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Re: Switching from SuSE

Quoting TyagiAnupam@aol.com <TyagiAnupam@aol.com>:
> 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.

Official SuSE support is for 90 days and only covers installation.
However, there is a very active user e-mail list that is very helpful.
As helpful as this list, with some SuSE employees in an unofficial
capacity.  Up until two weeks ago, I was running SuSE 7.1.  A good
solid release, through since it is two years old, installing new
programs is increasingly a problem.  Now I am running 8.2 beta3 on
this box.  My laptop and server/backup workstation run Debian 3.0.  All
good release.  SuSE tends to be more up to date than Debian and they
also emphasize reliability over bleeding edge features.

SuSE 8.2 is a sizeable change from 7.1.  SuSE 7.1 to Debian is an even
bigger change.

Winmodem support on Linux is always iffy.  It really depends on which chip.

LinkSys support probably will require updating the driver.  The
easiest way to do this is a clean install of a newer release.  I have
had no problems with LinkSys products on Linux.  But I have someone
else's WLAN card.

> 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.

AFAIK, there is no AOL client for Linux.  AOL will work with what ever
LAN connection you have.  The NIC driver is OS specific.  The modem
support is theirs.  You may be able to run the Windows AOL client in
Wine with a TCP/IP LAN connection.  This may require a specific
version of Wine.  As the Wine team fixes one app, they often break
other apps.

> (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.

WLAN support is a problem.  The best idea is to check support before
buying hardware.  SuSE 7.1 and Slackware 4.0 (w/ downloaded and built
drivers) support my WLAN card.  Debian 3.0 does not.  Though I think
with some hacking, I could make it work.  But then, I am a Software

> (4) Good security and virus protection.

This is a combination of both software and configuration.  Debian's
record on security is good, but you can still leave yourself open to
amateur's attacks thru ignorance.  You must educate yourself in this
area.  The first bastion is that access point.  Make sure you keep its
firmware up to date.

There are several virus scanners available for Linux, both free (in
both senses), commercial, and proprietary.  However, integrating them
with AOL may be a problem.

> (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.

You may find that simply upgrading to SuSE 8.2 and joining the
suse-linux-e mailing list may be a better bet.  8.2 is one of SuSE's
best releases.  There is usually a flood of gripes and problems when a
new release comes out.  This time there have been remarkably few.

> 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.

Debian has a wonderful community.  The packaging system is the best
available.  But configuration is more editing of text files and less
GUI programs than SuSE and other commercial distributions.

In my experience, the best support comes from the community, not from
the vendor.  This has been true of Windows, SuSE, Debian, and all the
major applications I have used.


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