Debian vs Ubuntu

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Comparing #Debian to #Ubuntu. Focus is entirely on the underlying system, as Ubuntu are only just moving towards Gnome desktop just like Debian use.

4:09 Ease of Installation
4:18 Sudo behaviour
5:38 Packaging
7:04 Choice of applications
7:54 Bleeding edge (or lack of)
8:44 Upgrading
9:13 Conclusion

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  1. I'm coming to Debian from Windows. For anyone doing the same, I recommend the LXDE desktop interface, it feels more natural. You can actually add desktop shortcuts to your programs by right-clicking etc. The graphics aren't as sharp looking as in Windows, but it feels real nice.

  2. Regarding PHP being at version 5.6 on Jessie, I would argue that this is irrelevant if you are a PHP developer. If you are a PHP developer, you need to be able to code in different versions of PHP anyway, since you need to use locally what is being used on production. For that reason, you need to use something like Docker or Vagrant in order to create the development environment that resembles production as closely as possible, and do that for every single web application you are working on. Also, considering the fact that most servers are not going to run the latest version of PHP anyway, having the latest version locally is not a huge advantage.

  3. Graphical installer until it doesn't work… Took me 3h of command line kongfu to fix the unfinished installation…
    Windows just works, Ubuntu doesn't install at all, Debian stuck on installing GUI, and I had to manually fix it. I don't know what Asus put in that laptop, but it's definitely not some good stuff.

  4. Ubuntu does not snapshot testing, it snapshots unstable, about 4 months before release.

    Sudo is merely an install option in Debian. Yes DEBIAN, not Ubuntu. Install Debian using expert mode, and at some point you'll get a question like "Do you want to set up a Root password?" Answer no, and you end with a regular user with sudo privileges, Canonical simply chose another install option. There is no magic Ubuntu modification here, and the other distros using sudo also pick the same choice. You can do this in all Debian derivatives.

    Non-free is also a Debian install choice, what Debian does not include by default is the binary blobs needed for some devices, tho an unofficial installer exists with those. Fancier things like Nvidia proprietary drivers need to be installed afterwards (follow their wiki).

    You should not use PPAs intended for Ubuntu, simply because they were compiled using libraries of that particular Ubuntu version, which often does not match Debian's version (a few do, but YMMV, expect crashes and weird behavior).

  5. I went from Ubuntu to Debian which i did not like at all. So now I'm on Arch Linux and so far, I'm very happy as I didn't like the package system in Ubuntu. In Arch, once you enable the AUR repository you can install almost anything you want and more much easier than Ubuntu.

  6. Great coverage of the differences between the two! I'm pleased to see Debian 9 make a decent jump forward concerning using some fairly recent packages.
    Concerning su vs sudo: I think the sudo enabled approach is convenient for environments where multiple users need quick access to elevated privileges, so they don't all need to know/continuously enter the root password. However, if multiuser elevated privileges aren't necessary and there's a just single sysadmin that needs to know the root password, the sudo-less implementation you've described concerning limiting root ssh access (which, arguably, should always be done) may be the more secure option, given these two options. An ssh attack would need to find both the standard user's username and password, then the root password to su. Whereas with sudo, an attack would need just find the user's username and password, then elevate with the same password. But, of course, I'm no expert – that's just what makes sense to me.

  7. If i wasn't bothered about 'open-source' or 'proprietary' I would definitely just use MS Windows most of the time and all the associated proprietary ecosystem. But I have a strong preference for digital freedom and openness and transparency, you see…

  8. Few things:
    1) In Debian 9 there wouldn't be such things as "flavours/desktops" CD-s. There will be only CDs with XFCE and netinst. All other stuff will land on DVD and BD. (Source: Bits from the Debian CD^WImages Team)
    2) Not a single word about Debian backports from which you can grab specific updated program or system component. Just like with Ubuntu LTS HWE you can grab newer kernel and MESA (although unlike Ubuntu they didn't backport X-Server it's still possible to use 2-years old Debian Jessie with new Intel processors). Ubuntu also has backports but on Debian rules are more strict. In Ubuntu you just need to have backports enabled for constant updates (good or bad) but with Debian there's priority system (Linux Mint does the same). So even with enabled backports repository, if you won't specify that this particular package should be installed from "backports", it will be installed from "main" repository.
    3) As other mentioned you can gett similar 'sudo behaviour' as in Ubuntu leaving root password blank. However there might be problems with some stuff (e.g. you need to switch gdebi to sudo instead of default "su"; hplip's script wants root password so you have to create root account etc).
    With all that said, I think that Debian also has issues and Ubuntu may have more stuff optimized/fixed… But for me personally Debian's and OpenSuse's decisions seem more logical. With Ubuntu LTS strict release model (April each 2 years) many users have to wait at least few months for point release(s) or updates to fix some issues.

  9. You didn't tell nothing about backports repo! There is tons of fresh packages including kernel, LibreOffice, codecs, PHP, servers…. So here's a basic difference between backports and ppa Debian supports backports officially when Ubuntu doesn't support ppas. So if you break your system by using ppa it is only your problem and fault. Here is much more differences so like RedHat uses same to Debian GTK and Gnome, most developers support Debian at first place… So Debian has not just old packages they are stable packages with full supporting with all security updates.

  10. On Debian, If you leave the root password blank during install sudo installed and the user you create is given sudo rights. If you enter a root password sudo is not installed and this needs to be done manually as well as adding the user to the sudo group.

  11. Very very insightful. I've always wondered about the differences. Only ever used Debian on my Raspberry Pi and then I quickly switched to Ubuntu MATE (which runs fantastically, not that Raspbian didn't), so I've never actually used Debian. Not sure if this is a good thing but maybe now I'll steer clear of Debian for a while as a main operating system. Currently I'm looking to move away from Ubuntu as I don't want to use GNOME3 and I'm weighing up my options. I used Ubuntu GNOME from 14.04 until 15.10 when my Linux partition stopped booting for the second time, and I move to the standard Ubuntu 15.10. I really didn't like GNOME, as much as I may have wanted to. Currently I'm looking at KDE Neon, Ubuntu Budgie or Mint with XFCE, KDE or Cinnamon. This video helped me eliminate Debian from the running. Keep up the great videos!

  12. I think that there are more differences like:
    – ubuntu has more practical, out of the box configs (important on a server)
    – during debian updates, I was asked about changed configs and what to do about them, something like that never happened for me on ubuntu, but I'm not using long enough either of them to know for sure if that's a constant difference (I'm arch base distro user). so for newbie user, ubuntu feels more friendly

    Overall ubuntu experience and friendliness are so much better, that I will never use debian myself. I put MX16 on my dad's computer and although distro is great, I learned to despise debian (old packages, dependency issues when trying to get newer versions, less friendly usage of the base system), at least in its ancient, sorry "stable" version. I never had such feelings toward ubuntu base. Sure, I have some reservations, that is why I don't use on my personal and work computers, but it's ok for a novice user and great for a server.

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