I'm toying with debian for a month now. It is the only distro (only tried Mandrake and Slackware) that lives up to my expectations about linux. Meaning it is rock stable, and you are the one in control (well slackware might have done the trick if it didn't confuse me that much). I always seem to be regretting it when I do things the non-debian way. Examples:
- I regret recompiling my first kernel without make-kpkg
- I regret trying to modify modules.conf directly. you seem to loose these settings lots of times. Now I use the modutils dir.
- I regret discovering dpkg-reconfigure etherconf after hours of messing with some config files
- I regret trying to install openoffice.org from unstable (i'm using a full woody CD-set). (using -f and making other dumb decisions)
- I regret installing some rpm's with rpm -i before discovering alien.
So I seem to discover the debian way after I do it the wrong way or the more dangerous way. Now I'm finally online (The mentioned mistakes where made downloading stuff on university) I noticed I'm not the only one. All the stuff I mentioned are documented individually, but you don't have a larger document discribing all the tools and policy-decisions that make debian different from other distros (especially red hat inspired distros). There should be a link to a document like that in the middle of every desktop environment you install. And it's location should be mentioned right after you finished the installation process. " New to Debian? Read the-debian-way.gz in /usr/share/doc/the-debian-way/ with zmore the-debian-way.gz or browse the html with lynx index.html in the HTML subdir". It shouldn't be describing all the details, because all the tools have their own man page. A suggestion for the content:
- Short description of the project
- Explanation why everything is so tidy and friendly to admins. Strict policy, developers are users themselves, some important decisions are made through voting, quick and dirty doesn't work when you develop a 'universal OS' etc.
- Everything has a man page.
- Description of all the important directories (/etc/ /usr/share/doc/ etc.)
- The wide range of package management tools: dselect, aptitude, apt, dpkg, synaptic, kpackage, stormpkg, tasksel, gnome-apt, apt-cache, packages.debian.org etc.
- Debconf and the pleasures of dpkg-reconfigure
- doc-base, dhelp, dwww and other tools
- modconf, update-modules, modutils directory, the modules file in /etc/
- All important stuff I don't know they exist