From Ubuntu to Debian

I don't consider myself an advanced or technical user at all, I hardly use my PC to surf, chat, create documents, listen to music and occasionally play games. Long time ago I was wanting to try Debian, the distro of many linuxeros, mother of Ubuntu and usual den of fundamentalist linuxists. Now I tell you my experienceIf you use Ubuntu and you never left there or tried others and you didn't like them, you will be interested to know how Debian is for a user little girl Ubuntu like you or me.

What is Debian?

I am not going to do the biography, if you are interested in the historical details go to Wikipedia. But let's say that the Debian operating system is a fairly common Linux distro, as I said above it is "the mother of Ubuntu" since the latter is based on it. It is one of the most respected Free Software projects and in which it seems to me (as a bird's eye view) that more people work.

It's hard?

It is often said that it is a distro, I do not know if it is difficult, but that it is not a distro for newbies, let's leave it there. The truth is that it is not a difficult distro to use, but its installation is different from an Ubuntu installation and even more from a Windows one.

- It does not have Live CD (you enter right into the installation)
- It installs by default only a base system, many install it that way so they get a "black screen" when they finish the installation and on which they begin to fine-tune the rest of the work.
- By default, the process is also done on a text screen (that is, not graphic, that is, ugly)

In my case what I did was the following:

In the past (and one of the things that made me cheer up) I wanted to install it with a 64-bit version, since my processor is 64-bit. For some reason at that time I installed it and was not able to get the graphical environment into it. Months later, that is, a week or so ago I installed Debian with a normal 32-bit disk (debian-etch) and I achieved my mission, I do not know if it was my inexperience or if I really had to see architecture, but the fact is that now I could and before not.

My experience installing Debian

As I was saying, Debian installs by default through a text screen, but we can change it to a graphical one if we write the command »


»When starting to boot the CD. By the way, you can get the Debian disk at, Disc 1 is enough for you and if you download it through Torrent much easier.

Follow the steps on the CD, partition carefully (the options are the same or very similar to Ubuntu in »


»At least) and install. Debian gives you the possibility of installing over the Internet, but it must be said that if the router does not connect to the ADSL there are not many more ways to configure it at the time of installation. I recommend installing everything from the CD, nothing is missing, also the Zyxel router that I use does not work with DHCP, so if it asks you about network mirrors, if that happens, tell it no.

The other thing that worried me when installing was not knowing how to configure the graphical environment or having to add it after installing the entire operating system. And I was wrong, you can. There is an option (in the installation menu) to add various things to the "base installation" and the first one that appears is "Desktop Environment". That option is automatic and you add GNOME. If you don't like it, there you will have to choose only the base installation and write the commands from the console.

With the system already installed

When rebooting the system, Debian already started with the graphical server (and if not, you can always do a

dpkg --reconfigure xserver-xorg

) with a VESA configuration, so even if I didn't have the "spinning cube" with nvidia, it made sure the PC started up fine.

When I saw myself inside Debian, I had a special feeling of familiarity (because I always use GNOME and remember Ubuntu in it). In order to configure ADSL I had to manually install the "pppoeconf" and at that moment I realized that I did not have SUDO. I did not install it immediately, later I had to learn how to configure it and there I installed it.

With the Internet, you know, things change and there I started to feel better and even comfortable. The Debian browser «Iceweasel»Is the same as Firefox, so there were no weird configuration problems and little by little I started to leave everything in place. I configured the repositories to be able to download programs from the Internet and not only from the CD. There I realized that the distro is not so fundamentalist: I could install with Synaptic without ties Flash 9 and the Java environment (I didn't even have the Java environment in Ubuntu). However, installing the proprietary nvidia drivers was not possible, or rather, not halfway. I was able to install it by Synaptic but not make it work without errors, so I have no "spinning cube", for now VESA.

debian stickers

Important: my experience reflected in points summary

The good thing about Debian

- It was not really difficult to install with the "installgui"
- I could install it without Internet
- It gave me the possibility to install graphical environment immediately
- That it is stable is true, that security is palpable
- It does not depend on the Internet, in fact the discs can all be saved and used as repositories (there are 3 DVDs)
- For the picky eaters, Debian is not a company.

The Bad of Debian

- It is basic When installing, it does not bring everything that Ubuntu has when installing, if you want OpenOffice you have to download it, although this is not really bad but some ubunters may be panicky not having everything at hand (the same with small tools such as SUDO or PPPOECONF).
- There are less Attendees, strictly speaking, I have not seen any, for example for issues such as proprietary drivers (compare the amount of things in the Ubuntu Desktop Menu with those of the Debian Desktop Menu)
- Installation without being difficult is a bit confused, a bit.
- I am still not able to configure nvidia privative on Debian, I am still with VESA and without Compiz Fusion
- There are so many bad comments about the tone of the Debian forum members that asking something is scarier than a blogger the "menéame mafia."
- apt it is a great installation system, as ubunteros we know it.
- Debian, for all the above it looks a lot like Ubuntu but it is not Ubuntu.

From the above I am left with a good balance, in fact I write this article with Debian and I haven't been back to Ubuntu since I installed Debian And not because I despise it, but because they fulfill functions in a similar way and Debian does not give me problems, I am a person of changing routines but routines in the end (I have also taken a week).

Sorry for the length of the article, but if I didn't, it would have been impossible for me to tell you how I did what I did.

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  1.   George said

    It is you from debian ecth forward in the installation time you put: installgui and then enter

    and so you already have it graphically

  2.   George said

    you can fix the card by installing the PureDriver from nvidia by module assistant

    P.S. the previous comment was for ... no, I had not finished reading the entry

  3.   lopez said

    Try putting the nvidia drivers like this:

    Download the driver from here:
    Then you have to install your kernel headers and the necessary programs to compile the kernel module: aptitude install linux-headers-`uname -r` build-essential gcc
    Then press CTRL + ALT + F1 and log in as root
    Stop the gdm daemon: /etc/init.d/gdm stop
    You give execution permissions to the installer with chmod + x /path/del/ and you execute it
    You follow the steps saying don't look for the precompiled module on the nvidia page and at the end tell it if it modifies the xorg.conf (makes a backup)
    Finally simply put gdm and go back to the graphical environment, if you want to know if you have the acceleration working correctly: aptitude install mesa-utils and then execute glxinfo | grep "direct" if it says yes, you have 3d acceleration

  4.   florsie said

    I have nothing against people who use Debian. I think that Debian is a more pro Ubuntu or vice versa, that Ubuntu is Debian for dummies. I am also curious, but I will try to install it when I have my new lap.

  5.   ssorgatem said

    For the nvidia driver and such, in the esdebian wiki you can find many things, and also looking for the forum.

    I don't know why we Debianites have a reputation for eating novices ... the only thing that happens is that we don't give fish, we teach how to fish: D

  6.   laura077 said

    Well, I didn't even have to run the "installgui", in Lenny the installation was graphical automatically. I did it netinstall from USB (I was obliged because I don't have a CD reader, with UNetBootin, no commands) and it automatically selected "laptop detect", "base system" and "desktop environment" ... well, nothing like I didn't need anything else, to give it to next. In an old lap I did install Etch and what do you want me to tell you, the installation in text mode yes, so what? The same as that of fluxbuntu, that ubuntu with unofficial fluxbox, I had to configure the network manually (in both, in fluxbuntu it was not easier because it was ubuntu) but with a handy sheet where all the details of my router came, nothing Of the other world. Vesa and without a bucket going around, I have it like that too, well so happy, I don't want more;). Sudo ... uf I still don't know if it's safer to use sudo or root: S. Flash Swfdec came by default, I didn't even have to install it.
    And what do you want me to tell you, I really think that if you get into really convoluted settings, even the easiest distro, it can be difficult. And to do what I do, then get the idea that I am the complete opposite of a hacker (no, a cracker either) and that I always look for what seems easier to me.
    Offtopic: please don't ask me how my last Vista installation went: S

  7.   LJMarín said

    I congratulate you for having made the leap to Debian, as you can see it is not so difficult to learn to use it.

    If I didn't read wrong, you say that you didn't choose a network replica, because to me it seems easier to download a network replica, because that way you already have everything working at once, either gnome or kde, then you can update, add and remove programs from pleasure.

    Any questions we are at your service :)

  8.   laura077 said

    LJ Marín, I think that with netinstall you have gnome or gnome, no kde, unless you install it later or just install sist. base and add it.

  9.   f sources said

    Thank you all for the advice you have given me so far:

    @lopez: Thanks for the detail, but the process looks complicated, does it have to be so difficult?

    @ LJMarín: I did not choose "network replication" because (I said it in the article) my router did not connect to the Internet, it could not. Anyway, CD 1 has the basics to install and if, as @ laura077 says, it is not possible to install kde or something else, I still can't find the difference.

  10.   N @ ty said

    Congratulations Fran !!!

  11.   LJMarín said

    Hi Laura, with netinstall if you have the possibility to install gnome, kde or even xfce.

    When you load the cd, there where to said sources that installgui wrote you can place the Desktop to install, like this:

    installgui tasks = »kde-desktop, standard»

    this way you will download kde if you choose a network replica, and only change "kde" if you want xfce, because if you don't put anything like you said by default install gnome.

    ffuentes I had not remembered that you said about the router hehe, well I detected everything and that is why I had no problems, I only said it because for someone who is the first time it is easier to enter a graphical mode than to start testing from a command line and install everything to the finger, I don't know, I say: P

  12.   laura077 said

    sources, I think the difference is that CD1, 2 .. is more secure than netinstall, especially if you connect it to the network for the replica, since you have it connected for a long time (in my case it was 4h) without having confiured iptables (or your frontend) first. I did it like this because I had no other choice: S

  13.   laura077 said

    LJ Marin KDE Fan gives you a thousand thanksssssssssss !!!!

  14.   Gabriel said

    I'm looking forward to switching to Debian but I'm about to go on vacation;), for the return maybe I'll cheer up

  15.   lopez said

    @ffuentes if you can't do it through the package manager do it like this, that's how I have it and I have no problem, it's only 5 steps anyway: S

  16.   leprosys said

    I'll make some "Bad Debian" comments.

    - It is basic when installed,
    I do not see anything wrong, it is more perfect, because it does not install things that I do not need, but those that I want.

    - There are fewer assistants, strictly speaking
    Something that is based on freedom does not have to be based on proprietary drivers, the less they are needed the better.

    - Debian, for all the above it looks a lot like Ubuntu but it is not Ubuntu.
    Debian does not look like Ubuntu. Ubuntu looks like Debian

    The "installgui" thing is not very necessary if Lenny is installed, which is more recommended than etch, the only thing that this test is the installer.

    The "fear of asking" thing just go to a debian IRC chat room in your country and ask or else in # debian-es or on the esDebian site.

    Something I found and liked: D:
    Geek by nature, Linux by choice, Debian of course.

    Happy Holidays.

  17.   f sources said

    @ffuentes Thank you very much
    @lopez I'm going to try it, it's that what went wrong was the xorg.conf, that's what, when I installed the nvidia-glx-new with the xorg changes it didn't work and I had to save the old xorg.conf.

  18.   jojo said

    In fact, to install it, it is not necessary to download the first 700 MB cd, the simplest thing is to download a 150 MB netinstall image with which you only download the elementary for console operation, from there you have to configure the repositories by hand and install the graphical environment recently, this allows you to save on packages and not download or have unnecessary things as it would be for me a post manager or a program to make notes :)

    debian is quite simple to use, I did my first installation after using Ubuntu for a few months and I was scared to death but after achieving it at the first attempt I must definitely admit that it is a glorious thing to have Debian, it goes much faster than Ubuntu and it has the most packages (in fact it is the one with the most packages). Rather, if I have suffered when trying to install a Slackware or an ArchLinux (I did not succeed in any case), and this week I tried to use OpenSuSE, Fedora, Linux Mint and they all seemed limited after having used Debian after more than a year :)

    I encourage everyone to try Debian, there is full documentation and it is simple to use even if you do not believe it hehe
    Greetings and happy new year!

  19.   Slack said


    I agree with you enormously and allow myself to limit the fact that the stable version of Debian is etch (for now) and it is that… STABLE too… for the same reason it is implemented on servers.

    I recommend that you migrate to lenny, either by redoing an installation or upgrading from etch by changing the repositories from "stable" to "testing", it will be easier for you to install the proprietary driver of your NVIDIA.

    When the installation is finished, you should install gnome in the following way, so as not to install things that you will not occupy.

    "Aptitude install gnome-core" which will do a basic installation, then if you want to migrate to KDE, you add the 4.x repos

    If you like, post the problems you encounter and we will try to help you (it looks like a forum)

    Good, greetings

  20.   Slack said


    Change the xD icon

  21.   Paul said

    I tried debian long enough. And it went very well. I know that more than one is going to hit me for what I'm going to tell you. But that fucking bear shit from the iceweasel broke my patience. So I put it aside just for that damn bear. I know that it is the normal firefox itself, but seeing that bear hanging from the little planet made my hair stand out. All wrong. So stop using debian. The same as distribution is great. I like it much more than Ubuntu. Anyway, a matter of taste.

  22.   necudeco said

    Debian is for little girls ... you want something interesting, try LFS or gentoo if not.
    Or maybe netBSD

  23.   Juan C said

    Congratulations ffuente for the great jump, hehe… I pass for now.

    and I didn't know your name was fran: P

  24.   T-shirtDeGay said

    - I'm going to switch to Debian. Ubuntu 11.04 is a failure, it has a bug whereby it does not support nvidia boards prior to Series 6 (find out and see). Poor my Geforce FX 5500.
    - The same Ubuntu was always a headache.
    - Almost every week I spent up to 6 hours with FURIA fixing (sometimes only trying when the bug is skin and flesh with the OS) those bugs incorporated by mediocre programmers from that homosexual community that helps you yes, saying that you format and install again when they do not know the error (without even reporting it), that is almost always, they think that one is going to ask them how to change the wallpaper. They are nothing more than a few covers that answer what they want, taking advantage of the ignorance of some users with this operating system and causing them to waste their valuable time (I clarify that 1/237 responds correctly and is friendly, the rest copy and paste without noticing what distribution or version corresponds and if it can really serve the person who consults or not).
    - One in four updates seriously compromised the system, it was unbearable, one looks for stability and never knows what to expect when updating Ubuntu.
    - It is true that proprietary software is better, logically it is convenient to sell the technology before committing the great stupidity of 'donating' it to free software (luckily this almost never happens, unless the developer is a billionaire).

  25.   EDGARDO said