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debian-0.90: a few comments

I recently installed the debian-0.90, and have a few general comments
to make about the distribution:

1.  I know, debian-0.91 is out.  So, why talk about version 0.90?  Well,
I am not sure how to upgrade, and I don't understand the installation
program well enough to try it on my own.  I would really appreciate
some help on this.  I just don't want to download and reinstall
everything when only a few things have changed.

2.  In general, the package is extremely good.  I installed the base
disks and net.deb.  Then I setup tcp/ip connection and downloaded the
rest onto my pc.  Barring a couple of minor problem with the dpkg
script (which seem to have been fixed in 0.91), the rest went

3.  The copy of vi (or rather elvis) is buggy.  It corrupts the screen
once I suspended it, and I couldn't return to it with `fg' at all.
This is only a guess, but I suspect this comes from the buggy copy of
elvis-1.17 in sunsite.unc.edu.  The patches used by the author looked
wrong to me, and anyway it had the same symptom as debian's elvis.  I
do have a fixed copy of elvis.

4.  I was extremely surprised to see the `Clocks' entry set in the
vga256 part of the Xconfig.  Not only is this unnecessary, as the X
server can guess the dot clocks pretty accurately, it is probably a
_very bad idea_.  Either leave the Xconfig empty, or have some sort of
setup script that will use the appropriate entry from the modes
database!  I am surprised no one has commented on this yet.

5.  I was surprised to find twm missing, but that is only a minor

6.  The emacs could also do with a little better packaging.  I suggest
including Robert Sander's console.el, which is setup for the Linux
console terminal.  I have a copy of console.el and a defaults.el with
user-friendly keybindings.  The default us.map that comes with the
kernel is not complete enough for emacs.  For example, typical emacs
keystrokes like `Ctrl-@' or `Alt-%' are not defined (in general, no
Ctrl-Shift or Alt-Shift combinations are defined).  I also have a copy
us.map of that takes care of these that I would like to contribute.

7.  There are a couple of other minor problems.  I see the message
`init: unknown option ro' while booting.  What's the problem with
init?  I think the syslogd is also broken.  I get messages like

`syslogd: loose cannon' (?!)

and then:

`syslogd: last message repeated 24345767 times'

in /var/adm/messages.

8.  Is anybody working on making a TeX distribution?  I have built the
latest web2c 6.0 stuff without any problem.  I also could contribute
some slightly enhanced lpd filters and printcaps for laserjets.

Well, that's all for now!  Please take the above as constructive
criticisms.  I too would like to see debian evolve into a really
user-friendly and plug & play package.  I would also like to help in
whatever capacity I can.  Thank you for listening,

Sunando Sen

Dept. of Economics			Email: sens@acf2.nyu.edu
New York University

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