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You are right about debian. I came to it with installing knoppix, which was pretty easy.
Started out with suse 8.2. After trying to get some things working (ethernet card and video) I, as newbie, got stuck in the command line.
So I tried out, hold on, lycoris 3. Got stuck in a 16 bit desktop. Not nice.
Decided to try the new debian installer: didn't install.
Tried knoppix 3.3: finaly could connect to the internet (vpn setup not that easy, days reading manuals). Not being able to have 3d I took with it, no problem. After first apt-get everything went nuts. Over and over because I liked it I tried to get it right.
Today I downloaded suse 9.1: won't install.
I'm not giving up. But so far I even haven't had the chance to be productive with linux. I have had more time, and used it too, to read docs than most people. So I can understand when someone cries 'make linux easier for the general population'. I don't think I ask too much when I would like some up to date packages (I can wait a month or so) without having to spend days fixing my system.
But I saw someone mentioning gentoo. I'm looking into it right now.
yes, Gentoo's portage makes installs easy (and a bit limiting, you really have no choice about how things are installed, but it does apply a lot of patches to all sorts of software, and is easy, so once you get used to it (like the apt-get and rpm system i think) you will probably love it)
plus theres some good documentation on there web site for just about anything to get people started
(the only drawback (besides the fact you don't get much choice unless you edit the .ebuild files, as to what things are configured with, and what patch's are made,, are unless you skip the "emerge" program completely and use "ebuild" program directly) is that theres not that many ebuilds in the emerge system (growing daily, but you might find some things you want are not there.. theres still enough in there to keep most people well happy tho)
Komakino: Gentoo can install source or binary, portage solves all (and usually all, i mean even the ones that aren't required are included....but you can modify the ebuilds if all else fails)
Gentoo can also do no X (but need to modify some ebuilds as they want X, but don't require it) from what i can tell, Gentoo and Slackware are pretty similar (but installs are easier in Gentoo if you have the ebuilds, just enter 1 command and sit back and wait)
Actually, Windows dependencies are a lot worse than Linux dependencies--or I should say they WERE at lot worse. Look up the term "dll hell", which refers to Windows .dll files (basically shared libraries). Dll hell was a problem because different applications would only work with certain versions of dlls, and thus making applications incompatible in annoying ways.
The solution? More or less, the solution has been for Windows apps to stop using dlls except where absolutely necessary. This means extra software bloat, but hey--at least the software actually works. But if you do things with ODBC or any sort of legacy business apps, you have to deal with dll hell even today.
My first experiences with "dll hell" were way before Windows 95. Back in the '80s the Amiga OS had many advanced features including shared software libraries. They were basically dlls, a decade earlier. They were great for conserving RAM, but absolute hell when different programs needed different versions of the same shared library.