A truly rolling Debian gets one small step closer!
- Who are you, and what do you do?
I’m Raphaël Hertzog. I am Debian Developer who tries to contribute as much as possible to Debian. To feed my family—I’m married and have a son of 18 months—I’m doing development/consulting around Debian
(http://www.freexian.com). I’m also an author of a Debian book for the French market (http://raphaelhertzog.fr/livre/cahier-admin-debian/).
- What distribution do you run on your main desktop/laptop?
Debian unstable obviously but also Debian experimental for GNOME 3.
- What software do you depend upon with this distribution?
Lots of software obviously. I’ll give you the most important for me. Many of them run in the GNOME Terminal: mutt, vim, git, the Debian development tools (devscripts, dpkg-dev, etc.).
Among the graphical applications I can cite Iceweasel and Chromium, Gwibber, VirtualBox, Smuxi, Hamster, Zim. Smuxi is an intelligent IRC application that can offload the IRC client to a remote machine so that you can be always connected to IRC and get back the history and the notifications whenever you restart the Smuxi client. Think of it as a graphical version of the usual irssi+screen combination.
Zim is also an important application in my workflow. I use its calendar plugin to plan all the tasks that I want to complete over the week, and I take all my notes with it. I have some custom scripts to easily integrate references to mails I received… that way I can keep my INBOX clean and have a list of mails where I have to respond directly in my normal task list.
- What kind of hardware do you run it on?
My laptop is my main workstation, it’s a Dell E4300 with 4GB of RAM, 64GB of SSD. It’s usually connected to a 24" Dell screen and a Typematrix keyboard (http://www.typematrix.com). I love the typing comfort of this unusual keyboard. Any IT professional should consider it.
- What is your ideal Linux setup?
I would love to see a tighther integration between the desktop shell, the task list, the calendar, the time tracking application and some sort of “life overview”.
I have goals and my computer should help me to reach my goals. It should be able to respond to the question “What should I do next?” in a contextual way: during the day, it means working towards my professional goals, in the evening it means working towards personal goals, etc. It should help me to stay focused on stuff that matters for me.
- Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?
It’s not really interesting… I have taken a desktop with zim as it’s an application not widely known. It’s GNOME 3 for the rest.
More on the Debian rolling proposal. I’m not sure how the Debian community feels about this, but it seems like a lot of people outside of Debian proper are intrigued.
This is pretty neat. A Debian developer is proposing turning Debian Testing into Debian Rolling. Not much would change. Mostly Testing/Rolling would be acknowledged as a viable, distribution in its own right.
A nice post on Mint Debian. I’m watching my virtual Xfce Mint Debian box very carefully for breakage, but so far, it’s been a real tiger.
A really neat thread on the benefits of Ubuntu versus Debian (I know Ubuntu is based on Debian. You know what I mean!).
I’ve been playing with Debian Testing in a virtual box, using Xfce.
It’s hard to talk responsiveness since that always feels a bit relative in virtual machines.
But it’s interesting using it and then comparing it with Xubuntu.
It’s definitely not as nice looking. The fonts are a tiny bit blurry and the icons look a bit flat. I’ve tried playing with the font settings, but I haven’t been able to get things to smooth out.
I’m surprised by some of the software choices, too. OpenOffice.org is the default office software suite, which seems like overkill for Xfce. Gimp also doesn’t ship with the Debian Xfce package. I realize the trend is away from using Gimp as a default anywhere, though, so I understand that choice.
Give Debian’s complicated history with Firefox, I’m surprised IceWeasel is still the default browser. I also can’t recall seeing Midori as a browser option. But Chromium definitely wasn’t a default.
Xfce Debian also doesn’t have a software updater. I was going to download one, but I’m holding off to see if it’s necessary. Once I installed sudo, it’s no big deal to update and then upgrade once a day (I’m embarrassed to publicly admit I don’t know how to do anything without sudo). If things go well with that, I might even remove the updater from my Xubuntu machine.
Xfce Debian also doesn’t include the Synaptic package manager. I install 90% of my software via the command line but Synaptic is helpful when I’m trying to figure out the right package name. For instance, before I installed the Chromium web browser (chromium-browser), I first accidentally installed a game called Chromium (chromium). But again, I’m seeing how things go before I actually take the plunge to install Synaptic.
I’m very curious about stability. A lot of people have talked about the stability of Testing and how it’s a perfectly viable OS. But Testing has been stable as Debian moved toward a stable release. Now, working on a new release that’s further away, I’m wondering if there will be any breakage issues.
So far, after less than a week of use, I can report no stability issues, though, except for a weird HAL power management daemon message that accompanies start-up. It’s innocuous, though.
I don’t get all of the Debian Xfce default choices, but in general, it’s a nice distribution. I’m going to keep an eye on stability but even if there aren’t any major breakage issues, I’m not sure I would switch away from Xubuntu. Xubuntu is bloated, but some of that bloat is what makes it look so nice.
However, playing with Debian Xfce has given me some ideas on bloat I might cut in Xubuntu. Do I really need the software sources manager, Synaptic, and the update manager? I might cut one or all of these for a while and see how things go.
Or, since performance isn’t an issue and they’re occasionally convenient, I might just let them stay.
Either way, playing with a new distro is always refreshing because it gives you ideas on how to re-imagine your current one.