Really?

    Greetingz from .ma

    Ah! Im 43. Using comps since 1982.

    Reply
  131. John B.

    I only recently discovered this article while searching for an unrelated topic. I started experimenting with a handful of Linux distros about nine months ago. I excluded Ubuntu mainline because I felt Cannonical was using Unity to sell out its users. I tried Linux Mint 13 Mate but didn’t like it because I was too green to know how to add additional repos. Then I tried Lubuntu 13.x but didn’t like it because key things didn’t work correctly and because you could only customize the panels so much.

    Next came Xubuntu 14.04 and this time I thought I’d found the one. After about 90 days unstable updates and unstable security fixes broke a key function of the OS and that was a wrap.

    At this point I started to think that maybe Linux wasn’t for me. I did more research and discovered that Linux Mint was an efficient and ethical Ubuntu variant. I gave Mint 17 Mate a shot and it has been on this machine for six months now with no problems.

    Reply
  132. Rasputin

    I just went back to Ubuntu 10.04 server with a minimal GUI. The only frustration is updating outside of the repositories but otherwise works great for me. I do agree the “new” Ubuntu is not for me, to commercial.

    Reply
  133. Jason

    I’d switch too. Any distro that has a “manifesto” or a set and written core belief and then later just ditches it for profits when the profits become available isn’t trustworthy. Never trust anyone that can’t stick by their word.

    Reply
  134. Paul

    Today I am testing out Debain for my first time. Typed into the live(Iceweasel) Disk why use Ubuntu over Debain. This link appeared for this article. I presently use Linux-Mint have a couple of Video’s up of my system, I run VMware and have since back in the early 2000’s when I first tried out Ubuntu. I was pleased when I left Win7 this last go around that my Registration was still valid for my original purchase of VMware. I love Linux’s Speed have always loved it for it’s snap and ability to make a system hum right along. This last time around I started to upgrade my computer, Went from the phenom processor to the AMD FX 8350 black, a new Graphics card, Sound card ect and it just flys, Recently I started to run the Windows 10 release in a VM it works flawlessly. So presently I am not so certain about changing from the Linux-Mint system to the Debain but I do like to experiment. I am after all running dual Samsung SSD’s and things can be changed pretty easy between them. To make a long story short, this last time back at the Linux Desktop (be it Debain or Linux Mint or Fedora) is my last trip back. I can see it has matured and come of age, Windows and even MAC OS that I emulate in my VM’s work just like the actual machines so why should i waste time locked into MS bloated OS. I can run it up on a VM and do my taxes and any other proprietory stuff I need to accomplish. After all at 55 years old I have a stack of Windows Disks and a few MAC disks as well.
    Thanks for the read and hope only the best to all of you

    Reply
  135. salvo grimaldi

    I use only DEBIAN i tryed all i begin with mandrake redhat7.0 then fedora ubuntu , but only DEBIAN IS THE BEST.
    TY ALL
    W DEBIAN
    P.S. I think Debian is “boicottata” because is the best !! (IM italian) ty.

    Reply
  136. Michah

    i’ve been a Debian user since version 5 and now I’m on 8 and love it. I also use RHEL 5/6/7 at work and enjoy it. It does get a bit annoying switching back and forth with yum and apt but it is what it is. Both have repos you can pull (Software Collections, testing, etc) to get newer versions of AMP (apache mysql and php/perl) which is what I need for some applications. All together Debian and RHEL are super stable. I have servers running for several months to years without reboots.

    Ubuntu was always an OS I wanted to use but felt their roadmap didn’t match what I wanted in an OS.

    I’m also a CLI type of guy, even my laptop has no GUI 🙂 Nothing beats loading up an OS in milliseconds 🙂

    Reply
  137. indierobot

    All points are well outlined. Yes, there are some issues with Debian even today but hey freedom has its price. Another benefit of using Debian is that it’s a natural choice as a server OS. So, having the same beasts both on desktop/laptop and on the server is a good idea. I never regret using Debian on my laptop. For a while I was using Fedora/CentOS but past couple of years switched to Debian. The only discomfort that I have is a slightly worse WiFi connection but I can live with that.

    Reply
  138. Meh

    Arch Linux is a much better alternative if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, you can even roll your own distro as the entire project is geared towards such a standard. On another plus side you have the famous Pacman package manager, which allows you to install software once and never worry about updates.

    https://www.archlinux.org/

    There is also the completely free “GNU OS” for the truly paranoid, personally I don’t mind it but it’s not everyone’s poison.

    http://www.gnu.org/

    Final thoughts,

    I really dislike both Debian and Ubuntu but Ubuntu mostly, I think this site covers most of my beef with it. It’s really a Microsoft Windows of Linux distros, the last place I would want to go to for a first time Linux experience. Ubuntu/Debian make allot of things easy but they also make the user fat and stupid “pardon the pun” they tend to hide things that would otherwise require you to learn Linux. If you look at their forums they are quite literally flooded with questions on how to address problems.

    Reply
  139. Red

    Ubuntu’s Manifesto…Pfffffffffffffffff, please…Shuttleworth wiped his arse with a long time ago. They even changed it a couple of times in order to avoid too much negative reviews on this matter. There are two huge problems I have with Ubuntu – privacy and user experience. The first one is more important to me at least however the second can also be very frustrating. Yeap, you guessed it Unity. And no, I’m not a hater of the concept and in fact I used it for some time (even though the dash search function was broken as shit). The thing that is bothering me is that it points towards a trend that we can observe in others too (I’m looking at you, Windows!). The concept one interface for multiple devices is a big pile of poop. The same way I don’t want to be working with a mouse and keyboard on a tablet I don’t want an obviously touch-inspired interface on my desktop. Thank God that we have so many other alternatives unlike the poor Windows buggers. When people start hating one interface, there always comes a bunch of devs who say “Yeah, screw that. We are gonna make something else” I hear people bitching all the time about the vast amount of window managers and desktop environments. Well, if you don’t like it either stick with a single one or go with MacOS/Windows. This diversity offers a huge flexibility that is unmatched with any other operating system/set of operating systems.

    As for good old Debian – I bitch and moan how this and that lib is literally from 1-2 decades ago (while an update version has been released 1-2 years ago :D) however every time I upgrade my Debian I say “Thank you for not being Ubuntu”. Ubuntu non-LTS is usually broken upon release and since it takes 1-2 months to make it usable it is not worth going for it. Ubuntu LTS is also broken (it’s surprising how the quality of LTS releases has gone downhill for give or take 6-7 years) but at least there you have more then 6 months before the next sack of dung lands on your front yard. Besides security fixes on Debian are backported and even if you don’t have the latest and greatest set of features in this and that application, you still have two crucial things that make up for an enjoyable work in front of the screen – stability and security. Also the long waiting for a next Debian release are always worth it unlike Ubuntu where (just take a look at all LTS and many of the non-LTS releases) usually the reviews are “Nothing much has changed…Except that the close/maximize/minimize set buttons are now on the F@CKIN LEFT!”

    Reply
  140. Fernando Negro

    I strongly suspect/believe Ubuntu to be a Trojan horse within the Free Software movement/community. A way to try to control it, and divert it from its real or original purposes.

    It’s not just the Amazon spying on our desktops and the proprietary programs that Ubuntu tries to convince us to install. Notice the “Zeitgeist” daemon, that records almost all of our desktop activities – that Ubuntu implements by default, without warning of its presence – and whose development is sponsored by Canonical.

    All it takes is for someone to simply try, for a few minutes, a proprietary program on his/her computer (maybe one of the many promoted by Ubuntu, on its Software Centre), also for that proprietary program to be one that reads your most sensitive files (like Skype is known to do, or at least did, in the past – http://linux.slashdot.org/story/07/08/26/1312256/skype-linux-reads-password-and-firefox-profile), and there goes a whole log of your desktop activity into the hands of Big Brother.

    Even the name and the logo chosen by the Canonical corporation are, to me, very revealing…

    The meaning of the word “Ubuntu” reminds me of the “Brotherhood” organization in the Nineteen Eighty-Four novel. (Read the book.)

    And Ubuntu’s logo is identical to the British equivalent of the NSA’s headquarters’ layout (check the following aerial photograph: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/72/GCHQ-aerial.jpg/1024px-GCHQ-aerial.jpg). Not only that, but that same logo is one of many corporate ones from which you can draw a very well-known triangle (http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-nzdNSZCll4k/UcBj0r0AyYI/AAAAAAAAAzQ/wfjlwVA2QsE/s1600/ubuntu_occult.png) used by a secret society of which almost all the major capitalists and political leaders are members of. (Isn’t Mark Shuttleworth a top capitalist, of British nationality?)

    Who founded Canonical? A billionaire and venture capitalist, who has made a fortune surely not from adopting free and open culture standards and concepts. (Did his companies refused to use patents?)

    Who’s Canonical’s current CEO? Someone who came from one of the top positions in the US arms industry.

    Do you all really believe that these are people who are “anti-establishment”, and who want to change our world for better?

    Don’t be naïve. If you seriously want to adhere to – or be part of – any movement, like the Free Software one, read about the history of movements that defy the establishment, and about the whole record of traps and dirty tricks that that same establishment uses to try to destroy such opposing movements.

    Firefox products are no real alternative to me, either.

    The fact that the people behind Firefox have designed their browser in a way that allows for Big Brother to have a look at your sensitive files (https://blog.mozilla.org/security/2015/08/06/firefox-exploit-found-in-the-wild/), and the fact that their “Firefox OS” (actually, little more than a browser) leads you to make everything over the Internet, is a way for Big Brother – who is known to be watching our Internet connections (listen to Snowden, and the likes) – to know a lot about what you do on your computers.

    Same thing as Google (a known CIA-front company – http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=117545&start=15#p562937) does, with its “Chrome OS”. A browser made by a company that goes on pretending to like Free and Open Source Software, and that then repeatedly subverts it with proprietary additions, resulting in the most insecure (and laughable) OS that I’ve ever heard of (Android) – in which, not surprisingly, security holes are constantly being found (example: http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2015/07/27/426613020/major-flaw-in-android-phones-would-let-hackers-in-with-just-a-text).

    Signed,

    Someone who also started using Ubuntu as his main OS in 2005, for the same reasons stated in the article, and that has recently switched to Debian

    Reply
    1. Fernando Negro

      And, here goes a quote, that I forgot to include in my previous comment:

      “The best way to control the opposition is to lead it ourselves.”
      ― Vladimir Ilich Lenin

      (Don’t you all think that the big corporations who have a lot to loose from this Free Software movement wouldn’t try to subvert and control the latter?)

      Reply
  141. garg

    i really hate the LEFT SIDE MENUS BUTTON OF CLOSE MINIMIZE MAXIMIZE……………and it is forced over user…

    a very stupid idea step.

    Reply
  142. Torin

    After years on the *ubuntu-train, I’m finally leaving it and moving to Debian Stable and loving it.

    Reply
  143. Anonymous

    Linux Mint is what Ubuntu used to be albeit has recently been in the lime light for security issues in regards to the OS and has recently been breached and had the ISOs replaced on their site which put me off from using it any further, I started using LM after Ubuntu disregarded everything it stood for and became part of the machine.

    I now use Debian yeah sure you have some issues along the lines of proprietary drivers but at least I know my data is safer and anything I’m doing isn’t being logged and sold to an advertising company, it takes a little work to get the OS fully functional dependant on your hardware but its a small sacrifice in regards to your privacy and its stayed true to its original manifesto for many years and I can’t see Debian ever changing.

    Oh and Debian may have its faults but at least it’s more stable, private and open source than both Ubuntu and LM, the fact that both Ubuntu and LM are based off Debian its a shame to see everything going the way it is going with the pair of them.

    Reply
  144. Petre

    Great article , i was aubuntu user for a long time but i noticed the sAme things like you all my change was to Point Linux is debian stable based and the same like old ubuntu without unity or anything else .
    Hope this will help others that wants to use debian and old ubuntu in the same time

    Reply
  145. IRC_User

    I enjoy the fact that you have constructive criticism. You state your reasons for using Ubuntu in the first place, and then state what turned you away from it.

    Also have respect that you care more about the integrity of a system than just the ease of use. Many people take that for granted.

    Reply
  146. Jens

    I have switched to debian after trying out ubuntu, linux mint and fedora. Ubuntu colors looks gay, Linux Mint has some anti’-Semitic developers on their team which dont want Israelis to use Linux Mint and Fedora is a testing platform for Red Hat Enterprise Linux so its not really stable.

    Reply
    1. Peter

      Thats a lot of curious statements from you:

      ‘Ubuntu colors looks gay’: That’s both homophobic and technical nonsense. If there is one thing you can easily change in Unity it’s the colors.

      ‘ Linux Mint has some anti’-Semitic developers on their team which don’t want Israelis to use Linux Mint’: Linux mint cooperates with Compulab[1] which is an Israeli company. [2] How does that fit?
      [1]http://segfault.linuxmint.com/2017/03/mintbox-mini-pro-airtop-preview/
      [2]http://www.compulab.com/support/contact-us/

      ‘Fedora is a testing platform for Red Hat Enterprise Linux so its not really stable’: Of course always updating and using the newest technologies can cause incompatibility problems and even instability. But thats not just because fedora is used as a testing platform, it’s because bleeding edge and inovation is what fedora users want. What exactly did you find unstable when you used it?

      Speaking of which I would really like you to read this article here and think for a second: http://segfault.linuxmint.com/2016/09/addressing-fud/

      Reply

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