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Re: Learning debian Linux

You know, Debian users need to get over this "commercial distribution" fobia. You are all on the same side. I haven't been reading this list for a couple of months now, and when I signed up again, the first thing I read is another rant about RedHat. It's getting pretty boring.

Debian works for me. For other people, Mandrake, or SuSe, or RedHat or Slackware, or Knoopix, or Gentoo might be better. I don't bother them about their choice, but try to be a good Linux user to them. And I try to recommend distribution depending on what they want to do with their system and how comfortable they are with computers.

Remember, it's libre not gratis.

Well put. When I first starting using Linux, a friend of mine helped me install debian. I don't want to necessarily say it was a huge mistake, but it was at the time. Because Debian was so damned hard to use and there was not a good office program (OOo was pre-1.0 and the filters sucked), I ended up back with Win98, then 2k, and finally XP. Last year, I finally had the time and resources to play with Linux again and built myself a box, finally installing Mandrake. Why Mandrake? It was an easy install to get me where I needed to be.

When I started playing with and tweaking, Mandrake wasn't enough and I harkened back to those few months when I actually had debian working and remembered how easy it was to upgrade/update and tweak. I installed debian and have loved it ever since.

About 6 months ago, I obtained a laptop and put Mandrake on it, again, because it was easy and I was unsure of the laptop. Because I was used to the debian way, I hated Mandrake, but it was an easy install. I got so fed up one day that I popped in a Knoppix CD. I thought about my options and did an HD install on a 4 gb partition (on a 10 GB hdd), leaving /home/ intact and formatting a couple of other partitions. When Knoppix rebooted, I moved /home/ back to it's previous partition, set up /var/ and then uninstalled all the crap that said "knoppix-" or "knx-". It wasn't easy, I ended up having to copy a file from my Linux box and putting it in place by hand. Total time to install/de-knoppix-ize: about 2.5 hours. Bonus: everything was configured. Double bonus: I had a debian system (which, I will say, still would not be properly configured).

The point, you ask? There are multiple ways of going about things. Mandrake is still Linux, and for newbies, Mandrake, SuSE, or RedHat are really the only way to go. What do I envision as the next step? Managing to get knoppix on a harddrive and then remove all the knoppix/knx packages (which are good for a CD distro, not for a hd install). Actually, when I purchase a new laptop in a few months, that's what I intend to do. I'll be damned if it's not easy. And really, to get Linux on a desktop, we don't need more packages, we need easier setup and configuration. In my experience, that's where Mandrake and Knoppix far exceed a traditional boot floppy or debian cd install. If the individual has progressed in their Linux experience to a point where they are comfortable setting up everything using dpkg or by hand, then that's fine. But, most of us don't have that time or knowledge. That's why Mandrake exists and so many people use it.


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