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Re: debian/linux

On Fri, Nov 05, 2004 at 07:20:05AM -0900, Bill Dammeyer wrote:

> Before I decided to go with debian/linux, I read "Why Debian" on your site.
> It is a shame that
> you don't have a "Why Not Debian, or Linux, for that matter" article also.
> In the four months
> I have been trying to use Debian, I have found it to be a very difficult
> system to install, use, troubleshoot,
> find help with, and keep running. Due to the fact it is somewhat unstable, I
> have become pretty good
> at the install. I have done it more than 10 times, to cure a number
> of


You're right that Debian is not for everyone, and that some other
Linux distributions have a less steep learning curve.

On the other hand, I have found that, once you gain familiarity with
Debian, it is one of the easiest systems to keep running, and I
vehemently dispute the "somewhat unstable" figure.

I have a machine here that had its first and last Debian install in
1998.  It has been upgraded since then without reinstall, and has been
tracking unstable most of that time.  I have another machine here that
had its first and last Debian install in 2001.  Another one in 2000.
In fact, aside from hardware issues (bad disks, etc), I can't recall a
single time I've had to do a complete re-install of Debian.  I've been
using it since at least 1996, BTW.

Now, you mentioned "3.0 is so different."  If you are running testing
or unstable, you are running releases designed for Debian developers
and testers.  You shouldn't be starting out with these releases unless
you're a programmer or experienced with Unix already. Use the latest
stable release.

> different problems. Unless a user
> has prior programming training and knowledge, getting it up and running
> (particularly on the internet)
> is difficult and time consuming. Getting help is the most frustrating part
> of this attempted switch to
> linux. No one that I have got assistance from gave a clear answer to
> any

First off, please note that Debian is not the only Linux
distribution.  There are others that make a greater emphasis on ease
of learning, such as Mandrake.  You may want to try one of those.
There are great differences between different Linux distributions.

Now then, as far as getting help, I was very curious as I've often
found the Debian community to be one of the most helpful out there.
In fact, in certain areas, people running non-Debian distributions can
be seen asking questions on Debian lists.

So, I googled for your name and e-mail address (Debian mailing lists
are publically archived and visible on Google) and came up with
nothing.  I also tried the search engine on lists.debian.org, and
there were no hits of your name on debian-user.  So I can only
conclude that you haven't asked anything on the Debian lists before.
Where were you getting help?  I'd like to strongly encourage you to
use the Debian mailing lists next time.

> question. These people think
> we all have their background in programming. We don't. An example. I could
> not get KDE to un-
> install. The answer from the geek who got my post? "Try
> synaptic". That was

That is quite unhelpful, but we don't know where you were asking or
who this person was.

> but because 3.0 is so different,
> they only help a little.
> I don't ever bring linux or debian up in conversations, in an effort not to
> offend anyone.

I'm not sure why that would offend someone.  But in any case, any
operating system will require time to learn, especially if you want to
learn a lot about it.  Debian is no different there.

-- John

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