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Re: Why Debian?

You come to this point at an interesting time.  Right now the 'stable'
branch (reference your "most stable" comment) is quite dated -- but it
is *old* and IMO not really suitable for a desktop system; but many
people like it for server use because of it's stability.  That said,
stable will get a face/feature lift in the not too distant future
(movement of current testing -> stable), be mindful that I'm not
speaking of tomorrow though, best idea is to subscribe (or review
archives) of debian-devel and see what's going on.

Again, IMO, if you want a system roughly comparable (Frankly
*exceeding*) the other modern distrobutions you need to be willing to
track the unstable/sid branch which always has the latest and greatest
stuff (and is also most prone to breakage as a result) -- don't be
fooled by the name, for the most part it's very stable *but* you'd best
be able to admin your system if you undertake the journey -- in the last
year there have been a couple 'big' problems that required a little know
how to resolve -- PAM was broken, couldn't login; base-passwd switched
passwd/group assignments; X Config broke, so no GUI, KDE/Qt out of synch
for 2 weeks (KDE unusable for a while).  ... and a few annoying things
to smaller groups (libxml was busted for a while);

On a desktop, I'd run nothing else (and don't) -- but you do have to be
willing to read a couple debian mailing lists and know how to fix stuff
if it breaks;

Compared to RH 7.3 and the like, installing Debian is harder, but it's
not really terrible either; the payoff is once installed you get and
incredibly easy to admin/update system v. the other distros; as someone
already mentioned dependancey resolution and packages are first rate and
system upgrades are as easy as 'apt-get update; apt-get upgrade' as root
-- you have to do the kernel seperately but there's is help there in the
kernel-package system.

My recommendation would be to not take our word for it, but to find a
box to play with and run through the install process -- learn to upgrade
it and see what you like and what you don't.

Hope that helps.

On Fri, Mar 01, 2002 at 09:20:50AM +0200, Johan van der Walt wrote:
> I am a physicist in the School of Physics of the Potchefstroom
> University in South Africa and is one of a few people on campus
> using Linux. Have been using Linux now for a couple of years. I am not
> a Linux guru and learn about the system as I go along.
> At present I have an older version of RedHat running on my pc. Older,
> simply because I still have a project to finish for which I have to
> use AIPS. However, I plan (have to) upgrade Linux on my pc as soon as
> I am finished with this project. 
> I therefore also have to make a choice on which distribution I should
> install. Basically I feel that I have to pick one from the following
> four: Debian, SuSe, RedHat and Slackware. I already installed RedHat
> 7.2 on my notebook to see what it is like. With all due respect one of
> the first things that put me off was that I could not find the HOWTO
> pages. This made me wonder to what extent does RH cater for the user
> that would like to know a bit more about how to do things on the
> system.  
> My question then is: what makes Debian GNU/Linux different so that I
> should use it rather than any of the other distributions? Is Linux not
> just Linux? From a scientific point of view I use IRAF and that comes
> with Debian which is something I like. However, that certainly cannot
> be the only reason for using Debian.
> Someone told me the other day that Debian is the most stable
> distribution. Is that so and why? 
> Johan van der Walt
> -- 
> To UNSUBSCRIBE, email to debian-user-request@lists.debian.org 
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Hank Marquardt <hank@yerpso.net>
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