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A friend persisted until I allowed him to install Debian on two Sparcs I had
sitting around collecting dust, a Sparc 10 and a Sparc 5. I was impressed
with how well KDE ran and also with the dselect and apt-get process of
package management. I actually installed and configured and troubleshot
XFree86 and KDE on the Sparc 10 myself after just a couple of days playing
around with the box. In all fairness I do have some little experience with
Solaris 2.6 and CDE, but I am certainly no guru.

Thus empowered, I decided to upgrade my P3/500 at work from RedHat to
Debian. I knew the installer was a much rougher deal, but I was confident
that the package manager in Debian made up for this initial investment.

www.debian.org proved to be a frustrating series of fruitless efforts to try
and figure out how to best get the media to install. I tried a CD based
install, but being a w32 oriented guy, ran into a variety of issues with
creating a working bootable image.

I have installed RedHat and Slackware in the past, before RedHat had fancy
GUI based installs, and was familiar with the basic concept of making floppy
root and rescue disks using rawrite. But I was struggling with the
documentation available here.

Finally, a google search turned up...


Possibly the best hand-holding HowTo I've come across on the net.

I know the Debian development has a vested interest in selling CDs, and I am
not opposed to buying a copy, or several copies, even, to show my support at
the reasonable prices at which they are available. But I think it might be
more encouraging to newbies to have documentation that is clearer, or links
to sites that maintain this type of documentation, to get us started. You
seem confident that once you've got us on the hook, we won't go back, and so
far, I tend to agree. The trick is not scaring us away with the install
process before we're on the hook. Just a thought.

I'm still not convinced that Linux presents a significant challenge to the
Windows empire in general. The fact is, I could have installed and
configured a pool of Windows based desktops in the time it took me to
complete a single Linux desktop, and for all it's vaulted reliability, the
more Windows-like you make Linux, the less Linux-like the reliability seems
to become. But Debian seems by far the best step in that direction so far,
combined with an intuitive, powerful and PRETTY (which may count the most)
front end like KDE. Until you've got an install process as simple as RedHat,
making it as easy and un-flubbable as possible to use all the possible
methods to get Debian on your machine would seem to be the most prudent
course of action. But that may just be me.

Good luck...

	Donovan (Ranting Against MS-Bashing Cult of Linux Disciples in eWeek
Magazine) Colbert

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