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RE: Install

I think the problem is the root page should lead to index pages which in
turn link to the relevant content by related topic. The number of platforms
you support makes it a little more complex, too, but I think that can be
accommodated. From Root, a link to Install Instructions/All Platforms. There
an Index to each platform, and there links to the relevant topics. Just an

You know, your second comment has me thinking. I agree, I bet that a
Distribution CD is the best bet for the "uninitiated user". On the other
hand, I tend to think the person looking for Linux online, in particular a
non RedHat variant of Linux (Debian), probably isn't completely uninitiated.
That was what was frustrating for me. I've installed RedHat 5 and even an
ancient version of SlackWare, on notebooks at that... so I knew I could do
it. I just knew there were some ideal ways for me to do it and couldn't find
the instructions (or links to the files mentioned in the instructions). A
section for the "Technically Savvy Newbie with *some* Linux experience"
might be a good idea. Everything was geared to the complete neophyte or the
total guru, there wasn't much for the intermediate.

Yeah, the transmission was just my own damn fault. :) I know enough to at
least check the file size of a download before I burn it... especially if
the file size is off by 610mb. :)

The CDs I burnt at work, I could not get bootable for the life of me. I made
a w98 bootable disk, followed the instructions, it just wouldn't work. This
was with Easy CD Creator 4 and 3. At home, using Easy Creator 5, it worked
fine with a DOS bootable disk and made a bootable disk that loaded LILO and
started the setup great. Unfortunately, that success was with the corrupt
full ISO image and requested a second disk that I did not make. That is what
led me to trying to make the Net Install bootable CD at work, and THAT did
not work. That is something that is obviously too big for Debian to take a
lot of time explaining. What could be made clearer is that the Boot disk
used does not have to be a Linux boot/rescue disk. I wasn't certain when I
was doing this if I was supposed to be making the CD bootable using a Linux
bootable floppy or a DOS bootable floppy and everything online (not just at
Debian) about this was pretty nebulous.

Really I think the thing is that you're missing documentation oriented
toward the intermediate user. You've got the newbie covered, the guru
covered, but not a lot for the w32 guru who is thinking of trying Linux out.
That is the guy who is most likely to try it without completely
understanding, doesn't feel like he should have to read an entire book
before he starts and may be the most likely to fail just because of the
radically different philosophy and completely different approach between the
two. Explaining that gzip is like zip but will probably uncompress into
another archive called a TAR which is a directory recursive "tape archive"
file saved as a disk-file or image... that is what guys at this level need
to know. You don't have to cover it all, but a section with quick
information about stuff like this, and other key architectural differences,
like the X11/86 stuff I talked about before, would be helpful, I think in
winning converts.


-----Original Message-----
From: Josip Rodin [mailto:joy@gkvk.hr]
Sent: Thursday, June 13, 2002 4:28 AM
To: Donovan Colbert
Cc: debian-project@lists.debian.org
Subject: Re: Install

On Wed, Jun 12, 2002 at 09:17:25PM -0700, Donovan Colbert wrote:
>  Yeah, I was unable to find the first link you provided below.

This is something we'll have to work on. We can deduce a lot from statistics
of which pages get visits and which don't, but we definitely prefer detailed
first hand input from individual users.

> 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 easiest method".

Well, because we feel it is :) I see how it can be understood to mean we
primarily want people to buy CDs in order to get a percentage -- but we
really primarily do it because we think it's easiest to install that way
for an uninitiated user.

> 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.

This is something we might want to add to the troubleshooting pages. I think
we might have something about errors in transmission there already.

> 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.

Ah, so you burned a CD but it wasn't bootable?

> 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
> 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.

We'll probably try to develop an approach that's neither this nor that, that
is, one that will encourage people to read as much as possible before and/or
during the installation, but expecting that they won't and making sure they
at least understand the key stuff.

     2. That which causes joy or happiness.

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