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Debian in the News: Debian 2.0 'Hamm' Review

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Debian GNU/Linux In The News
Debian 2.0 'Hamm' Review
September 15, 1998
[Summary written by Michael Below <mbelow@post.uni-bielefeld.de>  Thanks!!]
[Note: This review is not available online.]

German Magazine Compares Six Linux Distributions

In issue No. 19 of September 14th, 1998, Dr. Oliver Diederich of the 
German computer magazine c't compares six Linux distributions: Caldera 
OpenLinux Base 1.2, Debian 2.0, DLD 5.4 Classic, Red Hat 5.1, Slackware 3.5 
and SuSE 5.3. He focuses on the question of how the different distributions 
manage to fulfill both the needs of newcomers and of more experienced 
Linux users. Especially he compares the installation procedures, the 
system management tools and the usability of the initial configuration.

For Debian, Mr. Diederich commends the start up screen of the configuration 
program that presents the installation steps and recommends what to do. He 
remarks that hard disk partitioning using cfdisk demands quite some 
knowledge, even given the descriptions in the CD booklet. He disapproves of 
a question for the location of "resc1440.bin" during kernel installation 
without any hints on this in the booklet or the help file. He assumes that a 
Linux newcomer would become definitively frustrated when confronted with a 
list of kernel modules. Then Debian installs Lilo in the Master Boot Record 
of the 2nd EIDE Hard Disk, giving a warning message that it might not be 
able to boot from there. This happens, and Mr. Diederich assumes that even 
the most dedicated Linux newcomer would give up at this point. Using a boot 
disk he continues the installation.

On the following software selection via dselect he reports that it's 
not possible to return to the preselection menu, so the user is 
inevitably confronted with 1500 packages to choose if he picks custom 
installation. In general he disapproves of the complex interface of 
dselect, but he acknowledges its functionality, the dependecy/conflict 
checking and the immediate configuration. He remarks that the user is 
left alone by the explanations in the CD booklet after an introduction 
to dselect, so answering the configuration questions is difficult. Also 
the setup of X11 and the printer demand knowledge and work to an extent 
that exceeds the demands of other distributions.

The author compliments the menu system, the online help system and the 
adherence to the Linux File System Standard. He notes the modern glibc 
library but reports problems with certain libc5 programs.

All in all he describes Debian 2.0 as a solid distribution for users well 
accustomed to Linux, offering a big choice of software and no license 
problems for the price of higher configuration efforts. He groups 
Debian together with Slackware into a class of distributions for 
experienced users, within this class Debian is the more current and 
innovative distribution.    

Nils Lohner				E-Mail: lohner@debian.org
Debian Press Contact                    Press:  press@debian.org

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