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Upgrade observations from Corel and VA/SGI/O'Reilly

I played with the partitions on my new machine, and here's what I

- Corel: apt-get dist-upgrade to current potato leaves about 8
packages it won't automatically upgrade.  A few (ddd, kbd) are simple
enough; however, there are some weird problems with their type1inst
(now filed as a bug against our type1inst) and apt.

The apt problem is basically that their kde-corel package requires an
old lib-aptpkg (or some such); this leaves you stuck with an old apt.
Because of this, debconf won't install either (because it needs a
recent apt).

Also, somehow their fancy KDM doesn't like something that I did to my
password file.  I can log in at the console (Ctrl-Alt-F1) but it fails
to recognize my password at KDM.

I wiped Corel and went to:

- VA/SGI/O'Reilly: I sort of cheated and did a base system install
from the CD-ROM then did my actual package install from potato (using
the apt method of dselect).  No show-stoppers (just like my typical
"Slink boot-floppies to Potato" install path), but still picking up
odds and ends (too many X servers installed).


Corel did figure out what network card I have (Win95 claims it's a
Compaq Ethernet card, but it's just a repackaged Intel EtherExpress
Pro); our boot-floppies don't do that sort of detection yet,
malheurusement.  (The modules step is probably the most intimidating;
the other business was a cinch.)

Corel's partitioning program sucks eggs.  There's no obvious way to
maximize a partition (I ended up with an empty GIG because I couldn't
get it to max out), and it goes nutso if you have more than one
partition (apparently not realizing that 90% of the system will go
onto your /usr).  Our boot floppies aren't that idiot-proofed, so it's
not a problem, and cfdisk is more feature-complete (even if it doesn't
have the Faux-95 GUI).

Corel's boot menu is somewhat nice, though it has that "Really Poorly
Anti-Aliased Look" reminiscent of the Win9x boot screen.  Corel's file
manager seems nice enough.  Their desktop doesn't use the Debian
menus, however, which seems rather silly.  Overall the K* integration
seems rather poorly grafted on (see my password comments above).
Their bonus, a small penguin (apparently made out of the stuff they
make Nerf balls from, Fabrique au Chine), seems rather cute but
ultimately useless; Corel Tux sits on top of my SCSI enclosure.  Their
manual is well-written but obviously isn't aimed at the tech-head.

By contrast, VA/O'Reilly/SGI seems like a fairly vanilla slink with a
newer kernel.  It seems to do what it's supposed to, and you can
upgrade it to potato without breaking anything.  Their bonus, a Debian
bumper sticker, is rather functional but useful (you can stick it on
your car and convert people).  The Debian book is pretty nice, plus it
comes with a "Quick Start" booklet that seems a little more detailed
than the stuff in the book, but a newbie would probably be lost when
choosing modules.

So, my basic conclusion is that the Corel Linux distribution is an
incompatible implementation of the Debian system; hopefully their next
release (presumably 2.2-based) will be more convergent and have better
KDE integration (i.e. more modular, per Debian proper).  I'd recommend
it to the absolute newbie, but it seems so divergent from Debian (even
under the hood) that it doesn't seem like a wise choice for tracking
frozen or unstable.

|        Chris Lawrence        |     Get rid of Roger Wicker this year!     |
|   <quango@watervalley.net>   |      http://www.lordsutch.com/ms-one/      |
|                              |                                            |
|   Grad Student, Pol. Sci.    |   Visit the Lurker's Guide to Babylon 5:   |
|  University of Mississippi   |   <*> http://www.midwinter.com/lurk/ <*>   |

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