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Re: Learning debian Linux

Christian Schnobrich wrote:

On Thu, 2003-11-20 at 12:43, ben wrote:

first, whoever wrote that debian is the best choice for a novice was
smoking out of the wrong end of his pipe. more competent commentators
have said that it's not necessarily the linux to start with, but the one
to end up with. very few tend to go with debian from the start, which
doesn't mean you shouldn't give it a go. i'm sure there must be some
here who did stick with it from the first try.

Me :)
After a false start with Suse, I chose Debian because I not only wanted
to have a running Linux, but also wanted to have a certain level of
understanding what is going on in the box.
While auto-configuration may be a good thing, I found it to come along
with a certain mother-knows-best attitude that was not suitable to help
me with my goals. And the way you have to configure everything through
Yast, an "open this, click there, chose that" sort of configuration that
was so painfully similar to the OS I wanted to leave...

To cut a long tale short, Debian was far more suitable for my approach
to Linux. And while I wouldn't recommend it to any stranger, I'd like to
point out that it is a perfectly suitable distro to start with for
people who are not only willing but _eager_ to learn.

You need to get a good book or two, though. My personal recommendation
would be Paul Sheer's "Rute user's tutorial and exposition". I came
across this one rather late, but it is the book I'd like to have had
when I started.


So did I...
Well, to be honest, I tried several. About one year ago, I started with 'Slackware', which wasn't the best choice. Some told me to go for Redhat or Suse, others tried to convince to try Debian. So, I started with Debian, had some trouble, tried Redhat, didn't like it, tried Suse, had too much troubles with console issues and I returned to Debian. And yeah... I'm very satisfied. I agree with Christian, being that it is certainly not a bad choice to start with Debian; but I think 'willing' to learn might be enough ;). Anyway, my knowledge and understanding of computers is largely enhanced, and basically, it is not that difficult. It's just a matter of reading, learning and understanding here. I have a book about Linux, but I hardly ever use/used it. Most documentation is somewhere on the web anyway. Well, actually, I'm planning to buy a book about server administration etc, just because I'm starting to run some servers here (yes, really, starting with Linux and one year later, you just set up some quite secure servers). So, my opinion, it's certainly not a very big deal to start and use Debian. I'm not saying that you will have an optimal performance of everything (I had trouble setting up my geforce2 card. I used a 'vesa' driver for my screen, which doesn't give any trouble, the save solution, I guess). I had nvidia installed and working, and now, while upgrading and installing new Linux kernels etc, I spoiled it and I'm back using the 'vesa' driver. It works, and one day, I'll have my geforce2 card running again). I largely understand what's going on. Oh yeah, maybe one final note, most configuration is also done very easy, or it is very well explained (in Debian docs) what you should do to config different things. Moreover, once your system is up and running (and you don't spoil it like I do once in a while by experimenting too much), installation and upgrading of new software, packages, ... is really a piece of cake. I really like Debian.


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