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Old 07-01-2004, 11:27 PM   #1
leiavoia
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I want to join your ranks! Have pre-launch questions.


I'm currently on Mandrake 9.1, but i've added so many things, it's getting tangled. It's also a bit more buggy. I recently acidently deleted my entire music collection, so i figured it would be a good time to make some systemwide changes.

I'm thinking about moving to debian. I tried it when i knew nothing about linux about 2-3 years back (version 2.2.4). I hated it and it was very confusing. Mandrake was very friendly on me.

Now with more experience, i'd like to give it another whirl (Knoppix sure is impressive!). I have these questions:

1) i don't want to fry my current system. I'd like to squeeze Debian in on another partition if possible. My current partition table looks like so:

/mnt/windows - 10GB
/ (system root) - 10GB <-- would like to split and add Debian
/home - 70GB
swap - 1GB

Can i split my root directory into Mandrake and Debian partitions? I'd like to be able to boot into either. Also, do you think i can repartition the root and keep the data intact (squeezing debian in, as it were)?

2) I'm worried that debian doesn't have any kind of "central control system". What am i supposed to do if i need to [insert system maintanence dilema]? Change the clock? Configure the network? Etc, etc, etc?

3) How hard is it to add a printer or scanner? In mandrake, it's pretty much just plug in and hit "check for new printer".

4) Is there any way to get debian to remember what packages are installed? That way i can save the snapshot and re-install back to where i was.

5) Which version should i download. It's between testing and unstable. I like the new new, but i don't like crashing :-( Have those with Sid had any serious problems? I'd like to spend more time working and less time with the OS itself. I just want a solid, upgradable system that Just Works.

Thanks for your feedback. I appreciate it. This will be a rather big move for me.
 
Old 07-02-2004, 05:15 AM   #2
Dead Parrot
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Here are some answers. Hope they help!

1. Do "df -h" to see how much disk space your Mandy installation currently takes. You can probably squeeze Debian into 4 GB, leaving Mandrake 6 GB. Use QTParted to resize partitions (I expect Mandrakelinux comes with it).

2. You can always edit config files with a text editor. Here's a helpful reference for that (start from section 4, "Debian tutorials"):

http://www.debian.org/doc/manuals/re...erence.en.html

There are also some native Debian sysconfig and package management tools available, most of these are mentioned in this page:

http://wiki.linuxquestions.org/wiki/Debian

And yet there are some third party admin tools that can be found here:

http://packages.debian.org/testing/admin/

3. About hardware detection see the LinuxQuestions.org Wiki entry. Discover and Hotplug are not the world's most impressive hardware detection programs but usually they do a decent enough job. After getting your hardware detected the problem, of course, lies in configuration. If the native Debian tools (and the third party tools that you can download) fail, there's no alternative than to edit config files.

4. Dpkg gives you very detailed info about all installed packages. Downgrading with apt-get may break your system but, in theory, it's doable.

5. There's a new Sarge (Testing, that is) installer that is still beta (so there may be bugs) but most people have found it's already working OK. Give it a go.

http://www.debian.org/devel/debian-installer/

You can later edit /etc/apt/sources.list and "apt-get dist-upgrade" to Sid (Unstable, that is) if you want and there's practically a quarantee that Sid will break something in your system from time to time. (See the Wiki entry already mentioned.) However, the kind Debian developers will try to fix everything that Sid breaks as soon as humanely possible. You can speed up the process by filing a report for every bug you'll find.
 
Old 07-02-2004, 07:21 PM   #3
jamuz
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I think the Mandrake tool likely to be most helpful is DiskDrake,
which you can reach through Mandrake Control Center. Take a
look at its resize option for the partition which has the most
available space. But be sure to back up all useful files in that
partition before changing it. Good luck!
 
Old 07-02-2004, 08:11 PM   #4
macondo
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"I want to join your ranks! Have pre-launch questions."

Are you ready to do some serious reading, and get your hands dirty?
*******************

"I'm worried that debian doesn't have any kind of "central control system". What am i supposed to do if i need to [insert system maintanence dilema]? Change the clock? Configure the network? Etc, etc, etc?"

#dpkg-reconfigure <name of program>

*****************


3) How hard is it to add a printer or scanner? In mandrake, it's pretty much just plug in and hit "check for new printer".

very easy, you do it thru mozilla > CUPS
**************

4) Is there any way to get debian to remember what packages are installed? That way i can save the snapshot and re-install back to where i was.

lol! no that i know of.
***********************************

5) Which version should i download. It's between testing and unstable. I like the new new, but i don't like crashing :-( Have those with Sid had any serious problems?

I use Sid, once in a while there is a bug, usually takes 1-2 days and gets fixed,
****************

"I'd like to spend more time working and less time with the OS itself. I just want a solid, upgradable system that Just Works."

Buy a Mac, no kidding.

With Debian, once you config it and become knowledgeable about what you are doing, you don't have to do much to it, bordering on boring.
Sometimes i reinstall different installers just to test different filesystems. The thing is, you have to know, that implies a lot of reading, you are gonna spend a lot of time reading and asking. Debian is NOT for newbies. As a newbie, i stay with Debian because of 'apt-get'. There is nothing like it.

For a guy like you, who want things outta control centers and one click solutions there are other alternatives:

1.Knoppix to the hdd

2.Libranet 2.8.1 just released today (free version) it has XAdminmenu (control center) installs in half an hour, and comes with Sarge by default. Check:

www.libranet.com

Six months down the road, come to Debian Sid and fly with the eagles, in the meantime, i can assure you a world of frustration, if you don't do your homework.

I don't mean any disrepect, i'm just telling it like it is.

OTOH, if you choose Debian, we WILL help you, but you gotta do your homework, forget about MDK, step up to the plate, soon you will nuke Windows too.

Start reading:

debian.org >Documentation
Packages
Manuals
HOWTOs (especially, the APT-HOWTO)

The Very Verbose Debian 3.0 Installation Walkthrough
http://osnews.com/story.php?news_id=2016

This article will allow you to install Woody the first time, just follow the instructions to the letter.
Note: on the first screen write:

bf24

you will installed this kernel thru the net, the article will walk you thru the partioning with 'cfdisk', and the rest of the installation. When you want to move to Sarge or Sid, come back, we'll explain it to you, piece of cake.

Last edited by macondo; 07-02-2004 at 08:26 PM.
 
Old 07-02-2004, 10:51 PM   #5
leiavoia
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Thanks for the replies. I'm not completely new to linux. Although i use mandrake, i've been using linux in some form for about 2-3 years now. I've experienced my share of bugs, driver runarounds, and shouting at the screen. I only use windows once in a blue moon. There are a few few un-emulatable, un-substitutable programs that make me keep it on the harddrive, but that's all.

I'll be downloading debian here shortly. Thanks for your help. Still look forward to more opinions though.
 
Old 07-02-2004, 11:42 PM   #6
Dead Parrot
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About this "central control system" thingy, I forgot to mention (because it's kinda obvious) that the sysadmin utilities in KDE and Gnome work also in Debian. If you miss graphical frontends for system configuration, you might want to install the "gnome-system-tools" package, even if you don't install Gnome. Here's a package description that tells what you can tweak with it:

http://packages.debian.org/testing/g...e-system-tools
 
Old 07-08-2004, 05:39 PM   #7
foamrotreturns
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Quote:
As a newbie, i stay with Debian because of 'apt-get'. There is nothing like it.
/me is running Fedora Core 2 w/ apt-get...
I don't see the necessity of Debian here.
 
Old 07-09-2004, 02:12 AM   #8
RunLevelZero
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macondo nailed it

macondo you had me giggling a couple times. Ok seriously though. Debian is a rewarding system once you know it and like he said it gets boring really so you'll have to break it or experiment with apt or whatever. I come from a Slackware background, and then I moved to debian. When gnome or kde are being upgraded it can get a little hairy for a week or so but your system will always work. You icons just might not look right for example. You will need to know what you are doing but you will learn it all through google or here or yourself. You won't regret it once you have waded through the mud.

As for foamrotreturns.

Eh-hum... and where did fedora get it from... debian.... and is the package selection over 15,000 packages and adding daily???
 
Old 07-09-2004, 01:46 PM   #9
macondo
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* foamrotreturns is running Fedora Core 2 w/ apt-get...
I don't see the necessity of Debian here.

__________________

foamrotreturns should clarify that apt-get in Fedora Core 2 is not of the same quality.
 
Old 07-11-2004, 09:19 PM   #10
misterflibble
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I did the same move from Mandrake 9.1 to Debian about 6 months ago after all the difficulty I had trying to upgrade to 9.2, and I haven't regretted it. A few point I would like to make, though: First, I would never recommend trying to install Debian via Knoppix as you end up with a screwy installation that apt-get breaks pretty easily, which pretty much defeats the whole purpose of Debian. Better to try to muck through the regular install as it can save headaches later. Sid is pretty darn stable compared to most commercial distros, as I've been able to let it run for 3 months straight under a relatively heavy load and it works great. In fact, most of the programs are slightly older in Sid than in other distros' updates since Debian tests the packages first for life-threating bugs before they even enter unstable. When you do run the 'smart' update, just be aware of what changes it wants to make. It will try to select the most intelligent choices but sometimes that's not quite what you want. For example, recently it wants to uninstall mozilla's packages since one of them has not yet gotten an updated version and the old ones seem to conflict with a certain library. The solution is just to make it leave these packages alone for now, or use a 'default' upgrade (which never uninstalls/installs anything but sometimes leaves a lot of packages as old versions). It's really no more than a few seconds when I do my daily upgrade (old Windows habits die hard!).

Trying to keep two Linux distributions on on drive can be a real pain. First, splitting the partition is probably going to result in a re-numbering of the partitions, which you will have to correct for Mandrake. Secondly, the home partition is going to contain user data for different program versions since both distros access it. I don't know if this will lead to problems, it really depends on the programs. Also, lilo (maybe grub too, but I'm not familiar with it) will have trouble with the two and you may have to do things like copy kernels or make a boot partition. Or better yet, you should only install the Debian lilo to a boot floppy until you're sure which OS you want to use permanently. Personally I would just get rid of Mandrake and try Debian, since Mandrake's install is about 20 minutes and all your settings will survive in the home partition.

You should probably follow the osnews debian walkthrough linked to above. One change I would make is to add entries for testing and unstable to your apt list *before* you install anything beyond the minimal base system, otherwise you'd have to go through the hastle of upgrading packages for no reason.
 
Old 07-11-2004, 09:42 PM   #11
leiavoia
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Thanks misterflibble.

I've installed mandrake 10 and debian side by side without any problems. Debian detects "foreign" OSs quite easily and set a boot image for it in GRUB. But the truth is i haven't touched mandrake since i installed it. The debian system has some drawbacks to it, but overall i know i'm getting a more stable solution and also one that's easier to upgrade. I have a lot to learn and am still working out the kinks (permissions, ugly fonts, learning apt) but all is going reasonably well.
 
Old 07-12-2004, 11:06 AM   #12
Marc A
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Congratulations : )

Don't forget to change your profile on LinuxQuestions, you're stil claiming use of Mandrake : )

Marc A Gnu/Linux user
 
Old 07-21-2004, 12:46 PM   #13
jamuz
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Thanks, macondo, for your very persuasive post of 07-02-2004. Having been severely disappointed by several distros (including Debian, which I could not install) I was unwilling to lay out a cent to try another.

But your pointing out that Libranet 2.8.1 is now a free download, and my discovery that it is only two CDs, led me to try it. It is working superbly for me and I am delighted with it. I may even pay for it.

Many thanks!
 
Old 07-21-2004, 10:04 PM   #14
macondo
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Libranet 2.8.1 free version, is a superb distro, it comes with GRUB, the installation takes 25 minutes, it comes with most configurations already iron out, ready to use, sound, internet connection, default partition, cd choke full of apps, mailing list, forum, it's sarge by default, so you have newer apps than in woody.

I have it on my second hdd, i alternate it with Debian in the first, i installed it there for my wife, it's fast, I did a minimal install, it's great, what do you expect? it's DEBIAN.
 
Old 07-22-2004, 12:06 PM   #15
macondo
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Make sure you read the Libranet Solutions Database COMPLETELY!

libranet.com > Support > Libranet Solutions Database > 2.8/2.8.1
 
  


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