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Re: The Real Problem With Debian

On Wed, 2 Oct 2002 11:36, Rick wrote:
> This will be my last post to the Debian users list.  I want to thank
> everybody for all their help, and patience.  However I would like to say a
> little something as well:
<big snip>
Good luck with going to Mandrake, for a Windows user it may be a good 
place to start.

Your assertions have been answered in great detail on this thread so I
won't go into too much detail there but here are a few thoughts from a very
new Woody user.

About 2 years ago I was running Win 98SE and decided that I would not
be installing any more MS shitware on my machine whatever the effort. 

I installed Mandrake 8.0, then 8.1, then 8.2.

It was easy, fun, but finally I found I could not do anything serious with it
because for eg the Kdevelop / Qt combination was broken so I shifted
on to using PHP for a project that I have in mind.

Possibly I could have got help with the breakage but I found the Mdk site
about as useful as that produced by Microsoft ie about as handy as tits
on a bull. I think that you can access help on their site but you have to 
pay for it, or have bought a boxed set. That did not suit me as I was using
the CD's off a magazine. Morover, my son had bought a boxed set of Mdk
and had reported to me that the support he got for his money was entirely

So 3 weeks ago I thought I would give Debian a go. I had bought a 3cd
bargain basement set of Woody by mail order. The install cd did nothing but
trash my existing LM 8.2 set up which left me without any internet connection.
I immediately ordered another set from a more reputable supplier and pending
the arrival I installed Debian 2.0.0 which I had bought 2 years (or so) ago
and never used.

I never succeeded getting X started on the Potato install so I ended up on 
the net using Lynx, fetchmail, and Mail. The latter was so difficult that I 
later switched to Mutt. The only way I heard about Mutt was in reading 
something or other by Eric Raymond, the developer of fetchmail.
I got through all of that by using the relevant man pages, reading and re-
reading when I needed to.

About 1 week later I got my new 8 cd set and installed Woody. Everything
went fairly easily except that I somehow stuffed up the X configuration and
finally used xf86config followed by manually editing the confile to get it
the way I wanted.

In many ways I have to thank the experience I had with Mandrake giving
me the confidence to rummage around at the command line level because
I did spend plenty of time doing just that. I'm not against using gui's for 
some things, but to get the best out of any 'nix type system you need to
develop command line skills no matter how easy the install.

No doubt about it, Debian is just plain more work to get it the way you want
it compared to Mdk. I now have to apt-cache search for stuff that was just
there on my earlier setup. But, I now have control of what I install.

And, I think more importantly, I now have a list that I can access when I
stuff up, or am not sure about what to do next.

The upgrade process is so effective in Debian eg since the install I have
succesfully installed the 2.4.18-k7 kernel over the 2.2.20 that installed by
default. I have also compiled and tested the 2.4.19 kernel from tar ball.
That was partly done by asking questions on this list, and partly by 
reading the replies to other questions. 

Good luck with Mandrake, but don't hesitate to get into the command line.
Do that and you will be back no doubt.


> Debian is supposedly a great OS, it is configurable, custimizable, and
> powerful, but Debian is ultimately misleading for many people.  Debian is
> an OS that may be used on a server, or a developer's computer, so he can
> really feel the balls in his system, but it should not have been used on my
> computer, or a couple of my friend's computers.
> The Real Problem With Debian is that it is MANUAL.  Everything must be done
> manually, now although there may be a script or two to ease things along,
> these often DON'T WORK.  I have spent two weeks fighting slackware, trying
> to get it to work with my printer, and sound card.  Then I spent two weeks
> fighting Debian, trying to get it to work with my mouse, printer, network
> card, and sound card.  After installing Mandrake, everything worked
> instantaneously, sound, card, network, printer, EVERYTHING.  It ran faster
> too, I don't know why, but it did, and it had newer programs, like KDE3.xx.
> Which distro do you think I stuck with?
> This is not an attempt to convert any Debian users on this list, but it is
> a statement.  I spent a month fighting Slackware and Debian, and 45 minutes
> fighting Mandrake.  Full balls is nice, but how about having a system that
> is full balls, but ALSO is as easy to configure as mandrake?
> People on IRC tell me that my hardware is flaky, yet it works perfectly
> with Mandrake.  People on IRC were rude, and even elitist, and made fun of
> me more often then helping me.  A stark contrast to the helpfullness of the
> folks on the mailing list, odd.
> The ironic thing is that my computer was so stock, it was Lynksis NC100
> card (tulip module) with a ESS1969 Solo card, a s3ViRGE 4mb video card, and
> a Logitech USB wheel mouse.  This should not have taken me two weeks to
> configure on ANY distro.  The point is that Debian is flaky, it is too
> stark, some call configuration tools "bloat", and call guis "evil", but
> configuration tools are the way of the future, and guis have been around
> for 20 years.  The problem is that these are the same people that work on
> Debian, it is too bad some of the corporate "customer comes first"
> mentality didn't get into Debian.  I donated $4 to Debian, more then many
> can claim, I guess I got EXACTLY what I paid for.  Good luck to all of you,
> and thanks again.

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