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Re: GCC on a Pentium running Win95

> Mr. Schumacher makes a good point.  It should not be overlooked. 
> Debian is a very strong distribution, but lacks in some areas.  
> The website does have a lot of information, but it is not organized 
> in a way that leads you to information.  Also, it could be more complete.
> I believe that all of this is related to the roots of debian - the 
> development effort is dominated by a lot of VERY knowledgeable guys whose
> knowledge and experience have yet to be captured in a cohesive set of 
> documents.

Well, OK, but do you have some positive suggestions? In what way could it
be improved?

> If you haven't been deeply involved since the "beginning", debian
> doesn't make things easy for you.  

I disagree. I didn't have that many problems - sure one or two, but
nothing that major.

> Not that individuals won't help, just
> that there are so many details that require a guru to take care of - things
> that shouldn't require that kind of help - that it can be discouraging.

Often another user is all that is needed, not a guru.

> Like installation.  I know that this is being worked on, and it has 
> improved over the years I have used debian.  I really like the packaging 
> system - now that I've discoverd "apt".  But I have to cheat and go get apt
> after I have a minimal working system because it couldn't be put into
> the stable distribution - a mistake since leading people (especially new
> folks) into using 'dselect' is just not a way to say "Welcome to the world
> of Debian/GNU Linux".

I disagree again. I know dselect isn't perfect (what is?), but I (a pretty
average person) didn't find it particularly difficult to use, and the help
screen is very useful.

> My point here is not to flame.  Debian's weakness can easily be corrected,
> in my opinion, by working on two simple areas:
> 1. Website - It is organized by and for experienced developers.  Change
> it to serve the majority of the population which does not yet, but wants to
> use debian.  There's a lot of good information, but it's scattered all over.
> Make it task-oriented.

How about offering a solution, rather than vague waffle? IMHO the website
is pretty useful - granted the packacking-howto needs to actually be
re-written, but that's hardly a newbie issue.... Which bits are hard to
find, and why?

> 2. Installation - It's getting better, but too many times, there are things
> which require a call to a guru.  Simply knowing where to go when things
> are stuck would help.  Limit the choices, emphasize getting a working, useful
> system alive.  After that, choices are the strength of debian, and apt makes
> it positively easy to get an application, and dump it if you don't like it.
> But getting there is not easy, yet.

I think one big advance in this would not be to offer to auto-start xdm
until the xconfig file has been done (and not to offer to build this
during the install). Aside from X, most of the basic install packages are
pretty self-explanitory to setup (and using the defaults is nearly always


Elen sila lumenn' omentielvo

Steward of the Cambridge Tolkien Society
Selwyn College Computer Support

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