A month after switching to Debian, I know I made the right call

A bit more than a month ago, I wrote about switching from my beloved Arch Linux
to my other beloved, Debian
. After taking the month of September to
settle in and figured out if I had made a horrible mistake, I’m happy to report
that I feel like I made the right call.

Keep in mind, that’s not a knock on Arch Linux, and “making the right call” was
based on my own requirements from a Linux distribution.

That all being said, here’s why I have been extremely satisfied with my
decision, and why I’m actually enjoying Linux again.

I’m not missing anything

My biggest fear with leaving Arch Linux was the lack of the Arch User Repository
(AUR). The AUR is a thing of absolutely beauty and having every package
imaginable available at the drop of a command, was amazing.

Coming back to Debian, the available packages were more than sufficient to cover
my needs. In fact, there were only a low single digit number of packages that I
had to go out of my way to install. With that, once those packages were
installed, they provided apt sources, and all was well for future updates.

Everything I had installed on my Arch Linux system, I have on Debian, granted
some of the package versions are a bit older.

Low frequency of updates

One of my biggest gripes, and what ultimately drove me away from Arch Linux, was
the volume of package updates.

I understand that to run the most bleeding edge software, you have to update
regularly. Where this became an issue for me, was the multiple times a day
updates. Waiting around a week or more often resulted in hundreds of updates.

Sleeping on that high a volume of updates always felt like trouble, and I was
never able to find medium where I felt like I wasn’t just setting myself up for
a shit show by not updating frequently enough.

On Debian, after over a month, I’ve only updated twice, and both times were less
than 20 packages each. With such a low number of available updates, I am able
to better judge, based on the packages, if I can kick the can, and not feel like
I’m setting myself up to fail down the road.

I can actually use my printer

Something I failed to include in my original post is that my printer
actually worked out of the box with Debian.

If you’ve used Linux for as long as I have, you know that there are certain pain
points with Linux. Printing, sleep mode, battery life, just to name a few. So
the fact that I was able to install Debian, see my printer on the network, and
it just worked, is pretty incredible.

Granted, there were quite a few packages out in the AUR for my printer, but I
never get quite them to work, and having other computers at my disposal meant
that I could just utilize one of them instead of fiddling around to get things
to work on Arch.

Stable is, as stable does

It goes without saying that Debian is stable. Even running the testing branch
has been a pleasure, and I’ve had no major problems thus far.

While I was always able to figure out the little quirks I’d run into on Arch
Linux, at the end of the day, I’d prefer that my operating system just got out
of my way and allowed me to do what I do best, which tends to be coding 🙂

Josh Sherman - The Man, The Myth, The Avatar

About Josh

Husband. Father. Pug dad. Musician. Founder of Holiday API, Head of Engineering and Emoji Specialist at Mailshake, and author of the best damn Lorem Ipsum Library for PHP.

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