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Re: Debian, Knoppix, and other varients


Krikket (<krikket@gothpoodle.com>) wrote:

> This recent thread on Knoppix took me by surprise.  From my point of
> view, it has out-performed the other Linuxes in one way or another.  
> (My problem with the standard Debian install is with configuring the 
> kernel.  At this point, I just don't get it.  I need to learn a lot 
> more before I can do that part on my own.)

In that case skip the kernel configuration. You can install the base
system and boot it. Later you can tell the system which drivers to load
for network cards, sound cards, usb controllers and the apm bios.
Install the discover package, normally it can tell you about your
hardware and which drivers you need. If you use PCI cards it should be
sufficient to add the names of the drivers to /etc/modules without
additional parameters. I think discover can also run at boot time and
load the drivers for you. Install etherconf to configure your network
card after loading the driver.

> Besides, I don't see why I should have to go through hell just to get
> a system running.  I want something that's simple to use.  Enough so,
> that I can have confidence in reccomending it to my friends.  (In this 
> case, coworkers who are also in the technical-support department of my 
> company.) We want something that just works.  We have a technical 
> clue, but don't feel that you should be required to be a "real 
> programmer" to install an OS.  (See the Jargon file, if needed.)  
> What took me by surprise, when I started poking around with Knoppix is
> that it uses a number of different branches off the tree.  To get
> gnome running, I had to use *experimental*.  But it is running, and 
> without a problem.  (Although not enough time has passed for me to 
> determine how truly stable it is.  Only a few days so far.) 

Knoppix uses software from all branches of Debian: stable, testing,
unstable and experimental. This means it is nearly possible to turn
Knoppix into Debian stable, supplying you with security updates and so
on. In the end, if you want to upgrade or install additional software,
you probably end up using unstable. Or you stay with the program
versions in Knoppix. If you don't have a fast internet connection, It
will be difficult to install new software or keep the system up to

> But as there are some pretty strong opinions on this subject.  So I
> figure rather than just listen to people shit-can/defend my recent
> choice, I'd ask for some input from those who have been slamming
> Knoppix.
> What would you suggest as an alternative?  I've heard calls for
> Morphix, but that's a derivitive of Knoppix.
> Lindows has horrible defaults.  (Everything is run as root.)
> LibraNet looks good, but I don't want to pony up some cash until I
> know which branch it's based on.  Similar difficulties with Mepis and
> Xandros.
> What am I looking for in my OS?  Ease of use, and then stability.  I
> can deal with some unstability on my desktop, but it's less acceptable
> on my server.  So the equations are probably reversed for the server.

Don't use Knoppix or Debian testing/unstable on servers, especially if
they are available to the public.

> So, if we take it as a given that Knoppix is so evil, what do people
> reccomend?

I think all of the Live-CD-Systems have the same problems with hard disk
installations Knoppix does.

There are also non-Debian based distributions that are easy to use, have
hardware detection, offer security updates and the option to upgrade to
latest versions. Mandrake for example. Yes, I know: It does not offer
the same amount of software for free like Debian does, but it should be
sufficient for most newbies. I used it for about one and a half years
before I switched to Debian.

And please remember: I think Knoppix is a great system when run from CD.
I also think it is absolutely okay for someone to install it on his
hard disk if he knows what he is doing. But everyone who recommends it
to someone who is absolutely new to Linux (or even computers) to
install it on his hard disk because he thinks it is the easiest and
most painless way to get a running Linux system should think twice.

best regards
        Andreas Janssen

Andreas Janssen
PGP-Key-ID: 0xDC801674
Registered Linux User #267976

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