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Old 05-31-2003, 09:49 PM   #1
Ekim Gram
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Registered: Apr 2003
Location: West Islip, New York
Distribution: Slackware 10.0, Windows XP Pro
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What're the pros and cons of Debian?


I'm buying a new hard drive and some CD-RW's in about two weeks and I'm thinking of trying out Debian. I've been using Mandrake for narely two months now and I tried Red Hat 9 as well. Now I'm going to try Debian and I would like to know what the pros and cons of it are.
 
Old 05-31-2003, 10:23 PM   #2
fancypiper
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Location: Sparta, NC USA
Distribution: Ubuntu 10.04
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Pro:
It's one of the favored distros of software developmenters.
apt-get
Con:
There are no real cons to any Linux distro
Rumored to be hard to install.

# Debian links
Installing Debian GNU/Linux 3.0 For Intel x86
The Very Verbose Debian 3.0 Installation Walkthrough
Debian Package Management HOWTO Version 1.1
 
Old 05-31-2003, 11:09 PM   #3
Big Al
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Cons:
1. Debian is a pain to install
2. Debian Stable tends to have rather old software

Pros:
1. It is one of the easiest distros to update/upgrade
2. Debian Stable, though old, is one of the most stable distros
3. You can get newer software from Debian's "testing" or "unstable" branches.
4. Nearly every piece of free software in existence is available for Debian.
 
Old 06-01-2003, 02:46 AM   #4
markus1982
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Registered: Aug 2002
Location: Stuttgart (Germany)
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Quote:
Cons:
1. Debian is a pain to install
2. Debian Stable tends to have rather old software
I do not think Debian is a PAIN to install. I saw newbies installing it ... and I mean REAL newbies. So that shouldn't be a problem.

Regarding the date of stable: Debian is of a very high quality. It has huge quality assurances ... I think that is a PRO also. If you really need a current piece of software you can always add the unstable branch to the /etc/apt/sources.list and then for instance:

apt-get build-dep <package>
apt-get source -b <package>

And this works on most stuff. There are cases where backports are more difficult of course (postfix, etc). But that's just practice. Like I thought backports are HARD. But it's as easy as pointed out above.
Quote:
Pros:
1. It is one of the easiest distros to update/upgrade
2. Debian Stable, though old, is one of the most stable distros
3. You can get newer software from Debian's "testing" or "unstable" branches.
4. Nearly every piece of free software in existence is available for Debian.
Debian is also the most compatible distro. That's another PRO.
 
Old 06-01-2003, 09:37 AM   #5
contrasutra
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Registered: Mar 2003
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I have two suggestions instead of using Debian:

1. Knoppix. Yes, its a liveCD, but its REALLY (one click) easy to install to the hard drive, and has the best hardware detection out there. Its basically Debian Sid, so if you have dialup (like me), it saves you from having to download/install "old" debain (really old), and then have to update the whole system. and it still has all the wonderful features of Debian, w/o the out of date packages and difficult install.

2. J.A.M.D. Linux. Its a modified version of RedHat that fixes a lot of problems, and is fully integrated with APT. So if you prefer an RPM based distro, you still get all the powers of apt, along with a really up-to-date, stable (they removed all the junk services) system.
http://www.boycottmicrosoft.net/jamd/
 
Old 06-01-2003, 09:40 AM   #6
Fuel
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I think Debian 2.7 was easier to install then 3.0 .. som wery strange stuff in the end of the install of 3.0
 
Old 06-01-2003, 09:42 AM   #7
Fuel
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im putting up a firewall with debian this week .. netinstall .. lucky me i have a neighbour who knows Debian .. i wouldnt manage
 
Old 06-01-2003, 09:50 AM   #8
jt1020
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Location: root@localhost
Distribution: Fedora Core 5, Ubuntu, Debian
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Debian:

Pros: 100% free, excellent web site and community resources, well-tested, painless software installation with apt-get.

Cons: Archaic installer, the stable version is out-dated.

Software package management: DEB

Free download: Yes
 
Old 06-01-2003, 08:48 PM   #9
wartstew
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Knoppix - yea!

Compared to other (main-line) distributions, Debian IS hard to install and even harder to get configured. It does have some nice utilities and organized structures to do things however. ("update-alternatives ...." is one of them).

I have the same but different "dependency hell" problems with it as I do with RPM distro's.

Debian does seem to have the largest software base, but you often have to install from the "unstable" branch to get what you want. This often causes the "dependency hell" problem mentioned earlier.

I think Debian is a good choice if you are trying to build a customized installation starting from its base install. At any point, it seems you'll have a stable system.

I think it is more stable than Mandrake, even when polluted with a lot of updates installed from the unstable branch.

Knoppix is great. I am currently using it. Boot up the CDROM. If you like it then you can quickly clone it to a hard drive partition that is at least 2.4 gigs big. (use: "sudo /usr/local/bin/knx-hdinstall") It is a very nice way to get into Debian. Some other preconfigured Debian based distros include Libranet, Xandros and Lindows, but unfortunately these are quite proprietary and therefore scary.

I'm still the most comfortable with Slackware however. Although Slack 9 has not been as pleasant as 8.1 was. It seems the compiler and library upgrades have been painful.
 
Old 06-01-2003, 11:30 PM   #10
Steve Cronje
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Quote:
Knoppix is great. I am currently using it. Boot up the CDROM. If you like it then you can quickly clone it to a hard drive partition that is at least 2.4 gigs big.
I can not agree enough with how easy it is to install Debian using Knoppix. The limitation with the 2.4 gig drive is the only thing that has kept me from installing it on all the older computers I am refurbishing and sending back into a second life -> most of them have 1-2 gig HDs, and Knoppix chokes on that.

There is a "Knoppix-Lite" which is much smaller, but it is a Spanish distro, and I have not been able to get it to boot in English, more's the pity.

HTH
Steve
 
Old 06-02-2003, 12:10 AM   #11
HappyTux
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Quote:
Originally posted by Steve Cronje
-> most of them have 1-2 gig HDs, and Knoppix chokes on that.

HTH
Steve [/B]
Use KnoppixKDE and adjust the FSMIN in the knx-hdinstall script. The install only takes about 1.2 to 1.3GB IIRC so if you modify the script it will work for most of your gear. Also you might look into re-mastering using this as a base there is still a lot of excess programs you could remove to get it even smaller for install.
 
Old 06-02-2003, 12:22 AM   #12
Steve Cronje
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Quote:
Use KnoppixKDE and adjust the FSMIN in the knx-hdinstall script
Oh, WOW.

I am downloading as we speak, many thanx for this pointer.

Yes, I am working up to remastering, and have several distros lined up, but haven't managed to get around to it yet.

Thanx, once again!

Steve
 
Old 06-02-2003, 12:41 AM   #13
wartstew
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Thanks for the tip about knoppixKDE as well. It seems there are all kinds of Knoppix derived distros popping up. An even smaller ones are Morphix at www.morphix.org and Damn-Small-Linux at www.damnsmalllinux.org.
 
Old 06-02-2003, 01:00 AM   #14
wartstew
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Quote:
Originally posted by Steve Cronje
... installing it on all the older computers I am refurbishing and sending back into a second life -> most of them have 1-2 gig HDs, and Knoppix chokes on that.
They probably also have limited RAM and slower processors. The Knoppix kernel is pretty fat, I would do a leaner kernel, then avoid resource hogging GUI's like KDE and GNOME. I use IceWM, XFCE, and Fluxbox on computers like that. As far as distro's, the Slackware based "Vector Linux" at www.vectorlinux.org runs well on older machines and installs fairly easy as well. Older machines is also good for pure Debian: I installed Woody (startinng with the single "net-install" floppy) on an older machine and manually installed about everything that I knew much about and that the old thing could reaonably run (no KDE or Gnome) it ended up taking only about 800 megs and boots up and runs pretty fast as well.
 
Old 06-02-2003, 01:16 AM   #15
Steve Cronje
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Here's my situation:

I'm getting several computers ready to distribute to folks who aren't able to access the expensive XP boxes in the stores. Enter Linux, older machines, and an easy to install distro.

Most of these folks will not have any knowledge worth speaking about regarding computers, so what I want to do is provide them with a CD (or 2), and some easy to follow instructions on how to install the system themselves.

The system will be pre-installed, but I want them to be independent, and not worry about crashing the whole box.

Also, I am not at all sure that everyone will be able to afford net access, so I was thinking of providing a reasonable base of s/ware on a 2nd CD.

The reason I like Knoppix is how easy it makes the installation. Kudzu is pretty amazing.I will be writing a small instruction manual to go along with the computer, but I do't think the average person will be able to do a Debian install.

There is no rushed timeline here, but I do not yet consider myself experienced enough to do a remaster, hence my looking for easy solutions. Most of the boxes are Pentium 166s with 32 megs.

I really like TinyLinux, but I think it is a little to bare for what I have in mind, however, I intend to build from it when I start remastering, as it would be a great way to distribute some software I am developing (porting, actually, from my pre-nonWinblow$ days). The developer is a great guy - I exchanged some emails with him.

Thanx for the thoughts!
 
  


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