Re: debian-user-digest Digest V102 #515
I have started using debian only some months ago and was stuck with SuSE
before (beginning to hate suse-config and yast)..
Some things about installing debian are really important (from my
perspective). it might seem very labourious but you will profit from
the robustness and apt-get-abilities (and much more) once your main
setup tasks are solved. i'd always recommend to a new debian user:
- Start with the *stable* release to get acquainted to the debian
- Better spend your money on a decent debian book than on
half-cooked woody-cds. There is the (german) book by Peter Ganten that
is excellent. I don't know what english book is best.
- Figure out your hardware manually using another system (e.g. with
the freeware "sandra" from sisoft on windows) or (better) get very
well-documented hardware when you buy the machine. It might even be
worth opening the machine and actually look at the components. I have
done that and some google searches later i knew the important things.
- Just download the boot floppy images (and maybe the kernel module ones
too) to a working unix (linux) box. follow the installation guidelines
of your book and/or the online documentation on debians website.
(dd the images to floppy disks and do the remaining install from the
nearest official mirror. expect an install procedure that is less
"automatic" and "smooth" than those of other distros. it will be
getting much quicker when you install your second (or third) machine. :-)
(if you have no fast and affordable net access, a set of official
cdroms of the *stable* release are the best choice. (i was very annoyed
by a gratis debian cd that was given away at "linuxtag" in germany.
Those mixtures of potato and woody are real show-stoppers ... :-(
- Go for a base system without X11 first. Then dselect a package like
task-x-window-system-core and you will be prompted for your x settings.
i must say that the "SaX experience" from suse was the only thing that
made me swear about "awkward debian" when i was "anXious" for the first
time ... ;-) (joke: the debian x-configuration tool is called "anXious"
... (maybe they knew how you feel when you use it.)
- expand your package selection stepwise using dselect or apt-get-install.
After some while when frustration starts that many packages are a bit old,
work to optimize your /etc/apt/sources.list (the entries are basically
defining resources for using with apt-get. I have added the ximian gnome
distro, wine, blackdown java and a kde-2.2.-for-debian mirror. be sure to
have the security update (mirror) resource in your sources.list.
The GOOD news:
After all that, system maintenance is *really* a (weekly) "snap": just do
"apt-get update", "update upgrade" everytime you're curious enough to
see what new stuff of your favourite packages is there on the mirrors and
let apt-get do the whole job ... it will ask you for your personal
settings though - with very reasonable default values. You take a look at
my sources.list like this: