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Switching from SuSE


I do not yet subscribe to this list, so please copy your reply to my address. I am thinking of switching from SuSE to Debian and have a few questions to find out if Debian is for me---I know in the long-run it is, but can it do a few critical tasks now.

Why switching from SuSE:  I have SuSE 7.1. For most part it works fine, until I want to configure it, get user support (I never used it because I could install and use it by myself, but when I needed them they tell me that my support period expired---thanks!). So, first I ran into Winmodem problems and could not connect to the internet.  Now, I cannot use my Linksys wireless card with it. Without this I am stuck with MS-Win for my internet connectivity. Without this connectivity, I am stuck with my current internet provider that does not support Linux---but why ask them for Linux when I can't use it to connect to internet.  I am willing to upgrade to newer SuSE, buy other distributions (Redhat, Mandrake) if their distributions supports my needs for internet connectivity. But can't find info on this on their website (no reply to my e-mail from Mandrake yet):  they need to hire better business consultants---no point advertising new features, when you bury the information about switching at some obscure place on the website. As Shapiro and Varian write (in "Information Rules")  user-base is key to success in this market---read it, SuSE, Mandrake (Redhat has been doing the readings---but they don't want individual users, only enterprise). If Debian can handle this transition, I will make a contribution equivalent to my purchase of another Linux distribution to Debian project---I would have *subscribed* one of the other Linuxes, so I will subscribe to Debian---continuous flow of funds to support open source, open support.

What I need from Debian immediately: (1) Linksys network card support with Linksys router/access point that is configured with a Win-XP computer.
(2) Preferably Winmodem support, that can hopefully connect to AOL, at least for some time. I know there are issues on AOL side, may be they will give the info needed for connection.
(3) Very little time spent doing system admin, fixing config files, etc. Step-by-step instructions for doing so.  I am mainly a user, and not an administrator---though I can do some if needed, but would like to automate these.  I have already spend way too many hours on winmodem problem and recovering from crashes while building SuSE kernel for linksys wireless LAN.  They have put their own fixes on the kernel, which do not correspond to their sources when building wlan modules, so it fails.
(4) Good security and virus protection.
(5) My computing needs are modest (no gaming, etc.), primarily statistical (with open source software well supported on linux). If I switch, I am likely to stay with a distribution---but because of switching costs that I will have to incur I am posting this message to make sure this will work for me.

I will be thankful for any help with these.  I have been encouraged by some posts in your archive to give Debian a try, and have heard good things about user support on Debian.


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