Ubuntu vs. Debian vs. Mint: Easy to Install Beginner's Linux
For many years Ubuntu Linux has been a popular Linux distribution among newbies and beginners, seeming especially suitable for first-time Linux users switching over from another operating system such as Microsoft or OS X.
Because of its’ easy graphical installation, the many included apps and the good hardware support featuring automagical recognition of most commonly computer hardware and other peripherals gave Ubuntu the reputation of being a very easy Linux distro to work with.
Ubuntu is good at hardware detection and usually detects most computer hardware during system installation. Also adding new devices seems quite easy, at least when compered to how things where during installation of most Linux distributions like 5 or 10 years ago.
Complex questions very often require more than easy answers. So even today, you can expect to run into some minor hardware related issue with more or less every of the main Linux distributions and especially when using brand new hardware with new feature sets that may require installation of additional proprietary hardware drivers or extra tweaking in order to operate successfully.
Linux allows and even encourages you to go a step deeper and look into the hood of your computer. In other words, it forces you to learn, thus giving you what no other operating system vendor is willing to provide: Knowledge. This is very different to proprietary system vendors who want you to behave and stay inside the vendors little walled-in gardens of app-stores, license fees and paid upgrades.
So instead of being given the option ‘OK or Cancel’ from your Redmond-based overlords against paying them for protection from the evil of knowledge by offering them high license fees and ultimately also giving up a lot of personal or commercial freedom, instead you’ll now need to decide to take things into your own hands and start to be master and captain of your own digital soul.
Or at least do some parts of the thinking by yourself. Knowledge gives you control and power, both as in real life and as out here in the wast digital realms of the internet.
When you enter on the Linux way you’ll see yourself rapidly learning how to solve software related issues in various complexities. It's not always meant to be easy, but that's also part of the good news:
Linux forces the user to learn. And knowledge is power, especially in when it comes to this rapidly changing IT world that we now all have become a part of.
Uneducated users with little knowledge have but one choice and that is to pay for digital salvation in the form of software licensing and upgrade fees. This phenomenon is taken to a new dimension when the more lucrative lock-ins of bundling software with dedicated hardware, such as is craftly done with Apple’s iPhone. The iPhone stands out as the ultimate proprietary bundle of hardware, software and even network carrier to achieve a complete 360 degrees customer lock-in.
The amazing part is how the device is so effectively being projected as a desirable status symbol and a token of digital enlightenment while it actually leads as a beacon to illude users to voluntary lock themselves into the vendors tightly walled yard where there’s else not much Light of Knowledge to be found.
"Learn fast or sink like a stone" seems to be the motto of modern day IT business settings.
However, there's still lots of hope and as Linus Torvald just mentioned over at the at LinuxCon Brazil conference this week and when sharing his opinion about both Apple and Microsoft: "Locked Down Technologies Lose in the End" and we at MemoTrek seem to agree on that Linus made a valid point.
Debian the Universal Operating System
Users who want to make the switch and quantum leap to a free and open GNU/Linux operating system face a forest of different Linux distributions to choose from. Not all of these are truly using free software only. Some of them use external non-free extra packages and others contain special software bundles optimized for a certain usage purpose containing software that might be of proprietary origin.
You can basically devide most Linux distro's into two kinds, based on how they manage software packages. On hand you have the RPM based systems like Redhat, Suse, Mandrake, and on the other hand you'll have the so called DEB or Debian Package Management that uses the Advanced Packaging Tool and is included with Debian, Ubuntu and many others. Linux users have long been discussing the pro's and con's of these two. We recommend the Debian based package management.
Yes, there's also a 3rd way of managing packages using Linux, the Slackware people may forgive us for leaving them out - just don't seem like an easy way to start out as a Linux newbee there is it.
Debian is easy. Debian is 100% free GNU/Linux. Debian is the root. So that’s why it’s better to be takin’ the long way home and go straight for the mother-of-em-all Linux distributions, the root of the tree and the very source of all deb-based packaging management distributions such as also the spin-off Ubuntu and go for the one and only, true and open Universal Operating System Debian which counts as one of the most free and democratically governed GNU/Linux versions out there. Debian is stable software that is well suitable for servers and comes with a proven security track record.
Actually, this is what we recommend to most people who’ve worked with Linux before or deem themselves halfway digital savvy enough to read and make the right choices:
Simply go for a Debian installer or download a Debian image. It’s actually easy, and also Debian tends to discover most hardware during boot time, and the option to choose between different package configurations makes it easy also for a newbee to get a full system up running swiftly.
Easy also to install from USB or run a Live-USB, you may want to use the excellent GPL tool that is UNetbootin to create bootable Linux ISO images on a USB flash drive and a great piece of software which is available for the most common platforms Linux, Windows and Mac OS X.
It’s usually better to go from a minimal install, and then install the software packages that you need and trust upon that. This bottom-up feels a lot more solid than installing a big bunch of packages bundled in some huge meta-package and you mostly don’t even have a clue of what it is you are installing. Nah. Better to fire up a minimal barebone installation, turn down all services not needed and close all open ports. And then build it from there, step by step.
However, some people may lack the time needed and/or experience to do this within a reasonable amount of time. Hey, let’s face it - Debian has become a lot easier to install but still it may not be everyone’s idea of fun to tweak and fine tune your operating system until it’s exactly as you want it to be. For the geeks it may be just what they are looking for, but others just want a running boxen with common programs working 'out of the box' stylee.
So for the crowd out there just about to start out with Linux and embark on the journey of a free and rock-solid operating system that empowers you with knowledge and great powers - mostly out of the box - we warmly recommend the Linux Mint Debian Edition.
Linux Mint Debian Edition - Operating System of the Year 2011
Some say that Linux Mint is to become the new Ubuntu and has recently gained some serious market share among the most popular Linux distributions, and many of those Gnome3 and Unity disappointed Ubuntu-followers that have started to turn to Linux Mint in order to escape from Mark and his UK-based company Canonical Ltd. and who seek to find solace from too rapid release cycles, commercial influence and inclusion of non-free drivers and software packages.
Linux Mint is like a carefully selected blend and artfully remix of the original distribution, with a special selection of highly usable every-day software applications and a bit of modified themes, appearance settings and some eye-candy.
Now here’s the great thing about Linux Mint, it is available in two versions:
You do better installing the Linux Mint Debian Solution!
With the Linux Mint Debian Solution you’ll get all the advantages of a full-blown Debian system and at the same time the convenience and easy installation of Linux Mint.
Linux Mint can be said to provide a better user experience than Ubuntu, and it’s really fun to install it or run if from a Live-USB. It feels sleek, shows rapid response and feautures some eye-candy.
In recent years, and as many people have started to feel uncomfortable with Ubuntu’s corporate touch and “un-free” character, the once so amazing advantages of Ubuntu - the ease of use and the hardware detection - are just about become standard for most serious Linux distributions out there. And we’ve all been looking for an easy way to get a full Debian system up running on a friends computer, or maybe just run it from a Live-USB and in order to show a friend or family member how easy it is to actually use Linux.
Both the Debian Edition and Mint 12 Katya run Gnome2 per default, have a fast growing and very active user community and the Debian version is... well, plain stable Debian in core and delivering pure rock steadiness. With a few small changes you can easily improve system reliability by using Debian stable releases in the apt repository. This will create a more stable surrounding that can be further optimized for demanding productivity settings.
Best of all - on the risk of repeating - the Linux Mint Debian Edition is 100% Debian compatible and actually a good way of enabling new Linux users to boot straight into and install a beautiful Debian system that also comes equipped with a rich collection of important tools and programs that make a lot of sense especially when you're just starting out with GNU/Linux as your new operating system.
So we strongly recommend to download one of the LMDE Linux Mint Debian images and install them accordingly one of our branded USB flash drives or alternatively play with it from a secure Live-USB and without installing anything to your hard drive.
Linux forces you to learn and empowers you to gain knowledge and insight. And knowledge and insight are just what you need in order to stay good.
Complex questions require more than easy answers:
Open yourself to a wealth of new opportunities and by accepting that the best way to change goes via in-depth learning & developing a good understanding of Linux as an operating system.
Feel free to contact us or leave a comment to input your feedback!