What software do you depend upon with this distribution?
I use the standard GNOME desktop. I have used Xfce in the past (and still use it on another Debian Squeeze laptop), and I recently installed Fvwm2 on my main laptop. The automatic Debian menus make using window managers frustrating at times because not all applications end up in the menus; I’ll eventually create my own menu for Fvwm2 in Debian.
GNOME runs so fast in Debian that I am happy to use it.
Photo editing – gThumb (the best app for journalistic photo editing because it doesn’t ignore/erase IPTC caption metadata in JPEGs) with GIMP as backup (which DOES erase IPTC caption metadata; the workaround is to call GIMP through gThumb when needed. Gthumb is my No. 1 app).
Text editing – Gedit when I don’t need to search/replace changes across multiple files, Geany when I do. Vi in the console (I don’t care whether it’s Vim or Nvi – I use BSDs, too, and generally Vi is Nvi in those). I use text editors 95 percent of the time, OpenOffice/LibreOffice the other 5 percent.
Office suite – OpenOffice in Squeeze, LibreOffice everywhere else (Windows XP and 7). I’m doing a lot of work with spreadsheet data, and I’m in OpenOffice Calc quite a bit. I use Writer for reports (saving in .doc format), and occasionally Impress for presentations.
Browsers – I use an in-house CMS that is accessed via web browser, and it pretty much requires Firefox, so I use Iceweasel, which I recently upgraded from the 3.5.x that ship with Squeeze to 4.0.x from http://mozilla.debian.net/. I also use Chromium (the version that ships with Squeeze). I’ve been using Iceweasel/Firefox 4.0.x for about a week (in both Debian and Windows XP), and thus far I do consider it an improvement over 3.5.x and 3.6.x.
I rely on the Firebug and Web Developer extensions in Firefox/Iceweasel, and I like the built-in Firebug-like feature in Chromium.
Mail client – After managing my mail through Gmail for a while, I went back to traditional mail clients for my main work account. The mail server I use does IMAP but does it very poorly. As a result, I’m having trouble with all the clients I’ve tried – Claws, Evolution and Iceweasel/Thunderbird.
By far, Thunderbird performs the best, and I recently upgraded from 3.0.x to 3.1.x via http://mozilla.debian.net/. My extensions no longer work, but none of them worked that well to begin with (Lightning/Iceowl and sync with Google Calendar), so I don’t miss them.
I’m trying to get away from having a mail client do anything but handle mail. That said, I’m still using Google Calendar sync with Evolution in the GNOME desktop, and it works well. It’s very baked-in to the GNOME desktop.
Audio editing – I do a bit of audio editing, and I use Audacity. I have the Debian Multimedia repository hooked up so I can output mp3 files, which fortunately or not I must do.
Video editing – Pitivi crashes like crazy in Squeeze. I used OpenShot (I think it’s 1.1.0) to edit a video recently, and it was OK, not great; I ended up with a few rough transitions. I’m eager to try OpenShot 1.3.0 to see it it has improved, and I’m thinking of trying KDEnlive. I’d love to edit video in Blender, but I can’t figure it out. I do need to edit video, and I’d love for one of these solutions to float to the top and stay there.
FTP client – I use FileZilla on this machine because I have it across all platforms (Linux, BSD, Windows, Mac) and know how it works. I do have gFTP on one Debian Squeeze laptop, but my “main” client is FileZilla.
Music – I don’t listen to a lot of music on the computer, but I use Rhythmbox because it does what I need it to do, and it plays very well with my Centon Craze MP3 player (which plays oggs, by the way, and costs <$30, which is good because it’s worth about $20) and my circa 2005 iPod.
Video – I use Totem. It seems to do well. For the most part I stick with the GNOME defaults because they work.
Podcasts – I use gPodder.
IM – Empathy. It works well enough. I have Pidgin installed but don’t use it.
Graphics – I mentioned above that my No. 1 image editor is gThumb, followed by GIMP. I use Inkscape sparingly but would like to get a whole lot better at it.
Backups – I use rsync and recommend it. It runs in every Linux and BSD. I’d love to figure out Duplicity, and I’m planning to use Clonezilla.
File sync – I’ve backed off from Google Docs in recent months and started using Dropbox to sync files across multiple computers. I’m not happy that it’s so wedded to GNOME. But since I’m using GNOME, it works for me. And it works in general – very well.
Scripting – I’m starting to get into Perl.
What is your ideal Linux setup?
Right now Squeeze is my “ideal” distribution, and that’s why I use it. I don’t have a multimedia-editing-optimized system with a real-time kernel, JACK audio and Ardour, and that would make my current system “more” ideal.
I use OpenBSD a bit, and have used it as my main OS in the past. At this particular time, Linux fits my needs better for my main machine, but that could change in the future.
I’ve used Ubuntu a lot, Slackware a little (I’m not a KDE fan). Debian fits my philosophy and use case very well. My intention is to keep the Squeeze base and upgrade individual things as needed/desired.
For the desktop, I’m not interested in Unity or GNOME 3/GNOME Shell at the moment. I’d like the fanboy universe to torture-test them a bit before I take another look, and that’s why Debian is perfect for me. I can let this system “ride” for a few years and not worry about anything breaking.
Having Fedora change kernels from 2.6.33 to 2.6.34 in F13 in the middle of the release cycle was a huge deal-breaker for me. It broke my video and led to a lot of extra work for me. When F14 wouldn’t run at all, I came back “home” to Debian, which I’ve run in one form or another since Etch in 2007.
Regarding hardware, I would like a machine with more power for audio and video editing – many cores, super-fast video card. But I also prefer systems that use less electrical power and that are quiet (no fans if possible) and throw off as little heat as possible.