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This page has a few of my blog entries about linux, but my main linux page is here
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2012/03/08 Debian 64bit and Brtfs with Dm-crypt On Top of a 256GB SSD
π 2012-03-08 00:00 in Linux
So, after having been burned and burned again by ubuntu/canonical, I got fed up enough to ditch ubuntu and go back to debian.

I figured I'd use the opportunity to switch to 64bit userland and start clean (everyone says I'm insane for never re-installing linux and keeping year old installs, like my debian servers that I've been upgrading for the last 10 years with no re-installs).

I made a debian bootable USB key with debian testing, and apart from a small UI bug in package selection, the install was pretty effortless.

In a nutshell:

  • hibernate broke because it silently switched to uswsusp which didn't come configured properly and does not log to syslog. For some insane reason, uswsusp uses a totally different config file from normal hibernate and did not work in initramfs without that special config file (really guys? that's lame).
  • Maybe I shouldn't have installed uswsusp, but it kind of just came with the system and I didn't know it would break hibernation. Did I even mention that there was a 3rd option: tuxonice?

  • Xorg had started crashing with recent ubuntus, which did put me in a bad mood, and switching distros and to 64bit made that go away. That's good news.
  • As I expected, it took weeks to get all my customizations work again (and I'm not done still :-/). That's a bit disheartening, but at the same time re-inforces why I don't do wipe re-installs.
  • fresh-reinstall didn't really make anything work better, it just cost me a *lot* of time to get all my stuff working again.
  • and to make things fun, I upgraded to an SSD for my boot drive, with btrfs on top of dmcrypt, which just became safe/stable as of 3.2 kernels which had just come out at that time. I ended up not using DISCARD/TRIM, since I read that it. See this thread I started on SSDs and dmcrypt with btrfs (edit: turns out it's not actually a great idea, the security risk is limited, and making SSDs work without trim is sending them running with their arms tied behind the back).
  • Added 5 months later, SSDs are complicated, I had multiple failures.

    My impressions so far?
    It feels good to be with a system that I know will not randomly force crap I don't want, and that I can upgrade piecemeal. That doesn't make gnome less crappy, or network manager less unreliable, but it's debian, I've had 10 years with it, and I know they're the least likely to screw me in the future like canonical effectively has. Oh, the best part is that some of the package maintainers actually look at and respond to their bugs. How about that! :)

    Here's to the next 10 years, debian! :)
    (one year later: after the initial setup, debian has as expected worked quite well for me. I've been able to upgrade just what I needed when I needed it, and otherwise breakage was pretty much non existent).

    2012/03/07 Ditched Ubuntu and Switched Laptop to Back to Debian 64bit
    π 2012-03-07 00:00 in Linux
    5-6 years ago, I bought into the ubuntu promise of being a better debian before ubuntu was cool, and switched my main laptop from debian to ubuntu. At the time, ubuntu made sense: it was supposed to be a professionally maintained debian with freeze and stabilization every 6 months, and would contain binary drivers that debian wasn't willing to ship.

    For the first year or two, I was happy with ubuntu, maybe all the way up to Gutsy or Hardy. It delivered on what I signed up for. But then, came a quite unfinished upstart, network manager suckage, non working pulseaudio for many releases, and an ever increasing amount of half baked crap.

    Ubuntu switched from a better debian to some experimental distribution where shippping known broken stuff was ok, and even pushing experimental known unfinished stuff in an LTS was apparently ok. It became as bad or worse than Fedora Core, except Fedora Core never made a promise to be stable or make rational and generally 'safe' choices.

    First, I started writing about it, and contacted several people at canonical to let them know how bad the non gnone non desktop experience was getting (and actually even the gnome/desktop experience was riddled with bugs), and after a few years, I eventually gave up and decided that enough was enough and switched back to debian, which is also what I'm doing at work (their loss, that's *many* machines):

  • Intrepix, or when ubuntu started breaking linux networking with network manager
  • Jaunty, or network manager still being horrible
  • Hardy apparently was the last reasonable LTS.
  • Karmic, finally had network manager working, but brought pulseaudio to make sure you couldn't play sound anymore
  • Lucid, brought the wredged plymouth. That was the day I decided that I was getting tired of ubuntu, and got really pissed when I learned that they knew plymouth was broken, they knew no one wanted to test it, so they put it in an LTS and made it required with the system to make sure you couldn't remove it. Fsck you very much canonical, that's a good way to end up on my shit list.
  • Maverick, plytmouth still wasn't working and still couldn't be disabled. Also, it had virtually no documentation still. At this point I was fed up enough that I called it "plymouhtn is the worst thing that happened to linux", but I take this back. Maverick is really when I got pissed at canonical for not fixing their clusterfsck from lucid and not reversing their aweful decision to just shove unfinished crap in the distro.
  • Natty? I just got tired of breakage, didn't even upgrade to it.
  • Oneiric? I didn't write about it because I didn't keep it long enough before replacing it with debian. It wasn't horrible, but didn't bring me anything new that was worthwhile and broke network manager for me again. Oh, and for fun, you couldn't really upgrade from Maverick to Oneiric anyway, you're supposed to install each and every new version unless you jump from LTS to LTS (this is simply because Canonical chose not to support that, which is in their right, just like it is in my right to then not be interested in using it anymore).
  • At this point I drew a line in the sand, and decided to switch back from Ubuntu to Debian. Debian doesn't have an agenda of pushing half baked software or disruptive software to its users, and does its very best not to break compatibility, at least needlessly.


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