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Re: Re: Proposal: switch default desktop to xfce


On Fri, 25 Oct 2013 13:31:23 +0100 Steve McIntyre wrote:
> We've had this discussion multiple times over the years. I've been
> told multiple times that we still have a non-negligible set of users
> owning/running hardware that can't do DVDs. I'm not 100% convinced
> myself of how large or critical this use case is, but that's the
> information I have.

I still have such hardware lying around, I rarely use it, but a CD
install might be the only way I could ever resurrect it for anything.
During the final cdimage testing on Wheezy release day, I did test
installs on a Compaq ProLiant DL360 (G1).  They have a slim-line CD-ROM
drive and AFAIK no way to boot from USB or the (non-free) onboard NICs.

USB or network booting might fail for any number of reasons.  This might
be a standalone computer, not even networked to any others, and many
will find it difficult setting up DHCP and a PXE server.  If all options
fail, one's only other option might be to install a different OS (at
least, initially).  A CD seems most likely to work, especially if the
user doesn't know what type of optical drive they have.

> We *could* just drop all the CD sets and be done
> with it, just keeping the netinst CD and the DVDs. Is that what people
> really want?

Please consider keeping at least:

 * a minimal netinst CD - for those who want to download as little as
possible;  I have plenty of blank CDs at hand, and is permanent once
written, whereas most of my USB keys are constantly in use for things or
have data on that makes it awkward to reformat them as install media.
The CD would also work in DVD-ROM drives, and the .iso might be useful
for network booting.  Perhaps it will even fit on some businesscard CD
or DVDs.

 * a single CD containing as much as possible, perhaps XFCE - if you're
limited to slow connectivity and old hardware, this may be the most
compatible and 'shareable' Debian disc;  it should have everything a
novice user will need to get to a friendly graphical desktop, get online
and be able to surf the web, after which they can install any other
software on demand.

However, I don't see much point any more in the sets which span multiple
CDs - especially if using only CD-1 would leave out essential stuff for
getting online and downloading the rest.  The larger desktops
environments probably have system requirements beyond the kind of
hardware I've mentioned here anyway.

Steven Chamberlain

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