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Debian update?

Okay, I'm a newbie who's tried to install Debian 4-5 different times
my life, starting with Potato, then the version of last year, and now
Each time, I get a little farther, anyhow.  Here's my situation:

Loadlin Dual boot situation, Win98 [15 minute bootup time, due to their
content-provider-oriented OS which means everyone
owns my system except me.  Bootup also requires my presence, since it
immediately stops and asks me what user I want to be before doing its
12-minute warmups] and Debian Woody Linux with KDE [3 minute bootup

April:  installed Woody.  Sound didn't work, printing didn't work.
May:  rebuilt kernel to install Alsa and the printer driver for my
DeskJet 1120C.  Tried to install the new kernel; Loadlin wouldn't accept
it, because the image compression was something it couldn't handle.
May or June:  2-3 days before full release of Woody, my monitor blew
(and no, it wasn't M$' fault.  Just a stupid capacitor, one of 500 of
Last week:  Replaced the monitor, remembered me kernel, remembered my
root password (hard) and personal password (easy), and got started using
KWord / AbiWord.  Aaahhh, that's better than MS Word, but I *absolutely
hate* having to save as RTF, shutdown, reboot into MS Windows, wait for
3 minutes by my computer, and then wait another 12 minutes while it
decides to let the mouse work, and then set it printing.   I would love
to have a printer on Debian.


#1    I don't know if Loadlin works yet, but I'm not sure how to install
other bootup systems, and I really don't want to take away my dos
capabilities at this point.  I'd like to keep Loadlin, would like to
avoid LILO, but would accept something else -- but I'd need a page on
how to install it.  Loadlin is something I understand, if someone can
point me to a working copy.  As of May, it was broken.
Or maybe the BZImage2 compression was broken, but in that case I have to
have a way to recompile the BZImage2 (if that's been fixed).
#2    I'd still like some pointers on getting my ALSA started, my
printer started, and (ideally) my CD-RW going too
#3    I'm beginning to wonder:  do I really have the wrong distribution,
considering that I can't seem to get a good install?  I picked Debian
because of the online list servers and the wide user base, but is there
something better for learners that would really help a person learn
Linux?  Or should I just keep on persevering?  I have no problem
persevering, but I'd like to know that I'm actually going forward.

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