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Re: Why Debian?

On Fri, Mar 01, 2002 at 08:38:58AM -0800, Vineet Kumar wrote:
> * Johan van der Walt (johan@fskdjvdw.puk.ac.za) [020301 00:06]:
> > 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.
> I'm surprise nobody has mentioned this yet, but "this list!" Debian has
> a userbase comprised of many, many helpful and willing individuals who
> can answer any question you throw up here (sometimes within minutes).
I would agree that the userbase is, by far the best support for any price.
I have had consistent success solving problems by either posting to this list
or by looking at the list archives. Incidentally, the problem I have now posted
twice has been solved by the devian-laptop list. It turns out that some versions
of gdm will completely lock the keyboard. The fix for me was to remove the ximian
gdm and install the Debian gdm. Guess what? The debian gdm was, you know, stable.
> What I like most about Debian is kind of hard to express quantitatively.
> It just feels "clean." I ran redhat for a while back in the day, and the
> first thing I noticed was how easy Debian is to maintain and upgrade.
> The thing that sort of dawns on you after using it for a while is that
> it just doesn't deteriorate. I still feel like everything is where it
> should be on my system, just like a fresh install. Running redhat made
> me feel like every year or so I should back up my user data and
> reinstall the system kinda like the periodic 2-6 month reinstall in the
> windows world, just to trim the cruft away.
> As mentioned before, Debian has a reputation for being one of the more
> difficult to install, but conversely, it is (among) the easiest to
> maintain. (I'd say it's the easiest, but I haven't used *everything* so
> I'm really not qualified to judge -- it's really great, though). It
> should also be said that the installation procedure is great if you want
> to be able to customize your system and have enough GNU/Linux experience
> to understand (at least to some degree) the procedure as it progresses.
> The rest of the system configuration is extremely consistent -- there's
> always a "Debian Way" to do something, and once you see how it works, it
> becomes very intuitive. The first few times, before you kinda "get it,"
> you ask on the list, get a quick answer, and think to yourself "oh yeah,
> that makes sense. That's just how it should be!" As a developer, I often
> solve problems by thinking to myself "well, if I were designing the
> system, here's how I'd do it" and then find out that this is how Debian
> does it.
> Anyway, those are my opinions/experiences. I hope they help you make the
> wise decision to choose the One True Distro!
> good times,
> Vineet
> -- 
> Currently seeking opportunities in the SF Bay Area
> Please see http://www.doorstop.net/resume/

Art Edwards

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