[Sussex] A year with Debian

Gavin Stevens starshine at gavmusic.uklinux.net
Mon Aug 9 23:44:55 UTC 2004

Hi all,

It's just occurred to me that I've been using Debian as my sole OS for a
year now & I thought a brief comparison between "then" (Windows) & "now"
(Debian) might be of interest.

I used Windows for a good few years & slowly got fed up with it crashing
& freezing for no apparent reason. However, I put up with it because the
www was far too exciting & Windows worked most of the time. There was
also plenty of good software for audio playing, recording & editing.
However, I was quietly, almost unconsciously, looking for something

Then I came across Linux & it sounded good, but very scary to someone
who had become used to Windows. Linux seemed like a great idea - for
people who had the time, an unnatural knowledge of computers & plenty of
elastoplast on their glasses. But I kept reading, dipping in now &
again. I immediately liked the Open Source ideal. It appealed greatly to
me. I was starting to think that maybe I could give it a try. For some
reason, it was always going to be Debian. Probably because I had read
that Debian vigorously upheld the Open Source beliefs.

And so I got the CDs for Potato & installed it on a spare PC & got a bit
scared at first, but with the help of others users on the web, I got it
working.. & it never crashed, not once.

So in August 2003, I backed up everything from my old Windows D:
partition, wiped the HD & installed Debian on main PC.

I have had the most reliable year of computing ever. My old PC died a
few months ago & I had to install from scratch on the new one I built.
Apart from tangling briefly with KDE after this (yuk, it makes Windows
98 look stable), I have had not one second of forced downtime.

Debian has plenty of good, readily useable apps. The debate about Linux
being ready for the desktop may rage on, but I think it's not far off at

My favourite apps so far:

E-mail: Sylpheed (easy to use & stable)

Word processing: Abi-Word (well featured, very friendly & just a joy to

Music listening: XMMS (Reminds me of Winamp)

Browser: Don't quite have a favourite yet: Mozilla works well enough, I
like Opera, but it's not Open & I don't use it anymore. Dillo is OK but
needs more. Konqueror did everything but surf (no, actually, it didn't:
it just locked up all the time & made me CTRL ALT backspace once too

Window manager: Icewm remains my favourite. I apologised & almost bought
it flowers after my sordid experience with KDE (Krashes Damn-nearly

File manager: Alongside Icewm, DFM is a very functional file manager.

Oh well, so not as brief as I thought.

My apologies to KDE lovers (but your flames can't melt my ICEwm).


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