bmike1 wrote:I know that Mint is a derivative of Ubuntu which is a derivative of debian. so is debian edition a deerivative of debian?
You are correct that LM is a respin of a respin, a rather silly thing to do.
LMDE is simply a respin of Debian testing as is an Ubuntu LTS version such as 12.04.
What each of these try to do is give the user a more stable version of Debian testing.
LMDE does this by filtering the be packages in the Debian testing repo so that you get a "snapshot" of Debian testing with packages that are all in a stable condition at that moment in time. Those packages are put in a repository maintained by the fine folks managing LMDE.
They use "Update Pack" to move you to the next "snapshot". This is, to me, a much better system than the one used by Ubuntu which I tested and used their dev releases (basically the next Ubuntu which right now would be 13.04) as my production OS. I know how they build their OS and it has its points.
LMDE uses the Debian packages straight up, as produced by Debian. They do not change the file system from the Debian version of the Linux file system. You can safely use Debian packages in LMDE although they will probably make your system less stable. You can change your /etc/sources.list to use the Debian repos if you wish which a number of folks on this forum do.
Ubuntu for some reason changes where files in some .debs are installed from where Debian installs those files. Debian packages, therefore are not really safe to use in Ubuntu. They also use packages in building the next release that have not actually made it to the Debian testing repo but will probably make it before release. This means that they are not stable when put in the Ubuntu repos and may not be when the version of Ubuntu is released. This is why you will be advised by many experienced Ubuntu users on the Ubuntu forums to not install any release for at least a month after it is released by Ubuntu so as to be more assured of a stable OS.
LMDE will always be a bit behind where Ubuntu is but will be ahead of where Debian stable is (at least most of the time - Debian Wheezy is close to becoming the new stable and may be ahead of where LMDE is for a couple months - not sure about that but looking forward to finding out).
The fact that you are using Debian packages and can grab packages (with the attendent risk of instability) from the Sid (Debian unstable) or Debian experimental (really unstable) repos means you do not have to depend on someone to rewrite the Debian packages to fit Ubuntus file system and put it in a ppa for your use. This introduces another layer of package manipulation that increases the chance of an unstable package due to a simple typo in the install script and complicates your sources.list and third party packages (packages from ppas for instance) are a major cause of failed version upgrades.
This means that LMDE will be ahead of the Ubuntu LTS all the time except right at the release of the LTS and fairly close to the "regular" releases of Ubuntu too.
So you will have a system that while not quite up to the version numbers of all packages will be pretty close while being more stable and reliable.
I am sure that there are folks, even here, that will disagree with my assessment. I know there are fanboys on the Ubuntu forums that would turn purple at the suggestion that Ubuntu may not be reliable.
I do not use LMDE as my production OS even. I use either Debian testing or Sid. Right now I know that Debian Sid is more stable than Ubuntu. My wife uses Ubuntu that I maintain and so does my Dreaded Mother in Law. Both will soon be using LMDE or Debian 7 (Wheezy when released) as I trust those to be stable compared to Ubuntu.
I do recommend LMDE for noobs which most folks here will not. I installed LMDE on my bosses personal computer. She had never even heard of Linux. Loves the reliablility of LMDE.
You will get a better idea of what kind of nut cases use LMDE by checking on this portion of these forums;viewforum.php?f=201
Pretty good folks.
Dell XPS 420 Core2 Quad Q 6600, audigy5.1, Radeon HD 6450 - currently 4 320Gb HDD, Debian Squeeze for secure use, Debian testing for daily use, Debian Sid for fun.