A tale of a gillion installs
Install number one: LMDE 201303. I was hoping for the best of both worlds, but I got driver issues instead. LMDE has known ATI proprietary driver install issues. I followed the Mint instructions and got it working, then got a blank screen after too much tinkering. I was surprised that LMDE had this problem since Debian doesn’t, and LMDE should be a more polished version of LMDE. This wasn’t a big deal, but I decided to give Debian a chance.
Install number two: debian stable (7.3). The debian website has a convoluted maze of installation links, but it’s still fairly easy to find an ISO for the stable version you need. I installed from the live ISO using a USB key. The installation and ATI driver update went smoothly, and I thought all was well at first. I soon realized that about 50% of reboots failed; the audio driver was the culprit. I installed the latest driver from Realtec/ALSA and it sort of worked, but I was still getting some crap from # dmesg and the audio would crackle with some files.
LMDE. I live booted LMDE to see if the same issue existed there and it did.
Time for Mint 16. As expected everything worked. Man I really wish Ubuntu hadn’t chosen the dark side – their OS is really good. All of these distros use ALSA audio drivers, so why is Ubuntu the only one that works? Kernel versions:
debian stable (7.3):
Advanced Linux Sound Architecture Driver Version 1.0.24.
Advanced Linux Sound Architecture Driver Version k3.11.0-12-generic.
One more thing to check. What kernel version is the real debian testing “jessie” using:
LMDE 201303 = 3.2
debian stable 7.3 = 3.2
Mint 16 = 3.11
debian testing “jessie - Jan 2014” = 3.12!
I determined to try debian testing before settling for Mint. I tried a netinstall from USB key which killed my PC and grub bootloader. The debian stable live iso usb key decided to stop working as well. I finally got a real DVD debian stable install to work, changed the repositories to point to “jessie” and upgraded. I was very surprised to see this worked! I’m having some problems with bash, but all of my day to day software is up and running. Nice.
TL;DR: LMDE was using an old kernel so I needed the real debian testing (jessie) to solve my driver problems.