I have been casually using Xubuntu for a while, and I really wonder why hasn't the Debian foundation ever tried to release something like this. It would be really for the community to maintain a simple "home edition" of Debian that focuses on ease of use and not being a plain barebones distro. It would bring a lot more popularity to Debian while still providing a distro that is 100% free-as-in-freedom by default (which is one of my irks with -buntu distros).
Come to think of it something like that would make a lot of -buntu distros seem plain redundant. So why hasn't Debian done it? Why do they refused to take their rightful place as a truly universal distribution that does both barebones and user-friendly stuff?
And what is the non-free repo for Debian, which pretty much contains most, if not all of said drivers? What stopping Debian as a foundation that presents these as an option during install as Ubuntu does?
Except it can be, by default, while giving you the option for not to be. Ubuntu does give you the option to ditch some non-free stuff but it includes stuff like kernel blobs that really can't be opted out.
Because it's pointless, see pic. Everything is already maintained at Debian - there's no need for separation.
It's more than that. It's not just providing default desktop options (which Debian already does). It's also about providing a sensible choice of pre-installed software and configurations. This is what the -buntu derivates do so well (better than Ubuntu itself, actually), and what I feel Debian is really missing. The problem is that default Debian so barebones it doesn't even come with simple frontends for very basic stuff (software updater, file searching, etc).
So essentially, what I'd like to see here would be a Debian testing based distro fully supported by the foundation that comes with a fully prepared DE and fully configured for desktop use. That gives you the option at install to opt between non-free drivers and to link to the non-free repo for updates. That looks stylish and good by default.
I've never understood why Ubuntu can't do something like this, because frankly the *buntu thing is stupid.
It makes a lot of newbies ask, "what's the difference between Xubuntu and Lubuntu" or whatever. Then I have to explain to them the whole shebang about desktop environments.
(it's not hard, but I shouldn't have to)
Like I said, there's no need. If you prefer one DE over the other you can just install it during installation. This is what Ubuntu could do as well, but they just like to market their flavours as different operating systems, but it's just a different default DE with the same Ubuntu repository anyway.
This is whre you're wrong. "Just installing Debian with Cinnamon" still means you have to configure a whole bunch of stuff by hand, which is not friendly for casual users at all. For this I take my hat off to LMDE for at least trying to do this. My problem with LMDE though, is that it was very poorly supported last time I tried it.
That beside the point. Debian is not a beginner's distribution, you know that. People that struggle should move get familiarised with the like of Ubuntu first. This discussion is about separating the DEs over unnecessary multiple Debian spin offs.
To be fair it's best the way it is. Maintaining a bunch of DEs simultaneously is a pain which forces you to always go with the default choices. If you want a distro that is useable by regular people, you want to focus on a single DE and it do it well. This is why distros like Xubuntu look so great and are so responsive out-of-the-box.
Debian strikes me as really rigid in a weird, clunky way. For example, after trying a dozen methods on how to enable numlock on the login screen (XFCE) I'm still left in the dark. No other distro gave me so much trouble with such simple shit as Debian does.
Yet it still comes with a bloated office suite. I don't mind about updating because apt-get upgrade can be run every now and then. I find myself removing half the applications in Xubuntu.
That is precisely MY point. The issue is that Debian could very well have a beginners distro flavor that is supported by the Debian Foundation itself, much like DebianEdu was supported in the past. I feel this would be highly beneficial to Debian as a community.
You should give deepin a try. It's based on Debian now (formerly Ubuntu) and it's very smooth to use overall. The deepin DE is pleasant, any common applications you may need are in the "software center", and it has an alert system that warns you if you are about to install a repo that contains non-free software. I've had it running on my test laptop (hp elitebook 840) and even on that relatively weak system it's silky smooth.
I do not mind doing stuff like using the command like frequently myself (mind you, I used Debian for a whole year before), but I tend to share a sympathy for casual users who intend a more out-of-the-box experience, since improving this end could really bring Debian a lot more popularity and unify more effort around it.
Custom DE and China based aren't really attractive for me. I've been interested in Siduction, since they're going all out with lxqt, which is, for me, the greatest promise of Linux DEs at the moment. However, they still seem to be at infant stages.
Ubuntu is simulatenously more and less than that. Like I said before, it comes with kernel blobs, and is less stable than a testing distro. since it's based on Sid. It is also less swift than Debian.
>We don't need it
This, I feel, is a very haughty attitude. I do think that Debian, for its own sake, needs to get more in what a user-end product feels like in order to improve their own functioning as a community and even standard Debian itself. Making Linux more accessible and easy to use was precisely the philosophy behind Debian. The problem was that it never took this view further ahead and needed Ubuntu to carry this torch to an overdependence on proprietary stuff.
That's not entirely true. The LTS is based on Testing.
>[Debian] needed Ubuntu to carry this torch to an overdependence on proprietary stuff.
Debian never needed Ubuntu because it was lacking something. Mark felt he was missing something and started Ubuntu. And that's fine, because there are a lot of people that feel the same way and now use Ubuntu, instead of reinventing the wheel over and over again. Or would you also suggest a beginner's Gentoo distribution?
THE ENTIRE UBUNTU PROJECT IS DEBIAN FOR NORMIES
The first Ubuntu versions cared about not including non-free stuff but eventually they gave up in favor of easy-of-use.
LMDE is the closest thing to what you want.