I am occasionally (regularly?) accused of elitism, arrogance, general grouchiness, or, as Telemachus put it recently,
"chest thumping". In that thread the question is posed, "What is a real
Debian User?" I thought it was worth more than a sentence, so I decided to pose it as a discussion.
Anybody can install Debian these days, and a lot of people with limited Linux knowledge manage to get far enough along to come here asking how to fix the messy situation that resulted from their fumbling attempts to get some basic configuration added to the system.
People who can take a few hints and run with the ball have what it takes to become Debian Users (note capitalization) as opposed to the wannabees. A few thoughts about what makes the difference.
1. Debian Users decided on Debian for the "right" reasons. DD, Martin Krafft listed those reasons thusly:
You should run Debian if:
- You are an experienced user and know what you want.
- You want to efficiently manage an OS for a controlled environment with a finite set of requirements.
- You prefer stability to the bleeding edge.
- You need a secure system rather than one with the latest bells and whistles.
- You want to get down to the core of Linux.
- You have many friends running Debian.
- You are willing to invest some time and work now for later ease of maintenance.
- You are a perfectionist and a purist.
- You are socially sensitive with respect to freedom of software.
- You are curious to know about Debian, and do not mind climbing the Debian learning curve.
- You are curious about the Debian community, and what joins thousands of people to a common goal.
- You want to use Debian for whatever reason, and you are self-confident about that desire.
You should probably choose something else if:
- You are new to Unix.
- You need to use top-of-the-line hardware.
- You want to run Debian because "it is cool."
- You want a working system and are unwilling to figure out how it works.
(If you are looking for something that "just works," try one of the Debian derivatives.)
2. Debian Users respect the Debian Social Contract.
That doesn't mean, they only use "free" software, but it does mean that they are aware of the difference, understand and support the reasons Debian has made that commitment, and do use free software when it is equivalent to non-free options for their expectations. (Example: They use Iceweasel, not Firefox.)
3. Debian Users understand the /etc/apt/sources.list file, and the ramifications of changing it.
4. Debian Users are conscious of "the Debian Way." They understand basic concepts of managing a Debian system such as a minimal install, and the differences between Stable, Testing, and Unstable.
5. Debian Users hold themselves to a high standard in the observation of Linux conventions. They don't run day to day activities as root. They study before asking questions. They use Google. They run basic firewalls, and upgrade regularly to keep up with security updates. They appreciate the command line and learn to use it for those applications for which it is especially efficient.
6. Debian Users know
there is no other distribution more suitable for the promotion of Linux in a personal or professional environment.
I, personally, believe that people whose questions and comments show a lack of appreciation for those points deserve to be mildly scolded and that their questions should generally be ignored, or joked about. Since I really do try to stay out of trouble here, I generally choose the "ignore" option.
Debian maintains the highest standards of any of the major distributions, and those who claim to be Users of it should be held to a similar measure.