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Re: Sarge Concerns

I'm forwarding the following message (with permission) so people can
comment on it.

Just some general comments:

 - We are well aware that the last stable release is hideously out of
   date for desktops and we're working on a new release and on getting
   our release process straightened out so we can have more regular
   and predictable releases.

 - It would be nice if someone could work with Bill to find out what
   "Buggy Software" means exactly and to file bug reports on packages.

 - Maybe someone can also update the documentation/release notes
   regarding things like aptitude.

----- Forwarded message from William Alan Larson <wilarson@netins.net> -----

From: William Alan Larson <wilarson@netins.net>
Subject: Sarge Concerns
Date: Thu, 31 Mar 2005 00:04:12 -0600
To: leader@debian.org

To whom it may concern:

Concerns I have about Sarge.

Who am I?

First of all, I should mention who I am in regard to Debian.
I am not a developer but someone who I would like to think of
as a normal user, though perhaps there is in actuality no such
thing.  I started using Debian with Potato, just before Woody
was released.  When Woody was released, I found it to be very
stable and after about a year I bought all the disks for Woody
from Cheapbytes because I was impressed with the stability of
software that I personally use and have been happy to continue
using it--though I have to admit that I finally broke down
last night and got the backport of Mozilla because the map
feature on Google stopped working with the Mozilla on Debian.

Programs I have installed

Perhaps to best explain where I am coming from, I will list the
programs that I have added to the standard install of Debian:

x-window-system after which I remove xdm
groff with groff-x11
timidity including timidity-patches (because My sound card
	doesn't work without it.

What I use Debian for

For the most part, I use Debian the way I believe, the typical
unsophisticated user would use Debian:  text processing, email,
irc, usenet news and surfing the web.  Text processing would
be the main work related thing that I do with Debian.

Concerns about Buggy Software

My first concern is about the apparent bugginess of the
software in Sarge.  I will put this concern first because it
is also a concern I had about Woody before it was released
and perhaps all the bugs will be worked through when it is
finally released, but as of now, every time that I have tried
Sarge with the software I have on my list of programs I like
to use on my computer, I have found it to be buggy.  Also the
documentation is not too clear either on adding packages with
the new software that is supposed to replace dselect and I had
to fall back on dselect because I was not able to understand
Aptitude.  Perhaps to people wiser than I am it is intuitive,
but I found Aptitude impossible to figure out.

Concerns about Modules

My second concern has to do with Modules.  Now with Woody I
understand modconf and am able to add modules.  I have to
admit that it was and is very difficult to understand all
the modules that I need to add on the various machines that I
have available to me, but gradually, through trial and error,
I learned which modules I need to have on my various machines.
On my current machine, I need to add the ide-scsi and sg module
in order to have my cd writer work.  I also learned to add
"hdd=ide-scsi" to lilo and, if I am running the bf24 kernel,
"video=vga16:off" in addition.

My concern with Sarge is that I have not been able to find out
how to add modules that I need when they are not automatically
added.  When I tried modconf, it appeared to be broken.
I also have concerns about modules I do not need.  For example,
I never add modules for the Universal Serial Bus because I
never  use it--I do not have any peripheral devices that use it.
If adding the module does not slow down my machine, I guess
it is unimportant, but why should a module be automatically
added if I do not need it.

Concerns about Unnecessary Software

My third concern is about unnecessary software.  On some
machines, I do not put an X Window System on my computer.  With
Woody, perhaps due to ignorance on my part, I add magicfilter
in order to be able to print to my printer.  For some reason,
magicfilter adds x-window86-common (if I am not mistaken) and
I have always wondered why that is a dependency for printing
if I do not want to have the X Window System on my computer.
Of course, I have learned to live with that particular issue,
and I usually have the X Window System on my computer just
so that I can use Mozilla--though occasionally I get tired
of the bugginess of Mozilla and try to live with lynx or w3m
instead and refuse to put the X Window System on my computer.

With Sarge, though, the last time I tried it, I noticed that
the dictionary for Open Office Org seemed to be put on my
computer.  Now why should that dictionary be on my computer
if I do not plan on putting Open Office Org on my computer.
Now, I realize that I have only tried Open Office Org when
I tried Fedora, Suse, Lycoris and Knoppix on my computer,
but the implementations of Open Office Org on those particular
distributions appeared to be very buggy and slow to me and I do
not particularly desire to have it on my computer, so why is it
necessary that I have any part of that program on my computer?


As mentioned above, I consider myself an average,
unsophisticated user of free software.  When I have problems,
it takes me quite awhile to find out the answers because the
answers are not obviously available, but gradually by reading
documentation and doing searches on Google, I can come up with
some of the answers to my problems.  I thought I would share my
concerns because I realize that for the most part the Debian
community consists of developers rather than naive users and
I thought that airing my concerns would perhaps give some
insight to others as to the needs and concerns of naive users.

Bill Larson
 ()    ascii ribbon campaign - against html mail 
 /\                          - against microsoft attachments

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

Martin Michlmayr

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