Debian isn't anything new, and I'm pretty sure people here use it because, well, I've seen people say they have. Anyway, I've personally used Debian before, but it wasn't really something I used all the time. Since I've been testing out new stuff I decided to try the new Debian out as well.
I downloaded the Net Install ISO because well, it lets me start out with a bare bones installation, and then add to ti whatever I want. So, I grabbed the CD after doing my Vector Linux review, and decided to try it out.
The installation has changed for the first time in a while. It now contains a GUI based installer for those who like that sort of thing (I personally think a well done GUI is nice) and I'm sure it'll make a lot of people possibly try it out since they won't be turned off by a text only installation, even though Windows still does text based. XP installs were harder to comprehend for me than some Linux installers.
Anyway, this isn't a who's better thread, it's simply going to be my opinion on a distro that doesn't need a sales gimmick to be good. Debian for me has always been nice. I didn't always use it because I wasn't really in need of a new OS because I had SUSE, FreeBSD, Slackware, and the new Mandriva, all of which were great, but I wanted to try some new ones out and see what they had done new.
I had Debian 3.0R1 on CD (LOTS of CDs) and I also have 4.0, but when I checked to see what the newest one was, I saw that 5.0 was out, and 5.0.1 was ready for download. As I pointed out already, I chose the Net install only. I sometimes grab the full CD collection, but 700 MBs x 7 CDs.... I didn't feel like waiting. And besides, the Net install can do the same thing the others do, I just don't have to change disks.
The installation went great, and as usual, Debian installation tools are of high quality. The partition editing was simple, straightforward, and easy to comprehend.
After doing this, I let the install go, and then I decided to finish up and just do bare bones so I had a fresh clean OS to work with, and then I could add what I wanted afterwards.
I can do this because Debian has one of the best software adding tools ever with not only dpkg, but the front end, apt-get. So I started adding software. As usual, adding software took VERY little. I decided on what I wanted first, and grabbed it, and then I decided to look at what software was available, and started browsing with Ice Weasel (Firefox without something or other) and opened a bunch of tabs with software categories to look at, and started adding more software. This can take time to do, but it's nice to be able to, because then, I have a system set up with EXACTLY what I want, and nothing else.
It's very nice.
So, what else? I downloaded and installed a bunch of Window Managers to play with too, so I installed those, and when I logged out, I saw that all the Window Managers I had added were put in the list of Window Managers I could pick at the GDM screen when logging in. I saw KDE was added for me, so I chose it to see if it worked, and well, I'm using it right now to write this.
I didn't have to edit any configuration files, or anything. I simply logged out after installing them with apt-get, and they were ready for action.
Final Verdict? I think I'm going to be using this for a while. I REALLY like it. It for sure gets the GORE STAMP OF APPROVAL.
Also of interest for those coming from other Linux or BSD based OSs; I popped in a music CD in one of the drives in the machine, and instead of being told I couldn't open it do to permissions, it popped up and let me look at it right away without editing any configuration files.
Basically it does the easy to use no set up required stuff Mandriva and SUSE and Fedora and RedHat do, but with the edge of Slackware, which does still require you to edit /etc/fstab by hand to use CDs and, if you have one, a floppy.
Not that I think that's a problem, it's not hard to do or anything, but it's a time saver.
Anyway, I HIGHLY recommend Debian 5.0.1 for anyone. It's great. And if you're one of those Ubuntu sissies, why not try out the REAL version of your OS?