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[rrichards@co.slo.ca.us: Open Letter to Debian Community]

Moved to the proper list (I hope).  Please copy Toby in your
replies as he is most probably not subscribed.



----- Forwarded message from rrichards@co.slo.ca.us -----

Subject: Open Letter to Debian Community
Date: Fri, 11 Mar 2005 07:11:30 -0800
To: leader@debian.org, dwn@debian.org
Cc: secretary@debian.org, info@ubuntulinux.org, info@mepis.org,
	robin@roblimo.com, ljeditor@ssc.com
From: rrichards@co.slo.ca.us
X-Folder: debian-dwn@lists.debian.org

The following is an open letter to the Debian community posted on my blog
(http://toby.richards.net/techblog/techblog.htm). But I doubt that anyone
actually reads my blog so I'm sending it to you. I hope that you take the
time to read it because I'd really like to see Debian and Debian based
distros become easier for non-gurus to live with as it is, in fact much
more slim and efficient than RH/Fedora/RPM. Thank you:

I've been reading a lot lately about how Debian Linux is better than the
Red Hat/Fedora flavor. So I went and tried two Debian based distros, Mepis
and Ubuntu. Each of them used about 1.5GB of hard drive space. Mepis used
150MB RAM, but to be fair, it included lots of extra desktop gizmos.
Ubuntu used 90MB RAM. I also especially appreciated Ubuntu because it
comes default with GNOME. I hate KDE. Don't ask me why; I don't know.
Fedora 3 uses 2.5 GB of hard drive space and 90MB RAM for its home
computer configuration.

Debian users will tell you that apt-get is more efficient than RPM because
RPM's dependencies are other packages, while apt-get's dependencies are
individual files. They'll also tout that apt-get does a better job of
taking care of dependencies for you. But guess what? With apt-get, you
have to know exactly which packages you need to make a software system

Let's take MySQL for example. To make it work, you need the mysql-common,
mysql-server, and mysql-client packages. Technically, mysql-common will
install without mysql-server and mysql-client. But it doesn't do you much
good. With apt-get, you have to already know this. You also have to know
the package name of any addons you might want, like graphical
administration tools or Apache plugins. And yes, I was using the graphical
interface to apt-get, not the command line.

Natively, with RPM, you would run into the same problem; however, Fedora's
application management tool includes categories for common programs like
MySQL. So I just click that I want MySQL, and Fedora selects all the
necessary packages for me. I can then click "details" and select or
de-select optional components.

The problem isn't so bad with MySQL, but now let's talk about more complex
package structures, like GNOME (or KDE). There are dozens of GNOME
packages available via apt-get. Which ones do I need? I don't know. Is
there one that will install all of the other necessary ones as
dependencies? I don't know. Do I want any of the packages that aren't
explicit dependencies? I don't know. With apt-get, I'd have to spend hours
reading the descriptions of all the packages. With Fedora, I just click
"GNOME" and I get the important stuff and I get a list of the optional
stuff to choose from.

Fedora is better than Debian. There, I said it. I'm sure there are Debian
advocates reading this and thinking about how they are Über Linux Experts
and I am not because I am too lazy to learn about the packages I need. You
people are not doing the Linux community any favors. Want to know why the
rest of the world uses Windows? Because my 90 year old grandma can install
a program for Windows, that's why. Fedora is close. My grandma could
probably install KDE for Fedora. But Debian needs work. There needs to be
"master" packages that install all of the required stuff for a given
complex system and then prompt you to make choices about the addon stuff.
R. Toby Richards
Network Administrator, San Luis Obispo Superior Court
(805) 781-4150

----- End forwarded message -----

Testing? What's that? If it compiles, it is good, if it boots up, it is perfect.

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