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Re: Hesitating to take the plunge in Debian

> On 11/1/2000 Renaud Dreyer wrote:
> >1)How easy is it to install Debian for PowerPC right now, for someone who's
> >used MkLinux and Linuxppc for the last 2 and a half years? The only
> >installation instructions I've seen are at:
> >
> depends on whether the boot floppies like your box or not.

Can't remember the last tiem I even used my floppy drive on my Mac...
Probably about 30 months ago when I bought it and transfered some old
stuff from my Powerbook...

> debian is not as easy to install as redhat (of which all ppc distros 
> except debian derive) but its far more flexible and powerful, you can 
> end up with what you WANT and NEED, without all the cruft that seems 
> mandatory on redhat systems.

That's exactly what I want. I spent hours installing and deinstalling
RPM's on my Linuxppc R5 box, without ever being sure of
what I really needed. I hate having stuff I don't need wasting my
hard drive space...

>  dselect does take some getting used to, 
> but you really only need to use it once and then apt is sufficient 
> for any further package installations/removals.  if you have 
> GNU/Linux experience you will be able to handle debian installer, its 
> not bad at all, just play with it a bit to get used to it.
> I have not yet installed debian on ppc but have several times on an 
> intel box, the installation procedure should be the same except for 
> the bootstrap process.  most of your questions apply to debian in 
> general, as Debian is pretty close across architectures.
> I have installed linuxppc R5, and tried to fix its out-of-the-box 
> brokenness, I was quite unimpressed with it, and from what i have 
> discovered of the debian folks from my intel experience with debian 
> is that they care very much for doing things correctly, and not 
> tolerating brokenness in their distribution.

Such as the broken CD-ROM link and other little annoyances that add up.

> >http://www.debian.org/~wmono/powerpc/
> >
> >Are these still accurate and is there any other documentation?
> not that i have found, it looks like it will be pretty much the same 
> as i386 except for the bootstrap process (which is an obligatory pain 
> on powerpc machines it seems :))  once its booted you should get the 
> same options for base system installation, configuration and such. 
> after that just follow the dselect tutorial.
> >2) Is there anything missing from the distribution, compared to Linuxppc?
> Debian is probably missing all the rediculous bugs linuxppc has :)

Too bad...

> >Will I still be able to run windowmaker, TkStep, Nextaw, FSViewer,
> >postilion, MOL, Netscape, xmms, xemacs, exmh,
> yes, i think so.  Debian has thousands of packages most of which 
> should be ported to PPC afaik.
> >  Rage 128 accelerated Xpmac,
> dunno about that one there was some recent discussion about Xpmac...

I assume I can just download it and then link it to my X server, like
in Linuxppc.

> >compile my own kernels?
> as well as that can be done on ppc...
> >  Are Debian packages also available in source form
> >(like the source RPM's)
> of course, apt-get source packagename
> >  so that I can compile anything not available for
> >PowerPC in binary form? How well does the RPM to Debian package converter
> >(alien?) work, for any RPM not available in Debian form (like MOL?)?
> I have only used alien a bit, but i prefer to get a real deb or just 
> compile and install in /usr/local in those cases.  I also just 
> compile and install in /usr/local for development stage stuff like 
> MOL.  but thats just me.

ah, something I forggot to ask... How well does the Debian package system
work with tar balls? In my old MkLinux system it soon became an
incredible mess, with RPM's and tar ball files fighting it out. Is there
some kind of safeguard to, for example, prevent a make install from
deleting files from a Debian package, and vice-versa?

> the main problems you come across with alien is when there are files 
> installed in the redhat centric filesystem locations and such.
> >
> >How do the administration tools compare with the Red Hat ones?
> emacs, joe, vi premium, reliable tools (well except vi maybe) <g> 
> but seriously there are counterparts to some of redhats utilities and 
> from what i have seen are superior. and you can get linuxconf if you 
> want (though i don't know why anyone would WANT to <g>)

On linuxppc  it's apparently horribly broken so I never bothered.

> I have found debian to be MUCH easier to configure, especially if you 
> want to do something manually rather then through some frontend. 
> especially the initscripts, none of that redhat spaghetti here.


> >3) This mailing list seems to be pretty low volume, is it because very
> >few people are running Debian PowerPC or is it because it's trouble free?
> >Are these any good Debian mailing lists I should know about?
> I suspect its because debian is not full of dumb problems like linuxppc is.
> >4) Finally, when the official Debian distribution for PowerPC comes out,
> >will I be able to upgrade to it trivially, or will I have to do a complete
> >reinstall?
> potato is supposed to freeze this weekend, followed by a week long 
> evaluation, a two week test period (possibly repeated if serious 
> issues necessitate a fix and retest) release is aimed for mid to end 
> february.
> as far as installation, debian's upgrade system is amazing, since you 
> would be installing potato directly you will be able to upgrade any 
> new packages in two commands when it becomes stable though you should 
> upgrade every day or so to keep up to date:

That sounds wonderful. Keeping a system up to date with Red Hat is quite
a challenge. I was getting sick of chasing RPM's all over the place.

> edit /etc/apt/sources.list to point to potato, and later stable if 
> you wish to follow stable rather then potato explicitly.
> apt-get update
> apt-get dist-upgrade
> that is all there is to it. I have NEVER downloaded a .deb file 
> myself, any time i need a new package i just search for it, and run 
> apt-get install packagename, and apt checks the depenencies and asks 
> permission to install the needed packages along with my selection, 
> then downloads, installs, configures, done.  excellent system, RPM 
> cannot hold a candle to it.
> if you don't like dpkg then you must not like package managers in general ;-)

You've certainly convinced me to give it a try! Thanks,


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