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Re: Help!

On Fri, 9 Sep 2005 08:39:58 -0400
Hendrik Boom <hendrik@pooq.com> wrote:

> > The point is, the playing field isn't fair.  Since a user's computer 
> > already comes with Windows, they MUST go through an installation process 
> > to install Debian.  The idea is to make that installation process as 
> > easy as possible to facilitate the switch--it's really less about the 
> > philosophical viewpoint of user laziness and about the reality of the 
> > current situation.  Why do you think they make those "restore cds" that 
> > come with computers?
> To keep people from installing it in an even slightly different
> configuration.  It's quite difficult in practoce to get a real
> Windows install disk with a new laptop.

It's not that uncommon for one of the restore disk to say 'Windows XP
installation disk' and actually be a Windows disk.

But that assumes that the maker of the laptop is not fleecing their
customers by stuffing everything onto a restore partition on the hard
drive, omitting the restore disk, and then requiring the customer to
pay $50 bucks to get restore disks if the hard drive fails, or the
restore partition is damaged by virus, spyware, stupidity, etc...

If you can find a place that gets bare bones laptops and puts the
stuff you want into it or is in some other way custom ordered
without all the crap of the large OEMs, that would be preferred.

On the more general topic of the Debian installer, it is a work in
progress and more could be done to make it easier for people who
just want to use the computer to get things done without having to
get a computer science degree.


I just went through an installation and at the stage where it asked
I chose Desktop as the installation type and additionally selected
that I want to choose packages to install. The X Windows System was
already selected for installation along with GDM and a variety of
Gnome and KDE stuff and I was taken through the configuration of the
X server and the MTA and I got a GDM login when I was done.

On the one hand newbies will probably find it a bit much, on the
other hand looking at the defaults and the options a newbie is likely
to choose it is not that hard to arrive at a working installation
assuming it is not thwarted by incompatible hardware, on the third
hand you never know what users are going to do and when they will
stray from the defaults and spiral down the road to a failed or
incomplete installation.

There was a lot of improvement in the installer and I have no doubt
that will continue, so I don't have any major complaints as far as ease
of installation goes.

What I see as the biggest failing is in not providing a Desktop-light
selection for people who have older machines with slower processors
and/or less memory. 

Damn Small Linux provides a good option for these older machines, but
it is semi limited by the fact that it's developers want to keep
the .iso under 50 MB.

Later, Seeker

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