Some days ago I have started testing Linux Mint Debian Edition and Archbang.
They have some things in common but a lot more different, why did I pick those to test?, because Arch and Debian are my favorites Linux flavors.
ArchBang is an Arch Linux based distribution, I think it is inspired in CrunchBang which until now is based on Ubuntu, and switching to Debian.
ArchBang features OpenBox on its newly released 2010.09 “Apeiro” release. With the change from LXDE to OpenBox it looks a lot more like Cruchbang Linux.
As the Office suite it offers Gnumeric and Abiword, and Firefox 3 for web browsing. ArchBang Linux also comes with: Pidgin, xPDF, and Exile applications among others, so it is ready to be used for messaging, office work, and Internet where it also has Claws Mail, as the default email application.
It is compatible with Arch Linux 100% as far, as I could have seen. But I really prefer to install pure Arch Linux and customize it to my needs, even though this requires more job but at the end you have 100% tweaked operating system.
The other Distribution I have been testing is Linux Mint Debian Edition, it is a complete different beast. Based on Debian Testing, LMDE in no ways tries to be a lightweight distribution, it is a fully functional Linux Desktop distribution, ready to defeat Ubuntu, Fedora or PCLinuxOS.
Based on Gnome, it features OpenOffice, Firefox, Thunderbird, Rhythmbox and Pidgin among lots of other applications.
This is one distribution I would really recommend to anyone starting with Linux, as I am not a big fan of Ubuntu, and for me this is somehow an Ubuntu/Fedora alike but based on the great Debian, and 100% compatible with Debian, it is a good way to start with Linux.
You may have read it is based on the Testing branch of Debian, but do not think it is not stable, I have been using Debian testing for my Desktop for years and can not remember having a problem with it.
One thing they both ArchBang and LMDE share is that they are rolling releases, that means mainly two things.
<ol><li>No need to perform fresh installs in the future.</li><li>Lot’s of update downloads</li></ol>If you are going to deploy any rolling release in an office or school, is a good idea to cache the upgrades, of find a way to share the downloaded files for upgrades/updates, unless you really have plenty of bandwidth available.
One more thing, they both comes with flash support out of the box, and you can see them playing Youtube videos in the video below.
<iframe title="YouTube video player" class="youtube-player" type="text/html" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/92wuJt5GMRA" frameborder="0" height="410" width="500"></iframe>