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Re: [Matthew_Graven@zd.com: Debian GNU/Linux]

> Wow. PC magazine may include us in a story on Open Source software.
> Let's not drop the ball on this one. At the end is a first draft of
We definitely should make sure we take advantage of this 

I am sure Manoj and others will have something to say about this, but 
here are my $0.05.

> a response. Do we have an arrangement with one of the vendors to
> provide us with samples for publicity? It may be better if we
> have someone generate a set of known good disks.
Set of disks and install instructions are key. I would also recommend 
someone volunteering to answer any questions if they need help during 
the install. But, we know it will be smooth as silk... Right ;-)

> Is the 2.1 install far enough along for us to provide them with a
> test copy of that?
If there were a copy with apt available, I would also recommend 
including it. Would it also be good to suggest not to try to install 
everything at once? the base, and other basics, then a gradual 
addition of other packages...

Jay, I think that is a good first stab at a reply. One thing I would 
suggest is to beef up the replies with as much supporting material as 
you can. Short and concise may not work all that well in this case. 
They are probably more accustomed to working from press releases or 
release information, PR pubs for software... I am thinking that what 
we need is a condensed answer to the 'Why Debian? Debian vs. 
Redhat/Slackware/...'  All those arguments that get started every few 
months on the debian-users mailing list.

> 2.  What is the current version of Debian GNU/Linux?
> Version 2.0.
We need lots of details here about what version 2.0. maybe a 
rewording of the 2.0 release. One suggestion, is to explain the 
version numbers. I know this annoys some, but for some that don't 
look further than the numbers, we should explain that version 2.0 is 
comparable to Red Hat ??? or based on these standards... Maybe an 
equivalency table based on kernel, libc5/6, etc.

> 3.  Is there a planned upgrade?  When will that be available?
> We are currently testing version 2.1. It should be available in January 1999.
We need to say what is the main difference between 2.0 and 2.1 [apt?] 
why the need to upgrade, etc. If there are disks available with test 
versions of 2.1 it wouldn't hurt to send these along with disks for 
2.0. Again list of features for 2.1 [almost like a 2.1 release sheet]

> 4.  What are the key features of GNU/Linux?
> Upgradability. Once a machine is set up, you simply point our package manager
> at your favorite mirror site and upgrades are a snap.
We need to explain in detail how you can use ftp to upgrade your 
system on the fly, no need to reboot. etc.
> Stability. People find our releases extremely stable with very few surprises.
Perhaps point out that 2.0 release was held back until "stable", 
because stable is a priority of debian; didn't rush out with move to 
libc6 until was satisfied.

> Legacy software. We support old binaries as long as needed. Even though we have
> converted to libc6, we still support libc5.
> Support. Through our user mailing lists and IRC chat channel we provide excellent
> support for users.

I would add a few more: 
* commitment to free software, yet not giving up technical standards 
and stability...
* number of package maintainers [I don't know this for a fact, but I 
thought I heard that Red Hat doesn't have a big staff, many be a 
handful; not that we would want to mention this, but just state the 
number of package maintainers]
* I thought with about release 2.0 a ?testing group? was established 
to signoff when it is ok to release a new version. this all goes back 
to stability and high technical standards.

> 5.  What is the pricing for the product and what does that price include
> (i.e. manual, support)?
> Debian creates the distribution, but we don't sell any CDs ourselves (although some
> of the developers do through their own companies). We try to keep good relations
> with our vendors and the disks sent to you have been provided by _________.
> We provide no hardcopy manuals. The installation manual is available at
> http://www.debian.org/2.0/install [do any of the vendors provide much in the
> way of paper docs?]
> Once installed, there is a plethora of documentation available on the machine.
What about pointing them to the documentation [we are really far back 
on that] but what comes to mind is the Debian 2.0 book [can't 
remember the name of the book but you could also see it on-line. by 
Sheetz? Could we convince the web site that sells the book with CDs 
to send them disks?

> I do not believe that any of the vendors provide support with the purchase of a
> CD set, but you can get plenty of support through our user mailing list
> or the many companies that provide consulting for Debian
> (see http://www.debian.org/consultants/).
> 6.  What applications are bundled with it?
> Debian provides over 2500 packages with the distribution. Of course, that list
> includes web servers (including apache), web browsers (netscape installer, mozilla),
> development tools (gcc, gdb),
> [need to build that up some more]
We need to list some of the major apps that new users would look for, 
also explain the non-free [with a reinforcement of it is non-free 
because of our commitment to free-software]

Maybe we could include a page of testimonials [you often see these in 
the debian vs other linuxes threads: Why I switched to debian and 
continue to use it. This may be something to add to the web pages.
> I'd like some feedback so our reply is well written and geared towards the type
> of people that will be reading it.
Those are my five cents. I obviously don't have some of the details 
required to fill this out but would be willing to give more feedback 
as this is worked out.


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