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Old 01-31-2006, 03:54 PM   #1
spaz_
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Debian vs Redhat?


I'm currently using Redhat 7.3 which in itself, is an old version. Only thing is, It can't connect to the internet. So naturally, I don't use it very often. [It can't connect to the internet because I have a WinModem, and I'm on dial-up.]

Anyway, I am moving fairly soon where I will be able to have a Fiber Optics connect, so hopefully, I will be able to get online with redhat/linux. But my question is, I also have a Debian install disc, that a friend gave me. Should I just stick with Redhat or install Debian over it?

I don't really have anything too important on RH, I could live without it.

Would debian be too complicated for someone like me? Should I not chance the install incase it doesn't work out? I'm not a complete newb, I know a few line commands, and I work with Unix shells often. [But never as root.]

What do you recommend?
 
Old 01-31-2006, 04:26 PM   #2
pljvaldez
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My first distribution was Debian and I've never looked back. One thing about Debian is that it works well on old hardware (which you seem to have if you're running Redhat 7.3), but still gives you some newer software. The install was a little daunting, it's not a real polished gui like redhat, but once you install it, you can upgrade to newer versions with a simple command, apt-get dist-upgrade. It automatically handles dependencies and has the largest software repository of all the distros. YOu can find pretty much any software you could ever want.

Now, if you go that route, I would check what version of Debian your friend gave you. The one you want is a Debian 3.1 (Sarge) Netinstall CD. This is like 100MB download. Burn it to a CD and then when you get your network connection, you can install the bare bones system and then add only the software you want. That'll help keep your old machine fast. You can also use a lightweight window manager like icewm, windowmaker, or fluxbox (KDE and Gnome have grown over the years). Another thing that helps on my old machine is to recompile the kernel, but you can do that later once you feel more comfortable.

I actually even used the netinstall over dialup (although I had to set it up to auto download at night while I was asleep). Needless to say, it took about a week to download everything.

Anyway, that's my two cents. Debian is a great distro for old machines (or use a spin off like Damn Small Linux), and I would highly recommend it. If you're interested, I would read this even though it's for version 3.0, most of it will still translate well to installing your Sarge system.
 
Old 01-31-2006, 04:32 PM   #3
spaz_
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Yeah, my machine is pretty old. The Redhat is sharing a drive with Windows 98. I'm dual booting with them both.

I was thinking maybe after I get my connection working on RH, I can uninstall windows and maybe install debian where W98 used to be, then decide between the two..

Um.. the disc my friend gave me says.. Debian "Woody" 3.0rl"

It was the latest version at the time.. I think. The disc was given to me awhile ago.
 
Old 01-31-2006, 04:33 PM   #4
spaz_
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Edit: Accidently hit the button twice. [It didn't look like it worked the first time.]

I don't have a mouse right now, I'm navigating through my keyboard, so this is kind of a pain in the ass.

Last edited by spaz_; 01-31-2006 at 04:35 PM.
 
Old 01-31-2006, 04:39 PM   #5
pljvaldez
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Woody is actually the previous stable version. You could use it though if you follow through the guide I linked above and then change your /etc/apt/sources.list to be "sarge" instead of "woody". Then you just type apt-get dist-upgrade as root before going any further into the install of x.

See Debian keeps three current versions at any particular time, stable (currently Sarge), testing (currently etch) and unstable (always called Sid). As you may have guessed the nicknames are characters from the movie Toy Story. Anyway, when a version gets released, testing becomes the new stable. So the previous stable version was woody and testing was sarge. Now that sarge has become stable, the new testing is etch. But Sarge should run fine on your old machine as long as you install the bare bones and build from there.
 
Old 01-31-2006, 08:00 PM   #6
lestoil
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spaz gotta say that if you know what driver you need for your modem and install it your modem may do better under RH than windows according to archives.linmodem. Some require ltmodem driver,other hsf,other hsp,other pctel,etc. Why not try finding exactly what kind of modem or the chip it has? Windows device manager or sytem info may tell you.PC manual or lspci in linux may help. RH has rpm packages for several drivers. Further you know RH. You can get RH9 free or try fedora which is enough like RH. There are live-cds based on RH/fedora too.
Debian is fine but different enough from RH to make want you work with what you got 1st. Good luck.
 
Old 02-01-2006, 06:15 PM   #7
spaz_
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I've tried finding drivers, and had no luck.

It's using HSP56-MR as a modem, or so it says.

Edit: Actually, there's a lot more options now then there was when I last tried searching for a driver. I found one, but I had to sign-up to the site.. blah blah. But anyway, I think I'm gonna run it after it finishes downloading.

What all do I have to do after I run it?

Linux should connect to the internet after that?

Last edited by spaz_; 02-01-2006 at 06:19 PM.
 
Old 02-01-2006, 06:31 PM   #8
LeftyAce
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My two cents re Debian vs. Redhat: DEBIAN!!!
My first distro was RH 9, and everything that drove me crazy about it (and fedora cores 2 and 4) I haven't had to deal with in Debian. Dependencies are resolved automatically, it's got better hardware support, and debian has the largest pre-built selection of software out of any linux distro (I think...)
The only downside is of course the net install.
 
Old 02-03-2006, 01:43 AM   #9
helmut_hed
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spaz_, judging by the name of the modem and some judicious googling, you have an AMR modem that's likely supported by the Smartlink "slmodem" driver. See this thread:

http://www.linuxforums.org/forum/man...2-6-3-4-a.html

Mandriva's not your distro of course but a similar approach should solve it for you. Lots of people with AMR modems use the SmartLink driver. Good luck!
 
Old 02-03-2006, 11:38 AM   #10
rickh
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Since you posted this question in the Debian forum, you quite naturally are getting favorable commentary regarding the switch. If you intend to use these forums as your primary support base (I do), you'll find that Debian is a very strong choice indeed.

I used to run two distros, Debian and Fedora. The support for my Debian issues blew Fedora out of the water. I seem to notice that there is also a strong support base here for Slackware, but that appears to me more suitable for folks more technically advanced (or younger) than myself.

Good luck.
 
Old 02-03-2006, 01:50 PM   #11
haertig
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My general feeling is that people who want to get into the technical aspects of Linux really like Slackware, Debian, and Gentoo. Those looking for a quick plug-n-go solution might be better directed towards Ubuntu (I say this after never really using Ubuntu, except for a LiveCD test - so take my opinion with a grain of salt). I consider Redhat, Fedora, SuSe, etc. to be somewhere between these two extremes. This is all just my personal opinion. I have not used each and every distro. I researched and came up with Debian or Slackware as matches for my personality. I went the Debian route but could have just as easily chosen Slackware. No doubt Slackware will be in my future somewhere as a dual-boot with my existing Debian. I've heard it said, "If you need help with any Linux problem, find a Slackware person to ask." To me that's a badge of honor for the Slackware folk, but a warning for newbies to seriously consider what they're getting in to.

---

If you motto is "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" then go with Ubuntu. If your mindset is more like "If it ain't broke, you just haven't messed with it enough" then go for Slackware, Debian, or Gentoo. Of these three, I'd expect Debian might be the easiest to deal with. If you're undecided where you sit, go for middleground with Fedora or Suse. Oh boy, talk about throwing out the bait for a massive flamewar ... what have I done by voicing my uninformed opinions here?!!!
 
Old 02-04-2006, 04:42 PM   #12
lestoil
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spaz if you googled and found the right driver for that modem(with sis chip) the download page should have operating system specific instructions and your redhat install should have help on how to install it too and a program for connection setup. I saw RH9 and RH7 users discussing that modem on google. Good luck.
 
Old 02-10-2006, 11:30 AM   #13
thick_guy_9
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I will suggest SimplyMEPIS. I have a slamr internal PCI modem, and MEPIS just worked fine. It is a single CD distro based on Debian Unstable. But it won't be suitable for your old machine.

But if you are thinking of Debian vs Redhat - I will suggest SuSE 10.0. You can carefully install icewm and a minimalist system with SuSE. It just works. YAST is a great tool. I used 10.0 and really loved it. Comes with slamr RPM. Search on Novell's cool solutions for how to configure slamr.

Slackware: Higly recommend this. Its reputation as a geek distro is unwarranted. It is an extremely "direct" distro. You can read any software manual like apache, mysql etc and get started on Slack. There are no additional distro-specific commands. Plus support here for Slack is phenomenal. Only downside with slack is that it is an old distro (read 486 optimised gcc libs) and commercial s/w like oracle, sybase and DB2 are not supported. Very difficult to install these - Sybase 12.5 won't install.

Debian: Trouble with this is the steep learning curve, not with linux itself, but with the debian way of doing things.
If you do not have a broadband connection, or do not want to use dialup for downloading packages, you can't take advantage of package management. Or you can download/buy many Deb CDs, and use apt-zip tool. I have not tried apt-zip and could find no help on how to use this (practically, other than man page). {on a personal note, I have tried to come to grips with Deb for the past 1 yr. But, I always got bogged down by DEb's nitty gritties.)


So go with SuSE or Slack.
 
Old 02-11-2006, 11:16 PM   #14
johnMG
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I see two major factors in deciding between RH (well, it's Fedora nowadays) and Debian:

1. Community. Fedora still feels like Redhat's baby. IMO, the community still feels pretty centered on Redhat. Debian is fully community-based.

2. Java. If you want to do Java development, and want to use the free GNU Java platform (rather than Sun's), Fedora does a *very* nice job of getting you all set up right off-the-bat with GCJ, Eclipse, Ant, etc.

A couple other quick notes on other distros:

Slackware -- If you like almost no package management to speak of, if you want to manually configure everything yourself, you will love Slack.

Mandrake (bleh, still can't bring myself to say "Mandriva") -- I've heard that they use Perl extensively for their desktop tools. So, if you're a perler, you might like to test-drive Mandr{ake,iva}.

Ubuntu -- They're doing a lot with Python, and new Python-based projects like Bazaar-NG (version control). They have a pretty nice wiki with some good docs coming together. I haven't tried Gnome in a long time, but if I was going to use a big desktop like Gnome (instead of the lightning quick IceWM) and wanted a really smooth desktop experience, I'd probably try Ubuntu again.

DamnSmallLinux (aka "DSL") -- for minimalists only. A Debian-based distro. Pretty active community.

By the way, regarding the Debian install, thanks to the new installer than arrived with Sarge (the so-called "D-I", or "Debian Installer") which replaced the old "boot-floppies" install program, installing Debian is now a breeze. If it weren't for D-I, I'd probably be using... hmm... dunno what I'd be using on the servers.

Another great thing about debian is the built-in configuration of packages you get when you install something. Distros like Slackware have you install the software, then configure it according to that software's docs (in addition to using fairly well-commented config files as examples). Debian does some nice automated configuration (see debconf and dpkg-reconfigure) whenever you install a package, so software tends to "just work" after installation on Debian.

Last edited by johnMG; 02-11-2006 at 11:33 PM.
 
Old 02-13-2006, 12:13 PM   #15
Richie55
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I have never used debain, but it is the next distro I'm going to try. I started with redhat 9, and liked it... went to fedora 2 and hated everything about it. When getting help of the net, not just this site redhat always seems to be an exception to how things work. in my experiance anyway.

I've kinda got stuck using Mandrake (I agree johnMG, I cringe at saying the new name) at the moment only because I've been using for so long now and got it working nicely. really I'm looking for an exsucuse to change at the moment..

But in short I would say debain evrytime, even though I haven't used it, what i have read it's one of the best. I really don't like fedora. but the choise is yours, and maybe giving them both a go is the only way to know wich is for you.
 
  


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