Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Tuesday, July 30, 2019 at 14:42

(Debian 10 GNOME)

Debian 10 LTS, known as Buster, released with 7 desktop environments in 2019. This short article reveals the GNOME Edition for you. Unlike usual, I tried to break down the download pages more longer for you to give you clearer vision on what and where to download. I divided this article into 6 parts which talk about: ISOs, LTS, Calamares system installer, login sessions & RAM loads (fortunately, it's only ~800MiB right now!), user interface, and of course applications. I hope this overview helps everybody to reach Debian and try it as soon as possible. Happy reading!

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[ On Debian 10: Install Guide | Downloads | Mozc/Hiragana | WTDAI ]


  • 1) About ISO images
  • 2) LTS
  • 3) Calamares
  • 4) Wayland & Xorg, and Memory Loads
  • 5) User interface
  • 6) Apps

Important Information

Before starting anything, here  official news from Debian Project about Buster:

1. About ISO Images

I myself interested in how vast Debian ISO images number are. Really, it's amazing. I would love to make an overview to where and what are available to us from Debian, that are, ISO images. So I broke it down to 9 sub-parts below.

1.1. Central download page

All downloads of Buster are centralized in one parent directory aka debian-cd/ page. From this directory you would see both Install-Only and Live-Install editions (10.0.0/ and 10.0.0-live/ pages), and then go down to multiple architectures Debian supports (amd64/ and i386/ pages among others), and then go further to both DVD and CD versions for each edition (iso-dvd/ and iso-cd/ pages). You will always go back to this URL so I suggest you to bookmark it.

1.2. CD and DVD

Debian 10 is still available as both CD and DVD sizes. You may choose.

  • [URL: iso-cd] CD version is no more than 700MB size and is no more than 1 disk for desktop. (In fact, the desktop edition is only one, that is, XFCE edition)
  • [URL: iso-dvd] DVD versions are bigger roughly between 2 and 4GB, and for each architecture, each is available in 3 disks. It includes multiple desktop including KDE, GNOME, LXDE, etc. so it represents the size. (Note: to install Debian, only DVD1 is required)

The secret is, Live Editions are all DVDs, no CD version for them. The CD versions are available only for Install-Only editions.

(Left: DVD editions (see URL: iso-dvd/); right: CD editions (see URL: iso-cd/); both are 64-bit versions; see the highlighted blue on address bar and pink on the page)

All ISO images of Debian Buster are hybrid ISO, meaning, can be written to CD or USB storage. I myself distributed Debian this month to my friend in Indonesia using both DVD and USB, like I had pictured below:

(A DVD of Debian Buster and one of Mageia 7.1, both are just released this month)

1.3. Install-Only and Live-Install

Simply, it's like Windows installer and Ubuntu installer, one can only install without running as LiveCD, and one can install or run as LiveCD. Debian 10 is available in both types, Install-Only and Live-Install, with certain advantages:

  • Advantage: available in 10 different computer architectures possible in the world.
  • Disadvantage: cannot run in LiveCD mode, meaning, you must install it to use it. 
  • Advantage: it features LiveCD mode, meaning, you can run the system fully without installing it; and also it features Install mode, meaning, you can install it permanently. In other words, this type is equal to all regular Ubuntu Desktop versions. This is a feature Microsoft Windows does not have.
  • Disadvantage: only available in 2 architectures, i386 and amd64, or more popularly called 32-bit and 64-bit.

1.4. BT and Non-BT

Normal download of Debian 10 is by you right-clicking a link and click Save As. That is the iso-dvd/ or iso-cd/ webpage for you. This is called HTTP download.

(Left: direct-download page for DVD versions (see URL: iso-dvd/); right: direct-download page for CD versions (see URL: iso-cd/))

But faster download is by you downloading the .torrent file to download the actual huge file while in the same time everybody else worldwide uploads the file to you. That is the bt-dvd/ or bt-cd/ download page for you.

(Left: BitTorrent page for DVD versions (see URL: bt-dvd/); right: BitTorrent page for CD versions (see URL: bt-cd/))

What's this? BT means BitTorrent, that is actually a small file you open with certain BitTorrent client, to download the actual huge file.

Why Debian distributes ISOs as Torrents? Because it helps distribute huge files more quickly and more efficiently, compared to the HTTP way, as it reduce loads to Debian's server and spreads huge files to more people really far more quicker.

For example, by using HTTP download I could get Debian DVD in 2 hours (no resume), but with BitTorrent download I could get it in 15 minutes only (always can be resumed) with my internet access.

1.5. Sizes and Architectures

Talking about architecture support, Debian's slogan is "The universal operating system", that slogan is true. It is the OS that support most computer architectures available in this world, including variants of X86, ARM, MIPS, IBM Z, and PowerPC. As a comparison, see Windows 10 at Wikipedia, it supports no more than 4 architectures.

What's the good thing? This means Debian 10 is universally available for most type of computers available in the world including servers, boards, and more.

 (Left: Install-Only edition page with 10 different architectures; right: Live-Install edition with 2 architectures)

1.6. Source Code CDs

Fortunately, Debian always released with source code CDs. Buster's complete source code in ISOs are available at:

For what is this? You see, the GPL license and several other licenses in Debian required the distributor to distribute the source code as well if they distribute the binary code. So the rule is simple: you distribute Debian DVD, you distribute the source code DVD as well. Debian Project really helps us in this case: by providing source code DVDs for us. You see, other distros such as Manjaro and Mint, do not distribute source code DVD so we cannot easily download it and distribute it accompanying the regular DVD.

(All source code of Debian Buster in DVD sizes)

1.7. Checksums

Debian is provided with 4 kinds of verification way, MD5, SHA1, and SHA256, and SHA512. The actual files MD5SUMS, SHA1SUMS, and SHA256SUMS, and SHA512SUMS are always available in every directory where ISO images are available. Take example here.

1.8. LiveCD & Desktop Environments

Yes, Debian Live is LiveCD edition of Debian aside from the Standard (Install-Only) edition as mentioned above. It's available with 7 different desktop environment, namely
  • KDE
  • XFCE
  • LXDE
  • LXQt
  • Cinnamon
  • MATE


What's the goodness? This means you can run Debian Buster with desktop you love without installing it. To compare it, say Microsoft Windows or Debian regular, you must install it first to enjoy the desktop and run the apps, meaning you must format your hard disk drive in order to try it.

1.9. Installation Media

As it's a hybrid ISO, we can burn it either to CD or USB. Important thing to tell you is, that I failed to create a working multiboot USB either with MultiSystem or Multibootusb: the LiveCD session works but the installation to actual disk always failed. I don't know why. So, unfortunately, currently I cannot distribute a multiboot USB with Debian 10 Live to people.

(I can make other OSes work in multiboot way, but why no any Debian Live Edition there? Because making it multiboot won't work for installation)

Up to this point, I hope now you have more ideas about where and what to download and how it would behave after you actually run / install Debian 10.

2. Long Term Support

Yes, Debian 10 is an LTS release for 5 years support lifespan for 4 different computer architectures. Those arch. supported are i386, amd64, armel, and armhf; meaning if you use PC and Server 32-bit or 64-bit then you got LTS. This is a really good news as we now have an equal 5 years LTS distro other than Ubuntu, and more, for all 7 desktop environments variants, and even more, for a lot of different kinds of computers. Support will be provided by a special team of Debian LTS Team and Debian Security Team working together. We are very happy and grateful Debian 10 being an LTS.

Regarding LTS, here are several important links:

3. New installation system

What I love is the fact that starting at Buster release, Debian Live Edition is featuring Calamares System Installer (same as what Manjaro & Neon are using) in all of its 7 varians. Calamares is far more user friendly than the traditional installer of Debian, not to mention it works even in LiveCD mode, equal to Ubiquity System Installer of Ubuntu. I already satisfied installing Debian Buster several times with it. Thanks to Calamares, now, I can easily recommend Debian Live instead Debian Regular to everybody to install Debian. Great work, Debian developers!

(How nice Debian 10 features this easy-to-use system installer!)

4. Login Sessions & Memory Use

On GNOME edition, Debian gives us both Xorg and Wayland session, with the latter one as default.To switch between sessions, simply logout, and choose either "GNOME Xorg" or "GNOME", respectively.

 (Left: on Wayland session; right: on Xorg session; bottom: GNOME Classic session with top and bottom panels)

What's good in this? This way, Debian Project could get more bug reports (and perhaps bugfix cooperation) regarding the new technology Wayland from more users, while the users themselves can still fallback to the old technology Xorg if they wish to. This would help Wayland advancement dearly while still providing convenience for long-time users.

What's the difference between Xorg and Wayland, anyway? Well, for most users, we will not notice that as it's more likely very technical. But anyway, Wayland is a new technology with new working methods focused in security to replace the old Xorg. To give you more info, both KDE and GNOME projects are now trying to make their desktops work with Wayland more than with Xorg.

Regarding memory usage, here is a good news, it's much more lower right now compared to last year among most GNOME distros. The average load is 800MiB at idle time at first login right after successfully installed.

(Left: Wayland session uses 885MiB, right: Xorg session uses 865MiB; these are far more better than the usual load of 1GiB or more of GNOME)

5. User Interface

Debian 10 GNOME Edition features GNOME desktop version 3.30. Up to today, latest version available is this one, while 3.32 is only available at Experimental repository.

(Left: Debian 10 from LiveCD, notice the pink icon of system installer on top-left corner; right: LibreOffice 6.1 included, and running well on Buster; bottom:
installed Debian 10 system with Nautilus and Software Center are version 3.30)

6. Applications

All editions feature LibreOffice, and with GNOME Edition you got Firefox ESR, Evolution Mail Client, standard GNOME Apps & Games, Fcitx & Mozc, and GoldenDict.

 (Start menu showing apps installed by default from Buster GNOME Edition)

(Left: Synaptic showing a total of 50000 packages from Debian 10 'main' repository, right: Software & Updates dialog showing 'main' and 'source' repositories enabled, while heading the system to U.S. server)

(Original sources.list file of an installed Buster GNOME system: it features three repos of buster, buster-updates, and buster-security and with all source code repos enabled deb-src)

Some words

I really like LTS on Debian. I also love the LiveCD variants available, I think it's brilliant decision to have them. What's more for me as a GNU/Linux distributor on my home country, I really appreciate and am grateful for all Source CDs available perfectly (you see, many other distros don't distribute such). All and all, in a short period of time, I am running Debian 10 installed on a USB stick with ease and no glitch. And, it's easier on RAM now, as it loads only ~800MiB, unlike some 1.2GiB some times ago. My system specs. is as usual Acer Aspire One 756 Intel Pentium 4GB, and it's flawless with GNOME. Lastly, with this, I encourage everybody to try Debian 10 out and I recommend its GNOME Edition as you first choice. Go ahead and happy working!

This article is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.