Moving on from Ubuntu

After many years of using and generally being happy with Ubuntu I’ve become a little tired and bored with Ubuntu.

I’ve used pretty much every version of Ubuntu since about 8.something, although when they switched to unity I did end up moving to Xubuntu and Ubuntu Gnome so I’m pretty comfortable mucking about with Linux and dealing with the command line and the like.

Anyway I’ve recently been considering moving away from Ubuntu. I like apt-get so I’m thinking I might switch to Debian. I know there are certain differences between Debian and Ubuntu, but what I’m would like to know is has anyone else undertaken anything similar?

I’m looking at moving to Linux Mint Debian Edition because I like the work they’re doing with the cinnamon desktop but what I would like to know is what are the potential pitfalls of moving to Debian? Has anyone done anything similar? And aside from LMDE and Debian itself what other distros would people suggest I take a look at?

This is not a major migration IMHO.
As you know Ubuntu is a derivative of Debian anyway, if you know your way around a terminal you should have no super major problems.

I have been using XUbuntu and Kubuntu for years and they mostly work the same as Ubuntu - I have just used to fix my Wifi card on Kubuntu.

The UI on other distros is different and I’m not to sure about using Snappy Snaps etc though.

If you just want to try another GUI why not just install another desktop enviroment?

Ubuntu is a derivative of Debian, and I’m pretty comfortable with the command line. Having had a play with Debian on my Raspberry Pi there’s not a lot that particularly worries me about the migration from Ubuntu to Debian, but I would be interested to hear people’s experiences moving from Ubuntu to Debian…

I’m 100% certain that snaps are a Ubuntu specific thing, as are PPAs (although I was under the impression that PPA’s actually just setup a list file in /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ with the deb source in it - Hopefully someone with a little more knowledge than me can confirm that!?)

It’s not just about the UI, although running the UI on the distro it was intended for always yields better results, I’m suppose it’s more that I’m just bored and want to try something different. That plus Canonical’s focus on mobile and convergence don’t really converge with how I use my system (see what I did there).

Linux Mint and their focus on the desktop suits my needs better… Of course I could always just use Linux Mint rather than LMDE, but where’s the fun in that!

Ubuntu is a Debian derivative, but there are a couple of conceptual/behavioral shifts that you’ll have to do. First of all, you’ll get a rock-solid distribution… which means you’ll get old versions of applications. They’ll very unlikely to fail, but you might miss interesting features set depending on what kind of tools you use. So if this is a problem, a lot of people will tell you “Hey, then use ‘testing’! Use ‘unstable’!”, which of course are valid options, but then the question is whether you really want Debian. Debian “testing” is meant for people who are doing QA for the next stable Debian release… and “unstable” is for people who are interested in developing Debian or stuff in general and want to be a really active part of the development of the distribution and related projects. Other people will tell you “Use ! Use Ubuntu PPAs anyway!” and that’s leaving the door open to have your system quickly become what’s called a “Frankendebian” (look it up, the concept exists!).

I’m of those who believe that using Debian on a personal desktop setting is kinda nonsense unless you’re part of the development/QA of Debian. I use Debian stable on my server, but in a desktop setting I just don’t really see the benefits of it. That’s why LMDE looks interesting to me for a case like yours: it’s a Debian “testing” (I think, or perhaps “unstable”, but not “stable” for sure) derivative where a dedicated team irons out usability problems.

Of course, try things out, but don’t rule out the alternatives.


it’s that stability that’s attracted me to Debian. While I’m aware of both testing (debian+1) and unstable (Sid) they’re not something I would be interested in.

Obviously the age of packages is a concern, but I believe for the most part backports does take care of that with newer versions of the kernel and the like.

The important things that I would need kept up to date are my browser (which the Linux mint guys and google take care of), mono (who provide their own repo), and possibly libreoffice (which is in backports).

I generally stick to the Ubuntu LTS releases on my laptop as it is which also don’t generally provide the latest packages and by the time the next LTS rolls round things are pretty out of date so that’s never really proved to be a problem. Besides I did run Arch for a while and couldn’t really keep up with all the package changes so to my mind stable is always better.

Debian on the server is a no-brainer, but I’m coming round to the idea that actually it makes a lot of sense on the desktop as well, although I think it largely depends what you use the desktop for. It’s not a distro for someone who wants/needs to be on the bleeding edge!

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While I think the move to Debian is interesting (I have desktops running both), I feel the original premise of “I am bored with Ubuntu” will not fully be resolve I feel. For the regular user, I do not see much difference with one over the other, so that eventually you will be again looking for a new distro

Just throwing it out there, but from reading the comments, I would recommend FreeBSD. While not Linux, it is Unix based, has a good desktop environment and package system, and has much to offer. And more than anything, many developers swear by its stability :wink:

I support “I’m bored with Ubuntu” is a bad way of phrasing it. I’ve been using Ubuntu (recently Xubuntu) for quite a while now and I just want to try something different.

I’ve now installed LMDE and so far I can say it’s pretty decent. I’ve not run into any major problems, although the first thing I did was to enable backports to allow installing the 4.5 kernel (better opensource AMD support) and libreoffice 5.something - these are probably the only things I’ll really need from backports.

The mint guys provide the latest Firefox and Google provides the latest chrome all via repositories.

So far stability has been rock solid (as you would expect) and everything I need is in the repositories. I have found one issue with a DisplayLink adapter, but that’s pretty much expected since DisplayLink adapter’s aren’t particularly well supported in Linux (yet). That’s actually the only thing I’ve found that “just worked” in Ubuntu but hasn’t in Debian.

So it’s so far so good anyway…

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