Farewell Father Debian…

Another rant coming up. This time the target is Debian, the father of all and naught. In my endless pursuit of the Zen of lightweightness and small memory footprint I sailed to Island Debian. Everyone knows how Debian is the Most Stable Thing on Earth (besides granite deposits, of course). I installed it, used it and greatly enjoyed user-friendliness in the form of sane configurations, yet moistened in a sweet-sour flexibility juice. Love it!


Debian Stretch with slightly customized Xfce4

Then I came up with this obscene and perverse idea – why not contribute? I like writing tutorials, protocols and articles centered around getting things to work. Debian has a great reputation so the idea did not occur to me as particularly bizarre (the 2 beers in me made matters easier). I looked at the hardware compatibility documentation and almost got a stroke. Yes, it’s stuck on kernel 2.x, while the most recent kernel version is already 4.5. In developers’ years we’re talking about eons here. I thought it should be rather simple to write new documentation, correct? Wrong…

I investigated the main website and admittedly, it’s an absolute mess. Finding anything, including images for Debian Testing requires a certain level of clairvoyance. I wrote on Debian’s IRC channel – no response. I signed up for the debian-doc mailing list and e-mailed my pleads there – no response again. Also, most circulated e-mails dealt with translations to some less popular languages. Frankly, who cares about translations when most of the documentation is absurdly outdated…?

On my previous attempts to wholeheartedly like Debian, I also had problems with broken packages. Might as well bring this up as the issue is recursive. I know, Debian Testing is meant for testing (duh!). However, upstream to it we have Debian Experimental and Debian Unstable. How can an important package such as rsyslog with obviously broken dependencies pass through both of the above and be completely ignored? Has no one tested it prior to releasing? Debian proudly announces on its main website that the repositories hold more than 50,000 packages. How many of them have equally broken dependencies? How many are still maintained upstream? That painfully reminds me of the legacy fglx driver issues that eventually led to frying my discrete AMD graphics by accident. The offending package was still in Debian Wheezy repos, even though the packaging team no longer existed (?!). Curiously, Debian Jessie retained this package in a non-upgradeable, broken form (missing/conflicting dependencies, not cleaned after Wheezy). Why not simply drop it if it’s broken AND unmaintained? Things like this happen all the time. There are too many packages to handle properly… I’m sorry to say it, but Father Debian is getting senile.

Then, I remembered an operating system that has both superb documentation and management – FreeBSD. The only thing stopping me from using FreeBSD fully was missing wireless drivers. This is not the case anymore, as both of my Realtek WiFi USB adapters have FreeBSD drivers. This ship has sailed again – back to its ancestral Unix harbor!


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