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

> 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.

It's actually the other way around; RPM can do dependencies on
individual files, packages, and virtual packages, while dpkg (not
apt-get, that's just wrapper around dpkg) can do dependencies to
packages and virtual packages only.

The idea of dependencies on files is a bad one anyway -- AFAIK, RedHat
doesn't really use that feature anymore today.

> They'll also tout that apt-get does a better job of
> taking care of dependencies for you.

Then they're comparing apples to oranges. Comparing apt-get to rpm isn't
fair; one should either compare apt-get to yum, up2date, or a similar
tool, or compare dpkg to rpm.

You'll then see that both have their advantages and disadvantages. I
won't go into details as to what I think is best, because I'm biased
(and don't really know rpm all that well anyway).

>  But guess what? With apt-get, you
> have to know exactly which packages you need to make a software system
> work.

Not true.

> 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.

I don't see why.

A user will either need the client, or the server. He will usually not
be interested in any 'common' package. If 'apt-get install mysql'
doesn't work, there's 'apt-cache search mysql', which will give you list
of all mysql-related packages. Apt front-ends, such as synaptic or
aptitude, have built-in search capabilities which make this operation
even easier: you do a search on 'mysql', and will immediately see that
you can either install the client, or the server.

> 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.

Have you seen the 'search' button? Searching for 'mysql' will give you a
list of not only the -server, -common, and -client package, but also the
administration tools you may be wanting.

Moreover, there's 'tasksel'. Try it sometime.

> 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.

The same is true with Debian. 'apt-cache show gnome'; 'apt-cache show
kde' -- or the equivalent under a graphical installation client.

> Fedora is better than Debian. There, I said it.

You're of course entitled to that opinion. I find it sad that you came
to this opinion with arguments that are, IMO, not based in reality;
however, one of the main advantages if you're using GNU/Linux is
"choice". The ability to choose not only the hardware platform,
graphical user interface, or shell you want to use, but also which
distribution you prefer. If you like Fedora more, then by all means, go
use Fedora.

And ignore those people who tell you that 'Debian is better'. They don't
know what they're talking about. Debian may be better /for them/, but
that doesn't necessarily mean it's better /for everyone/. I doubt any
distribution can be the best choice for any one; that is why I think
Microsoft will, eventually, fail.

> 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.

You should go read Planet GNOME these days (http://planet.gnome.org),
and look for the replies to one girl called 'Eugenia'.

Have fun.

That said, the master packages you want are there. You just missed them.

     smog  |   bricks
 AIR  --  mud  -- FIRE
soda water |   tequila
 -- with thanks to fortune

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