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having trouble getting started

this might not be appropriate for this list but...

Trying to install Debian on my inspiron 5000.  four attempts, four failures.

built a copy of cd1 using the jigdo process.  seems to boot OK

1: bf24 install: kind of works. After selecting laptop and a couple of other tasks, network install seemed to work OK but there's no X11 configuration. Investigation shows only a partial install and startx complains about missing programs

2: repeat the above only selecting a minimum number of tasks in tasksel. Starts complaining about dependency problems. Start having PCMCIA problems

3: default 2.2 kernel install. PCMCIA problems get in the way of install

4: same as above only used different options with PCMCIA shutdown. Same problems killing install

now, something here doesn't strike me as being right. I've installed Red Hat on this machine (7.3,8.0) and it works mostly wonderful. There are the ever popular funky problems with my wacom tablet but for the most part it worked right.

I've installed Debian on desktop machines using a real minimal CD boot image and it went very nicely albeit complicated compared to Red Hat. So I'm wondering what is the problem here. Should I be using a different install image than the first CD or should I get and burn the next couple of CDs to make a complete install set?

clue would be welcome. I'm hoping to find a different distribution for Red Hat and have always admired the Debian project (I run it on my Alpha 164lx).

many thanks in advance


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