Sunday, November 14, 2010

Debian Squeeze beta- a first look

OK, this is still a beta, so any nits found here may be fixed before release, but these are my first impressions of Debian Squeeze Beta.

The good:
  • Squeeze can use my graphics card, and I could install Compiz. I had to install some kernel firmware first, but after that there were no problems.
  • Squeeze can play my media files- in Lenny I had to install GStreamer plugins and MPlayer from before I could play some files. The movie player in Squeeze can fast forward in video files and switch to different points in the file with ease, where the player in Lenny couldn't.
  • I now have the Extra Pane option in Nautilus- no more opening two windows to try and move files around.
  • Iceweasel and Icedove (Debian's rebrandings of Firefox and Thunderbird) are recent enough for me not to miss the originals, and my extensions work.
  • Squeeze comes with Gnash installed. It seemed to play Flash videos well in Iceweasl, it sent my CPU wild, so I uninstalled it and installed Adobe Flash- now in the repositories, so no more messing about with backports to watch Youtube.
The bad:
  • There's nothing to tell new users that they need to install firmware to support graphics cards. After the installation, my laptop fan was blowing hard. Installing the firmware fixed this, but I wouldn't have known about it if I hadn't been on the case already.
  • Network Manager reports I have no network connection, and says for my wired connection "device not managed". Some applications can access the internet (Iceweasel), other's can't (Evolution). (See below for fix.)
  • Logging into a second user account, and then logging back into my account without logging out of the second user means I get logged out again after a few seconds. Disappointing- Lenny was rock solid on switching between users.
  • It's not possible (yet?) to enable a sound theme in Squeeze. Maybe not important for some.
Overall impression: Good. There's far less messing around required to get things working than was the case with Lenny. Applications are up to date and work as expected. With any luck the bugs I noticed will get fixed before release.

A fix for the Device not supported "bug".

Edit nm-system-settings.conf as described here.

(I asked myself why "managed" was set to "false" and found this. Now I don't have any understanding of network connections, but it looks like this is a feature not a bug for the moment and the final release will contain a work-around for the issue.)


  1. 'Disappointing- Lenny was rock solid on switching between users.'

    Don't mix up a Gnome thing with Squeeze.

    Switching between users with KDE4 works flawlessly.

    P.S. Have you send a install report?

  2. I haven't been able to replicate that problem (I've just done the same thing without a problem- logged back into my account while my wife's is still active).

    Maybe it was just a glitch. If I can replicate it, I'll report it- thanks for the link.