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Two Thumbs Down for Debian

Today I setup Linux for one of my friends.  He had heard that Linux had become fairly useful and wanted to try OpenOffice.

Well guess what Linux distribution he ordered and wanted me to setup?  You guessed it, Debian.

There's nothing "wrong" with Debain in general, its just that the setup asks too many questions, involves too many tasks and wants to know too much information.  It makes you think and do too much for a setup program. 

I used to enjoy compiling the kernel and going through a linux install, but now it's kinda boring.  I just want the darn thing to install.  Know what I'm saying?

In the end I just installed RedHat for him.  Smooth installation, everything worked the first time, no cryptic and annoying questions.  I can't tell you how pleased I am with RedHat.

Maybe if I get some time, I'll mess around with Debian.  I'm not new to installing Linux, been doing it since '93-'94, it's just that if you're looking for something where you can click next, next, next... done, use RedHat.

Unfortunately, I hear RedHat Standard Version is being discontinued.  That's a shame really, it seems to be a great product. 

Now how many folks out there actually still recompile the linux kernel?  I do it every once in a blue moon, just to see what's changed, but in general I try to avoid it now.

The Sad Man, Behind Blue Eyes
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

I've said it once:
http://discuss.fogcreek.com/joelonsoftware/default.asp?cmd=show&ixPost=84821&ixReplies=14

I've said it twice:
http://discuss.fogcreek.com/joelonsoftware/default.asp?cmd=show&ixPost=97347&ixReplies=44

And I'll say it once again:

Try one of the debian-based distrubtions instead of just debian.  They are way easier to install, come with a nice simple setups, and are otherwise pure debian.

I recommend Libranet which you can download from http://www.libranet.com/

Also, I Lycoris desktop/lx is also debian based. http://www.lycoris.com/products/desktoplx/ -- you can download it from linuxiso.org

Of course, you can also install Lindows (also debian-based)...

Enjoy,

Almost Anonymous
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

I am a relative Linux novice, but have installed a bunch of distros to experiment and just to increase my knowledge.
In the past I found the same thing with Debian, so I usually go back to Red Hat.

However a few weeks ago I wanted to try something out and I wanted the most basic stripped down install I could do (with the CDs I currently had). So I did just a basic install of Debian, and said no to both the configuration packages at the end. When I was done I just had a command prompt and a network connection. Then I used apt-get to just install what I wanted. It was the easiest Linux install I'd ever done, and probably the quickest.

Damian
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

For a Windows user, Lindows is definitely hands down the easiest distro not only to install (two questions?), but also the easiest and most consistent to use.

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

I can't imagine an install and operation being simpler and smoother than Mandrake. Well, perhaps they could send someone out to change the CDs in your drive.

Dennis Forbes
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

I've been plinking around with Debian lately.  I started with Libranet, and I agree that's a good intro (PGI was OK too).  Later I used the new only-in-testing installer from Debian itself:

http://www.debian.org/devel/debian-installer/

which worked pretty well for me.  Got one repeating menu question that I cancelled out of (IIRC), and I think I had to use the "challenging" fdisk to partition my drive.  Anyway, it was hardly an ordeal, no worse than installing Windows.  And you can start right at "unstable" if you want to.

I have never used the installer everyone hates.  I don't recommend anyone use that one.  :)

Did you play around with apt-get (and synaptic)?  That's why I'm going to stick with Debian, and I suspect that is the draw for a lot of other folks too.  You've already seen what's widely acknowledged as sucky about Debian; be sure to give the cool stuff a chance too.

Matt Conrad
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

"I have never used the installer everyone hates.  I don't recommend anyone use that one.  :)"

I just used it the other day (I had a machine that Libranet wouldn't install onto) and it's not evil, it's just useless.  It's not so much an installer as it is a tool for you to all the install-time things, yourself. 

I liked one of the suggestions above about just using it to get a base system and then apt-get everything.  I might try that.  Also, I'm downloading the new debian installer.

I recently got a new computer so all the old computers are moving around the house.  I'm thinking of putting all the pieces together to build one massive server/firewall.

My current server/firewall runs a debian distribution called Stormix that went out of business a LONG LONG time ago.  It's a testament to debian that the machine is still up to date!

Almost Anonymous
Wednesday, February 04, 2004

I second the suggestion to use the installer only for the base system. Then you can use tasksel to install KDE and/or Gnome, and apt-get for everything else.

Instead of apt-get you can also use aptitude. It has a full screen interface, but I mostly use its command line interface, which is very similar to apt-get's. The advantage is that aptitude keeps track of packages that are only installed to fulfill a dependency on something else. For example: if you install package A and it depends on package B, both get installed, just the same as apt-get). When you remove A, aptitude checks that A was the only packages depending on B, and removes B if it is no longer needed.

Roel Schroeven
Wednesday, February 04, 2004

For the OP that bemoaned about the discontinuation of Red Hat -- Fear not:

http://fedora.redhat.com/

I installed Core 1, and with a few exceptions, everything was smooth sailing.  Red Hat is a genius on doing Fedora for free -- get everything tested with as wide of an audience as possible, in order to be able to include with their Enterprise system.  Core 2 will be using Linux 2.6, which will be mighty sweet, especially if the AMD64 gets out of Test quickly enough.

Fedora is a godsend, especially with me coming out of Gentoo Hell.  :)  All those hours wasted figuring things out when I just want to get things going.

-T.J.

T.J.
Wednesday, February 04, 2004

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