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Re: Need Reasons for switching to Debian from Redhat

At 2002-07-18T16:27:11Z, grante@visi.com (Grant Edwards) writes:

> * Tasksel UI is confusing.  I watched as my neighbor was accidentally
> dumped from the program when he thought he was selecting a task.

I've never had more of a problem with tasksel than with any other Debian
console configurator (i.e. debconf).  The keybindings are similar (maybe
even identical) and I can't see a difference in the appearance.

> * The dselect UI is completely cryptic.  I've been using dselect for
> almost 5 years, and I still find it utterly confusing and often get it
> into a state where I can't come up with a legal configuration.

Ugh.  I've used dselect perhaps twice in the last three years.  I'm much
more comfortable with 'apt-cache' and 'apt-get'.  People with a preference
for GUI tools may like gnome-apt or synaptic.

> * Package configuration asks pointless questions.

Executing 'dpkg-reconfigure debconf' and selecting "Ignore questions with a
priority less than 'high'" will hide those trivial questions.  Note: this
setting is also selected by the user at installation time.  Your neighbor
had to have selected something lower than high or critical.

> * LILO was supposedly installed in the MBR of /dev/hda, but the system
> won't boot from the hard drive.  This happens on most of the Debian
> installs I've done -- I generally install GRUB from sources, since
> Debian's LILO rarely works for me.

I don't really understand this.  I won't argue that you've had problems with
it, but LILO has always worked perfectly here directly after installing

> * With LILO broken, it's particularly annoying that the boot floppy
> created during the install takes 15 minutes to load the kernel from the
> floppy (I've seen this on multiple different systems).  A boot floppy
> created manually using rdev and dd takes about 20 seconds to load.

First, see above.  Second, I think that the Debian boot floppy may be a bit
more sophisticated than you're giving it credit for.  Yes, it takes for ever
to load, but it's self-contained enough to get you back into a working

> * We had to purge GPM in order to get the PS/2 mouse to work properly
> under X11.

Correction: you chose to purge GPM.  I configured GPM to act as a repeater,
and now I have mouse services in X *and* the console.

> I've installed Debian dozens of times, and every time, there have been a
> whole series of hurdles like those.

I don't know what to say.  After the first time or two, I've found the
Debian installer to be reasonably straightforward.

> Debian is by far the most difficult.  The sad thing is it really doesn't
> need to be this difficult -- I'm convinced Debian users prefer it this way
> since it makes them feel superior to people who use flashy, graphical
> installers.

I really beg to differ.  I like the Debian installer because it's relatively
logical and, well, just works.  It does exactly what I tell it to and
nothing else.
Kirk Strauser
The Strauser Group - http://www.strausergroup.com/

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