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Re: Suggestions from debian-user

Hi Andrei,

I'm the one who wrote much of the stuff under /CD/, so it's all my fault... 
;) Thanks for the remarks. I've read through the thread at 
<http://lists.debian.org/debian-user/2006/03/thrd4.html#01511>, here are 
some comments on it and your mail:

On Mon, Apr 10, 2006 at 11:09:34PM +0300, Andrei Popescu wrote:
> They seem not to be aware of the arguably greatest feature of Debian: its 
> packaging system. Being used to other OSes or distros, they don't realize 
> that they can install a full Debian with only the netinstall CD and 
> upgrade to the next release in place.

The page that is supposed to tell people about this is 
<http://www.debian.org/CD/> - the first bullet about netinst CDs tries to 
tell people that they do not need the full CDs. IMHO it is pretty clear - 
any ideas on how to improve it?

In <http://lists.debian.org/debian-user/2006/03/msg01524.html>, Chris Lale 
makes a similar point:
> You certainly have to plough your way through the Debian website to 
> understand what you need to do. A prominent "How to get started with 
> Debian" page might work. Just short and sweet, but explaining all the 
> different ways of getting a system set up - buying CDs, downloading 
> (jigdo), burning isos, net install, etc.

...but that page exists, it is /CD/  :-|

TBH, sometimes my impression is that users first download *everything* they 
can get their hands on and only then start to actually read the website.

Andrei Popescu wrote:
> I can imagine this might have scared off many potential new users. Some
> info like: "For a typical Desktop install you need CD1 and 2" would be
> the least to provide.

True - at the moment, it is only explained in an entry of the CD FAQ. Hmm, 
what do you think, maybe I should provide a link to the FAQ entry on each 
of the pages /CD/jigdo-cd/, /CD/torrent-cd/ and /CD/http-ftp/ ?

In <http://lists.debian.org/debian-user/2006/03/msg01556.html>, Andrei 
Popescu wrote:
> A quick peak at debian-cd shows that there are discussions about having a 
> Desktop install with as few CDs as possible. This is the development 
> part. The site developers should present this accordingly. Something 
> like: "For a Desktop install you need at least CD1 and 3".

This is a bit difficult in practice. "Desktop install" means different 
things to different users ("What - no application XYZ? You suck!"). 
Furthermore, a notice about this wouldn't be that simple because it would 
have to distinguish between stable and testing images. Finally, the testing 
images change too frequently - if the information in such a notice were too 
exact, it would also become outdated too quickly.

I think the fairly general "you probably only need the first two CDs" from 
<http://www.debian.org/CD/faq/#which-cd> is about as definitive as we can 
get ATM. :-/

In <http://lists.debian.org/debian-user/2006/03/msg01565.html>, Neil Dugan 
> Another thing that might be handy is to have a web form with the major 
> packages on it that you can tick off to get a list of iso files needed to 
> install those packages.

Something similar to this is available (though admittedly somewhat hidden) 
via <http://www.debian.org/CD/jigdo-cd/#search>. However, it only works for 
individual packages, not tasks. It would be tricky, but not impossible, to 
implement the task-based version you seem to envision.

From time to time, I toy with the thought of a general download form which 
also helps you pick the right mirror. This is made difficult/impossible by 
the incomprehensible restriction of having no scripts on www.d.o. :-\ Also, 
I do not have the time/energy to implement it, someone else will have to do 

In <http://lists.debian.org/debian-user/2006/03/msg01831.html>, Andrei 
Popescu wrote:
> Or maybe use jigdo to build your own CD-set according to task and/or 
> individual package selections?

That way lies madness IMO! This can go wrong in too many ways, we would 
have to support a million different CD variants, users' problems with 
individual images would be difficult to track down, there'd be big 
confusion of what a "Debian CD" actually is etc... people should just use 
the netinst CD which contains a nice installer to guide them through the 
package selection process!  [Besides, jigdo cannot really do what you 


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