Yeah, I was unable to find the first link you provided below. There are
links under Getting Debian to Release Info, Debian Packages, Debian on CD
and Download, and under Documentation there are links to Installation
Instructions and Debian Books, but the information here all seemed oriented
toward "Buy the CD from a distributor and install it that way, this is the
I found the CD method, and tried that. Unfortunately, as a newbie, I
downloaded the #1 .iso image, didn't realize that although it said it
downloaded 640mb the file was only 32 mb. I made that version at home, and
it worked for booting (I made the floppy bootable, which is a pain in the
ass on Win32 machines, evidently), and ran the install, but then wanted the
second disk, which I didn't have. So I went to the CD Net Install page,
tried that, from work, but couldn't seem to get a CD to actually work as a
bootable CD from that location. Then I found the nifty howto with the images
to Potato and that got me on the right track. But I was near the end of my
I think the problem for Linux "Gurus" is trying to step outside of their
knowledge and see it from the perspective of a newbie. The documentation is
not always clear even from the perspective of a seasoned professional in the
IT industry, let alone an "average" user, and it COULD be. Simple things
>From a Vendor Provided Distribution Release CD
>From a Downloaded ISO image burnt to a Bootable CD
>From downloaded floppy images
Floppy Network Installation
CD Network Installation
Prominently displayed under a "Quick Start Install" link off your home page.
I know the idea of a "Quick start" install goes against the basic RTFM
philosophy of Linux/Unix, but that is what "consumers" want. Let me get the
damned thing installed, THEN let me figure out how it all works. That is
what Microsoft tends to get them. Click setup, answer a few questions in
plain English (Do you want a US English Layout as opposed to Do You Want
North America ISO9880 or RTQ2450 Keymaps)and go.
It also might help to add more helpful information in setting up a GUI, both
GNOME and KDE. Not just how to set it up, but some of the "philosophical"
differences between the w32 cli/GUI strategy and the Linux
cli/xwindows/windows manager strategy. That confuses Windows people, and the
Xfree site isn't real clear on it, the KDE site isn't real clear on it, and
the Debian site isn't real clear on it. I know these aren't YOUR products,
but it would help drive installs of your product to offer a little helpful
advice in understanding how this stuff is different.
When I get time, I plan on detailing what I encountered, what my
frustrations were, and how I overcame them, and what I learned and
publishing those documents on my site. Documentation from the perspective on
a w32 experienced person trying to understand the differences in Linux.
I'm sorry if it seemed I was implying that you're interest in promoting CDs
from vendors who donate portions of profit back to Debian.org is
unreasonable. That was not my intention at all. I understand that the amount
of money that debian sees probably comes nowhere close to covering expenses,
let alone rewarding the people who make Debian possible. But, I am sure that
every little bit helps.
For what it is worth, I am the author of a recent critical letter to eWeek
magazine regarding their editorial policies against Microsoft and promoting
Linux. I work in the eBiz IT department of a major IA86/w32 shop. I am now
running Debian Woody on 2 Sparcs at home, a Sparc 10 and a Sparc 5, and a
P2/450 at work. I am very impressed with how Linux has matured. KDE is a
major step forward, the Debian package management applications (apt-get and
dselect) are FANTASTIC, and SAMBA and RedHat Printtool really round out the
system into a very useful and complete OS. The killer app, in my mind, for
Linux, is apt-get/dselect, which is far beyond anything else available for
Linux/Unix and is something that Microsoft could not conceivably offer.
Debian has revised my thinking. Linux *can* be a contender for the back
office, and can integrate cleanly with the w32 network, and it is moving in
the right direction. But Linux is trailing by a significant margin and needs
to close that gap. It absolutely can be done and Linux can become a viable
and compelling alternative to w32 platforms. In the past, I didn't think
Linux even really had a chance. To me, that is kind of exciting. I'm not
anti-Microsoft. I think their product is *clearly* the superior choice right
now, in the way that a Ford Taurus or Honda Accord is the best choice for
most drivers, as opposed to an Audi S4 for example. But I'd like to see
Linux offer an alternative. I think that it can only help innovation in the
industry that rewards the end user. And I'm not trolling here. I want to see
Linux have more success, and I think Debian is headed the right way. I am
*really* impressed. If you had the nifty install and financial backing of
Red Hat, I think Debian has the potential to actually make Microsoft truly
concerned, as opposed to guardedly aware, about Linux.
From: Josip Rodin [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Wednesday, June 12, 2002 3:52 PM
To: Donovan Colbert
Subject: Re: Install
On Thu, Jun 06, 2002 at 10:05:12PM -0700, Donovan Colbert wrote:
> www.debian.org proved to be a frustrating series of fruitless efforts to
> 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
> root and rescue disks using rawrite. But I was struggling with the
> documentation available here.
What exactly was the problem? Were you unable to find things like
Or did you find these, but were discontent with them?
> I know the Debian development has a vested interest in selling CDs
Hardly. Some CD vendors donate parts of their sales to us, but that wouldn't
even begin to cover the costs of operating our servers.
> 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.
I agree we have problems with this. We're working on improving the web site
to be easier to navigate and to make it faster to find stuff.
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