Why switch?

I played with the idea of switching for quite a while. Having switched my daily driver from Windows maybe 6-9 Months ago I made many mistakes in the meantime.

Good and bad

This may have led to a diminshed experience with ubuntu but all in all, I was very pleased to see that Linux works as a daily driver. Still, I was unhappy with the kind of dumbed down gnome experience.

Problems

There were errors neither I nor people I asked could fix and the snap situation on ubuntu (just the fact that they’re proprietary, nothing else).

Installation

Installing debian (and kde) was easier and harder than I expected. The download mirror I used must not have been great although its very close to my location because it took ages although my internet connections is good.

Apps

Since I switched to Linux, I toned down my app diet a lot. Installing all my apps from ubuntu was as easy as writing a short list and going through discover. Later I added flatpak which gave me a couple apps not available through discover (such as fluffychat). The last two I copied directly as appimages.

Games

I was scared that the „old kernel“ of stable debian would be a problem. As it turns out, everthing works great so far, a lot better than on ubuntu which might or might not be my fault.

Instability

Kde does have some quirks that irritate me a bit like installing timeshift (because I tried network backups which dont work with it and the native backup solution does not seem to accept my sambashare) led to a window I could only close by rebooting.

Boot time

What does feel a bit odd is the boot process. After my bios splash, it shows „welcome to grub“ and then switches to the debian start menu for 3 seconds or so, then shows some terminal stuff and then starts kde splash and then login. This feels a lot longer than ubuntu did. Its probably easy to change in some config but its also something that should be obvious.

Summary

So far I‘m incredibly happy although I ran into initramfs already probably because of timeshift which I threw out again. I might do a manual backup if nothing else works. My games dont freeze or stutter which is nice. All apps I had on ubuntu now work on debian and no snaps at all.

TL;DR: If you feel adventurous, debian and kde are a pretty awesome mix and rid you of the proprietary ubuntu snap store. It also doesnt tell you that you can get security upgrades if you subscribe to ubuntu pro. Works the same if not better.

  • @[email protected]
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    504 months ago

    Ubuntu is a great gateway distro. When I dumped Windows back in the Windows 10 days, Ubuntu made it an easy transition, time elapsed and there were things that didn’t work right that I found frustrating. I eventually ended up trying out Fedora and the rest was history. I’m glad you found a good fit for you.

    • @[email protected]
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      354 months ago

      These days, Linux mint should be recommended for people coming from windows. I rate their desktop environment and intuitive style better and faster understandable for people coming from windows compared to ubuntu. If a person always wants the newest stuff recommend OpenSuse Tumbleweed now, since it a is rolling distro but very stable and you don’t have to use Terminal at all, there.

      • @[email protected]
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        24 months ago

        I can see why you would recommend it. For me though, it’s too close to the Windows UX. I try and make people break away from what they know in order to have the cleanest transition.

        • @[email protected]
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          54 months ago

          I just put the taskbar on left side now it looks more like ubuntu. I don’t see anything that makes mint look like windows except the “start menu” position. Its all GTK afterall

          • @[email protected]
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            14 months ago

            If you put it on the top, remove all app icons and add a second bar on the bottom that shows the apps and hides when you open a window in full screen mode, it even gets a macOS feeling out of the box without any addons.

            I tried KDE, Gnome, xfce and experimented with tiling window managers. At the end of the day I’m always getting back to cinnamon. It just works for me and I love it 😍

    • hauiOP
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      94 months ago

      I agree. It was a good gateway for me as well. We will see if debian is the end but so far it looks promising.

      One thing I do find odd in my linux experience is that I find myself wanting to track down every last bug in my system (fruitless most likely). It has bothered me in ubuntu and now with debian I also want pretty much no warnings in my syslog if possible. We‘ll see if that works.

        • hauiOP
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          74 months ago

          Thank you very much. This made me smile. Being kind to others makes you the same btw. :)

      • yianiris
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        14 months ago

        Many of my graphic applications spit out warnings on terminal about dbus not responding, because it never runs, neither do logind, but everything works for me. I don’t pay attention!

        @haui_lemmy @sabreW4K3

    • million
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      4 months ago

      Devils advocate here, but what makes Ubuntu a great gateway distro nowadays?

      When Ubuntu came out it had a graphical installer and UI improvements allowed users to do more without the terminal. I feel like at some point other distros caught up and Unity was the unique selling point. Then canonical became more focused on the server and killed Unity. I am not sure what is the selling point of Ubuntu as a desktop in 2024.

      This all comes from my personal experience of Ubuntu being my main distro for 10+ years. But when I started distro hoping I realized there wasn’t much difference between Ubuntu and other distros nowadays.

    • ffhein
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      44 months ago

      It used to be at least, but I’m not so sure that it still is. I’ve been using Linux full time for over a decade, mostly Xubuntu but also other distros and vanilla Ubuntu. Last year my wife decided that she wanted to ditch Windows for good so we installed Xubuntu on her pc, her netbook and our new htpc, and I was surprised that we ran into so many different issues. I could solve some of them but I think it would be much more difficult for a first time Linux user, and potentially give them a bad first impression of Linux OS:es.

      • @[email protected]
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        4 months ago

        What kind of issues did you run into if you don’t mind me asking? I jumped ship from Ubuntu just when they started with the snap nonsense, so things I found egregious, like them dropping Unity, aren’t really valid in the grand scheme of things.

        • ffhein
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          84 months ago

          Small disclaimer: I’m not claiming all these issues can be said to be 100% Ubuntu’s fault, but if recommending a distro to someone who wants to try Linux for the first time they probably won’t care about anything other than the compound experience. I used Xubuntu for many years and remembered it as very stable and the vast majority of things being easy and working out of the box, which is why I was so surprised that I had to spend hours troubleshooting various things that I never had problems with previously.

          Some issues and annoyances I remember off the top of my head:

          Unable to wake computer after monitor turning off due to inactivity. Happened to all 3 computers which have very different hardware, which seemed a little strange to me. Did some troubleshooting on my wife’s desktop PC and IIRC it appeared to be the program which would ask for your password crashed, causing the computer to turn off the monitor signal again. Uninstalled the xfce4-screensaver package and disabled password on resume on her PC which fixed it there, but her netbook needs to have password and I think it still sometimes has this issue (she doesn’t use it very often). On the htpc I both uninstalled xfce4-screensaver and disabled all monitor power saving, but recently it has started turning off the monitor signal after inactivity anyway. At least it always wakes up from this state.

          However, the htpc sometimes fails to wake up the monitor/tv after hibernate. The computer wakes up but the monitor doesn’t, and the only solution I know is the following procedure: Wake the computer up, press ctrl-alt-f1 to switch to a different vtty, press the keyboard shortcut to hibernate the computer, wake it up again, press ctrl-alt-f6 to switch back to the graphical desktop. For some reason that works…

          Every time the htpc wakes up from hibernate there’s a notification saying something about the computer being reconnected to the network. There’s a button on the popup for “don’t notify me about this again” but it makes no difference, the popups keep coming. Can ofc. be disabled entirely from some other settings, but it’s not working as expected.

          Watching movies in Kodi doesn’t work. It starts playing it without sound, then it begins to stutter after about 10 seconds and it gets worse until Kodi freezes entirely. Haven’t had time to properly debug it, but it worked just fine on Arch (which I wouldn’t recommend to a beginner for other reasons :)) which the previous htpc had. Instead we use VLC for the time being.

          We watch various series on youtube and dropout.tv so we have a browser tab permanently open for each, often with longer episodes paused in the middle. About once per month there’s a popup telling us that we must close the web browser so that snap can update it. The popups don’t time out, and need to be clicked to go away. If you click to ignore it too many times it will forcibly close eventually. Occasionally this causes the web sites to forget what we were watching, and it can take a bit of time to find out where you were in a 3 hour D&D actual play. Probably snaps working as intended but both of us find it annoying.

          Over all our Brother laser jet + scanner is great with Linux, but I had to spend a few hours to get all features working on my wife’s PC while it was pretty much plug-n-play on my current install of Fedora KDE.

          Wife’s PC had issues with monitors losing their relative position and orientation. It might’ve been triggered when one of the cables glitched a bit, and it doesn’t happen now that they’re screwed in properly, but I think the OS ought to remember the configuration better. It also moved the monitors so they weren’t adjacent, which made the mouse pointer behave very weirdly when moved between then until she rearranged them in the settings.

          There were some other things that I’m not able to recall right now too, nothing too serious for someone with Linux experience. My wife used Ubuntu at university so she’s not computer illiterate, but I don’t think she would’ve had the time and energy to spend hours troubleshooting issues, searching online and digging around in config files, so she probably would’ve switched back to Windows since it mostly worked for her.

          • @[email protected]
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            44 months ago

            Bloody hell, that’s a tremendous post. Thanks for taking the time to write it.

            I can totally see why anyone would abandon Linux with those problems. But at least now we all know just to send you round if anyone is having problems 😏

            • ffhein
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              44 months ago

              Fortunately I dislike Windows so much that I’m willing to spend a few weekends helping someone switch to Linux, especially if it’s my wife :D I’m also realizing I might’ve skipped a step in the conversation since the person I replied to was talking about Ubuntu, and it’s possible that at least some of those problems were specific to Xfce. In my mind I reasoned “I used to think that Xubuntu would be a solid recommendation for a beginner since I had a good experience with it in the past”, and it sounded like others were saying similar things about Ubuntu. Since I discovered that Xubuntu now had a lot of non-trivial issues I had to deal with, I was kind of thinking that it might be the same for vanilla Ubuntu… Or not, it might still be easy to use and a plug-n-play experience for beginners :)

              • @[email protected]
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                24 months ago

                Even if it can’t be proven that some of the problems were stock Ubuntu’s fault, I would still like to blame Ubuntu because they do some really dodgy things. Like the second dock 😒 it seems so trivial, but why wouldn’t they remove the old dock first. Decisions like that tell me other things won’t be right

    • @excitingburp
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      14 months ago

      Things have changed since those days fam. For example, if you install Steam on Ubuntu (snaps) today it’s highly likely to break. If you want a solid Ubuntu recommendation go with the downstreams: Mint, PopOS, etc.

  • savbran
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    4 months ago

    You could try Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) it has timeshift installed in the live iso, useful to restore a system when it’s unbootable. Anyway it doesn’t come with KDE but Cinnamon or XFCE.

    For me Debian or LMDE is good for a home server due to not continuous package update, just major security an important ones.

    For a Deskop or laptop in my opinion Fedora KDE or Gnome is the best experience.

    • @[email protected]
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      4 months ago

      For me Debian or LMDE is good for a home server due to not continuous package update, just major security an important ones.

      You can have a similar experience from a rolling release with debian !

      Trixie (testing) or Sid (unstable) or backports !

      Backports seems promising because that’s the version of the package going into the next debian release.

    • hauiOP
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      14 months ago

      Interesting! I have not tried fedora yet. I really like to be able to get some time off gnome for now though. Is there a particular difference between debian based distros and fedora? I cant really say I know them. The biggest differences I see make the desktop environments. Everything else, like package managers are also flexible.

      • @JubilantJaguar
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        34 months ago

        There is all but no difference if you use a desktop environment. That’s where the variation is.

        • hauiOP
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          14 months ago

          Thanks for pointing that out. I had a feeling that this would be the conclusion but I‘m still open to learn more.

          • @[email protected]
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            14 months ago

            It also uses the Red Hat RPM package format and a different package manager. But it just amounts to a few different commands to learn if you manage packages on the command line.

  • @[email protected]
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    104 months ago

    Please report back in a few weeks and a few months, and maybe even a year or two down the road.

    Generally “I’m really (happy/upset/confused/sad) with it” after only a day isn’t really good feedback for people thinking of changing, but it does provide a good baseline to measure against once you’re more familiar with it, and getting glimpses into your learning curve might be really helpful for people looking for advice on which OS to go with.

      • @sysadmin420
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        24 months ago

        I went from Debian to centos in the 2000s for work, to ubuntu and now all my creations are debian again, I’ve come full circle.

    • hauiOP
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      34 months ago

      I agree that normally, it isnt. But my post also was about the installation process and the changeover from one distro to the other. They were both very smooth. I was prepared for a lot more issues.

      Generally yes, I will report back further down the line.

    • hauiOP
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      24 months ago

      Thanks. I failed to mention that I found fluffychat from flathub shortly after through their website. :) but thanks for mentioning it.

  • @[email protected]
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    4 months ago

    Unfortunately Debian stable doesn’t ship our bugfix releases after the major Debian version gets tagged - KDE Plasma in Debian is currently at 5.27.5, and 5.27.10 was released upstream two months ago.

    In other words, you’ll be experiencing bugs that have long been fixed… I’d advise to stay away from Debian for KDE Plasma because of that. If you want a Debian based distro with a good KDE Plasma experience, KUbuntu is likely a better choice, even with forced snaps. If you don’t need Debian though I’d recommend taking a look at Fedora KDE or Arch (derivatives).

    • hauiOP
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      44 months ago

      Thanks for the heads up. I do get that faster updates mean a lot to some folks. There is always an argument for more up to date software but one needs to compromise sometimes. Using debian has been great so far and its working better than ubuntu (which might be a configuration issue). I’ll update if stuff starts breaking.

      • @[email protected]
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        44 months ago

        Man, I feel you. Sometimes you just want to get on with your life without babysitting the OS. Debian will stay out of your way and just work. Enjoy it!

        • hauiOP
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          34 months ago

          Thanks for mentioning it. I‘m glad I‘m not the only one „using Linux“ instead of „living Linux“.

  • @[email protected]
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    54 months ago

    (begging forgiveness, I haven’t read the comments yet).

    Regarding backups - I started with using Ubuntu and its Backup application. This application is a front end for a command line package called Duplicity. One of the things that annoyed me about the backup app was that I couldn’t work out how to reschedule the scheduled backup.

    Taking control of my own backup setup was the answer. Learn about bash scripting so you can create a short bit of code to handle your backups. Read up a little on duplicity, read up a little on mounting remote file shares, read up a little on setting up an ssh key for encrypting your backup.

    This may be an heretical thing to say but I found ChatGPT quite useful in answering these questions (as always with anything you get from an LLM, double check it’s answers against reliable sources).

    • hauiOP
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      14 months ago

      Thanks for mentioning this. I‘m actually scripting quite a couple of things in bash and some in python already. I had the exact same idea.

      But one reason I wrote the post was because I wanted to share my experience with debian (and ubuntu) for users that are less experienced than I am.

      I even have a custom made backup script for the 50 services I run on my two ubuntu servers. It is even self cleaning.

      Also tried chatgpt but so far I didnt have any luck. The code it spat out (was for screen brightness control) didnt work. But I did get it to work in the end.

  • Jo Miran
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    54 months ago

    I have been happy with Pop!_OS but the idea of LMDE (Linux Mint Debian Edition) is very tempting.

    • hauiOP
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      34 months ago

      I have not tried pop os yet. Whats the selling point again?

      • Jo Miran
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        44 months ago

        The biggest is the baked in support for nVidia GPUs, but their DE has a lot of work done to it for usability purposes. No real advances have been made over the past few years to really set it apart again, but there is a massive overhaul coming that will make it one of a kind again.

    • @[email protected]
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      34 months ago

      LMDE is really great. Just migrated an old 2013 iMac to it today. Everything works out of the box. Everything easy like you can expect from Mint and stable like on Debian. Difficult not to love.

      The only thing you have to like is Cinnamon.

  • @wildflower
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    54 months ago

    It also doesnt tell you that you can get security upgrades if you subscribe to ubuntu pro

    Wow, do Ubuntu not have security updates in the “free” version?

    • hauiOP
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      174 months ago

      Sorry, I meant „Additional security updates“. its not very useful for normal users and canonical is targeting enterprises with it but looking at it every day without a non hacky way to disable it just wore on me.

    • @waigl
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      4 months ago

      They do, including those that are in Debian, but they also have an additional source of faster security updates developed in house, which they hold back from the free path in favor of the pro package.

      Personally, I feel a bit torn about this. On the one hand, this should be, officially at least, purely an additional service on top of what’s available in the baseline distro, and isn’t taking anything away from that.

      On the other hand, I strongly disagree with holding back security fixes from anyone, ever, for any reason. Also, the claim that it will never take away anything from the free base distro is at least a little bit suspect. I would not be surprised if the existence of the pro path were to gradually erode the quality and timelyness of the base security upgrade path over time. Also, Ubuntu is now very annoying about nagging you to upgrade to pro, and the way to disable that is fairly involved and very much non-official. The whole thing goes against what I expect from a F/OSS operating system. I don’t quite understand why this topic hasn’t been a much bigger issue in Linux circles yet. It certainly doesn’t sit right with me…

      • SolidGrue
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        4 months ago

        Not that I’m a fan of Ubuntu here (I generally don’t run it when I can run anything else), but I do want to say I think you’ve missed the point of the Pro tier.

        Ubuntu releases two stable versions a year which are supported for 2 years or so. This is like a slow rolling distribution, and makes the newest software’s available. It receives regular security updates from upstream, from Canonical, and from backports, again for up to about 2 years. Most users install this version.

        Ubuntu LTS editions are similar to the above, but receive all the same security updates for 5 years instead of 2. These distributions are generally targeted for Enterprise users who value stability over having the newest software, and for whom upgrading comes with significant time, expense and risk. The 5 year window is customary among other distros, and is largely supported by and throughout the Dev community.

        Ubuntu LTS Pro editions extend the LTS support editions for an additional 5 years, meaning a Pro distro enjoys 10 years of security updates from upstream, backports, and from Canonical where needed. Canonical might even open source their fixes back into upstream for other maintainers and distros to use, depending on the situation. However, since Canonical is providing the work, they charge subscription fees to cover their costs for it from their target audience: Enterprises who can’t or REALLY don’t want to upgrade

        Why an Enterprise might not want to upgrade has to do with risk and compliance. Corporate IT security is a different world, where every bit of software may need to be reviewed, assessed, tested and signed-off upon. Major software upgrades would need to be recertified to mitigate risk and ensure compliance, which takes significant time and expense to complete in good faith. Not having to do it every 2 or 5 years is money in the bank, especially when the environment doesn’t introduce new requirements very often.

        Canonical is meeting a market demand with their Pro tier by allowing these customers to spend a fraction of their recertification costs on a software subscription. It’s overall good for the ecosystem because you have what amounts to corporate sponsors pumping money into keeping older packages maintained for longer. This let’s them keep using the same software distro all the rest of us can use for free.

        I’m not shy about calling bullshit on ANY distro that operates in bad faith, and they all get into some BS from time to time. Nevertheless, Canonical are acting in good faith on this, and are merely collecting money for their time and skill to provide maintenance on FOSS packages that might otherwise go unmaintained.

        tl;dr: Pro tier is for Enterprise customers who need extra-long term support and are willing to pay for it. Canonical is meeting a market demand so they can remain competitive for use in those environments, which is good for everyone. It’s benign. Keep the pitchforks sharp and the torches dry for another day.

        edit: typos

        • @waigl
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          44 months ago

          Pro tier is for Enterprise customers who need extra-long term support and are willing to pay for it. Canonical is meeting a market demand so they can remain competitive for use in those environments, which is good for everyone. It’s benign

          Then please show me the button (and I mean button, not command-line exclusive settings or config file entries in /etc, and certainly not unofficial trickery like third party repositories that replace Ubuntu advantage packages with an empty decoy) that says “Thank you, I don’t need Ubuntu Pro, please stop nagging me about it”.

          • SolidGrue
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            44 months ago

            Oh, I never said they weren’t absolute prats about invading user space with advertising their bullshit. The Lens fiasco, Snaps, the popup warnings in apt breaking scripts, and the lack of UI toggles to easily disable those nag messages are all reasons I run other distros. There’s a big Mint colored button to turn on the Ubuntu experience without the nagging.

            You have other choices that do no not shove that bullshit in your face. Canonical is gonna canonical. Nobody said you have to play their game.

            My point was they are not withholding anything community-based from anyone. They are entitled to charge for their original work, even they are pushy about it. They even abide by the license and distribute it the changes when complete, but they’re not gonna just do it for giggles.