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Introduction, impressions and some questions...

I'm new to this list and the development and progress of debian, I
therefor have some questons and comments around this. But first I think
I'll take a short introduction of my linux expirience since I intend to
hang around for some time and I will probably be involved in some
discussions (even if I try to keep a low profile).  

(Now when I'v written this I see that it's a lot of text for a few
questions, if you don't feel like reading a lot just skip down to the
two single lines that ends with a question  mark.... )

I'm a linux user since the autum of 1996 when I started with RedHat, I
changed to Debian then Ham was released (and had a hell installing it
:-) ). After a while I wanted to be living on the edge so I installed
stampede linux and begun to do some minor development for them. When I
got tired of the fact that nothing worked I installed Mandrake linux and
used that until just a few weeks ago when they decided to use gcc 2.96
as their stable compiler. Then I decided to return to my favourite
distribution Debian (I have always been in contact with debian
distrtibutions, and done some develpment work in this environment).

All this jumping between distributions have given me some insight in the
differences between the distributions, and with the debian distribution
I have got the impression that it's stability and control that is in the
main focus. One of my priorities in my linux development has become
usability, both for power users and newbees. I think debian is most for
the power user right now, this is a shame to not let the new users play
with a powerfull distribution with all it's nice power tools like apt. I
hope to see some development in the direction of giving debian to
ordianry user without loosing the power for the power user.

Now to my impressions and questions:

I have installed debian three times, and it has always been hard. I know
that some people in this comunity just love the installer and feel that
they are in control. The things I don't like about it is the lack of a
undo some choises, you should always be able to go back to a previous
option. This last time I selected advanced package selection (stupid
me!), I didn't know I was going to get dselect and I didn't want that so
I just quit it and thought that I was going to be able to select the
simple installation someway. Wrong... I didn't know about all the
different tasks I could have apt:ed in so I started over...  I think
that the Mandrake linux installer is a great example of a easy to use
installer. But this is just my opinion, but I think we can agree that
the potato installer is quite raw.

I have heard that there is a project to improve the installer, what is
the status of that and what are their goals? 

One thing I like about debian is that it's not too much magic, I feel
that I'm in control. A lot of this it because debian isn't doing all it
configuration throught some magic tools. For me it's a good thing, but
for a new linux user it's a bad thing. A new user likes to manipulate
config files through some grafic tool. After a while the user might
become more and more commandline aware, but most newbees are afraid of
the commandline. One great project for this is the ximian setup tools,
which allows the user to do basic administation stuff in a easy way. As
I understand it they are doing things right and are working on the
actual config files, and not like linuxconf that has it's own
configuration database.  Currently the setup tools doesn't seem to work
on debian, and I'd realy like to see them work with debian. 

The develpers on the ximian setup tools have the intention of supporting
debian, but are there any efforts from this community to help them out? 



Mattias Eriksson             E-mail: c96men@cs.umu.se 
Tvistevägen 26                       snaggen@acc.umu.se
907 36  UMEA                 Tel:    090-198800
SWEDEN                               070-5636769

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