Debian testing

Martijn isn't too sure about Debian testing, though he doesn't go into much detail about the "not sure" bits. Well, Martijn, even though I could really use some more detail, let me make an attempt:

  • Debian Testing isn't the perfect thing to use at all times. Especially right after a release, when people start uploading all kinds of crap to Debian unstable, it's probably better to stick with Debian Stable for a while. Right before a release (such as the time we're in right now), however, using testing on a laptop is probably a much better choice if you want reasonable up-to-dateness of the software on your system.
  • In case you didn't know, testing does get security updates these days (since quite a few years already, actually).
  • In the pre-sarge days, installing Debian almost required some magician to do it for you. These days, however, installing Debian is much easier, so if you're afraid of that, don't be. Also, the default "desktop" installation can compete with Ubuntu in many areas already, although there surely is some more work to be done.
  • Debian is a bit more conservative with updates than is Ubuntu, even in the development distributions ('testing' and 'unstable'). This is generally a good thing if you don't want your system to break in all kinds of "interesting" ways right when you don't have the time (although that might still happen, though more so with unstable than with testing).
  • Most of the bits that are available in Ubuntu are also available in Debian; and in Debian, in most cases they're done more thorough, because of the difference between Debian's and Ubuntu's approach to package maintenance: in Debian, every package has its own maintainer who is solely responsible for the package; in Ubuntu, maintainers are responsible for a whole lot more packages, which improves their view on the distribution as a whole, but makes it more difficult for them to follow up on the state of individual packages.

In all, I still prefer Debian over Ubuntu, mostly because of the higher attention to detail you'll find in Debian; I find that ubuntu developers usually don't have the time to pay too much attention to pesky details. This makes the system work slightly better. But, of course, YMMV, and if you decide to stay with Ubuntu because you think it works better in your particular use cases, more power to you!