Debian has many years of history, about 25 years already. With such a long travel over the continuous field of developing our Universal Operating System, some myths, false accusations and bad reputation has arisen.
Today I had the opportunity to discuss this topic, I was invited to give a Debian talk in the “11º Concurso Universitario de Software Libre”, a Spanish contest for students to develop and dig a bit into free-libre open source software (and hardware).
In this talk, I walked through some of the most common Debian myths, and I would like to summarize here some of them, with a short explanation of why I think they should be debunked.
Myth #1: Debian is old software
Please, use testing or stable-backports. If you use Debian stable your system will in fact be stable and that means: updates contain no new software but only fixes.
Myth #2: Debian is slow
We compile and build most of our packages with industry-standard compilers and options. I don’t see a significant difference on how fast Linux kernel or MySQL run in a CentOS or in Debian.
Myth #3: Debian is difficult
I already discussed about this issue back in Jan 2017, Debian is a puzzle: difficult.
Myth #4: Debian has no graphical environment
This is, simply put, false. We have gnome, KDE, XFCE and more. The basic Debian installer asks you what do you want at install time.
Myth #5: since Debian isn’t commercial, the quality is poor
Did you know that most of our package developers are experts in their packages and in their upstream code? Not all, but most of them. Besides, many package developers get paid to do their Debian job. Also, there are external companies which do indeed offer support for Debian (see freexian for example).
Myth #6: I don’t trust Debian
Why? Did we do something to gain this status? If so, please let us know. You don’t trust how we build or configure our packages? You don’t trust how we work? Anyway, I’m sorry, you have to trust someone if you want to use any kind of computer. Supervising every single bit of your computer isn’t practical for you. Please trust us, we do our best.
Myth #7: nobody uses Debian
I don’t agree. Many people use Debian. They even run Debian in the International Space Station. Do you count derivatives, such as Ubuntu?
I believe this myth is just pointless, but some people out there really think nobody uses Debian.
Myth #8: Debian uses systemd
Well, this is true. But you can run sysvinit if you want. I prefer and recommend systemd though :-)
Myth #9: Debian is only for servers
No. See myths #1, #2 and #4.