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Bug#378545: installation report

Package: installation-reports

Boot method: Netinstall CDrom, about 180MB
Image version: 16 July, 2006, got the .iso at ftp://ftp.nl.debian.org (if I remember correctly)
Date: 16 July 2006

Machine: Topline Amicus 3100 laptop computer, 12" screen, 6.x GB hard drive; an old but very tough laptop made by Tulip Computers. Especially the keyboard feels like concrete, very nice.

Processor:Intel Celeron ("Mendocino") 466 Mhz, 128kb cache
Memory:32MB (I now, I need some more)
Partitions: swap around 82MB, / about 1.9GB, /home about 4GB

Output of lspci and lspci -n:
~$ lspci
0000:00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corp. 440BX/ZX/DX - 82443BX/ZX/DX Host bridge (AGP disabled) (rev 03)
0000:00:05.0 VGA compatible controller: Silicon Motion, Inc. SM710 LynxEM (rev a2)
0000:00:07.0 Bridge: Intel Corp. 82371AB/EB/MB PIIX4 ISA (rev 02)
0000:00:07.1 IDE interface: Intel Corp. 82371AB/EB/MB PIIX4 IDE (rev 01)
0000:00:07.2 USB Controller: Intel Corp. 82371AB/EB/MB PIIX4 USB (rev 01)
0000:00:07.3 Bridge: Intel Corp. 82371AB/EB/MB PIIX4 ACPI (rev 02)
0000:00:0a.0 CardBus bridge: O2 Micro, Inc. OZ6812 Cardbus Controller (rev 05)
0000:00:0e.0 Multimedia audio controller: ESS Technology ES1968 Maestro 2
0000:01:00.0 Ethernet controller: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL-8139/8139C/8139C+ (rev 10)

~$ lspci -n
0000:00:00.0 0600: 8086:7192 (rev 03)
0000:00:05.0 0300: 126f:0710 (rev a2)
0000:00:07.0 0680: 8086:7110 (rev 02)
0000:00:07.1 0101: 8086:7111 (rev 01)
0000:00:07.2 0c03: 8086:7112 (rev 01)
0000:00:07.3 0680: 8086:7113 (rev 02)
0000:00:0a.0 0607: 1217:6872 (rev 05)
0000:00:0e.0 0401: 125d:1968
0000:01:00.0 0200: 10ec:8139 (rev 10)

Base System Installation Checklist:
[O] = OK, [E] = Error (please elaborate below), [ ] = didn't try it

Initial boot worked:    [O]
Configure network HW:   [O]
Config network:         [O]
Detect CD:              [O]
Load installer modules: [O]
Detect hard drives:     [O]
Partition hard drives:  [O]
Create file systems:    [O]
Mount partitions:       [O]
Install base system:    [O]
Install boot loader:    [O]
Reboot:                 [O]

The reason I tried a Debian Sarge netinstall is that the laptop's memory is only 32MB, so I thought it was a good thing that Debian unlike many other distributions can handle that. On the other hand, if I would have just bought some extra memory I might have tried Fedora with Xfce. Now I will sure stick with Debian. I will need additional RAM as Xfce is still rather slow on a lousy 32MB machine.
I have to say I really like the idea of a netinstall where you tell the installer exactly which packages you want to have. Debian's netinstall is a lot better than for example Suse's. As a relative beginner it took me three fresh installs, however, to find out how to make sure Xfce, Abiword, Gnumeric, XMMS and something. But the minimalistic synaptic-like program in the installer works very well, for those that keep their eyes open.

A suggestion I do have, which I can really recommend: in the installer, there is the option where you can choose what type of installation you want to have, like "printer server" or "desktop system". When you pick "desktop system", both the full KDE and Gnome systems are downloaded and installed. Wouldn't it be nice of behind that choice "desktop system" there would be a submenu where you can choose KDE or Gnome or Xfce or IceWM, Fluxbox or whatever? First thing I tried was this "desktop system", expecting I could have some more options, but then downloading began. I understand that people could have picked "manual selection" too, but for the not so experienced that would be a lot of trial and error. For example, say one picks Xfce, then X-window-server is not automatically installed.
Nevertheless, after some trial and error I think Debian is a great system, so far without some of the annoying bugs I experienced with Ubuntu (where "low memory mode" didn't work!), Suse, DSL, Vector. Thank you for all this work!
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