Desktop Training -
Lesson 1 / Lesson 3
Ian Murdock is the founder of what could be the most influential Linux distribution we've seen so far. First announced on August 16th 1993, Debian GNU/Linux, began as a few hundred volunteers and now is one of the largest software collaborations of all time being developed by over a thousand volunteers with software repositories boasting more than twenty thousand packages. Other distributions have noted the stability and other assets of Debian as now over 120 Debian-based Linux distributions exist. Debian is known for being bug free and well tested due to its strict quality control. This in-depth development style slows down the release of stable releases causing them to be released once every few years. For the guy that just wants the latest packages is forced to use an unstable version of Debian. So the stability of this distro has a downside.
Debian falls into the General category because it provides so many general solutions for everyday Linux users.
The latest release from Debian features a great blue background by default and a panel across the top of the desktop. The Gnome desktop environment has been chosen by default and useful applications have been put in place such as Iceweasel the full-featured web browser with similar features as Firefox. Another application you'll notice right away is OpenOffice.org Office Suite. This is where the stability factor really starts to show for Debian users. On applications like OpenOffice.org 3, Debian has opted to use the old version (OpenOffice.org 2.4) because it's much less buggy and stable. This makes sense for users like me who really don't need anything cutting edge but it's a disaster when I come across and OOO bug and loose a document etc.
My first stop when looking for help while using Debian GNU/Linux would be Debian.org. this is the official distro homepage which contains unmatched Debian resources including news, documentation, support and more. Debian.org users can find places to get Debian, read Debian books, get free Debian documentation, and participate in the Debian community. Another site that support the Debian project and focuses its efforts directly on helping new Debian users is DebianHelp.corg. The webmaster here goes by the name "Intense Red". Intense Red provides a mountain of free Debian GNU/Linux documentation in the form of articles, forums and blog postings.
Debian has a philosophy that is more like Red Hat/CentOS in that the focus is more on testing to insure stability of the whole system than to provide the latest and greatest applications. Debian comes with 18,733 packages. Debian 5 Lenny will have 5 DVDs to download with those packages, that is simply beyond any other distribution. These packages are maintained by volunteers who cover the globe providing insight and thinking from various cultures and backgrounds. The amount of packages and Debian users gives this distro an edge.
I think that having a Linux distribution that is older, well known, and proven to be so stable is a great thing for Linux as a whole. Many users have been turned off or turned away by the complexity of trying to switch to a new(Linux operating system. Bugs and stability issues make this switch almost impossible for many users. Having such a stable grandfather Linux around gives beginners a great stable option and has provided so many other Linux distros with a solid foundation to build on.