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Old 04-16-2007, 10:36 AM   #1
Registered: Feb 2003
Location: Pasadena, TX
Distribution: Debian Lenny
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First impressions with Debian Etch

Well the day Etch went stable I found a vendor to order my cd's from. For the first time in 3 distros I finally got a full set with no problems. (another story)

Anyway, Gotta say I'm impressed with Etch's polish. Most things are excellent. And now I'm figuring out the new tidbits It's becomming my main system. But I've run into a few nasty little hangups I wanted to share.

First isn't a glitch. It's a feature I didn't like. It was a real pain acpi enabled in the kernel by default. For those of us keeping our older machines running it causes problems with apm. Since one can't run with the other. Took me 7 installs to get around this. 4 using all kernel images and then 3 with the acpi=off option. See without this my two olderboxes wouldn't powerdown at shutdown. could have been a showstopper.

That led to the second issue that could be a glitch. And I've reproduced it 3 times. I use lilo, not grub. But when I tried to install the 3rd time the system wanted to load lilo to the mbr of hdb instead of hda, rendering the system unbootable. Which caused me to pull out an old Win98 boot disk, reloaded the mbr and then reinstalled, again. It seemed to happen when I was trying to reinstall Etch over itself. When I installed it over old Sarge, no problem. And over the Win98 mbr no problem. But everytime, on the 3rd reinstall, always wants to write to hdb's mbr.

The third is a FEATURE that I didn't like. It only uses tasksel in the install. It doesn't give you an option for single package selection. And if you want to install the desktop environment it gives you twm and Gnome. Being a KDE user (not flaming just my preference) it is annoying to have to go into Gnome, which I have only looked at and not used indepth at all, and reset my system to get KDE loaded and then remove Gnome. Oh sure I could just go without the desktop environment and load kde clean, but if they have the option set it should at least give us the option of WHICH desktop environment to load.

I'm still trying to figure how to get the login manager (kdm for me) to look like the old style, with each user listed and the image next to them. No biggie for me but helps with the wife and kids that use the machine, rather than just having the name and password fields. I had to do this in Mandriva but the fix for that isn't the same. Here it doesn't seem to want to change.

And still can not get KPPP to work right. I can get it to run but it doesnot want to save the settings for my old isa (yes I still have one) modem. this was an issue with Sarge also. I got around it by manually editing my kppprc file for my users but I accidentally formatted /home and lost those files and kppp won't load the modem. It sees it and will query it but the "ok" button to apply the changes is grayed out and won't save teh settings. This is a real pain. I've had to cheat and use desktop links to pon and poff to dial the internet.

Most everything else looks good. the new installer is nice and loads fine. Still have to wrestle with making the menu something less draconian (haven't figured how to get alacarte to work right). And I only seem to need the first 14 of the 21 cd's. Tonight have to finish settign up samba and getting the printer setup and copy what of my user data I have on the laptop and then give it a real good runin. But generally pleased. Then compile a new kernel. (yes I know this would have fixed the acpi problem at the beginning but that's something I save for when I have spare time. Not a part of making the system initially usable.)
Old 04-17-2007, 01:03 AM   #2
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On the kde login manager, as I recall I configured this via the kde control center. This modified the kdmrc file in /var/run/kdm. I had to copy this to /etc/kde3/kdm to get it to "take". Apparently the version in /var/run/kdm gets recreated each time based on the files in /etc/kde3/kdm.

At least I think that was how it worked--it's been a few months since I worked through the same issue myself.
Old 04-17-2007, 07:44 AM   #3
Registered: Feb 2003
Location: Pasadena, TX
Distribution: Debian Lenny
Posts: 220

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I have fixed that annoyance. No matter what I did it would not change the theme. I had to go into that file and go to "use face=" the default was crystal blue. I simply erased that part and left it blank. SO acutally this WAS similar to what I had to do in Mandriva. Annoying. But now it lists all my users. Of course now I see I've used Kuser to add all my other users and they aren't showing up in KDM yet. Gonna look at that. I still have to setup the printer yet (ran out of time last night). But I got the network up and pulled my user data from the laptop. So I only lost pictures from this past year and my documents. Not a lot. I can recreate most of it.

But anyway. As for the rest of the system, it is running great. I'd say this is looking like Debian's shining star. Even if it was late it was worth it. Still gotta see what is on those last 7 cd's that I haven't even needed yet.

And still have to find a way around that KPPP bug.
Old 04-17-2007, 08:04 AM   #4
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Registered: Mar 2002
Location: Oklahoma
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i like Debian Etch fine, i been a Slackware user for years & years, the only thing wierd about Debian is instead of /etc/rc.d like Slackware uses Debian uses /etc/init.d and several symlinks to it corresponding to the different run levels (seems messy to me)...
Old 04-17-2007, 09:02 AM   #5
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Registered: Sep 2005
Location: Out
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/etc/init.d is not weird, it comes from SystemV.
/etc/rc is the monolitic original-bsd style.

/etc/rc.conf is a mix of both and is used on some other bsd. This one is a good replacement, I agree.

Happy birthday
Old 04-18-2007, 02:04 PM   #6
Registered: Feb 2003
Location: Pasadena, TX
Distribution: Debian Lenny
Posts: 220

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 31
Update. Took a while to get the Laserjet 5 to work. I had the gutenprint driver loaded. I forgot that gimpprint never worked with the HP LJ5. I used to use the foomatic drivers, which installed by default before. I had to really dig for them. And to make them accessable I had to remove the gutenprint packages altogether. But finally got it to work. Setup my users in Kuser and then had to edit the settings in KDM to make them visible after getting it to list all users. Still can't use KPPP. Haven't checked my FPS for my Ati Radeon 9100 but it works fine. Tested with Tuxcart. Even got old GFTP to finally work with my isp. The lack of graphical FTP clients disappointed me. I was using Kbear in Sarge. It's gone now. Got Firefox 1.5 and Thunderbird installed. Had to load a couple libs but they are fine. gonna check 2.0 next week. 2.0 didn't work good on Sarge. And got the menu something less archaic for myself. So now it's on to regular work and finishing the laptop install. But do miss the old Chromium game. Had fun with that one. And need to test wine. But other than that it's fully operational and excellent. This is the one I'll be keeping on hand for a while. Best release to date!


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