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nokangaroo 05-17-2010 05:33 PM

What's up with Debian?
 
The other day I tried my luck at installing Debian on my iMac 7.1. I like Ubuntu well enough, but it seems to be headed in a direction I'm not sure I want to follow, what with the "social from the start" teenie stuff. So with my tried and true Ubuntu backups up my sleeve I decided to give Debian a shot, knowing full well that it is considered more difficult than Ubuntu.

Unmitigated disaster.

For a start, most Debian install media, if they boot at all on the Mac, won't respond to keyboard input; the menu just sits on the screen, dead. And the Lenny live CD knows jack about ext4 and can't even mount my existing ubuntu partitions (I even had to install less to be able to scroll in the terminal!). The latest Squeeze netinstall build (May 13) worked but showed my Mac OS hostname, so I thought it would overwrite my Mac partition and switched to expert install, which let me reformat my root partition and reuse my home partition as expected. Then I had a choice to disable root login during install, which I took, coming from Ubuntu (and MacOS which also lets me do full administrative work without root login). Of course, there was no warning that the root account was mandatory. And I may mention that netinstall was *s*l*o*w* as hell (much slower than downloading the full CD, so why Debian favors downloading the netinst images is beyond me).

OK, so I boot into Debian (for which I had to rummage for my refit CD which I hadn't used in ages because I don't need it in Ubuntu). And there's this crappy desktop with this flyspeck font that I remember from Ubuntu hardy - in the upcoming release that's about to stay for a while! And this scrolling problem that Ubuntu also used to have (with the realtime kernel up to karmic, but it seems to be fixed now): when I used the mouse wheel to scroll down a window the window display would go all wonky and runny, and when I grabbed the window and moved it, it would disappear and reappear when I let go of it, instead of moving continuously. I don't even know how to describe this problem, let alone fix it, and what I found in Google wasn't to the point.

And here's the hammer: When I try to go online nothing happens (device not managed). I open Network, and I am prompted (in flyspeck font) for my nonexistent root password (remember I had disabled root login; user password would not do). I actually spent an hour trying to fix this before deciding it wasn't worth my while and restoring Ubuntu. (It really isn't my job to clean up after developers who don't do theirs).

The Debian forum had nothing to offer but funkiness; LinuxQuestions.org was helpful and friendly as always, but I decided to waste no more time all the same. I am very willing to learn, and considering that I bought my first computer in late 2007 I think my learning curve is above average, but I also believe in a reasonable ratio of effort and result. I suspect that using Debian is a kind of Macho thing for many people - I am an *eleet hax0r* and my balls are bigger than yours because I use Debian. And disabling the root account is for wimps only, right?

I might write a bug report to Debian, but what's the point - the Debian people obviously don't care what a disastrous first impression they make (it was only going to get worse - do I compile Firefox from source, or do I use the ready-to-run Mozilla builds? What about Mactel support? Sound? And exactly how many CUPS configuration files would I have to edit manually, using vi to be taken seriously in the Debian community, to get my printer going? I didn't even try, there being better things to do with my time, and better community documentation for the Mac in Ubuntu).

So much for flame; there's a more serious side to all this. I just stumbled upon Darrell Anderson's essays on http://humanreadable.nfshost.com, and this guy is saying aloud what I have been thinking for a while. There seems to be a lack of communication between the developers of open source software and the people who want to use it. Take my own case - what put me off was Debian's shockingly outdated design - or rather, lack of design - much more than the prospect of installing network manually (after all, I had had similar problems a year and a half ago with Ubuntu, and solved them. Nevertheless the nonfunctioning network is a totally gratuitous hurdle; after all I had connection during install. And artless design on the surface probably points to artless coding below. By design of course I mean basic structure and thought behind the coding, not superficial niceness and the creeping featurism along the lines of "use current frame for thumbnail" that MacOS is prone to). I might have tried again with the root account enabled (sudo passwd root should have done the trick - of course I kept looking things up); the point is that it wasn't worth my while. I had seen enough. And I am very sure that I am not the first to have this experience. Paraphrasing Anderson, you are not expected to be able to repair your own car, you are only expected to know how to drive. So why the hell are you expected to know how to compile software from source? It doesn't make sense if you really think about it. Computers are coming to be regarded as a basic cultural technique, like reading and writing and knowing your numbers. But you are not expected to manufacture your own pencils and paper, are you?

So, unless there is something that I am missing in Debian that's worth my while after all, it seems that Ubuntu, which is in fact the better Debian, is pretty much the only Linux distribution that works on the Mac (apart from Opensuse, but I don't want to enable root login and switch to rpm). I am not a teenager, however, and the direction that Ubuntu seems to be taking isn't much to my liking (it seems that Mr Shuttleworth wants to become another Steve Jobs; but then he'd better come up with a real alternative to Apple's iLife suite HHOS). And I have a problem with the concept of benevolent dictators for life (with the possible exception of Linus Torvalds who really knows what he is doing).

I have no trouble with the butt-ugly Plymouth logo, Gwibber and Ubuntu One as long as they can be uninstalled without harm. Tastes differ. And it is no trouble to install GIMP manually, except that leaving GIMP out is an indication of an unwelcome shift in Ubuntu's perception of its target audience. Please don't dumb Ubuntu down! We are not all kids out there!

impert 05-17-2010 06:18 PM

Ask for your money back?
I've got Debian on a Mac mini PPC. No real hassles installing it, and it works like a charm. Mileages differ.

brucehinrichs 05-17-2010 06:43 PM

Yeah, it's really too bad that Debian and Ubuntu are the only two linux distros in the world to choose from...

:cry::cry::cry::cry:

EDIT: Take a look at this site: http://distrowatch.com/

craigevil 05-17-2010 09:11 PM

1) you didnt choose a root password when you installed, god only knows why.
2) you made exactly two posts on forums.debian.net asking for help.

Quote:

activating network

Postby nokangaroo 2010-05-13 09:24
How do I activate networking? (I am currently logged in from Ubuntu on another computer). I installed Debian Squeeze on an iMac 7.1 (which works perfectly well with ubuntu) from the netinstall CD (today's daily build), and of course I deactivated root login, coming from ubuntu. Now I find I have to enter my root password (login password will not do) to activate networking! Is this a joke? I had the network configured with DHCP during install! So how do I activate the root account, or, more to the point, how do I get by in Debian without activating root login?

Re: activating network

Postby nokangaroo 2010-05-13 11:32
The trouble is I cannot use my login password to enamble networking. I am asked for a root password which does not exist - probably a bug in Squeeze because it makes no sense. I had better close this thread because I am going to restore ubuntu from backup.
Have fun with Ubuntu. :)

snowpine 05-17-2010 10:27 PM

Sorry to hear about your bad experiences; I think your criticisms are fair. You tried Debian at kind of an awkward time in its development. :) Lenny (the current stable release) is getting a bit stale compared with a "bleeding edge" distro like Ubuntu. It doesn't support ext4 because, well, the kernel it uses predates ext4!

And Squeeze is currently the "testing" release, I think it is pre-Beta at this time, so probably not a good choice for a first-time user to form a good impression. :(

Ubuntu is a fine choice and you can't go wrong with it. If you want to try Debian again at some point, wait until Squeeze gets its final, stable release--it is shaping up to be a good one! :)

mcooke1 05-17-2010 10:54 PM

Quote:

I'm not sure I want to follow, what with the "social from the start" teenie stuff.
In Ubuntu there is a number of ways you can remove the social stuff or use the alternate or minimal install methods and build your own Ubuntu.

Mr-Bisquit 05-18-2010 12:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nokangaroo (Post 3971941)
The other day I tried my luck at installing Debian on my iMac 7.1. I like Ubuntu well enough, but it seems to be headed in a direction I'm not sure I want to follow, what with the "social from the start" teenie stuff. So with my tried and true Ubuntu backups up my sleeve I decided to give Debian a shot, knowing full well that it is considered more difficult than Ubuntu.

You can't say you didn't know it was coming

Quote:

Unmitigated disaster.
Dun da dun dun!!!!!!!


Quote:

For a start, most Debian install media, if they boot at all on the Mac, won't respond to keyboard input;
How did you go through the menu? [/QUOTE]
Quote:

the menu just sits on the screen, dead. And the Lenny live CD knows jack about ext4
You have to compile it in [/QUOTE]
Quote:

and can't even mount my existing ubuntu partitions (I even had to install less to be able to scroll in the terminal!).
Use the mount command.
Quote:

The latest Squeeze netinstall build (May 13) worked but showed my Mac OS hostname, so I thought it would overwrite my Mac partition and switched to expert install, which let me reformat my root partition and reuse my home partition as expected. Then I had a choice to disable root login during install, which I took, coming from Ubuntu (and MacOS which also lets me do full administrative work without root login).
You yourself knew it was difficult.
Quote:

Of course, there was no warning that the root account was mandatory. And I may mention that netinstall was *s*l*o*w* as hell (much slower than downloading the full CD, so why Debian favors downloading the netinst images is beyond me).
A lot of the users have older or non 86 hardware for which they need to customize Debian to fit their preferences.

Quote:

OK, so I boot into Debian (for which I had to rummage for my refit CD which I hadn't used in ages because I don't need it in Ubuntu). And there's this crappy desktop with this flyspeck font that I remember from Ubuntu hardy - in the upcoming release that's about to stay for a while! And this scrolling problem that Ubuntu also used to have (with the realtime kernel up to karmic, but it seems to be fixed now): when I used the mouse wheel to scroll down a window the window display would go all wonky and runny, and when I grabbed the window and moved it, it would disappear and reappear when I let go of it, instead of moving continuously. I don't even know how to describe this problem, let alone fix it, and what I found in Google wasn't to the point.
Again. If you use Debian, you are going to do some work.
Quote:

And here's the hammer: When I try to go online nothing happens (device not managed). I open Network, and I am prompted (in flyspeck font) for my nonexistent root password (remember I had disabled root login; user password would not do). I actually spent an hour trying to fix this before deciding it wasn't worth my while and restoring Ubuntu. (It really isn't my job to clean up after developers who don't do theirs).
There is no sudo in Debian by default nor in most nonUbuntu distributions. Believe it or not, sudo is a security risk.

Quote:

The Debian forum had nothing to offer but funkiness; LinuxQuestions.org was helpful and friendly as always, but I decided to waste no more time all the same. I am very willing to learn, and considering that I bought my first computer in late 2007 I think my learning curve is above average, but I also believe in a reasonable ratio of effort and result. I suspect that using Debian is a kind of Macho thing for many people - I am an *eleet hax0r* and my balls are bigger than yours because I use Debian. And disabling the root account is for wimps only, right?
No. I started using Debian because Fedora started being sucky with memory requirements. I like the fact that I can run a 64bit system on 64M RAM and not have it drag. The size of my genitalia have very little to do with programming.

Quote:

I might write a bug report to Debian, but what's the point - the Debian people obviously don't care what a disastrous first impression they make (it was only going to get worse - do I compile Firefox from source, or do I use the ready-to-run Mozilla builds? What about Mactel support? Sound? And exactly how many CUPS configuration files would I have to edit manually, using vi to be taken seriously in the Debian community, to get my printer going? I didn't even try, there being better things to do with my time, and better community documentation for the Mac in Ubuntu).
It's a lot easier than this.

Quote:

So much for flame; there's a more serious side to all this. I just stumbled upon Darrell Anderson's essays on http://humanreadable.nfshost.com, and this guy is saying aloud what I have been thinking for a while. There seems to be a lack of communication between the developers of open source software and the people who want to use it. Take my own case - what put me off was Debian's shockingly outdated design - or rather, lack of design - much more than the prospect of installing network manually (after all, I had had similar problems a year and a half ago with Ubuntu, and solved them. Nevertheless the nonfunctioning network is a totally gratuitous hurdle; after all I had connection during install. And artless design on the surface probably points to artless coding below. By design of course I mean basic structure and thought behind the coding, not superficial niceness and the creeping featurism along the lines of "use current frame for thumbnail" that MacOS is prone to). I might have tried again with the root account enabled (sudo passwd root should have done the trick - of course I kept looking things up); the point is that it wasn't worth my while. I had seen enough. And I am very sure that I am not the first to have this experience. Paraphrasing Anderson, you are not expected to be able to repair your own car, you are only expected to know how to drive. So why the hell are you expected to know how to compile software from source? It doesn't make sense if you really think about it. Computers are coming to be regarded as a basic cultural technique, like reading and writing and knowing your numbers. But you are not expected to manufacture your own pencils and paper, are you?
You're not.

Quote:

So, unless there is something that I am missing in Debian that's worth my while after all, it seems that Ubuntu, which is in fact the better Debian, is pretty much the only Linux distribution that works on the Mac (apart from Opensuse, but I don't want to enable root login and switch to rpm). I am not a teenager, however, and the direction that Ubuntu seems to be taking isn't much to my liking (it seems that Mr Shuttleworth wants to become another Steve Jobs; but then he'd better come up with a real alternative to Apple's iLife suite HHOS). And I have a problem with the concept of benevolent dictators for life (with the possible exception of Linus Torvalds who really knows what he is doing).
Huh?

Quote:

I have no trouble with the butt-ugly Plymouth logo, Gwibber and Ubuntu One as long as they can be uninstalled without harm. Tastes differ. And it is no trouble to install GIMP manually, except that leaving GIMP out is an indication of an unwelcome shift in Ubuntu's perception of its target audience. Please don't dumb Ubuntu down! We are not all kids out there!

Okay.
Let me get this straight.
You want it handed to you in the way you want?
Sorry, but that's a no go here. Ubuntu is an introductory distribution and the users don't realize this. You are far down the rung of the UNIX ladder. Debian is easy; but, you put it together yourself.

MTK358 05-18-2010 08:44 AM

I tried Debian once as my main system.

I hated it.

It didn't even come with essentials like less, everything was WAY, WAY outdated, I didn't like the apt-get package manager, and for some reason I HAD TO PUT IN THE F@$%ING CD IN EVERY TIME I WANTED TO INSTALL SOFTWARE! And of course the next day the Debian installer welcomes me, because guess what: I forgot to take the stupid CD after installing packages.

craigevil 05-18-2010 08:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MTK358 (Post 3972713)
I tried Debian once as my main system.

I hated it.

It didn't even come with essentials like less, everything was WAY, WAY outdated, I didn't like the apt-get package manager, and for some reason I HAD TO PUT IN THE F@$%ING CD IN EVERY TIME I WANTED TO INSTALL SOFTWARE! And of course the next day the Debian installer welcomes me, because guess what: I forgot to take the stupid CD after installing packages.

Package: less
Priority: standard
If you chose "standard" when you installed you had less. apt-get rocks, apt-get install foo , the Debian repos give me access to over 25,000 packages. And yes Debian Stable is a tad outdated, because Debian's focus is on a "stable" system not bleeding edge. That is why a lot of people choose to run Testing or Sid. The great thing about Debian is once you get it installed you never ever have to reinstall. I installed Debian way back in Feb. 2004, all I do is once a day run apt-get update && apt-get dist-upgrade and my system stays updated. Granted the Debian installer could use some work, but everyone knows Debian isn't a newbie friendly distro. God forbid one has to edit a text file rather than open a GUI. Debian must be doing something right, if you look on distrowatch out of the Top 50 distros 20 or so are based on Debian.

You managed to install Arch but couldn't install Debian?

MTK358 05-18-2010 09:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by craigevil (Post 3972733)
You managed to install Arch but couldn't install Debian?

I did manage to install it, but I didn't like it.

Debian just did many things not the way I like.

That reminds me of another little adventure (more like a week of torture) trying to install Flash in Debian. In the end it still only worked on one of the many browsers I installed.

In Arch, just type "sudo pacman -S flash-plugin". Wait a minute or two. Done! Forget about it! Works in all browsers!

Also, I didn't like the way everything in Debian is outdated. It just felt horrible using these wonderful new apps in Fedora and then being forced into using this ancient crap by Debian.

And one of the biggest problems for me was how much Debian modified the packages from their original version.

craigevil 05-18-2010 10:22 AM

apt-get install flashplugin-nonfree or from the debian-multimedia.org repo apt-get install flashplayer-mozilla
Works in Firefox, Iceweasel, midori, Opera, Chrome, Konqueror. I have never ran Debian stable, your right stable is way too old. Stable is more for servers or for people that just want a stable system, or for those that do not want/need newer app versions. Which is why I have always ran Debian unstable/sid, and why I use Firefox and Thunderbird instead of Iceweasel/Icedove.

nokangaroo 05-18-2010 10:26 AM

Thank you, snowpine, for being the only one who seems to have read my post and to have a sense of humor. I'll keep in touch with Debian.

It seems that criticising Debian invokes knee-jerk reflexes in some people. I am very glad that impert gets more mileage out of linux that I do; but I don't really want to participate in a macho pissing contest (I said so in my post, if people would read it. I also implied I already uninstalled the social stuff from ubuntu, and that I think I'd find my way around in Debian if it were worth my while. RMFP = read my F---ing post ;)

linus72 05-18-2010 10:38 AM

if you wish to see good examples of pre-configured debian squeeze/sid live installable cd's
which is essentially what ubuntu is; try looking at these

pureos (squeeze)
http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sourc...0yTNiGoKtifmWA

sidux (sid)
http://sidux.com/index.php

puredyne
http://puredyne.org/
I think puredyne is ubuntu/debian-live mix

and of course my own creation nFlux debian squeeze with fluxbox
http://linux.softpedia.com/progMoreB...isX-31789.html

uploadding all new nFlux iso's now, those above are RC3's
the ones uploading now are finished polished,etc

one must understand that comparing ubuntu to debian is apples and oranges
as Ubuntu of any kind is basically a super modified debian

so, I suggest you check out those above
and I highly suggest Squeeze; I have had zero problems with my nFlux squeeze installs

snowpine 05-18-2010 10:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nokangaroo (Post 3972834)
Thank you, snowpine, for being the only one who seems to have read my post and to have a sense of humor. I'll keep in touch with Debian.

My pleasure. ;) I am doing my penance for some bad advice I've given on UbuntuForums in the past. I jumped on the "If you like Ubuntu, you'll LOVE Debian Testing!!!" bandwagon for a while there, but now I realize Testing is just that, not meant to be used as an everyday system.

I agree that the default theme/artwork/fonts of Debian are a bit "blah" but that is easily remedied by a trip to gnome-look.org or by using one of the many fine Debian derivatives. I have Sidux, CrunchBang, AntiX and Elive running on various machines, all of which are Debian-based but are quick to install and have nice artwork. The relationship is similar to Mint vs. Ubuntu. The nice thing about Linux is so many choices, no reason for anyone to get bent out of shape over someone else's preference. ;)

HasC 05-18-2010 10:56 AM

What's up with Debian?

Well, first it's A LOT MORE stable than Ubuntu :D
And last, it's A LOT MORE outdated than Ubuntu :(

But hey, there are plenty of options out there. Myself prefer a rock-solid stable Debian than a bleeding-edge Ubuntu :p


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