| Thursday December 18th 2014

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Debian “Lenny” ready for the masses?


The venerable Debian Linux distribution has experienced a significant new release with its latest update, dubbed Lenny. While Debian is still not the easiest Linux distro to install and use, Lenny makes significant leaps forward and remains one of the most powerful Linux options.

debian-lenny-installer-partitionsMany Linux newcomers stick with popular distros like Ubuntu or Fedora and feel intimidated by the likes of Debian. As Linux evangelist Mark Pilgrim once quipped, Ubuntu “is an ancient African word meaning ‘can’t install Debian’.”

But Ubuntu is a Debian derivative. And Debian’s reputation for being difficult isn’t nearly as deserved used to be, so if you’ve found Ubuntu getting in your way, the latest Debian release is worth a look – Lenny even offers a graphical installer – which actually arrived with the previous release, called Etch.


Still, Debian’s main audience is made up of hard-core Linux users and server admins, many of whom scoff at Ubuntu’s decision to “dumb down” Linux and remove – or make it difficult to – tweak the distro to suit their whims. Debian, on the other hand, prizes personalization and customization, not ease-of-use. And fear not, Lenny still offers the advanced shell-based install with its myriad of options and packages, as well as all sorts of CLI-only configuration tweaks.

Lenny was released this weekend, but for review purposes, we used the “testing” version (beta 2), and we did not encounter any significant bugs.

Debian Lenny graphical installerOf course, that doesn’t mean Debian is a pain-free install. In fact, if you’re looking for something that just works, better to stick with Ubuntu. But if you want something that just works your way, and you don’t mind a little bit of pain to get there, then read on because the latest version of Debian delivers.

Among the new features in Debian’s Lenny release are upgraded desktops, the latest version of X.org, IPv6 support, and more.

Debian ships in GNOME, KDE, and XFCE desktop flavors. The default option is GNOME 2.22. Although the GNOME development team has already moved on to GNOME 2.24, the Debian team has decided to play it conservative and stick with GNOME 2.22. Unfortunately, that means you’ll miss out on some nice features, like tabbed windows in the Nautilus file browser.

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