Review: Debian 11 “Bullseye” – How it misses the mark, and why it’s still Great!

Debian 11 was released in August of 2021, and in this video, I give it a review. The new “Bullseye” release is definitely a welcome upgrade, but some old habits keep it from perfection. In this review, I’ll talk about what I like about the new release, as well as some of the rough edges.

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  1. I know it’s a lot of extra work, but I think maybe having separate Desktop and Server reviews for at least the major distros would be really valuable, since the roles are so different and so are the OS needs of each role. Like most of the “misses the mark” items in your Debian 11 review aren’t applicable to a server install.

  2. From a Desktop Perspective

    I had a chance to watch @Jay’s full review. I’d have to agree with the bulk of his criticisms, particularly around package versions and the latest of x.y.z

    Ubuntu exists today for many of the reasons stated in his review. In fact, one of their (Ubuntu’s) main selling points is the availability of more up-to-date LTS versions along with cutting edge stuff, albeit, short-lived as it is.

    The Kernel discussion may confuse some on the Ubuntu side, as one can pin their or freeze their Kernel at a particular version. You can also install later versions. However, none of this is a simple switch that can be set and requires some knowledge on the users part.

    The installer gets high marks from me as it just works, in a multitude of scenarios (dual boot, partitioning, etc). It may look outdated compared to others, but it works well and provides a good number of advanced features that are easy to use.

    I’ve never experienced WiFI issues, or at least, not that I recall in rescent years (in the early days we had to write our own, or in some cases, install Windows drivers with NDIS Wrapper). Hardware detection and configuration has always been “fairly” robust for my setup(s).

    My Chief complaint with Debian is, and always has been, it’s refresh cycle. As a developer, often times we need to be testing libraries and frameworks that are on the newer side, or need a feature that’s only available from the latest package. The long time spans between each release can, at times, force folks off the distro to something with later version frameworks.

    Originally, there were what, Three Main Linux Branches: Slackware, Debian, Red Hat, and at some time later Suse (another RPM based distro). I would hazard to say there are more Linux distributions based on Debian and it’s descendants than any other at this time. Somebody has to keep the ship stable for all those other distros to work from. Debian was then, and is now, the rudder to keep things in a straight line. Without it, and it’s methodology, many distros would be all over the place trying to find stability.

    Just my $0.02 worth.

  3. If a box will only ever serve specific applications or functions, I would seriously consider Alpine Linux as the distribution of choice. It has a small footprint, it’s fast and well known for it’s security. I don’t need, nor want, “bells & whistles” on my server images. The least amount of packages I can get away with, the better.

    To this day, Debian and Ubuntu have too many packages on their base install image (IMHO). If I “need” something, I can always install it, which is a far better option than tracking down and removing all these unwanted packages that only add potential security holes to the server.

  4. I almost wiped my Debian 10 server to move to Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, but decided instead to upgrade the server to Debian 11 after watching this video and another one of Jay’s videos. I don’t have much running on it right now (a CRM that I’m testing for our small office), but I think I will run with Debian 11 for a while to see how things go and if I run into some of the rough edges that Jay mentioned as I run it just as a server in the lab.

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