Does Debian still matter?
Debian was one of the first Linux distributions, and it pioneered much of what we take for granted in Linux systems today. But has Debian had its day?
The release last month of Debian 5.0, codenamed "lenny", has certainly been a success, but Debian has always been seen as a distribution made by geeks, for geeks, and has had trouble attracting new users.
In a world where Ubuntu combines Debian's package management technology, up-to-date software and a fixed six-month release cycle, is Debian still relevant as a distribution?
The Ubuntu factor
On the desktop, it's hard to argue the case for Debian, mainly because it's such a conservative distribution.
The Debian developers pride themselves on not making a new release until they feel it's ready, but this inevitably leads to delays, compounded by Debian's massive size (over 23,000 packages, supported on 12 different CPU architectures). The end result is that Debian releases are widely spaced -- the last release took 22 months, but the gap between the 3.0 and 3.1 releases was 35 months.