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Re: Debian review...

Atually, I had been using linux for a few years (Slackware and redhat),
and I found the install documentation for debian practically impossible to

It seemed to spend more time reassuring me that it was easy than it did to
just tell me how to get the damn thing installed. I eventually built an ISO,
even though it wasn't recommended - just because it was how I always
installed RedHat, and I was starting to get frustrated trying to undertand
how I was going to get it installed by downloading all the .tgz files.

Even getting the ISO was a PITA (I did the thing where you have to do a
diff, and it patches the image blah blah blah)

What I had actually wanted to be able to do, was to download the files
necessary to install the base system (whether to CD, or disk, or what have
you), and go from there.  But there didn't seem to be something akin to a
'boot disk' or install disk, which would get me up and running and allow me
to do the rest over the network (? especially since I use pppoe ?). There
were base files, but there were quite a few of them, and I didn't relish the
idea of inserting 8 floppies just to do an install (I don't think I can even
find 8 floppies around here). I also recall some of the .tgz files were a
little large for a floppy (this is going by memory, I have only installed it

Anyway, the point is - the install WAS a pain. and it IS hard to do. There
also isn't a lot I could find in the line of documentation for people who
not only have never used apt-get and dselect before, but are not even sure
how it fits into the debian management system.  I was using apt-get for the
longest time, and found out later it was borking some of the dependencies. I
should have been using dselect or something similar all along.

Basically, it would be nice if there was a complete-newbie document to
explain the basics of installation. After using debian for a while, I
understand what the install documents were saying a little more - but it was
driving me insane with all the obscure 'choices' I had - I just wanted to
boot from a floppy and install over ftp or similar, which is an option
redhat has! (Note: I don't think redhat lets you do that over a pppoe
connection, when I did the redhat ftp isntall many years ago my connection
wasn't ppp)

So thats my experience, I would never recommend debian to somebody just
starting out with linux, who wasn't used to getting their hands dirty,
unless they had somebody else to get it bootable for them first. (Or give
them the iso. Once you have the iso, its a cinch. Bootable medium, et al.)

Once its installed, and you understand how apt-get and dselect works, its
great. I'll never go back to anything else for my server.


On Sep 28, Alexander Wallace wrote:
> I agree with the fact that debian is not hard to install at all... Maybe
> before it was... I just downloaded it and installed it a couple of days
> ago and was very impressed, I'm very happy with it and that's why I
> thought it deserves a better review...
> On Fri, 28 Sep 2001, Anthony Campbell wrote:
> > On 28 Sep 2001, Alexander Wallace wrote:
> > > Hello there! I don't want to start any controversy here or anything like
> > > that.... But I was reading the newbiezided help files at
> > > http://www.linuxnewbie.org/nhf/intel/distros/distronhf.html
> > > and found out that in the reviews they make about several distros, they
> > > don't have a very good one for debian, not necesarily becouse the guy
> > > making the review doesn't like debian very much, but becouse he doesn't
> > > know it... He in fact is requesting that someone that uses debian more
> > > contributes with a better review...  I'm no way close to make a good non
> > > biased review about debian (which i just started using as itself and love)
> > > but since I like it so much and think that is the best distro I thought
> > > that maybe an expert here would like to make such review available again
> > > at http://www.linuxnewbie.org/nhf/intel/distros/distronhf.html...
> > >
> > > Thanks to all!
> > >
> >
> > This is probably because there is a widespread belief (probably dating
> > from the time when you *had* to use dselect) that Debian is very
> > difficult to install and therefore unsuitable for newbies. I actually
> > don't think that Debian is necessarily any more difficult for newcomers
> > than other versions of Linux but it does have that reputation.
> >
> > I know that considerable effort has gone into writing documentation for
> > Debian recently and this is to be applauded. There is however room for
> > more. I was considerably impressed by the online FreeBSD manual. If I
> > were starting from scratch I'd be quite tempted to try FreeBSD, just
> > because the manual is so clear and comprehensive.
> >
> > Anthony
> >
> >
> > --
> > Anthony Campbell - running Debian GNU/Linux (Windows-free zone).
> > For electronic books (Homeomythology and The Assassins of Alamut), skeptical
> > essays, and over 140 book reviews, go to http://www.acampbell.org.uk/
> >
> > Le style est l'homme meme. (Style is the man himself.) [Buffon]
> >
> -- 
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