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Debian Lenny: Returning Home to the Mothership

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I've been using Kubuntu and Ubuntu the past couple of years on my main workstation and laptop, and they've been OK. I like the stripped-down customized menus, the energy and buzz, the community, and their success in marketing. "A rising tide lifts all boats", and I think Canonical has done a great job at raising the visibility of Linux.

But my first Linux love was Debian, and with the release of Lenny I have gone back.

Debian almost has it all. It has the largest package repository. It supports the largest number of hardware architectures. It is 100% non-commercial and community-driven. It aims to be 100% Free software, and it's very close to that. In fact one of the reasons I stuck with Kubuntu for so long was it promised easier handling of the binary, proprietary NVidia drivers. But it never was all that easy, and with Hardy Heron the only reliable installation method was old-fashioned manual installation.

I finally decided I can live without Nvidia's dumb ole binary driver anyway. After all these years we're no closer to having a good FOSS Nvidia driver, and there is zero competition in the 3D space, and I've come to value Free software more than ever. So I can't play some games, I'll live.

Lenny looks and works just fine on my system, and it is noticeably peppier. Maybe that's from using the nv driver; whatever it is, screen redraws and moving windows do not have the lag that Kubuntu and Ubuntu do, and scrolling Web pages is smoother and faster.

I will miss the friendly Ubuntu community. Who knows, maybe I'll get tired of Debian again and move to something else. Different Linuxes, maybe FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, OpenSolaris. Can't do that in Windows or Apple-land. The biggest hassle with Linux migration is preserving desktop settings; moving documents and email archives is dead easy. No lock-in here except of the best kind-- staying with a particular platform because I like it.

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