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Re: Overwhelmed newbie

Angelo Bertolli wrote:
Andy Streich wrote:

On Friday 16 September 2005 12:55 pm, Kjetil Kjernsmo wrote:
Most importantly, this is _debian_-user.  If you want to advocate
other distributions willy-nilly, it's not the place.

That kind of isolationism is something I think you will find very little support for in the free software community. I think most people will agree that we want to direct people to what is best for them.

I am also an overwhelmed newbie, one who could not have been using Debian for the last 9 months without the kind (and sometimes terse and abrupt) help from people on this list. It takes a remarkable amount of dedication and time to become comfortable configuring a desktop Debian system on a machine with modest resources where you can't run KDE or GNOME without a significant performance problem. The choice of window managers for a desktop systems is, to really go out on a limb, fairly important. The best advice I've gotten is that I should just start installing and trying out all the others. That's not too appealing but I accept the reality.

I keep staring at my Ubuntu disks and wondering if I should switch horses. Yet I can't begin to estimate the costs involved -- in terms of my time and in the quality and maintainability of the resulting system. Would a few months of using Ubuntu cause me to come running back to Debian? I have no idea.

Any pointers to useful reading material would be appreciated.
IMHO you can contribute something that may be very valuable: feedback on what exactly is difficult to newbies about Debian. Every time I see someone post, I really have to wonder what is it that seems different about Debian. I think a list of things that are difficult from people who aren't already intimate with Debian or Linux in general would be a great boon to the community. That's not to say to expect all those things to magically go away, but I for one would like to know.

My experience on #debian suggests, in no particular order:
o Not using stable and can't fix broken packages.
o Compiling the kernel when there is no need.
o Moaning that stable doesn't contain the latest whizz-bang KDE, Gnome, etc.
o Having ten different backports and wondering why their packages conflict.
o Reading non-Debian ways of doing things and making life unnecessarily hard e.g. trying to download and install source instead of using apt. This is reflective of the fact that these days, people just google and don't think about the credentials of the site that google leads them to.
o Not knowing that SATA install support is better with linux26.
o Not knowing how to configure X and ALSA.
o Typing commands and not knowing what they do.
o Not reading man pages or /usr/share/doc/<packagename>
o Wanting to be "breastfed" with answers, aka laziness. Ironically, the distro that allows sysadmins to sit back and put their feet up ;-) requires a lack of laziness to learn it. Debian is surely not for these people.

My understanding is that Debian welcomes patches from anybody who can improve the documentation situation on the www.debian.org. The Debian Reference is a good start but could be so much better.

Perhaps those of you who have your own howtos and guides (e.g. Clive M) would consider rolling this information into Debian?

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