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First Debian Installation: totally brain-dead. Where do I go from here?

I decided to build a Linux box instead of emulating Linux using
VM-Ware under Windows. I heard Debian was the way to go. I have
created Red-Hat and Ubuntu Linux boxes in the past with no problems.

This, my very first Debian installation, and it has been a total
nightmare! I created a dual-boot installation on my ancient Gateway
dual-processor workstation as I used to have in the past. This time it
is XP and Debian. I reassigned one full 70-GB SCSI drive previously
formatted with an XP NTFS file system to Linux plus another 5-GB of
swap-space on another physical SCSI drive (for performance). This I
know is OK.

I then followed the instructions on the web-site for installing Debian
with internet connectivity.

The web instructions said burn a minimal CD, and download what you
need from the internet.

1. I downloaded the .iso file, and burnt a bootable-CD (not DVD).
2. I used that CD and installed Debian. I now have a minimal and
totally brain-dead Linux installation.
3. There is no gcc compiler. There is no Firefox web browser.
4. I went back to the Debian web-site for instructions on how to
proceed from here. There were no instructions for how to proceed from
here. Even MinGW on Windows has a minimal Linux working set. How do I
download a file working-set without requesting each file one by one?
5. Right now it seems my only option is using Gatesware Windows to
download an Ubuntu distribution, a distribution that does work, use
the .iso file to create a CD or DVD, and blow away the Debian crap
that does not work.

Any suggestions before I blow Debian away?



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