Re: New install and newbie questions
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I've been reading your notes to debian-users with interest, and I'd
like to put in .02 FRNs or so.
I realize that people have suggested lots of "package management"
tools, I would like to suggest "dselect". The granularity of control
is greater, in my experience, and it is easier to examine individual
packages. If you do, then don't select the first option "Access"
because that's if you want to overwrite /etc/apt/sources.list .
There is a ~30MB boot-CD image which is all you actually need. Your
downloading all 14 CDs is remarkable to me now, but in fact I did
exactly the same thing in 1995 when I made 16 3.5" floppies for my
first install of Debian.
When you talk about being surprised by seeing text rather than GUI,
did you mean the installer? If so, it might be interesting to you
that the same base software is used to install on everything from IBM
S390 mainframes, Sun SPARC stations, to Macs and vanilla PCs. The
purpose of an install is to begin the process regardless of the
hardware, and everything can display text (even a serial console on a
SPARC, not the most friendly of environments I can tell you).
Updating: You mention in your note of 18 Feb that you have
ftp.us.debian.org and security.debian.org in
your /etc/apt/sources.list That's perfect. To completely update your
system to the latest and greatest (if different than on your CDs),
you can run any of the apt front-ends such as aptitude, synaptic,
dselect, or even "apt-get update ; apt-get upgrade" as root from a
You also ask about the rate of change in the packages. Don't worry!
"Stable" is exactly that, very very stable. The only changes are
bug/security fixes, and all those are available at
security.debian.org. You might get one or two packages updated in a
week, maybe, so while I would "update" before going to the package
list to find something new, don't expect to need to if you stay with
Also, don't run "Testing" or "Unstable" unless you want to learn more
about Debian package management than you ever wanted to know before.
I've been tracking "Unstable" for years, and every once in a while
stuff just plain BREAKS when doing an upgrade. "Stable" will never do
that, it's a point of pride with the Debian developers that "Stable"
is rock solid. Once the next "version" goes stable, the upgrade path
is also tested and tested and tested. When you decide to upgrade the
system to the new stable, you will find tried and true instructions
to do so.
I disagree that the end user expects a GUI. The end user receives what
the end user receives, and if it is not to their liking they can
change it. By that I mean, once the system is installed, which is a
very basic operation, type "apt-get install kde".
If your point is that without a GUI handing the user pre-selected
options they first have to know to do "apt-get install kde", well
that is why the last thing the installer does is say, "Would you like
to run 'tasksel' or 'aptitude' now?" both of which (neither of which
I like having tried them) will install a working GUI-of-choice and
load of applications with little input from the end user.
Finally, if you're open to other avenues of exploration, KNOPPIX has
an install script which will put a mixed-bag of stable, testing and
unstable packages on the machine, with a fully functional KDE desktop
along with all the KNOPPIX specific hardware detection. There have
been many people saying that "It's the best Debian installer since
the Debian installer", but I still prefer the bare-bones ~30MB
bootable businesscard myself.
September 11th, 2001
The proudest day for gun control and central
planning advocates in American history
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