This isn’t any kind of useful comparison, just what I’ve seen. I was using Debian unstable and then I switched to RedHat 9 + Ximian Desktop 2. Here are a few observations.
- It’s hard to get hardware working in Debian. It’s hard to install Debian. Neither of these things are problems in RedHat
- Debian package management rules. RedHat I don’t think has package management… XD2 package management is fine, but not wonderful.
- I like lots of good fonts. It took a while to get fonts right in Debian, and with upgrades sometimes they break again. One RedHat package and I got all my nice fonts working correctly, with good anti-aliasing. I know getting anti-aliasing to work in Debian was a real pain as well.
- I really like the XD2 Industrial theme.
- I like the idea of being able to setup a printer with a GUI, and do things like browse SMB shares easily. And I do those things from time to time. But I can live without that functionality.
- I really like being able to drag a bunch of files into a special window and then click burn and have a CD burn actually work for a change. I can’t yet do that in Debian, but that goes back to point #1: hardware support.
Despite what it may seem like, I’m not overly impressed with XD2. It’s very slick, very consistant, and I really like that, but I can see where it is meant for enterprise use – Evolution is a big ole groupware app, OpenOffice has been prettified and made more MS friendly, and RedCarpet Enterprise makes management easy. But I don’t need any of those things. I like Mozilla Mail better then Evolution, I rarely if ever use OOo, and I like the fine-grained ability to install just the packages I want that I can get in apt, but not RedCarpet. I want the XD2 theme, and I think what I want is a fresh install of Debian, maybe testing instead of unstable, and if it turns out better, if I can customize things right the first time, if I can get my DVD burner to finally burn, then I’d like to stick with that. Apt is just that useful.