Debian vs. Mint vs. Arch


I’m in the process of setting up a new system. I’m somewhat new to Linux and would like to test drive a professional system. I’ve been using Mint for a few years with KiCad and like it a lot. Unfortunately, KiCad says it isn’t supported in Mint so I’m giving Debian a shot right now and Bullseye is kicking my ass. I don’t think I’m that bad with command line stuff, but dealing with the quirks and trying to figure out missing packages is killing me. I like the apt get thing and I’m already familiar with it.

Next up is Arch. It looks complicated, but all the instructions are right in your face and very up to date!

Is everyone using Arch a professional developer? Am I nuts or missing something? This is the kind of stuff I’m dealing with in Debian and it’s making me crazy. Note: KiCad appears to have installed OK under root@debian.

Man, someone really missed an opportunity there :slight_smile:

root@debian:~# adduser dave sudo
I'm sorry, I can't do that dave.

Why not Ubuntu or one of its dialects (Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Xubuntu etc.)? Works out of the box.

Debian is a server OS, otherwise you would not have seen Ubuntu, Xubuntu, etc… Use a desktop OS rather than a server OS which will just make your life easier.

Concerning your problem:

Debian, by default, creates a root user, and does not configure sudo like CnetOS does.

usermod -aG sudo dave

a: append
G: Secondary group
g: Primary group

This will just add your username “dave” to sudoers group. This will ask for your root password… Then you can do:

sudo adduser ..........

However, the user to be added should not be “dave” :smiley:

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Why change if/when KiCad works on Mint? Unsupported means just that none of the developers is using that platform and therefore possible distro specific bugs won’t necessarily be fixed. But I don’t remember seeing an actual distro specific bug in the issue database. Most linux specific bugs are cross-distro or happen at least on some supported distro. Mint is an Ubuntu derivative and can use Ubuntu KiCad packages (even the up to date PPA packages). You should be safe using Mint.

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Yeah, no, please stop spreading this myth. Plenty of people, myself included, use debian as a desktop OS and it’s no worse or better than others, just has it’s own quirks like all linux distros.


Thanks for the tip. I still need to come up with a plan though. Basically, I want to avoid Microsoft as much as possible and the less telemetry the better. Microsoft and Canonical (Ubuntu parent) are best friends. Microsoft could very well acquire Ubuntu in the next year or so.

I’m trying to avoid Ubuntu because it’s most likely going to be acquired by Microsoft. Also, there are lots of rumors and myths about usage statistics and user info getting sent to Canonical, Amazon, etc…

Are you a professional developer? How long did it take you to learn it?

Yeah, I don’t remember seeing it, which proves my point :smirk:

I am now but I started using debian in high school (15 years ago).
You don’t “learn debian”, you learn basics of command line and how to efficiently google for issues and you can work with any popular OS.


“rumors and myths”… Sigh!
Sources, please?

It’s OSS. Check it yourself.

I run Kicad 5.1.8+dfsg1-1~bpo10+1 in SolydK 10 64-bit, which is a version of Debian 10.1 linux. It comes with a choice of two desktop environments, XFCE (called SolydX) and KDE (called SolydK).
There is also a user forum where you can get help. That is a prerequisite for me. The developer has been a tremendous help to me through the forum. I have learned a great deal since first installing this OS.

I have been running SolydK for several years now. I highly recommend it.

You can read more about it and download it from

It is Debian stable. I downloaded the file solydk_10_64_20190.iso
and burned it to a CD-R. This one is for AMD 64-bit x86 CPUs. You would choose one for Intel CPUs if your machine has one. I run KDE. If you run the OS from an image burned to an optical drive, you can test it with your computer’s peripherals to make sure everything works before you decide to install it or not.

Did you know you can run Gnome application programs in KDE? You can. I do it all the time. APT installs it and all the libraries the application needs to run.

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It is not a myth… How long did it take you so that Debian became a usable Desktop environment?

Usually, default settings, default configurations and preinstalled tools/software are different between Server and Desktop OS. Please don’t try to hide such details from other users because you know to overcome such details…

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I have no idea what you are talking about. You tick the desktop option in the installer and that’s it. In fact it’s even on by default.

Yes, there are some distributions that are specifically geared towards server usage, debian isn’t one of them. Debian is all purpose OS.


Sorry, but that isn’t simply not true what you wrote. The KDE, GNOME, XFCE (you name other DE’s here) maintainers using the defaults from the upstream source, have a look at the source before spreading such things. Only in a few and rare places there are different settings used, the upstream defaults have a reason. You seem to have no deep enough insights into the Debian philosophy. Debian isn’t doing any distinguish between the desktop and a server variant (except within the cloud images where a DE makes no sense at all). If you only want to install a headless system than simply drop an selection of a DE while installation. The whole DE stuff is just a “thing” on top of the system

You need to look at the big picture, I am not just talking about Debian. The desktop option to install a GUI, that’s it… this has nothing to do with I am talking about. When you look at Ubuntu and Debian, you will see default settings, default configurations and preinstalled tools/software differences.

Ubuntu forked from Debian because of a different philosophy. I don’t follow it closely enough but I believe it they felt they could offer a better user experience and keep the distro more up to date. So, yes, they are different because Ubuntu chose that path. I’ve used Debian since Mandrake folded. I accept it is not as up to date as Ubuntu but I don’t like surprises anymore.

Back when ubuntu was first coined debian was barely usable out of the box. They had a strict policy to only include completely free software in their repositories and installer and that meant that most network adapters (wifi was barely a thing then) didn’t work because of proprietary firmware blobs, you couldn’t listen to music because mp3 was not free and video codecs were closed source and worked only on proprietary video drivers.
All of that meant that after running through the installer you had to spend a day tracking down all the random binary driver installers and sketchy multimedia players to just do what windows media player did out of the box. Ubuntu made this a non-issue (at least on common hardware) by including some proprietary stuff in their installer. But stuff was breaking all the time on updates and you were pretty much guaranteed to have to fix your audio or networking on every kernel update.

Nowadays it’s a completely different story. Deiban relaxed some of their policies and provide official images with non-free firmware. Free open source drivers got good enough that most of the time you don’t need proprietary nvidia or radeon drivers. Hardware manufacturers realised that linux support gives them sales and started to contribute patches directly to kernel to make hardware work out of the box.

On the other hand ubuntu and canonical started making questionable decisions with pushing snap on everyone and walling access to some services. I personally don’t see any reason to use ubuntu nowadays. Just use debian or fedora or arch, everything else is simply derivatives shifting meaningless things around.
My 2 cents.