Ever since comparing seven Linux distributions on my “old thinkpad” testbed, Ive remained impressed with the flexibility and ease-of-maintenance of Debian-based Linuxes. In my followup article on using Etch as a desktop OS, I pondered converting my primary desktop from SUSE to Debian. Ive done it.
Heres my tale…
To set the stage, the system Im migrating Etch to is a several-years-old Sony Vaio laptop, the PCG-FXA59. Its processor is a 1.3GHz Mobile AMD AThlon XP 1500+ with 256KB of L2 cache, 512MB of SDRAM, and an ATI 3D Rage Mobility-M1 graphics chip. It also has a 30GB hard drive, CD-RW/DVD-ROM drive, dual PCMCIA slots, dual USB 1.10 ports, a parallel printer port, an internal modem, and a 15-inch LCD display. For my daily work desktop purposes, I use this laptop in conjunction with a ViewSonic VA902b external LCD monitor along with an external USB keyboard and mouse.
I run an rsync-based script frequently, to back up my /home/ directory to a Debian-powered fileserver located on my home network. So naturally, before blowing away my SUSE Linux Enterprise Linux Desktop 10-based desktop Linux system and installing Debian on it, I ran my backup script one last time, to ensure that I had a mirror image of my /home/ directory on the server in case anything went awry.
Next, I went went to Debian.orgs CD image download area to grab an ISO from which to start my upgrade.
Which ISO to use? I decided to try to build up a full-function, multimedia-enabled, KDE-based Debian system beginning from the Debian 4.0 (Etch) network-install CD. Yes, I realize that there is an available KDE-based CD — but I checked that one out and really didnt care for the strange and somewhat random selection of applications that were included on it. So, I decided to make this more of a DIY project.