[conspire] comments on LMDE

Paul Zander paulz at ieee.org
Thu Sep 8 21:55:11 PDT 2011

LMDE vs. Debian.

I wanted to install Linux on multiple computers.  I had been resisting Ubuntu/Kubuntu and some other distros which didn't support regular upgrading but would require new installs based on someone else's schedule.    

LMDE seemed like a good solution.  Convenient installation combined with updating from Debian.  Well I ran into multiple problems.

0) The “slab”.  Actually someone else pointed this out before I started.  I could have tolerated the slab if it was the only problem.

1) Screen saver put computer to sleep during install because the keyboard was idle even though the drives were very busy.  We have discussed that at length previously.

2) /home.  The install phase for mounting partitions gave two choices: “mount as /” and “mount as /home”.  I wanted to use a different partition for /home, but then I couldn't get things to work. I suspect that the problem is with ICEauthority.  When I did a re-install without a separate /home partition it all worked.  I did several experiments with manually changing the mount points after the install, and moving files, but couldn't get it to work.

3) Updates.  Synaptic appeared to be friendly, but when trying to install various packages, it hit multiple obstacles for unresolved dependencies.  Using apt-get directly didn't work, but at least gave error messages. I did a series of experiments with variations of `apt-get update` and 'apt-get dist-upgrade` to no avail.

While attempting to work through the above, I spent a lot of time trying solutions posted on forums.linuxmint.com.

Finally I gave up.  I downloaded and burnt a CD for Debian net-install.  The only glitch I encountered was one of my own making with regard to setting up the partitions.  I marked some actions and then changed my mind before actually applying them.  I had to re-start the install from the beginning to get a clean start.  Other than that, that the total time for net-install was similar to the the time to install LMDE from DVD.  Including the time to download the and burn the DVD ISO, LMDE actually took longer.

Next, I referred to the list of packages I wanted to install.  All of them were already installed!  Obviously my thinking is more closely aligned with the Debian people than the Mint people.

In short, for me, the Debian install takes less time than LMDE and gives me a system closer to what I want:
* /home on its own partition.
* Install of my list of packages
* Ability to do incremental upgrades as I desire.

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