A Short Trip Down Memory Lane

Back in 2006, I was a fresh-faced new GNU/Linux adventurer.

About a year after my first install of Ubuntu, I posted THIS at Scot’s Newsletter Forums, a site which has since become my second home. Some of my opinions have changed since then. For instance, I don’t use KDE anymore (not since 3.5). I also don’t care for Google too much these days, not since they’ve started showing their greedy fangs… “Do no evil” Pffffft! Yeah, right. Anywho…

Relatively quickly I settled on Slackware as my primary operating system. My GNU/Linux mentor, Bruno Knaapen, once predicted that I would end up with Slackware because I definitely had the Slacker attitude. Miss you, Bruno, old friend. He called that one right. I run Slackware as my primary and Arch Linux as my secondary (backup) OS on my main system. I also run Slack on my laptop and my shop systems.

Back in the beginning of my GNU/Linux adventures, I ran Slack as primary and Debian as secondary. Arch beat Debian out for that position quite a while back, though. Don’t take this the wrong way. I still have a deep and undying love for Debian. I believe it is one of the finest distributions of GNU/Linux ever. About the only complaint one can have with Debian is that its software is a bit dated.

No, Debian is not a risk taker’s distro. It’s staid and stable as a ROCK. Part of this is because of all that older and well-tested software in its huge repository. If you want a distribution that is just going to work… and work… and work without a glitch or burp, Debian is for you.

Earlier today, we were discussing Debian at Scot’s Newsletter Forums – Bruno’s All Things Linux. I realized that I had not had a copy of Deb on any of my machines for a year or so. That’s not like me. I always keep an up-to-date Deb somewhere on my systems… just in case. I decided to download and install it. I have numerous “tester” slots open on my main machine, so space is not an issue.

The install went off without a hitch. I had to make some minor edits to Arch’s menu.lst (the MBR controlling boot-loader on my system) and to Debian’s fstab (switch from UUIDs to /dev/… nomenclature). My only issue now is that I need to install the proprietary Nvidia drivers. I usually do this manually, but this time around, I think I’ll do it the “Debian Way“. Knowing Debian, this shouldn’t even cause me to break a sweat.

If you have moderate GNU/Linux experience, and have never tried Debian before, I strongly recommend that you give it a looksee. Next to Slackware, Debian is the oldest still maintained GNU/Linux distribution. Slack only has it beat by a few months, actually. Try Debian. You’ll learn a lot about GNU/Linux with this distribution. You’ll also get the unique experience of using one of the absolute best package managers in existence… apt.

Until next time…

~Eric

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11 Comments on “A Short Trip Down Memory Lane”

  1. comhack says:

    Another great post Eric!!!

    • Hi Anthony! :)

      Thanks for stopping by and reading/commenting. I checked out your blog also. I’ll be keeping an eye on it. Looks like you’re writing some interesting stuff there.

      See you around…

      ~Eric

  2. someslack says:

    Good post :) I remember me trying to install ‘potato’ in 2001, and failing miserably. That made me feel like a dumb monkey. My next attempt, Lenny, was my first pure-Debian installation that resulted in a bootable system. I think Debian has now the best installer in town (I’m talking about the ncurses one).

    Being an ex-Archer, one of the reasons I eventually went with Slackware, was because it strikes a nice ballance; reasonably recent software, great stability, and above all, simplicity. I had to spend hours of reading to be able to create a custom debian package, and about 30 minutes to learn how to write a slackbuild.

    • Yeah, that ncurses Sarge installer scared me good. I was such a neophyte at the time. ;) Slackware is a good midpoint between Debian and Arch, actually. Slack assumes you’re not stupid. It keeps most things simple. Arch has the tendency to get a bit complicated at times, but their support community, particularly the wiki, is awesome. And yes, the “Debian Way” can be a bit strenuous at times.

      Thanks for stopping by and reading/commenting! :)

      ~Eric

  3. mechatotoro says:

    Hola, Eric!

    Your post is very encouraging. When I started my migration, I actually downloaded a copy of Debian, but chickened away when it showed me a text-based installer. Back then, I had absolutely no idea of how to install any OS other than Windows… Maybe I can give Debian a try now?

    • Absolutely! You should give Debian a try. Learning GNU/Linux is NOT complete without running Debian at some point. You may even fall in love with it, as many do.

      There are options now for installation that were not available before. You can still do the text-based (ncurses) install, but you also have the option of a graphic installer these days. You can download the jam-packed DVD for a complete install with all available software, or just the 1st CD for a minimal and fast install. There’s also the option of a netinstall these days for folks who prefer that method.

      Have FUN with it! :)

      ~Eric

  4. Wolfgang says:

    Very interesting. My reasons to move to GNU/Linux were the same as yours. If I hadn’t been so complacent and lazy I would have made that move years earlier (my first experiments with Suse and Mandrake were in the late 90s) but XP was just too damn convenient. In the beginning (2004) I was just as promiscuous as you were. But after some time I settled on Debian and haven’t changed since, despite the lure of Ubuntu. Of course I’m still curious and I try out the live images of new and promising looking distros. Although Slackware proper was never really my cup of tea I do find Salix excellent. Occasionally, very rarely, I feel a whiff of nostalgia for pre 2004 times, as happened a few days ago when a friend told me that she’s processing all her photos in IrfanView. This reminded me of the applications I used to use then … IrfanView, Notepad2, the 1by1 audio player, XMplay etc. But apart from this I have never looked back. Vista, Win7, Win8, … are as alien to me now as Apple has always been.

    P.S.:
    Accessing your page was extremely sluggish because “www.sharingbuttons.org” just wouldn’t load for minutes. Only after I put that URL into my hosts file and reloaded your page I could scroll and read your whole article. You say you don’t care for Google, but I’m wondering … do you really need all these silly buttons? Don’t you think Facebook is just as bad, if not worse?

    • Hi Wolfgang!

      Wow! Irfanview… I remember that cool little app. :)

      As far as cups of tea go, that’s the wonderful thing about GNU/Linux. You can “have it your way”. You don’t have to be locked into using the same thing that all the other sheep in the pen are using (Windows). Between the hundreds of distributions and the myriad desktop environments available, a GNU/Linux user can have something all his own as an OS. About all you can do in Windows to make things different is change your desktop wallpaper. ;)

      Thanks for the heads-up about the slow sharing buttons loading. You’re the only one (so far) who’s mentioned having an issue with page loading here due to that reason. Wonder if it was that big solar flare? ;) Seriously though, nah… I’m not a big fan of that social networking baloney, but other people are, so I leave the buttons there to help increase traffic* here.

      *Just a note about traffic to this blog… I’m not making money from this blog. I do this just for the personal enjoyment that I get from writing and helping others in the community.

  5. I do love Debian as well! Great job there Eric!


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