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Re: goddammit

I understand the need to let off steam. Stuff doesn't work correctly
and you haven't time to waste: it would be very much appreciated if you
could please give us some of the information asked for below. 
Details help in formulating better questions and allowing people to 
narrow in on the problems and help you better/more quickly.
[Some of your message has been wrapped below so that it can be read
on an 80 column screen.]

On Thu, Feb 01, 2007 at 10:16:44PM -0800, Incoming wrote:

> I have been fighting with this damned Debian 3.1 - Sergeant Wolly or some 
> such - and I can't even print.  

OK. Sarge is now ~18 months old. We are hoping to get out a new release 
very soon now. At this stage, it might be worth just upgrading to Etch - 
as others have said - but you may want to hang on until it becomes 
absolutely stable. 

If you're running X windows with a graphical display:

Which desktop environment do you have - KDE (which looks fairly Windows 
like, with a task bar at the bottom) or Gnome (task bar at the top).

Which make/model printer do you have? 

Do you know if it would work under Windows but just doesn't work here?

> I have also installed JRE, but I haven't found out how to connect it 
> to Firefox.

Where did you install the JRE from - which website/url or was it already
packaged for Debian?

> I can't downlosd from my digital camera.

Make/model? Does it have a USB connection to download data / Firewire / 
does it write to removable digital media?

> I can only play a few of the video formats out on the web.  
> There doesn't seem to be any one that will play them all, or, failing 
> that, convert to a format that will play on what I have (Totem, 
> RealPlayer which doesn't really work).

Unfortunately, many of the formats are subject to patents or whatever: 
some are completely closed source formats. Can you detail some of the 
formats that do or don't work? Decoders and players for some multimedia 
formats are available from sites other than the main Debian site.

> Every time I go looking for solutions I wind up going in circles and 
> drowning in a mass of half-baked how-to's and advice on how to run 
> files that no longer exist or led from one useless document to 
> another as I RTFM.  ... I need a complete operating system and not 
> some ill-fitting patches.

/usr/share/doc/ is a good place to start on a Debian machine.

www.debianhelp.org / www.debianhelp.co.uk / 
www.debian-administration.org / www.debianadmin.com

may all be good Web places to start. You do have a complete operating 
system: your problem is that you are unfamiliar with it and where to 
find information on it.

> Before anyone decides to engage in infantile gibberish, otherwise 
> known as rants or flames, don't waste my time.

You have posted to the list in good faith: the least that can be done is 
to treat you with respect and politeness. Debian does have something of 
a reputation for pointless flamewars, usually between developers, but a
user query merits a considered, hopefully a helpful response.
> What I really want to know is why this is so difficult to put together 
> and how it can be done without me becoming a systems engineer.  Not 
> that I'd mind, it's just that, currently, I just don't have the time.
[The paragraph below is true, incidentally.]

I spent much of last weekend reinstalling a Windows system. Windows XP 
doesn't come with anti-virus software or a firewall, I had to download 
a huge download of Service Pack 2 just to get updates. It didn't support 
my new video card in greater than 16 colours at 640 x 480 or my sound 
card at all unless I could find driver disks or could connect to the 
'Net. It didn't support my printer automatically even though it was 
plugged in - and then I had to go off to untrusted non-Microsoft third 
party sites to get Firefox, Adobe PDF, Flash and Shockwave plugins and then 
off to Real to get Realplayer. It needed 14 reboots 'til it was ready.

Many users find life hard enough installing anti-virus software and 
keeping it up to date. A vanishingly small percentage of users have ever 
set up Windows from scratch: I know of system administrators and MCSE's 
who don't touch their networks because they daren't. It is hard - but it 
is getting easier to install Linux and have it working and doing what you 
want it to do. 



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