[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Some thoughts about a Debian for Desktops


I'm new to this list and want to mention some of my thoughts about a Debian 
distribution for Desktops.

The most annoying and biggest problem with debian is the outdated software. 
When Debian 3.0 was released, KDE 3.0 was already released for about 4 
months. Because of the long release cycles KDE 2.2 (?) is still the actual 
KDE-Release in the actual Debian Release.
Of course this conservative use of software is useful for servers.
But if I exaggerate: Why installing software to a computer - it is the most 
stable without any software!

So there is already a question: Is the aim of debian-desktop to improve Debian 
(i.e. more userfriendly installer, etc.), or aims debian-desktop to make a 
new distribution?
Shorter release cycles can only become real by forking into a new 

Your talking a lot about installing Debian. I read somewhere: Debian has a bad 
installer, because you just need it once.
I think the installer is not important. Let's have a look at a Windows XP - 
User (in fact, this is the most existing user-profile), the average 
Windows-XP user isn't able to install Windows XP, and does'nt even know 
what's a driver, and if you want to use all Hardware correctly, you have to 
install for each of them the right driver (VGA Adapter, Printer,...), so this 
is usually done by a friend or someone else who is known to be keen on 
The only problem I had when installing Debian was the nvidia driver, I had to 
create a debian-package to install the driver into the modules-dir. Now with 
the installer from nvidia it's quite easy.
So, the installer is not as important as often thought.

I think, a system is userfriendly, if you once set it up and then don't have 
to care about a lot. With SuSE there where problems when trying to update, 
that made me leave SuSE. Debian is very close to this idea: you need some 
time to configure and then it just works.

Now lets talk about the argument, for desktop use unstable is stable enough 
and could be used.
Average users are really scared by the description of unstable ("everything 
could be breaken...").
And updating software often is not possible for every user. Especially average 
users have often no highspeed connection to update their system.
So a first step might be to get a snapshot of unstable, make everything work 
and provide security-updates.
When these are released on CD it is also available for PCs with no or slow 
internet connection.

Something already mentioned in this list: A user doesn't want to choose 
software. Debian has about 8000 packages (in woody), and if a user is 
searching for an ICQ-Client he doesn't want to test and configure a client 
just to find out, that other clients work better and he has to configure it 

So choosing the "best" software might help a lot, and shrinks also the number 
of CDs. Of course this is connected to a lot of flamewars, especially about 
the Desktop-Environment KDE or Gnome. I think Gnome or KDE is just a question 
about the flavor qt-look or GTK...

Another comment about the classes of users:
I think there are more differences, there are...
-novice users - everything has to be easy
-people who just must use/work with the Computer, and know how to do they 
every-day-work - changing the system must give real improvments (I have a lot 
of discussions about that with a friend, he thinks Windows works for him)
-people who like to use Computers, but don't know a lot about, but want to 
learn - everything has to be easy, but still the possibillities to find out, 
to learn about the system
-experts - want to tweak everything as they want.

So, to some up my ideas:
-Shorter releases, up-to-date software
-stable, now needs to configure a lot after setting up the system complete
-GUI programs, because console-based-programs scare the user
-smaller number of packages, e.g. only one IRC-Client, perhaps a Add-On CD, 
for the "people who like to use Computers", to give them the chance to select 
other packages.

OK, I hope, my english was good enoug, my thoughts help and I don't have 
forgotten some of my important ideas.

At what state is the debian-desktop-project? Are you still planning and 
thinking about the tenets?


Wenn Blechtrommeln aus Blech sind, woraus sind dann Nebelhörner?
WARNUNG: Diese Homepage ist noch nicht fertig, und daher LANGWEILIG!

Reply to: