From: Tom Anderson on

I have an Eee PC 1001HA netbook. It is currently running Eeebuntu, which
is, as the name suggests, an Eee-specific Ubuntu variant. It's
particularly flaky - if you update packages, you get massive breakage
caused by mismatches between the Eeebuntu stuff and the Ubuntu stuff, as
well as the normal level of breakage you get with Ubuntu. It also has far
more GUI crud than it really needs.

So, i'd like to move over to a more normal distribution - something where
i can install packages without worrying about everything blowing up, and
where i have more control over the configuration, both of the GUI (where i
might run Gnome or i might run XFCE) and of networking and stuff. I'm a
moderately experienced unix/linux user (although i've only done my own
installations a couple of times in the past) and am more comfortable
editing configuration files to get things done than using some GUI tool.

There are a few distributions which would fit the bill, but my current
thinking is to go with Debian. It's well-run, solid, and trustworthy.

However, one of the things Debian is famous for is having incredibly
out-of-date packages in its stable release. I'm not too keen on this, and
in particular, would quite like to get kernel 2.6.32, because it includes
support for my wireless chipset (although see below), which will save me
having to install the driver myself. This laptop is a secondary machine,
not used to hold anything vital, so i'm not madly exercised about having
the utmost security and stability.

So, i'm considering a couple of options.

My first idea was to install the testing (Squeeze) rather than stable
(Lenny) release. This will get me more up-to-date packages, with more
frequent updates. My understanding of the Debian release engineering
process is that i won't get package hell from this; at any point in time,
the packages in testing all play well together, so when i update a
package, apt will be able to update anything else that needs to be (which
might be everything, of course).

The second idea, suggested by a wise friend, would be to use stable
(Lenny) and selectively install backports from of the
packages i really need to be more up to date. This is obviously a safer
option. However, i'm lazy, and quite like the idea of having lots of
things up to date automatically.

A third option would be to use a different distribution, one that has more
modern packages in its standard release. I still wouldn't get kernel
2.6.32 this way, though.

So, any thoughts on which of these i should do? I should reiterate that i
don't mind doing moderately difficult things, and i don't mind some risk.
I do mind drudgery.

Now, about that kernel. The chipset in question is the Ralink RT3090.
Support for this has been added in 2.6.32, but in the staging

If i install this kernel via apt, will i get that driver? Or will i have
to recompile it myself? In which case i think i'll stick with a stock
kernel and a backported driver!

Thanks in advance,

No kings, voting or presidents, just a rough consensus and running
code. -- Dave Clark
From: Geoff Clements on
Tom Anderson wrote:


It'd hang on for a few days; eeebuntu (or whatever it's going to be called)
4.0 will be out soon and it'll be based on Debian Unstable so there won't be
the breakage you experienced with eeebuntu 3.0.

If you really want to move to a plain Debian distro then only the stable
branch is way out of date and is probably better used with servers (I have
Debian stable on my home server). Testing is a good bet for desktops and I
have testing on my desktop but the kernel for testing is 2.6.30 at present
and you can get occasional minor breakage (there's one at the moment with
kdm - have to log in twice).

So you could go for unstable but sometimes the breakage may not always be
minor but you could use a distro like sidux which is based on unstable.

Debian allows you to run mixed distros so that you could run testing but
pull in the kernel from unstable, man apt_preferences will tell you how to
do this.