I’ve been trying to use Linux since 94. It replaced XP as my desktop OS in 2004, and I’ve been using it exclusively since then. In all those years, I’ve installed more Linux distribuions than I can remember. From the top of my head, I’ve tried the whole Ubuntu family, Arch Linux, PCLinuxOS, Mepis, Mint, Suse, Mandriva, Pardus, Zenwalk, Yoper, Wolvix, Slackware, Vector, and Fedora; and after a quick look on distrowatch I can add Kanotix, Knoppix, Sidux, Gentoo, Linspire, Freespire, Slax, Elive, OpenGEU, Red Hat, Puppy Linux, Damn Small Linux and Dreamlinux.
So it’s rather puzzling to me I’ve never installed Debian. I honestly don’t know why I haven’t. Maybe I thought stable software was old and boring, and unstable was dangerous and to be avoided. For whatever reason, yesterday was the first time I ever completed a Debian installation. It was netinstall, and a minimal installation, since I rather like the (Arch) way of being dropped in a console and building your system from there. Also, downloading and installing GNOME would have cost me an hour, while a minimal install was finished in under ten minutes.
To make things even more difficult for myself, I then installed PekWM, a Window manager I have no experience with (I’m an Openbox fan). I’ve been wanting to try out PekWM since it has pixmap support, which means it looks a bit nicer than Openbox does. However, the default mouse behaviour is absolutely wrong for me (focussing windows on mouse over, having to click your way through the menu), and so was the alt-tab behaviour (cycling through applications in the order in which they were opened, and not cycling through minimized applications). I’ve managed to solve all those issues except the last one, and in the end I just removed PekWM and installed LXDE.
What a revelation that was. My favourite Window Manager, Openbox, without the need to configure the fonts, the theme, the icon, or the background. Granted, it’s fun to do all that, resulting in a very personal desktop, but it’s easy and professional looking when you just install lxde. All the speed of Openbox and none of the hassle.
LXDE is still very much expanding, and one of the areas they’re working on are translations. The Dutch translation is woefully incomplete, only PCManFM has been translated (to a degree) by…me, last year. I’d love to help out here…I’ll look into that this evening.
In any case, the combination Debian (testing) + LXDE is lightning fast. I haven’t timed anything yet, but it feels even faster than my Arch install, even using ext3. Okay, at the moment it doesn’t boot into X yet, I have to start it manually. Wireless hasn’t been configured yet, sound doesn’t work yet, and I have to install most of the applications I need…but man, it’s fast.
More to come, I’m sure.