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Old 04-30-2004, 01:27 AM   #121
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Distribution: debian
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I aint even a 'newbie' (really don't like that word, but what can I do?).

But since I have been following this thread and feel that I have something to contribute ... here I am.

I have only had a computer of any sort for roughly 3 years. And I have been running MicroFlaccid slOperating Systems the whole time. Why? Because the insideous myths about Linux are only dispelled with concerted research efforts.

These efforts began for me 4 days ago.

It is my intention to begin my Linux experience with Debian GNU/Linux. My reason for wanting to doing so is entirely ethical.

One ethical consideration has come up in this thread (albeit indirectly): when Debian say "stable" they mean "STABLE!!!". All too many software producers are more than happy to bandy the word about with little consideration for what it really means. Debian, it seems to me, hold honesty and transperancy in extremely high regard.

Now, with regards to the whole "Debian is a nightmare to install" issue, I have something a little more relevant to say (nothing really new, but relevant nevertheless).

My last format was a gruelling 10 day affair, with windoze (btw, 6 months is a very long time for me to go without formatting). I had some install problems with 98 that were driving me crazy and a friend convinced me to try XP because "it is really stable and an absolute breeze to install" (heh). I tried.

XP was the worst crashathon I have ever witnessed. Certainly there is nothing hard about installing it, but that is half the problem. When things go wrong with Greedware there is only one thing you can do about it: format, start again.

In 4 measly days I have seen countless examples of people having trouble installing Debian and posting their error messages (that I can't even begin to understand) on forums like this one and, within a very short period of time, getting answers that even I can understand (admittedly, I don't know what the answers mean - but 'open file x with text editor y and type in lines z in position a' is pretty damn straight-forward).

Bottom line for me is I don't care if it takes me a month (or more) of 16 hr days to get Debian working - at the end of the day (hehe or year) I will be able to sit back and say to myself "I have the most ethically stable OS possible". That will make me happy. What is more, I will have the most practically stable OS possible, and an OS that is configured exactly how I want it to be. Despite my extremely limited experience and knowledge I am quite confident that no other OS/distrubution can offer these 3 things to the standard that Debian does.

Anyway, this is probably just a space-waste post, and it is probably a little odd that I feel compelled to defend a distribution that I have never used. But you never know, sometimes an alien perspective can be useful.

. -ant.
Old 04-30-2004, 02:51 AM   #122
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Registered: Jan 2003
Location: Devon, UK
Distribution: Debian Etc/kernel 2.6.18-4K7
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Fourleggedant - you are quite correct in many respects. The problems with Debian installs are;

1. The interface is in the form of a text multiple choice and when you first use it you probably don't know the answers to many of the questions although there are often cheat codes in the form of a default option. So why do most people have such a problem answering the questions? Usually because they haven't bothered to read the installation readme that comes with the package and/or don't understand the jargon used. This was the thread author's main gripe.
2. There is no automated detection of hardware. Given that Knoppix has achieved a fairly good system of detecting and installing relevant hardware I feel that the developers could adopt some or all of these scripts for the install. That said would they then be involved in a never ending quest to satisfy the needs of various pieces of hardware at the expense of the os development itself. Perhaps Debian should ask the Knoppix guys to look after this side of the install process because their approach has been excellent.
3. The stable flavour is too old. The stable version is intended for server deployment and in that context the requirement for running fancy mp3, music and video apps is not relevant. I know of systems in our local LUG that have an uptime of 3 years +. i.e. they have never been rebooted for 3 years. I have just recently upgraded to Sarge (testing) and have been very impressed. It has satisfied all my needs in respect of the shortcomings mentioned above and Sarge will become the new stable within the next few months. Again Sarge is far more stable than any M$ product I have seen and I have only come across one lockup with Mozilla in a few situations but this may be a Mozilla problem.

Is Debian hard to install? Yes if you haven't done your homework. It is also very hard as a 1st timer who has no knowledge of the Linux technical terms and file systems.

Last edited by TigerOC; 04-30-2004 at 02:54 AM.
Old 05-01-2004, 03:48 PM   #123
Registered: Mar 2004
Location: the Netherlands
Distribution: Debian Sarge
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Giving some hints in the installer like "choose this if you don't know" would already help a lot for newbies. Reading a big manual is hard: lot's of things are said you don't know about, loads of new information, it can drive a newbie mad .

Biggest problem in my first Debian install was configuring xfree86. I have even given up and switched to red hat. Later went back to Debian (just loved Debian's ideas)when I found out how to configure xfree86. It wasn't even such a long time ago: september/october 2003 ...

An easier installer would definitely attract newbies... Maybe the new installer will offer that.
Old 05-01-2004, 08:00 PM   #124
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I had similiar experiences to others in this thread. I tried installing potatoe a few of years ago. Same with mandrake and slackware. I always had to go back to Red Hat This past february installed Slack 9.1 and it is very stable. But the dependency hell was worse than red hat. So I got some Woody cd's and installed it. Now woody is great! I love apt-get. Much better that the one for red hat.

The only problem with the install were the yes or no questions. Since I have been using Linux for 5 years I knew the answer to the majority of them. However, I can see where they would be a major problem for a newbie. I also didn't like it when you chose tasks with tasksel you have to go to the deselect screen. Many of the packages you would think would be automatically selected for install were not. Then you have to check them and go to a dependence screen and okay those. The installer for sarge is supposed to be much improved.

After initial installation, in my experience Debian is far better than either Red Hat or Slackware.
Old 05-02-2004, 03:11 AM   #125
Registered: Apr 2004
Distribution: Debian SID and Woody
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YES ! it is supposed to be this hard ! It is a deliberate act performed by the developers (hallowed be thy names) to scare people off.
Think of it as a rite of passage ! Plus it generates useless threads like this to clog up the Internet. :-)

Seriously now, if you need a nice easy i386 only install go to Mandrake or Knoppix. Debian supports multiple architectures and multiple installation procedures. That ain't easy - you must allow cater to the lowest common denominator, sometimes at the expense of the people with colour monitors and zippy CPU's.

Installing Debian might feel like pulling teeth but once those rotten teeth are out ... ah .. sweet :-) Gee.. did I just contribute to this useless thread ;-)

Last edited by debian_dummy; 05-02-2004 at 03:12 AM.
Old 10-11-2007, 05:43 PM   #126
Registered: Jan 2004
Distribution: CentOS
Posts: 281

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"Funnily enough, the only distributions I tend to refuse to touch are the 'technical' ones, so I've never run Debian, because as far as I'm concerned, the whole and only point of a distribution is to make it easy to install (so that I can then get to the part I care about, namely the kernel), so Debian or one of the 'compile everything by hand' ones simply weren't interesting to me."

-Linus Tovalds, 2007

Last edited by Rotwang; 10-11-2007 at 05:44 PM.
Old 10-11-2007, 06:32 PM   #127
Registered: Oct 2007
Location: London UK
Distribution: Fedora Core 17
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worked for me

The disk downloaded from the Debian website worked fine on my (ageing) system.
Old 10-11-2007, 07:07 PM   #128
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Registered: Feb 2004
Location: Middle of nowhere
Distribution: Debian Squeeze
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Originally Posted by sonichedgehog View Post
The disk downloaded from the Debian website worked fine on my (ageing) system.

Wow this post got alive after more than three years....
Old 10-11-2007, 08:15 PM   #129
Registered: Jan 2004
Distribution: CentOS
Posts: 281

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Yea, I couldn't resist posting the Linus Torvalds quote.
Old 10-15-2007, 05:59 PM   #130
Registered: Apr 2004
Location: Warrington, Cheshire, UK
Distribution: Linux Mint 19.1 Xfce
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There should be a LQ cemetery for ancient threads like this one. The impression it could give a newbie that Debian is very difficult no longer has any validity. Debian is no harder to install (since Sarge) than most other distros. Even I managed it in under 45 minutes!!

Can we please lay this particular ghost to rest?
Old 10-16-2007, 12:50 PM   #131
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Registered: Dec 2005
Location: London, ON, Canada
Distribution: Arch, Ubuntu, Slackware, OpenBSD, FreeBSD
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Hah - agreed.
When I first started reading this thread, I nearly scrolled down to the bottom of the screen in a fit of fury, and wrote a quick reply...then I realized I was on the first page, and looked at the date of that post.

Debian, hard to install? Um, not really. It's not a pretty installer, but it's hella effective.


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