Switching from Ubuntu to Debian

2 min read

After a short stint with openSUSE I decided to give Debian a go instead of going back to Ubuntu.


First and foremost, I was sick of regularly receiving “Sorry, Ubuntu has experienced an internal error” messages. I was drawn to Ubuntu because of regular release cycles but the constant nagging about errors didn’t make me feel like I was running a stable system.

openSUSE never barked at me about errors, and I liked that a lot.

The other reason, which may seem petty, but I absolutely hated that I had to run a derivative distro in the Ubuntu family to have GNOME Shell out of the box. Sure I could have installed it on top of stock Ubuntu, but it just never felt right to me.

This issue stems from a deeper issue I have with the direction of Ubuntu as a whole. Granted, they did just recently recant Unity and will get back to GNOME basics in 18.04 LTS. That doesn’t mean they will change directions again in the future or even offer up some bastardized version of GNOME Shell.

If they do end up offering up an improved GNOME Shell experience, I’d be willing to give it a go. I’m skeptical of that happening though.

So Debian, I have the testing branch (Stretch) installed on my MacBook Pro (12,1) and it’s been a fucking rock. I went with testing (with non-free packages) because of the Broadcom wireless card that the MBPs have.

I’m not going to go into much detail about the specifics of the install on the MacBook Pro but I will say that the install was definitely more difficult than that of Ubuntu. Wasn’t so difficult that I think it should scare you away though.

Aside from the lack of system errors that Ubuntu was always spewing, I’ve really enjoyed how bare bones Debian is.

I hadn’t tried Debian in a great many years, so I kind of forgot what things were like. I was pleasantly surprised that the system was very minimal and reminded me more of Arch Linux than that of Ubuntu.

It also reminded me of how much bloat Canonical was tacking on top of a fairly elegant Linux distribution.

My bad, GNU/Linux (in case RMS has one of his FSF interns reading my blog to him or whatever).

My transition from Ubuntu to Debian happened about a month ago and I have no regrets about the decision. Things seem to be way more stable, even on the testing branch. I have run into some issues but was able to resolve them with great ease thanks to the volumes of information floating around on the Internet about Debian.

Oh, and things have been so good that I even built out a Debian 8 server for one of my projects.

Ubuntu, I guess this is goodbye. Maybe we’ll meet again in the future.