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Re: current Redhat user evaluates Debian

On Fri, 28 Jul 2000, John L. Fjellstad wrote:

>  Hi,
> I'm a current RedHat user (started with Linux on RedHat because
> it was available at Fry's), and I'm currently evaluating
> Debian for a possible switch.
> Can anyone come up with a list of advantages of using Debian
> Linux over Redhat Linux?
> I would also love to hear any the weaknesses Debian has compared
> RedHat.

	Well, Debian doesn't typically install as easily as RedHat. Also,
thanks to the branding of RedHat, many don't release binaries except as
rpms, so you have to use alien to convert it. 

	After switching from RedHat -> Mandrake -> Debian, I should be
able to help you. So far my likes are the following:

1. Debian has no direct commercial interests.
2. Debian packages tend to be of much higher quality than the crap posted
on rpmfind. 
3. The Debian package management facilities, though a little confusing due
to the layers, are far superior to rpm. It is only now that graphical rpm
clients are providing some of the functionality of apt-get. 
4. The organization of the file system in Debian is superior,
IMHO. RedHat, for example, added a ton of complexity to the X
initialization process in the name of useability. All it did was make
things harder. With Debian, it's very straightforward. 
5. Several bugs I found in RedHat/Mandrake are not present in
Debian. Here's what I can currently remember:
	5.1 The mount command works properly wrt /etc/filesystems
	5.2 Power-downs have yet to damage my filesystem under
	Debian. They did every single time under RedHat/Mandrake.
6. Before a package appears even in the unstable section of a Debian ftp
site, it must be fairly stable. This quality assurance of the site
maintainers is something you simply don't find with rpmfind. After being
bitten time and time again by bad rpms, this is very, very nice. 
7. Thanks to apt-get and a good internet connection, I'll probably never
have to buy another Linux CD-ROM. I'll never have to install one either,
except for someone else. I can just do the following:
	7.1 edit /etc/apt/sources.list
	7.2 apt-get update
	7.3 apt-get dist-upgrade
and my system will be upgraded to the next release. 

	That's what I like so far. ;-)

	Downside? Beyond the above, the documentation could use some work,
and the whole bloody world seems to be in love with RedHat, so there could
be a M$-like lack of support for other distros in the future. Debian still
uses some of the basic install tools, so often autodetection is a nice
fairy tale and you must learn more about your hardware than you _ever_
wanted to know. 

	That's about it. 


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