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Re: Desktop productivity with Debian GNU/LINUX

on Tue, Jan 21, 2003 at 01:52:40AM -0500, Hal Vaughan (hal@thresholddigital.com) wrote:
> On Tuesday 21 January 2003 12:31 am, Kent West wrote:
> > John & Peg Pickard wrote:

> I would STRONGLY recommend trying Mandrake.  While I have not had any
> problems with Mandrake 9.0, I have heard of some people who have.  I
> found Mandrake 8.2 to be solid and stable.  It's basically your choice
> -- I would think either one would work fine.  One nice addition or
> change to Mandrake 9.0 is that it does not require the user to
> mount/umount cd-roms when they are put in or removed from a drive.


    $ apt-get install autofs

No, it's not configured by default in Debian.  Yes, it's a nice touch
that Mandrake provides autofs (or an equivalent) by default.  Yes, it's
possible for a consumer-oriented Debian distro to do similarly.

Compelling reason to switch distros?  No, IMO.

It would be interesting to see a list of features of Mandrake you feel
increase useability.  There was a long (and heated) discussion of Gentoo
on d-d a few weeks ago.  One point of these discussions:  competition,
and different approaches, are *good*.  Debian's packaging is pushing the
RPM distros hard.  Gentoo's "build from source" has inspired Debian's
apt-src (unstable only).  Knoppix's HW autodetect is likely to influence
the next generation of GNU/Linux installers.  This is a Good Thing[tm].

So...if Mandrake manages to make the new-user experience better, count
the ways.

Debian _does_ aim more toward the technical user.  This doesn't mean
newbies can't use it (the number of people I meet who've run no
GNU/Linux _but_ Debian continues to amaze me).  And there are some
compelling reasons to use Debian, specifically policy and package

I've also tried to reaquaint myself with the legacy MS Windows user
world.  I attended a local PC user group meeting a few weeks back...and,
if we really _do_ want to bring the great unwashed masses aboard the
GNU/Linux wagon, there's a tremendous effort required.

Still, it's possible to poach the bright, enlightened, curious, and
disillusioned, of whom I've seen many.  Too, cherry-picking the clueful
to GNU/Linux is a way of spreading the meme, increasing the support load
on legacy MS Windows, and may help build a reputation of GNU/Linux
having fewer problems (our users are smarter....), at least in theory.

Remember as well, GNU/Linux is about choice, including the choice of
distro to run, or the choice *not* to run GNU/Linux -- there's the
*BSDs, MacOS, and, yes, MS Windows.

> I have seen HUGE strides forward in desktop Linux in the time since
> I've been working with Linux (which was somewhere around mid 2000).
> Mandrake, especially, has changed and improved quite a bit.  While I
> hate to say this on a Debian mailing list, Debian still has quite far
> to go before I would consider recommending it to anyone who does not
> work with computer professionally.  

Most of us here won't view this as a criticism.  The only "zero thought
install" GNU/Linux I'm aware of (Knoppix) is based on Debian.  I tend to
view Debian as more a meta-distribution -- the packages, infrastructure,
and tools necessary to assemble the specific ocnfiguration you want,
whether this is for a single install or an entire sub-distribution --
than as a distribution in the strict sense.  And there are derived
versions -- Libranet, Xandros -- which *are* aimed at the ease-of-use
space.  You'll find these are 99.99% identical to a vanilla Debian
system.  That extra bit of chrome and polish _does_ go a long ways

It's about choice.  If you like what you find here, great.  If you
don't, happy trails.  I _would_ encourage you to understand what it is
that Debian brings to the table, and to realize that there are variants
(compatible with the main Debian project) which do offer what you're
looking for.


Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>        http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
 What Part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?
    The truth behind the H-1B indentured servant scam:

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