Re: newbies needing help for graphic login
It is difficult to know which branch of this thread to re-enter. I'm
happy to have started an interesting discussion, and to hear various
personal histories on the way. But I was initially trying to suggest a
much smaller-scale intervention. I hope you'll all forgive me if I
It is obviously true, as several people have said, that tweaking and
managing a Debian system can require technical skills and time.
However, I have been surprised how often the new installer does succeed
in getting a working system with X-windows and KDE/Gnome. Sometimes
the maximum screen resolution is missing, but at least it runs and boots
reliably. I agree that when this does not work, a newbie is best
advised to begin with a Knoppix/Mepis/Ubuntu/schmoobuntoo install, and
later will be able to migrate to pure Debian. In fact I did this
myself, as Knoppix was the only distro I could find that would operate
all my hardware 'out of the box'.
Now, considering that success is not really unlikely with the new
installer, but that it is oddly easy for a newbie (or even an
experienced user) to fail to select the 'desktop' option and to install
a perfectly good but X-free system, and seeing that this evidently is
happening to a lot of newcomers to Debian, I was suggesting what I
thought was a simple device to offer friendly help to those that fell
into this trap and had no idea how to get out. Any regular on this list
will have no problem with the command line at the end of the install --
we each have our favoured route forward, and know where to look for
information on what we have and have not installed. But an ex-doze or
even an ex-suze user can be completely at a loss when faced with
'myname@thisbox:~$ ' and nothing more.
Hence my suggestion that a special first-time message for the command
line could be used to soften the blow. I do also agree with other
suggestions for making this more unlikely, such as marking 'desktop' for
installation by default, and offering a page of explanation and a choice
of desktops. (BTW, I used to think that Gnome was quite hostile and a
really bad default, but the latest versions are far better IMHO, and not
such an auful default as it used to be. Not that I would ever choose to
use either of the obese twins for my own box any more.)
As to the cases where the X-server cannot be correctly configured by a
newbie, it is difficult to see how the installer can offer more help.
It can hardly be expected to recognise the X-server error messages and
give a message saying "If you are new to this, get a Knoppix disc and
see if it solves your problem."
Or perhaps it could...