Why Debian 8 Jessie and Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid

Debian 8 Jessie currently is RC1, it will be the first release with systemd and Gnome 3.14, which finally works as in a human way.

Debian 8 Jessie with Gnome Shell

I could try Ubuntu GNOME but I decided to go back to the origins, so a “pure” Debian GNU/Linux with just the pieces of Ubuntu that I use.

NOTE: this is a frankenstein set up that works for me, do it at your own risk.

Kernel Linux 3.18.5 for btrfs

The kernel provided by Debian Jessie is 3.16, I can understand the conservative policies, but latest stable kernel is 3.18.5 and in the meanwhile many btrfs improvents happened.
Currently I’m using Ubuntu 12.04 + zfs (openZFS) and I’m satisfied with it, but with btrfs the performances and the maintainability of this advanced filesystem should be better.

The fastest way to try the new stable kernel is via the Ubuntu kernel debs http://kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline/v3.18.5-vivid/

Download

linux-headers-3.18.5-031805_3.18.5-031805.201501292218_all.deb
linux-headers-3.18.5-031805-generic_3.18.5-031805.201501292218_amd64.deb
linux-image-3.18.5-031805-generic_3.18.5-031805.201501292218_amd64.deb

installed with:

sudo apt-get install module-init-tools
sudo dpkg -i linux-headers-3.18.5*.deb linux-image-3.18.5*.deb

In case of mess, I’ve forced the package removal with:

sudo dpkg --remove --force-remove-reinstreq packageName

Snapper for btrfs snapshot managing

It is very useful to do periodic snapshots and diffs. Snapper http://snapper.io/tutorial.html come from OpenSuse, but you can use it also on other distros.

sudo apt-get install snapper

Wireless broadcom & radeon firmware

Ubuntu has it out of the box, with Debian you have to install the proprietary firmware manually. If your wifi works you don’t need to do it.

sudo apt-get install firmware-linux firmware-linux-free firmware-linux-nonfree

PPA repositories

I like to have a stable operating system but also some newer softwares, with Ubuntu is easy, with Debian you can do almost the same. It doesn’t alwais work, because a software may depend to different Ubuntu specific packages.

  1. install add-apt-repository, you can do it manually but is boring
    sudo apt-get install software-properties-common
  2. register a new PPA (example: Firefox) sudo add-apt-repository
    ppa:ubuntu-mozilla-security/ppa
  3. replace “jessie” with a correct ubuntu release, you have to do it
    manually, Here utopic. inside
    /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ubuntu-mozilla-security-ppa-jessie.list put deb
    http://ppa.launchpad.net/ubuntu-mozilla-security/ppa/ubuntu/ utopic
    main
  4. install or update the sw as usual sudo apt-get update && sudo
    apt-get install firefox

GNOME tweaks & dock

The default font is ugly, but you can change it via gnome-tweak-tool

Debian 8 Jessie with Gnome Shell

Fira, Droid Sans, Roboto, anything but the default
sudo apt-get install gnome-tweak-tool gnome-font-viewer

..and the dash-to-dock extension.

Conclusion

Debian is a known indipendent community distro, it has been chosen also to be the base of the most Docker Images and with a few commands is possible to use many mainstream softwares packaged for Ubuntu PPA.

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