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Re: Why "free" shouldn't have to mean "complicated"

On Mon, May 05, 2003 at 10:19:40AM +1000, Anthony Towns wrote:
> On Mon, May 05, 2003 at 02:17:57AM +0200, Felix Steiner wrote:
> > But in my opinion free software fails if it is only for geeks. Why not try
> > to coordinate development to make an easier installer? Why not bring to
> > people what you are working for so hard? I'm sure that there are people that
> > would like to make things simpler. I hope they will do so.
> If you're new to Linux, downloading ISOs and hoping isn't a really good
> thing to do. Buy some CDs from someone reputable, and an introductory
> book, and install the former while reading the latter. Unix is _very_
> different to Windows, and if you don't want to suffer through relearning
> all habits, you need either a book or a friend to guide you through it.

This does remind me, has anyone started a real Debian Desktop
metadistro/flavor? The desktop subproject hasn't been very active in
terms of discussion, and I think a good piece of the work is in place
with the new package tags to make it. apt and aptitude/dselect/other
frontends still need to be patched to work with sublists of packages in
order to cut things out like web servers for the user. Knoppix is a
good start, but its focus really is more on the liveCD thing than on
being a desktop distro. Unfortunately, the really big missing piece to
this as far as I can see is still the installer. After all, hardware
autodetection and a pretty installer is something that many users have
been asking for on their desktops.

One of my personal dreams is to make this very much a part of Debian,
rather than just another fork, or another package that you install.
Rather, it's a choice made during install as to what you're running
(Server, Desktop, etc.) and it's a choice that can easily be changed
and still remain wholly within the main Debian infrastructure. Vendors
could package it up as "Debian Desktop Edition" and sell it with a
printed copy of the special Desktop Manual describing how to use Gnome
or KDE, how to change your screensaver and desktop background, how to
play solitaire and the like. I feel like many of our users are asking
for this, and they also want it to be a real part of Debian. If it
becomes just another fork like Knoppix, it doesn't really serve our
users because our users aren't just distro makers.

How do other people feel about this? Would this be serving our users
better? Or should we focus more on allowing project like Knoppix to
happen and leave the sort of people like Felix to them?

 - David

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