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Re: Unhappy customer

I would not say Red Hat's is any better.  I'm not thinking that
pretty helps, though it doesn't actively hurt.  I'm thinking that
the underlying mental model of dselect is not obvious.  At least
it isn't obvious to me, and I've screwed it up on more than one
case.  (I have to admit that I haven't installed Red Hat for more
than 5 years, and that they may have gotten better.)

This is not a complaint about Debian in particular, though Debian
is harder than Red Hat.  It's a complaint about all of the Linux
distributions I use.

My 11 year old and 7 year old sons use Linux, and my non-technical
wife uses it as well.  They don't have any trouble, but that's entirely
because I am able to maintain things.  I can't imagine a non-technical
person who could do it.  In fact, at my workplace we make a debugger
for Unix systems - AIX, Linux, Solaris, Irix, OSF1 mostly.  Many of the
engineers, not me, use Windows boxes on their desks with some kind
of VNC or X display to get into the Unix systems they work on.  They
do this because Windows is considered by them easier to deal with than
Linux.  The VP of engineering would love to get them off of Windows,
to avoid paying fees to Microsoft, but it's not working.  These
are engineers with decades of Unix experience, in kernel and compiler
construction mostly.  They think Linux is the best implementation
of Unix around, but they don't use it as a desktop OS because it's
too fiddly.

Now, you can say "Oh, they're just wrong" or you can say "Maybe
things are really too hard."

Sorry.  I didn't really mean to go on like this.  This is not really
the right forum for it, nobody here has the opportunity to do anything
about it anyway, and if I really cared about it I would do something
about it myself I suppose.  It still seems wrong to say its easy as

vasudeva wrote:
* on 03-22-04, Number Six wrote:

On Mon, Mar 22, 2004 at 08:55:57AM -0500, Bill White wrote:

I think Debian is hard to install.  The magazine reviewers all
say Debian is too hard to install, and the lists see a huge
number of people saying it's too hard to install.  Now you have
a user who says it's too hard to install, and you ridicule him.

Maybe it's too hard to install.

It takes a month, and about 15 clean do-overs.  Each individual
of hardware and eye/ear-candy is a journey of discovery (except
things like LPT ports and hard drives which "just work").

For the record, I've never found Debian hard to install, even when I
didn't know much about Linux.  I see people say the installer sucks
everywhere I look, but it was fairly intuitive for me.  I was
evening installing over the net using a PC card, and had no real
problems.  Sure, I had the odd install go haywire on me every now
and then, but out of probably 25 Debian installs, this only happened
two or three times.

I realize I must be in the minority, and that Red Hat's installer
*is* pretty, but I just don't see Debian's installer as the
egregious UI disaster some make it out to be.

My two cents.


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bill.white@griggsinst.org                 Griggs Research Institute

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