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Forgive the noobness of the questions, but I suppose that's what this forum is about...
Is it common to have severe difficulty in setting up Debian relative to other distributions?
I've tried on two systems so far, neither manage to load X Server, or manage to set up the network through DHCP. I'm wondering whether I might have dud disks or something (they are a bit big to just download again willy-nilly without checking), or whether it is worthwhile trying a different distribution.
I'm not exactly expecting something like Windows in ease of setup, but Windows tends to at least have a GUI and network capabilities set up, even without specific drivers for hardware that was made after the OS was released.
They are both fairly standard systems (one AMD system, with an nForce2 chipset, Radeon 9600 video card, the other an i845 based P4 system with a GeForce4), so I'm struggling to figure out WTF the problem is.
(You'll have to forgive me for not providing specifics, I might just do that later after I've played musical chairs with the hard drives for the seventh time, I'm just trying to get a general idea here).
I personally think Debian is super easy to setup. If you're running into problems you might have old disks or unsupported hardware. If you're wanting to run Debian you might take a look at Ubuntu (or Kubuntu if you like KDE instead of Gnome). It's highly advanced and very easy to setup. I run Kubuntu on several different hardware platforms and it works beautifully.
1. do you get any flashing screens or any sign it tries to start x and just can't? If x doesn't start and you get no errors saying it can't, then you might try to edit the /etc/inittab file and look for a line that looks like this:
in your case the 5 might be a 3 - change it to a five and that should start x when you reboot. you can also type "startx" at the # to see if x will start.
2. I think your going through exaclty what I went throught the first couple times I installed debian. I think the best way to do it is with a net install, so that you can be sure your disks aren't bad. If everything loads correctly and you get to a command prompt, then you might do something like this:
You talk about "disks" so I assume you have downloaded the set of disks. I have installed Debian on a number of systems and have always used the netinstaller . Unless you have a very unusual ethernet card it should configure it very easily.
Some musts first;
1. make sure you have a list of the specific hardware in your systems
2. read the readme on the disk carefully before starting
3.When you start the install you want to install a 2.6 kernel so at the boot prompt enter linux26
4. read the post installation thread in the Debian section of LQ.
I recommend to use the debian (or ubuntu) packages and install it with 'apt-get install mozilla-firefox'. It should fix the dependencies for you (given you have set up the apt repositories correctly).
If you prefer to use a different way for installing, you have to find which package includes libstdc++.so.5 (which is 'libstdc++5' for debian 3.1). A great place for it (for debian though) is the debian package search http://http://www.debian.org/distrib/packages .