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  1. #1

    Question Looking For Advice on Distro Choice

    Thanks for coming to my thread and welcome!

    After immersing myself in "The Arch Way" I love it, but ironically, I don't like Arch. It has a habit of breaking itself on update, or refusing to update altogether (my case) from my readings, and frankly, I want a computer and not a fish tank.

    So, here's my goals:

    1. Something simple, KISS-oriented (like Arch). Minimal installed packages to begin with, and subsequently highly secure (except for my retarded where applicable)
    2. Some way of elegantly handling daemons like systemctl
    3. Resilient, doesn't break itself (except in crazy edge cases no one could have foreseen)
    4. Solid and simple package manager (pacman was grand)

    That's most of it, obviously it needs to do basic things like have a desktop with sound and all, but essentially I want free OSX without the bloat and with more open-ness..

    Any thoughts?

  2. #2
    Administrator jayd512's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Hello and Welcome!
    I think you just gave a pretty good description of either Slackware or Debian. I never had any real issues while running CRUX, either.

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  3. #3
    Thanks for the reply!

    Slack seemed very difficult to maintain, that said, it's been a LONG time since I did it so maybe if I went back I'd enjoy it more.

    Debian seems to install much more bloat than Arch, and I remember it and Slack coming with a lot of extra packages I didn't need (I really only want daemon management, package management, and consistent updates that don't ram me in the butt every other time -- I'll take care of the rest of the system manually).

    You could say I want more of a framework than a distro, but a really solid one that follows KISS without installing anything unnecessary that I don't pick out on purpose.

    Am I off-track here with what Deb and Arch are about?

    I don't know anything about CRUX. Enlighten me?

    EDIT: Oh also, do you recommend the LTS Debian or the other (unstable I think is what it's called?). Does a rolling release make sense for someone in my position or would you opt for something more infrequent?

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  5. #4
    Linux Enthusiast sgosnell's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Baja Oklahoma
    Debian Stable is what I would recommend. It works. Download the netinstall .iso file and burn it, then install. It does a minimal install, and you can add more stuff later if you want. Debian Sid (unstable) isn't for newbies, and Jessie (testing) is certainly not for newbies. They break, because they're designed for people to test new packages. Stable won't break, because nothing changes except for security updates. It just works.

  6. #5
    I don't know anything about CRUX. Enlighten me?
    Just to point the way for simple try outs.

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  7. #6
    Administrator jayd512's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Look to the minimal installs. You can get a fully functional system from Debian or Slack that takes less than half a GB of drive space. CRUX... 300 MB.
    And Slackware is quite simple to maintain. Stay in the Stable tree and it's a simple matter of
    slackpkg update
    slackpkg update-all
    True.... installing new software can be a pain if you're not used to it. But I always liked the fact that Slack didn't pull down dependent software that I didn't need.

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  8. #7
    Thanks for the replies, I've used Debian before and liked it, I didn't realize it was a minimalist distribution.

    Do most package managers install unneeded dependencies? I thought the point of a package manager (eg apt-get) was to install only the necessary library files for the binary you want?

  9. #8
    Linux Engineer
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Virginia, USA
    If it's unneeded, it's not really a dependency. I know there is often 'optional software' that can be installed when you install packages, but these are not selected by default.

    Debian is a solid choice. Will serve you for years to come with very little hassle and a great user base.

  10. #9
    Linux Engineer drl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Saint Paul, MN, USA / CentOS, Debian, Slackware, {Free, Open, Net}BSD, Solaris
    Quote Originally Posted by ILovePenguins View Post
    ... I've used Debian before and liked it, I didn't realize it was a minimalist distribution. ...
    I would not call Debian a minimalist distribution, although we may not be talking about the same meaning.

    One of the final parts of a Debian install is the task selection, run by a perl code tasksel. It is run by the installer to allow you to choose "big chunks" of software, already packaged up for you.

    For a minimal install, one deselects the top item Desktop Environment. Then after the re-boot into the newly-installed system, you can begin installing your choice of software from the command-line.

    I usually allocate time for at least 3 install attempts on new systems, YMMV. We keep notes on installs, particularly about any deviations from default selections, and copies of pertinent forum questions and answers for not-obvious-to-us situations.

    There are at least 2 unofficial forums dedicated to Debian, one is Debian User Forums ? Index page It isn't for everyone. Some people find it unfriendly, some think it hostile. It can be both -- particularly to people who don't do research and ask for hand-holding. (I think denizen Hazel once commented on the atmosphere of it.) We use it for pro-actively checking for possible problem-prone areas of installing, maintaining, and use. That was where we first ran across the steps for installing Debian minimally.

    Good luck ... cheers, drl
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  11. #10
    I actually deselected everything last time I ran it in a virtual machine, and I didn't encounter any oddness, although deselecting that last one entitled something to the extent of "Critical System Utilities" felt ominous.

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