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Re: how/where to ask questions about dpkg/APT and tools?

Tom Roche wrote:
> My dpkg/APT knowledge/skills need to go from near-beginner to at least
> intermediate-level fairly quickly, but I have lots questions. Where
> to go (e.g., what forums, lists, IRCs, other sites) to ask them?

If you are asking about using APT then this list debian-user is
probably the best place.  If you are asking about creating packages
for dpkg/apt then debian-mentors is a better place for packaging

> This worked well, because I kept up-to-date and because ubuntu shielded
> me from massive breakage. However it does require (more or less)
> periodic reinstalls;

Please remember that Ubuntu is not Debian.

In Debian there is a high value placed upon the ability to upgrade
systems.  I had systems that were originally installed using Potato
upgraded through Etch.  I currently still have systems originally
installed with Woody and now running Squeeze.

However the ability to upgrade does depend upon how much finger poking
into the system the local admin has done.  I can show you very quickly
how to take a stock system and immediately break it so severely that
it should not be upgraded.  But if you play by the rules then upgrades
forever are perfectly reasonable.

When someone says they needed to re-install a Debian system I
immediately think one of two things.  1) They broke their own system
by doing something nasty.  Or 2) They didn't realize that they should
have upgraded.

Having said all of that I will say that Squeeze is the lowest quality
upgrade of any of the Debian releases I have worked through so far.  I
am hoping that Wheezy will reverse that trend.

> Yesterday I installed LMDE

I know very little about Mint.

> However I currently
> - have 69 broken packages (per `aptitude`)

Why are the packages broken?  No, don't tell me!  Tell it to a Mint
user mailing list.  This mailing list is for discussion of Debian.
Let's talk about Debian things here.

> I suspect getting out of this hole quickly will require more knowledge
> of APT and its tools than I currently have, so I'm trying to learn the
> interactive `aptitude` via its tutorial
> http://algebraicthunk.net/~dburrows/projects/aptitude/doc/en/index.html

I have only very sparingly played with the aptitude interactive
interface.  Not liking it very much I have stuck with apt-get.  If you
like the interactive interface then that is great.  But don't think
that is the only way to go.

> * Are there places to ask questions that specialize in APT and its tools?
>   Esp that are kind to the less advanced practitioner ?-)
> * Is this list a good place for APT questions? It's pretty high-volume,
>   and debian is a much broader topic than APT, but if it's the best
>   thing available, I can cope.

Right here in debian-user.  Where I am sure you will get many
recommendations some of which complement each other and some of which
will conflict with each other.  That is the nature of people when you
get a number of them together talking about something.  :-)

> * Since I'm an LMDE user, should I just stay on its forum?

Debian has officially recognized Mint.


But I don't think that is enough to say that Mint *is* Debian.  And if
it isn't then if you are going to use Mint then I think you should ask
Mint specific questions within Mint venues.  After all this is a
Debian mailing list.  That just seems fair play to me.  You wouldn't
go into a GM shop and ask them about your Ford car would you?  Or if
you did you would expect that if the details get too specific they
would say, take it to a Ford shop for Ford expertise?

>   I suspect my concerns are more generic (i.e., applicable to debian and
>   any derived distros, not just LMDE), but I Could Be Wrong.

If you keep it generic then that should be fine.  But as soon as you
go "but in Mint it has been patched to behave like so" then I would
call foul on it. :-)


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