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Bug#720989: www.debian.org: unexperienced users fail to download installation media especially for usb drives



Package: www.debian.org
Severity: normal
Control: blocks -1 by 575760

The question of how to download installation media for Debian is a
recurring question on ask.debian.net:

http://ask.debian.net/questions/what-image-do-i-download
http://ask.debian.net/questions/problem-installing-with-mini-iso
http://ask.debian.net/questions/iso-files-on-download-site
http://ask.debian.net/questions/i-can-t-download-any-kind-of-debian-installers
http://ask.debian.net/questions/what-about-all-those-dvds

I didn't believe this to be a problem until it came up repeatedly. Then
I started doing user interface testing by tasking clueless users to
install Debian. Here is my results from two of those sessions:

In both sessions the users immediately skipped all links containing "CD"
or "DVD", because the target hardware was not capable of handling such
media. It was only much later that they realized that these images is
actually what they needed. Updating the name or adding a short
explanation for USB would improve this situation a lot.

One user was overwhelmed by the available choices and figured that he'd
need to read the installation manual and quickly found the relevant
link. Great. Only then he had no clue about which architecture to
choose. The list is given without any explanations. Some guidance such
as "if unsure choose amd64", would help a lot. This sub-issue is also
known as #575760.

He was then confused by the detail of the installation manual. When
looking for how to equip his usb media he found explanations on what usb
media is (section 2.4.2). He did not expect this low level of
explanations after being required to do the architecture selection.

A few times he was amused and confused by the German translation and
wording. "Spiegel" (mirror) is not a widely used word neither in the
technical nor the non-technical communities. The language used appeared
unusual to him.

The other user was well aware of what architectures are. However when he
clicked on the relevant architecture from
http://www.debian.org/distrib/netinst he was confused about the
directory listing at
http://ftp.nl.debian.org/debian/dists/wheezy/main/installer-amd64/current/images/,
because he didn't remember to read the MANIFEST file.

All these issues show that obtaining installation media for Debian is a
non-trivial task. I hope that this report can help with improving the
situation.

Helmut


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