Mint LMDE...How techie should I be to use it? <SOLVED>

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Mint LMDE...How techie should I be to use it? <SOLVED>

Postby xananax on Sat Oct 15, 2011 5:54 am

I am currently using Ubuntu. I've installed Mint on several PCs, and I quite like it, although I tend to preferably install Ubuntu on my personal pc, just because I am used to it since long.
But updating the OS is becoming more and more of a hindrance for me. I work a lot (18 hours a day), and I can rarely afford to take the time to backup everything, install the new OS, fix whatever there is to be fixed, and re-add and re-download all my apps. Specially when sometimes it just doesn't work (Ubuntu 9 completely broke on my machine, I had to go back to windows until 10 was out).
This led me to leave my boxes in their state for very long. I am currently still using Ubuntu 10.10, and I don't plan to upgrade before the next LTS (12).

So I am really interested in the LMDE version of mint (I actually got there while searching for "Ubuntu Rolling Release").

But the article states:
"LMDE requires a deeper knowledge and experience with Linux, dpkg and APT."

This does not help me assess how deep the knowledge should be.
What should I know?

I don't mean to be picky and I already think Mint is great; I really truly thank all the team for the effort. As I said, when introducing someone to Linux, it's my OS of choice. I've installed it on more than 10pcs around me (and got great feedback too).
But thing is, as I said earlier, I work a lot so decisions like upgrading or changing distro, if made uninformed, can be disastrous to my business. If I am going to potentially spend more time fixing stuff than when upgrading, then it is a deal-breaker for me.

To give some background: I am real good with PHP/javascript, I use the command-line without major problems (for example, I manage a private server through ssh, hosting multiple websites). I can whip up a quick bash script for my daily tasks (although I always need to google some stuff, for me bash is ungrokable). I manage multiple repositories using svn/git/hg from the command-line too. I seldom use the mouse in my daily tasks (I don't know if this is an indicator of anything, but I feel it is).
This said, I've broken my install each time I dared touch xorg.conf, and I never had to deal with dpkg or apt (other than installing/uninstalling stuff). I am mainly a character animator and programming/dabbling with software comes only second.
So, should I be weary of using LMDE?

Thanks in advance, and sorry if the question is vague, but I can't formulate it more clearly (my English is not good enough).
Last edited by xananax on Thu Oct 20, 2011 7:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mint LMDE...How techie should I be to use it?

Postby richyrich on Sat Oct 15, 2011 6:45 am

I humbly suggest that you spend some time browsing through the Mint Debian forum and sub-forums, watch or subscribe to one or more of the active topics that interest you, and be sure to check out the important stickies and notices.
viewforum.php?f=141

The comments posted in some of Mint Blog's debian announcements highlight the diversity of user responses :
http://blog.linuxmint.com/?p=1818

good luck whatever you decide,
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Re: Mint LMDE...How techie should I be to use it?

Postby xenopeek on Sat Oct 15, 2011 7:32 am

LMDE is not for you. You should stick with the LTS releases of Linux Mint.

Why? What is the difference?
  • LMDE is a rolling release, which means that you continually get updates to your system--not only security updates and bugfixes, but also new version of your already installed software. That last action might at any time break something on your installation, requiring you to fix it.
  • Linux Mint LTS (Linux Mint 9 is the current LTS, supported until April 2013) is a fixed release. So you only get security updates and bugfixes and no new version of your already installed software that might break your system.
So on the plus side, LMDE doesn't require you to do a periodic reinstall, and you get new versions of your installed software automatically and continuously. On the minus side, that means your system can break at any time ("it worked yesterday, why won't it work today :(").

With Linux Mint LTS you only do a new install every three years. In between that you can expect it to continue to function as-is, so any software and hardware that worked today will work tomorrow... That said, if you add new hardware or software to your system there is always the option that it won't directly work without some work on your part--this is no different at LMDE however. The downside of Linux Mint LTS is that you remain on older, though stable, versions of software. So if you want to run the latest Firefox or something, you should seriously consider what you want--the latest & greatest, or stability without hassle. You can't have 'em both :wink:
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Re: Mint LMDE...How techie should I be to use it?

Postby proxima_centauri on Sat Oct 15, 2011 8:28 am

* Moved to LMDE Open Discussion forum
* Stickied
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Re: Mint LMDE...How techie should I be to use it?

Postby Roken on Sat Oct 15, 2011 8:34 am

To add an alternative view to Vincent's, it sounds as though you already have the requisite "Deeper knowledge" to be comfortable with LMDE, and so your considerations should centre on the increased maintenance of such a system and whether this is a path that you want to go down. From a stability point of view you do have options to avoid any more serious or debilitating breakages, simply by holding off updates for say, one week, each time and then checking in at the forums to ensure that there are no serious problems (in which case you can simply hold back the problematic packages until the necessary fixes have been released).

Assuming that in your profession you are using something like blender, which in turn means that you are almost certainly using propriety gfx drivers then you have to be especially conscious of xorg updates (the most recent of which break propriety drivers completely), though most other breakages are solved relatively easily and quickly.

Just a quick note to perhaps help you in the future whatever your decision. You can usually overcome xorg.conf breakages by booting to recovery mode and issuing:
Code: Select all
sudo mv /etc/X11/xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf.bak

Which should enable you to boot to your full desktop again, albeit without the benefit of propriety drivers, but you can then go about fixing xorg.conf.bak and copying it back to xorg.conf.
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Re: Mint LMDE...How techie should I be to use it?

Postby Murdock on Sat Oct 15, 2011 8:49 am

A "rolling release", to me, is goofy. Debian stable is the most stable OS on the planet.
The problem is the screwball attitude of " totally free-no take bath much' keeps it useless for someone who wants to jump out of the Windo$e.
That's where SalineOS comes in. :wink:
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Re: Mint LMDE...How techie should I be to use it?

Postby xananax on Sat Oct 15, 2011 10:14 am

Thank you all for the constructive, different, and quick (didn't expect so much answers that fast!) answers.
You gave me food for thought, and I have now a much better overview of what's required and what a rolling release entails.
I think that I am going to stick with what I have, but install Mint LMDE on a secondary box. This means I will use it a few hours a month, so it'll take me a year maybe to know if it's for me or not, but I am even more curious and I really want to try.
Thanks all!
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Re: Mint LMDE...How techie should I be to use it?

Postby leon_lee on Sat Oct 15, 2011 8:29 pm

i'm quite new to Linux and have installed and ran Ubuntu 9.10 and 10.04 but had a few issues with it. I eventually got a new laptop with windows 7 and had a few teething problems with graphics card (ATI) and wireless so i stayed with windows for a while. I've just recently scrapped windows and installed LMDE 201109 and found all my hardware worked great (i just needed to install the proprietary driver for my ATI card). If i get stuck with anything, i search forums and google and usually find the answer. I was used to Ubuntu partitioning my drive for me so it was a bit of a suprise to have to do it myself with LMDE but i soon figured out what to do. I figured i should give LMDE a go even though it's a little more difficult to install and run than what i'm used to but i like a challenge. Give it a try, even if it's in a VM. I'm pleasently suprised with how easy it was to get up and running.
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Re: Mint LMDE...How techie should I be to use it?

Postby xananax on Wed Oct 19, 2011 1:47 pm

yup!
All things considered, I decided to take it for a spin on my main box. One last thing for me to do before taking the jump is making sure my most needed apps are there...
I never used Debian so, what's the best way to know if an app exists on Debian without installing the OS?

I'll post the apps I absolutely need, in case someone can answer right away:
Inkscape, Gimp, Blender, myPaint, netBeans, Kate, Meld.
also, Krita, Xara, Wing and Eclipse are optional but would be good.
Also of course svn, hg and git as well as a lamp stack but I guess that's a given.
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Re: Mint LMDE...How techie should I be to use it?

Postby rich_roast on Wed Oct 19, 2011 2:31 pm

Check here for the first couple of steps package maintainers which will also work for you, which is to check whether or not something actually needs packaging.
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Re: Mint LMDE...How techie should I be to use it?

Postby xananax on Thu Oct 20, 2011 7:54 am

Thanks!

If anyone's reading this, all the packages I listed are available, but Xara. Good enough for me!
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Re: Mint LMDE...How techie should I be to use it? <SOLVED>

Postby crborga on Fri May 25, 2012 6:54 pm

I believe you can handle LMDE with the skills you already process. Normally if you have a issue Googling can help you solve it yourself. I have no programming experience really other then minor package building. The forums are always here if you get over your head with something as well. If I were you, i'd give it a whirl and you may be pleasantly surprised how stable it actually is. I just recommend you configure your sources to latest instead of incoming. After you install, in Terminal emulator type
Code: Select all
sudo pluma /etc/apt/sources.list
and overwrite your sources with these.
Code: Select all
deb http://packages.linuxmint.com/ debian main upstream import
deb-src http://packages.linuxmint.com/ debian main upstream import
deb http://debian.linuxmint.com/latest testing main contrib non-free
deb-src http://debian.linuxmint.com/latest testing main contrib non-free
deb http://debian.linuxmint.com/latest/security testing/updates main contrib non-free
deb-src http://debian.linuxmint.com/latest/security testing/updates main contrib non-free
deb http://debian.linuxmint.com/latest/multimedia testing main non-free
deb-src http://debian.linuxmint.com/latest/multimedia testing main non-free

Then do
Code: Select all
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

Now you should be updated to the latest snapshot instead of the incoming which would be more unstable
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Re: Mint LMDE...How techie should I be to use it? <SOLVED>

Postby crborga on Fri May 25, 2012 7:02 pm

also if something exist on wheezy or in SID just add the SID source
Code: Select all
deb-src ftp://ftp.de.debian.org/debian/ sid main contrib non-free
for example and turn off lmde source temporarily then do
Code: Select all
sudo apt-get update
mkdir examplepackage
cd examplepackage
sudo apt-get build-dep examplepackage
apt-get -b source examplepackage
sudo dpkg -i *.deb


this way you can properly backport the package without risking installing a ton of SID dependencies
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Re: Mint LMDE...How techie should I be to use it? <SOLVED>

Postby ringo32 on Sun Sep 30, 2012 6:04 am

i think personally if you stay with the updatepack´s then would it be less unstable, when you go to other repository then you find your unstability :)
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Re: Mint LMDE...How techie should I be to use it? <SOLVED>

Postby rop75 on Wed Oct 03, 2012 3:53 pm

From my humble pont of view, LMDE IS NOT a (semi) rolling realese distro. A rolling release distro is distro that offers small updates almost everyday and so its users always enjoy the latest versions of their software and they don't have to update /reinstall the whole operating system (when a new version of the distro they are using is released) to enjoy these latest versions of their favourite software (Arch or gentoo are rolling relaese distros. Debian unstable might also be considered as a rolling distro as well).

LMDE users don't get any updates of the software they are using (only a few programs ie mozilla, mint tools get updates every now and then), so they don't enjoy the latest versions of the software most of the time. Besidews, LMDE users have to update the whole operating system everytime a UP is released (and this happens every four or five months). Nevertheless, despite the fact that I don't like the LMDE's update pack system, I must admit LMDE is a very convenient distro, as you don't need to update anything in months because there are not any updates (so it is perfect for people who don't like spending their time doing maintenance tasks).
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Re: Mint LMDE...How techie should I be to use it? <SOLVED>

Postby cwwgateway on Wed Oct 03, 2012 5:45 pm

rop75 wrote:From my humble pont of view, LMDE IS NOT a (semi) rolling realese distro. A rolling release distro is distro that offers small updates almost everyday and so its users always enjoy the latest versions of their software and they don't have to update /reinstall the whole operating system (when a new version of the distro they are using is released) to enjoy these latest versions of their favourite software (Arch or gentoo are rolling relaese distros. Debian unstable might also be considered as a rolling distro as well).

LMDE users don't get any updates of the software they are using (only a few programs ie mozilla, mint tools get updates every now and then), so they don't enjoy the latest versions of the software most of the time. Besidews, LMDE users have to update the whole operating system everytime a UP is released (and this happens every four or five months). Nevertheless, despite the fact that I don't like the LMDE's update pack system, I must admit LMDE is a very convenient distro, as you don't need to update anything in months because there are not any updates (so it is perfect for people who don't like spending their time doing maintenance tasks).

There are two ways to talk about rolling distros. The first is technically, where you are correct in saying that Arch and Gentoo are rolling releases. However, distros like debian unstable are technically only partially rolling releases because they are the development branch for a non-rolling distro (like debian stable). In this scenario, LMDE falls under the semi-partially-rolling distro category (because it is sort of rolling based on a partially rolling distro - debian testing). The other way to talk about rolling distros is how they end up in real life, regardless of them being a testing release or anything like that. Under this scenario, Arch, Gentoo, and Debian Sid are rolling releases. Debian testing is still debatable because it stops rolling for the 8 months prior to the debian stable release, but most people would still call it a rolling release because it still gets updates and you still never need to reinstall (unless it breaks).

LMDE users get update packs, which makes it, under the second definition, a semi rolling distro. With update packs, you don't need to reinstall your system ever (unless, again, your system breaks). You are correct, however, in saying that most of the time a lot of the LMDE packages are behind what most rolling distros have. Again, technically new software isn't a requirement of being a rolling release (although in most cases it's assumed).

I will say, though, that for my purposes (although most likely not for the average user's) Debian Testing with the SolusOS repos and the Liquorix kernel is much better - it is slightly faster, and all of the software is newer. Usually, if you know how to use apt, there isn't a problem. Debian Sid is better for new packages, but it also breaks sometimes, and it can be frustrating fixing the broken things (so I usually stay away from Unstable for machines that I do work on). Rolling releases like Sabayon are usually somewhere in between testing and experimental in package versions (it varies by distro).
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Re: Mint LMDE...How techie should I be to use it? <SOLVED>

Postby rop75 on Thu Oct 04, 2012 8:19 am

cwwgateway wrote:
rop75 wrote:From my humble pont of view, LMDE IS NOT a (semi) rolling realese distro. A rolling release distro is distro that offers small updates almost everyday and so its users always enjoy the latest versions of their software and they don't have to update /reinstall the whole operating system (when a new version of the distro they are using is released) to enjoy these latest versions of their favourite software (Arch or gentoo are rolling relaese distros. Debian unstable might also be considered as a rolling distro as well).

LMDE users don't get any updates of the software they are using (only a few programs ie mozilla, mint tools get updates every now and then), so they don't enjoy the latest versions of the software most of the time. Besidews, LMDE users have to update the whole operating system everytime a UP is released (and this happens every four or five months). Nevertheless, despite the fact that I don't like the LMDE's update pack system, I must admit LMDE is a very convenient distro, as you don't need to update anything in months because there are not any updates (so it is perfect for people who don't like spending their time doing maintenance tasks).

There are two ways to talk about rolling distros. The first is technically, where you are correct in saying that Arch and Gentoo are rolling releases. However, distros like debian unstable are technically only partially rolling releases because they are the development branch for a non-rolling distro (like debian stable). In this scenario, LMDE falls under the semi-partially-rolling distro category (because it is sort of rolling based on a partially rolling distro - debian testing). The other way to talk about rolling distros is how they end up in real life, regardless of them being a testing release or anything like that. Under this scenario, Arch, Gentoo, and Debian Sid are rolling releases. Debian testing is still debatable because it stops rolling for the 8 months prior to the debian stable release, but most people would still call it a rolling release because it still gets updates and you still never need to reinstall (unless it breaks).

LMDE users get update packs, which makes it, under the second definition, a semi rolling distro. With update packs, you don't need to reinstall your system ever (unless, again, your system breaks). You are correct, however, in saying that most of the time a lot of the LMDE packages are behind what most rolling distros have. Again, technically new software isn't a requirement of being a rolling release (although in most cases it's assumed).

I will say, though, that for my purposes (although most likely not for the average user's) Debian Testing with the SolusOS repos and the Liquorix kernel is much better - it is slightly faster, and all of the software is newer. Usually, if you know how to use apt, there isn't a problem. Debian Sid is better for new packages, but it also breaks sometimes, and it can be frustrating fixing the broken things (so I usually stay away from Unstable for machines that I do work on). Rolling releases like Sabayon are usually somewhere in between testing and experimental in package versions (it varies by distro).


Hi, just a couple of things:

LMDE is as a rolling release distro as Ubuntu: Ubuntu is based on Debian sid -I think that the LTS releases are based on testing but I am not sure-, and every 6 months you can upgrade to a new version using the update manager without uninstalling anything nor formatting any partition (this a procedure very similar to the LMDE update packages system, the only difference is that between the release of Ubuntu's versions or LMDE's UP, software in Ubuntu is more updated than in the case of LMDE).

I agree with your settings I have LMDE pointing to testing repos, and I have installed SolusOS (in my case only to install the themes and the icons), I have not tried liquorix kernel yet, maybe someday...
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Re: Mint LMDE...How techie should I be to use it? <SOLVED>

Postby cwwgateway on Thu Oct 04, 2012 3:30 pm

I agree - at this point Ubuntu is about as much a rolling release as LMDE, at least in real-world scenarios. There are some subtle differences (the biggest one is probably that, at least in my experience, LMDE is easier to upgrade than ubuntu - YMMV), but essentially they are the same. You are correct that normal Ubuntu releases are based (although fairly loosely) on Debian Sid and LTS releases are based on testing (again, loosely).
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Re: Mint LMDE...How techie should I be to use it? <SOLVED>

Postby ringo32 on Tue Oct 23, 2012 5:40 am

ubuntu is not rolling , is more like an Cycle update , when you update all gona be a Mess and system could break with it... i agree sometimes are repo more updated as LMDE but only for a few month´s then you need the PPA repo, when you always need a fresh repo then go to a true rolling, like manjaro-arch, its rolls every week updates and stable, such a week delay to arch repository... but hardware problems is in all distro...

LMDE is cycle lijke ubuntu but it is more Cycle rolling ubuntu not... you keep the configuration ubuntu not, all settings gona be on zero...
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