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Re: Wanna be a Debian user...

Jeff Hornsberger <jhornsbe@csc.uvic.ca> writes:

> Hi, I have been using Red Hat Linux exclusively for a little over a year
> now, but feel that it is time to reinstall my system sometime soon. I
> was thinking I would like to switch to Debian, but have a few questions:
> 1. The first thing is that I would like to install completely via ftp. I
> have a CD burner, but I'm not very interested in burning a CD for one
> time use if I don't have to. With RH I just have to get the network boot
> disk image and boot off that and from there it gets everything else it
> needs from the ftp site and path that I specify. It even sets up DHCP
> for my @home cable modem configuration. I have read over the Debian
> installation methods and it doesn't seem quite as easy (nor did I expect
> it to be), but I just want to be clear on what must be done. As I
> understand it I need a rescue disk to boot, a root disk to get the
> installation started and then driver disks? base disks? Can I not go
> directly to getting things off the network after booting in with the
> rescue and root disks?

You just need the root disk, rescue disk and driver disks.  Everything else can
be installed off the network.  When the installation program asks for a source
for the base, it will offer you an NFS mount, and an ftp site as options (maybe
http site as well -- I don't remember).  Just select ftp, and type in the site
closest to you (usually something like ftp.[cc].debian.org/debian where [cc] is
your two-letter country code).

It's a good thing too, because now that AOL gives out their software on CD's,
not many people own 16 blank floppies. ;-)

>From my experience, the hardest part about the installation was reading the
instructions.  After I created root/rescue/driver disks, everything went pretty
smoothly.  It was a lot more enjoyable than my experiences with RedHat.

> 2. Another thing that I'm wondering about is that I would like to
> install Woody rather than Potato to get all the latest packages, but
> there seem to be no disks for Woody. Can I use the Potato disks and then
> install Woody packages, or how does that work? Or is Woody completely
> unstable at this point as opposed to "not completely stable"?

Most people install Potato, and then upgrade to Woody by editing
/etc/apt/sources.list and "apt-get update; apt-get dist-upgrade"-ing (now if
that's not the most horrible verb I've ever seen...)

>From what I can tell, Woody as of right now is fairly stable in the sense that
it will still give you better uptimes than Windows will.  But it is unstable in
the sense that if you keep your system up to date all the time (using apt-get),
things may break without notice.  If you look at the list archives from a
couple weeks ago, you'll see many posts regarding a broken libc6 package which
caused problems for people using Woody.

> 3. This isn't really related to the installation procedure, but I was
> just wondering why Woody still uses XFree86 3.3.6 and not 4.0.1 (for the
> video cards that are supported), or am I missing something?

AFAIK, the XFree86 maintainer has working binaries of 4.0.1, which are
available from http://samosa.debian.org/~branden/woody/.  One of the issues
with it, I think, is that he's trying to figure out the best way to package the

I hope that you have a good time using Debian.  I am an ex-RedHat user, and I
can say that Debian is a lot nicer than RedHat.  Especially apt-get.


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