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frugal technology, simple living and guerrilla large-appliance repair
Wed, 26 Oct 2011

I'm pushing Debian Squeeze and GNOME 2 as hard as I can

I never really considered myself a GNOME user. Though I am. I've used Xfce, Fluxbox, Fvwm2, LXDE, even JWM (Joe's Window Manager) in Puppy and FLTK in TinyCore. But most of the time I stick with the default desktop environment offered by a given distribution.

And more often than not, that's GNOME 2. And I've been using Debian Squeeze with GNOME 2 since November 2010 -- almost a year now -- and using it for more of my work than ever.

I don't consider myself a "power user," but I am pushing this desktop environment and this distribution pretty hard. I've got a lot of software installed -- most from the Debian repositories, some from other repos and a few packages from third parties (usually the upstream developers themselves). I run Dropbox. I create, edit and mix audio, I edit video. I crunch hundreds of images. Code web pages. Write. Browse the web with Iceweasel and Google Chrome. Watch TV shows from Hulu and various other sites, including CBS.com.

I can suspend/resume without rebooting for days at a time. That's probably the best thing about this particular instance of Linux and my particular hardware (the not-terribly impressive Lenovo G555). I've never had this level of functionality before in Linux or BSD.

NetworkManager has been great. I've used it to connect to wired, WiFi and 3G networks, all seamlessly. My old-school ext3 filesystems managed under encrypted LVM have run perfectly the whole time. I do backups via rsync.

It all just works. It's Debian Stable with the now old and abandoned GNOME 2.

What will happen to Debian's default desktop environment by the time the current Testing distribution, Wheezy, itself becomes Stable sometime in early 2013? Will GNOME 3 have settled down by then, or will Debian turn to another DE, maybe Xfce, for its main desktop? I'll worry about it then. If this hardware holds out, it'll probably do so with Debian Squeeze and the 2.6.37 kernel that handles this hardware perfectly.

GNOME's supposed to be slow. I've really never found that to be true -- and certainly not on this laptop made in March 2010.

It's not "pure" Squeeze. I have Debian Backports, the Mozilla Debian APT archive, Liquorix (and now newer kernels from Backports if I want them), Debian Multimedia, plus repositories for Google Chrome and Dropbox. But the core is a distribution that "froze" some time in mid-2010 and released in February 2011. It keeps on working, and so do I. Can't argue with that.