Going pure Debian
During the new year holiday, although I’ve read about bad reviews about Unity, I decided to upgrade my laptop to Ubuntu 11.10 anyway, thinking that as long as I don’t use it, I should be ok. Wrong, this upgrade was the worst of all Ubuntu. I have been using Ubuntu full-time almost exclusively (except on servers) for the last 8 years, and every previous upgrade was fine. This one totally messed up. After upgrading, the following issues made me jump ship:
- My desktop with Openbox does not work anymore. Pure Openbox (without Gnome) just crashes and exits. Re-installing all the Openbox packages didn’t help. Gnome and Openbox together behaves strangely, and Openbox crashes sometimes, and lots of things don’t work. It has only two workspaces, and adding more workspaces only works temporarily for the current session, it will reset to two again at the next login session. I used Thunar as my file manager as Nautilus is too slow, but after the upgrade, Nautilus keeps on starting itself up. It refuses to die.
- The Gnome desktop is more like Mac now, which I hate. Every application has its menu bar globally at the top of the desktop. What the hell? That one “feature” is enough to make me switch.
- Unity is slooow… On a daily basis, I found that I had to click on that dashboard so many times, and every time, it takes about 2 to 3 seconds to have the dashboard pop up. That 2 to 3 seconds add up quickly, and it just gets on my nerve.
After two days of hassle, I decided to do a fresh on a desktop machine to see if it’s not because something wrong with my environment when I upgraded. I got mostly the same set of problems with that fresh install.
I really wanted to give it a try. But finally, after one week, I gave up. Time to give pure Debian another try. Before Ubuntu, I’d been using Debian, on and off, for a few times, and every time, gave it up for something else because I was tired of messing with the configurations, especially making the hardware work. Ubuntu saved me a ton of time at this level, therefore, I’ve been sticking with it for 8 years.
I grabbed Debian 6.0.3, installed on my laptop, login with Openbox (no Gnome), and everything just works. And it feels snappy. I’ve been working with C/C++ projects lately, so my daily working environment consists of Emacs, Iceweasel (web browser), Ivedove (email), a bunch of terminal emulators, Thunar (file manager), Pidgin, Skype, and running gcc/g++ from time to time.
After more than a week of usage, I found that on my laptop with 2GB of RAM, memory usage seldom goes past 500MB. If I’m not compiling some large projects, memory usage usually stays between 300MB to 400MB.
That feels good. I have to be parted with Ubuntu for some times now.