Linked by Eugenia Loli on Wed 3rd Sep 2003 11:38 UTC, submitted by ladislav
Debian and its clones Debian is not quite like any other distro out there. If bigger is better, then Debian wins hands down. Aside from having the largest collection of free software packages, Debian also runs on 11 platforms. But there is more to Debian than just size. Travel writer and recent Debian convert Robert Storey tackles the whole installation procedure head on and gives his report.
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Debian isn't worth my time
by Anonymous on Wed 3rd Sep 2003 12:08 UTC

Debian isn't worth my time, setting up apt and actually finding the correct packages, and mroe or less being about to download them without dependency issues is not worth my time.

Re: Debian isn't worth my time
by DoctorPepper on Wed 3rd Sep 2003 12:10 UTC

Troll Alert!!!

Actually, setting up apt is very simple, and apt takes care of all your dependency issues.

Debian rules
by tonywobbly on Wed 3rd Sep 2003 12:13 UTC

Debian rules and it is the best distro out there. I have tried every distro only to come back to Debian in the end.
Long live Debian!

Taiwan?
by Corey on Wed 3rd Sep 2003 12:19 UTC

IS this the Robert Storey who lives in Taiwan? Coool. Hi from Taipei.

Good Article
by DoctorPepper on Wed 3rd Sep 2003 12:19 UTC

I started using Debian sometime around April of this year (2003). My reasoning was, I wanted to use a Linux distribution that I didn't have to worry about filing bankrupcy, going out of business and leaving me high-and-dry. Up to that point, I had been using mostly Mandrake Linux on my workstations, and liked it quite well.

It took me probably five or six installs before I felt comfortable with the install procedure. After that, I have found Debian's installation to be quite simple. It only looks hard the first couple of times ;-)

I'm now running Debian Unstable on my workstation, database server, and an old Pentium 120 notebook (it runs fine, thank you very much). I have found Debian to be quite stable (even using the Unstable branch!), and have not had to reboot any of my systems due to an OS error or crash.

I have even corrupted a couple of my friends into using Debian. They are usually a little wary of the install (Debian's install has quite a reputation), but apt-get always wins them over.

I hear a lot of people complain that Debian's packages are old. This is mostly true of the Stable branch, if you run the Unstable branch, the packages are pretty much just as bleeding-edge as any other mainstream Linux distribution.

For any Linux users out there that want to see a real bleeding-edge Debian-based distribution, look no further than KNOPPIX, which is pretty much as bleeding-edge as you can get. As a matter of fact, while I'm typing in this comment, I'm also using cdrecord on my Debian workstation to burn copies of the latest KNOPPIX ISO to disc for our next Linux User's Group meeting ;-)

no automatic install
by velko on Wed 3rd Sep 2003 12:32 UTC

The autor mentions that debian runs on 11 architectures. The intention is to have the same system with the same capabilities no matter which hardware you use. And therefore writing an automated installer which supports all architecutres is a hard (if not impossible) task.

So not having an easy installer is not that bad - uniformity is important.

nice article
by dr_gonzo on Wed 3rd Sep 2003 13:13 UTC

if only i had read this when i was trying to install woody a few months ago. i managed to install it in the end, it took me about a month though to get it set up as a desktop system (ie, getting my winmodem to work, getting x to work, getting printing to work, getting cd burning to work, etc etc)

Still though, i learned alot about linux and now i can at least know where to start looking if somwthing starts going wrong.

I'd advise people to install libranet or look at morphix/knoppix if they were interested in linux.

Libranet
by Arend on Wed 3rd Sep 2003 13:26 UTC

Hi,
I'm also a big fan of Debian. Apt really rocks, especially
if you use it trough aptitude.
If you want an easy-to-install Debian, try Libranet.
Their v2.7 is available for free download and it has
a very nice installer.
It is more friendly to the unexperieced user then Woody is, because of it's system administration menu, which is not as sexy as YAST, but it does a fine job.

:P
by . on Wed 3rd Sep 2003 13:32 UTC

Gonna get this out of the way now, to save other Gentoo Zealots like myself the trouble.

Portage r0x0rs.

Re: :P
by sjlinux on Wed 3rd Sep 2003 13:48 UTC

Gentoo is a nice Distro, but it is extremely difficult to find an ISO that works properly. I have tried twice now, and both the 1.4_rc3 and the 1.4 final CDs had problems. Not that Linux shouldn't have problems, but Debian is tried and true.

Debian unstable ???
by elmo on Wed 3rd Sep 2003 13:52 UTC

I have used Debian and Knoppix for a while and am now using Redhat 9 with Ximian. Actually the only reason why i use redhat is because of the ximian desktop, which personally i think is fantastic. redcarpet does a very good job in terms of updates and software installation, however i dread the day i want to upgrade to redhat x, i think i really will miss debian then. anybody any experiences with the vanilla gnome under debian unstable in terms of usability and stability (compared to ximian gnome - such a shame that ximian stopped to support debian with XD2, otherwise i would definetely go for Debian!!!)

What about dselect and install adds the CDs?
by Mark on Wed 3rd Sep 2003 14:11 UTC

The article is pretty good but there are a couple of things that are easier done than reported.

(1) Why would you manually add the 6 CDs using "apt-cdrom -d /cdrom add" when this is taken care of by the installation program? (it asks for adding the CDs)

(2) If you use the command line every time you apt-get something then you're constantly inserting CDs, but if you run dselect after tasksel when the install program asks, then you only insert them twice. (once to add the package lists to apt {as in (1) above} and once to get the packages after tasksel and dselect selection)

Too much hassle
by Ronald on Wed 3rd Sep 2003 14:12 UTC

I think all the technical details would be way too much hassle for me. I just want to install it, use some graphical configuration tools to finish it off and then be done with it, just use the stuff and be creative. Why?

1) Computers are, well, computers: they can compute. So let them figure out all things that can be figured out by computations! In this regard, I think the GUI is still in its infancy (yes, OS X too.)
2) My computer is my tool, it accelerates some of the tasks I want to do or provides a substrate to work with. I want to use it, not to be enslaved by its restrictions or maintenance.

So Debian is absolutely nothing for me but I can understand that some people prefer it. As for Gentoo, I think it's a total waste of time and energy to compile a whole software system for every individual computer. What is the gain?

nice article, thanks!
by johnG on Wed 3rd Sep 2003 14:17 UTC

He might've mentioned:

- that there's actually two parts to the install: the first part strangly-named "boot-floppies", and the 2nd part called base-config.

- the "Configure Device Drivers Modules" portion of the install can be run again later as root by running modconf.

- He neglects to mention that you should definitely skip dselect (directly after using tasksel).

Also, in the post-install portion of the article:

- he describes using apt-cdrom even though you automatically get promted for that during the install procedure (ie. you never have to actually type in the apt-cdrom command).

- He shows how to manually configure an ethernet card, when you should probably just do it with `dpkg-reconfigure etherconf' (you probably have to `apt-get install etherconf' to get this to work).

Finally, he install X but no window manager. I suggest `apt-get install icewm'.

Again, great article. Looking forward to Part 2. ;)

Knoppix as an installer
by theARE on Wed 3rd Sep 2003 14:17 UTC

I Installed my debian system using knoppix's knx-hdinstall script copies everything to your hard disk and only asks a few simple questions along the way. You do have to do some post install configuration, but all the hardware, X, software etc is set up for you. Best, least hassle free way of installing debian.

Debian is fantastic
by LAsuit on Wed 3rd Sep 2003 14:31 UTC

I'm writing this comment on a Debian machine. I have two others. They work great. Installs, IMHO, are far easier than on rpm distros. The number of pacakages is unrivalled by any other distro. And Debian does not have a "commercial" vendor ax to grind. Long live Debian.

Excellent article
by Eu on Wed 3rd Sep 2003 14:35 UTC

Great article. We need more people like this guy in the Linux community.

Thanks.

RE: Knoppix as an installer
by Rudo on Wed 3rd Sep 2003 14:36 UTC

It's the best, least hassle free way of installing a Debian mixed with other things (I remember reading that a lot of stuff was tweaked in there). I would be careful if you do that - Knoppix is not really meant to run from hard disk.

Re: :P
by axiom on Wed 3rd Sep 2003 15:02 UTC

I have to agree; Gentoo's portage is extremely flexible, complete, up-to-date and most of all, a simple cmdline interface.

The day that Gentoo stops working so well is the day I look at another distro; me thinks that day will never come.

RE: Knoppix as an installer
by JCooper on Wed 3rd Sep 2003 15:21 UTC

If you're a Gnome die hard fan like me, then the hard disk installation using Morphix is flawless..well..apart from having to modify a user file here and there, and for some reason the link on the desktop to home, and finally changing the contents of the apt sources list.

Apart from the minor errors (which weren't hard to fix - I'm a noob) I can say the morphix installer leaves you with a very stable debian. Plus, you're only an apt-get install away from the latest Evolution, Open Office, Nautilus, Epiphany, Firebird, Gaim etc etc etc...

Network installation doesn't look debian like
by Daniel Stirnimann on Wed 3rd Sep 2003 15:23 UTC

> I create /etc/init.d/ethernet with this content:
> #! /bin/sh
> ifconfig eth0 192.168.0.2 netmask 255.255.255.0 up
>
> And then issue the command:
> update-rc.d ethernet defaults

I think the debian way is to edit /etc/network/interfaces (Package ifupdown). That said the configuration would look something like this:
...
auto eth0
iface eth0 inet static
address 192.168.0.2
netmask 255.255.255.0
gateway 192.168.0.1

To apply the settings simply type:
/etc/init.d/network restart

Daniel

Debian rules!
by Ronald on Wed 3rd Sep 2003 15:31 UTC

I like Debian.

with Redhat rumours
by Anonymous on Wed 3rd Sep 2003 15:39 UTC

i thought i read that redhat was going to stop the consumer version of redhat (10 is in beta right now)...and only selling advanced server/workstation.

if this is true...then Debian will be my next choice.

an error about "apt-get remove emacs21"
by carlos on Wed 3rd Sep 2003 15:45 UTC

Apparently, "apt-get remove emacs21" would remove only emacs21 and packages which depend on it, such as auctex and flim.
It wouldn't uninstall other unneeded or orphaned packages. It could be done by another more advanced tool -- aptitude.

This article is the best "how to" I have ever read to install Debian. I have tried 2 or 3 times to install Debian and failed. I always end of going back to RedHat, Mandrake, SUSE ...
I also tried to install Gentoo for about 2 months and failed. Again, I went back to RedHat...
However, armed with this article, I am going to try Debian again. I think it is the best distro out there.
Wish me luck!!

re: redhat rumours
by dubhthach on Wed 3rd Sep 2003 16:00 UTC

Redhat are stopping selling shrink wrapped (boxed) versions of their standard distro. you'll still be able to download the iso's off the net.
if anything they are trying to move towards a more community based setup, renaming the standard distro to the
"Redhat Linux Project" (RHLP)

I tried Bonzai
by Anonymous on Wed 3rd Sep 2003 16:07 UTC

I am not very experienced Linux user. I have messed with installing Debian several different ways. As always Knoppix, Libranet, ect. always seem to install hundreds of packages I don't use and have no idea why I have to have them. Woody, as it stands, (for me) takes a lot of updating to bring it up to be as modern as I want. It seemed no matter how many times I tried, I always ended up with problems while trying to install KDE 3.1.*. Apt always works, but somehow things kept coming out broken.

I found Bonzai. It installs about the same as Woody (really it is woody) except it came with a minimal (what I wanted--minimal) KDE 3.1.2 desktop and a 2.4.20 kernel. After the install, I simply used apt to add just what I wanted, VIM, Kb3, CDroast, Xmms, Xpdf, Xsane, Cups, Mozilla, The Gimp, and OpenOffice. I also installed Mplayer and Real Player and few others. The base system that installed from the CD I haven't had to changed but very little. It am able to do everything I want, print, scan, write, spreadsheet, image manipulate, music, video, a few games, Internet and email.

This was a way for me to get a very minimal install and has worked without a hitch for me.

I also tried Morphix with KDE as an installer, with limited success. It actually worked quit well, but was a bit tricky at first for me to figure out how to install with multiple partitions, root, home, tmp, var, swap, usr. But, never the less, it is also a good way to get a minimal install, without the bloat of a full Knoppix.

Best of all, its Debian all the way.

Apt-get?
by Anonymous on Wed 3rd Sep 2003 16:40 UTC

I installed knoppix 3.2 on an old laptop. Works very fine.
Easiest install ever. As far as apt-get don't RedHat and Suse have it as well- Redhat Fedora and apt-4-SuSe?

RE:
by tvn on Wed 3rd Sep 2003 17:06 UTC

The *most* important reason why I use Debian is it has 3 branches. I do not like bleeding-edge software but also don't want to miss all the important security updates (obviously I can get any new version/software manually if I need). Therefore all of my desktops run on Woody . My laptop requires requires something more recent to support it so I run the testing branch, Sarge. Also, when Sarge becomes stable, upgrading from Woody-> Sarge is another simple task. I don't have to go d/l another 4 ISO's and do a complete reinstall or install over my existing system w/ fears.

debian is so great..
by jason v on Wed 3rd Sep 2003 19:16 UTC

..that my attempt to install quanta on my testing box just uninstalled all of kde. debian rules.

re: debian is so great
by a on Wed 3rd Sep 2003 19:39 UTC

> my attempt to install quanta on my testing box just uninstalled all of kde

It looks like a problem on the Keyb-Chair interface.

"Are you sure?[Yn]" type questions are there to be taken seriously ;)

re: debian is so great
by Anonymous on Wed 3rd Sep 2003 20:15 UTC

Perhaps you missed the information about what will be uninstalled and what will be installed before "you" told apt to proceed? It is always wise to look at the messages that tell you what packages will and will not be held back or installed -- ya' think?

Ethernet config the Debian way
by Nico on Wed 3rd Sep 2003 21:27 UTC

Creating a startup script to configure Ethernet is really no the Debian way.

Debian has a very nice infrastructure for that.

All is in the /etc/network/

And for a simple setup like the one described in the article, a simple edit of /etc/network/interfaces would have been enough.

I would suggest a serious read of 'man interfaces'.

/etc/network/interfaces contains network interface configuration information for the ifup(8) and ifdown(8) commands. This is where you configure how your system is connected to the network, by setting IP addresses, and other related information.

Nico

Question for Debian users ...
by Darius on Wed 3rd Sep 2003 21:40 UTC

I understand the difference between 'stable' 'testing' and 'unstable', but are these three seperate ISOs that you download, or do you just use the Woody ISO and choose which version you want to run from there ?

"his article is the best "how to" I have ever read to install Debian. I have tried 2 or 3 times to install Debian and failed. I always end of going back to RedHat, Mandrake, SUSE ... "

As a newbie, I installed Woody on my first try using the instructions on this article by Clinton De Young, it's much simpler, although, the tips about configuring sound and the rest on Robert's article, are priceless:

The Very Verbose Debian 3.0 Installation Walkthrough

http://osnews.com/printer.php?news_id=2016

Good luck,

re. Question for Debian users ...
by johnG on Wed 3rd Sep 2003 23:53 UTC

> are these three seperate [sic] ISOs that you download

I think many folks download one or two Woody ISO's, install a fairly minimal Woody (which is all you could do with a Woody ISO), then install the rest (possibly upgrading to Sid) off the net. ... Although I have seen Sid CD sets for sale (for example, at Abexia).

re: an error about "apt-get remove emacs21"
by Anonymous on Thu 4th Sep 2003 00:35 UTC

Apparently, "apt-get remove emacs21" would remove only emacs21 and packages which depend on it, such as auctex and flim.
It wouldn't uninstall other unneeded or orphaned packages. It could be done by another more advanced tool -- aptitude.


Aptitude is one such program. If one doesn't want a full-screen text program, then debfoster is a great program for pruning the installed package set.

quanta
by jason v on Thu 4th Sep 2003 00:49 UTC

I did try to install it using the command line and it did tell me it was going to uninstall all of KDE. I also tried it in synaptic, but it didn't give me any of those messages. It just went ahead and did it. I guess synaptic is a little dangerous that way?

I just set my system to "unstable" and re-installed KDE. I just told it to install kdetoys and it seems to be reinstalling everything (what does MYSQL and apache have to do with kdetoys..?), maybe this will work. It's been quite a few hours now, so I'm not sure how it will turn out.

I just want recent versions of mozilla, k3b and quanta on this machine. It'll be curious to see what it takes to get there.

Another Debian Convert
by Glenn Thigpen on Thu 4th Sep 2003 02:28 UTC

I was converted to Debian some few years ago. I started out with Slackware and tried a RedHat install, but somehow just the name Debian beckoned me. I did have some difficulty with my first couple of installations. I think that was back with the 1.2 release.
I have installed Mandrake, Lycorix, Suse, (and shudder, even Caldera) , and a few others since just to check them out and answer a few questions for a brother whom I am trying to corrupt er convert to Linux.
But I just enjoy the nuts and bolts approach to Debian. I enjoy setting up my desktop just the way I like it. I have sort of settled on Icewm as my desktop of choice, but play around with gnome and KDE to keep up with what they are doing. And they do have some nice features.
Debian is not for everyone, especially the typical newbie from the mswindows side. I guess that it just fulfills my need to feel (maybe delusionally so) that I am in control of my computer.

Glenn

update
by jason v on Thu 4th Sep 2003 05:38 UTC

so, my latest debian adventure is a joke. unstable brings me mozilla 1.4, but kbear is still pretty crappy, quanta won't install, and k3b doesn't run properly. going back to testing didn't help, and starting off in stable wasn't great either. Stable runs k3b fine, but leaves me with Mozilla 1.2. Quanta still won't install.

the fact is, i just want a machine that can match WIN 2K/XP/2003-testing with Mozilla (+mail), Ultraedit, CuteFTP and the free version of Roxio.

Debian can't seem to do that in less than 10 hours. That gets it an "F".

small correction re: Red Hat
by don on Thu 4th Sep 2003 06:08 UTC

At the bottom, in the summary of the advanced package managers, Red Hat should have a mention of up2date - that's Red Hat's native equivalent of apt-get, and it's suite of functionality is just as nice for all the same reasons - auto-dependency management, good package info, good overall installed package summary, etc.

RE: small correction re: Red Hat
by elmo on Thu 4th Sep 2003 06:51 UTC

up2date - is that the same as redhat network - i mean don't you have to register and pay for it in order to use it and upgrade your distro?

debian distribuitions
by Florentin on Thu 4th Sep 2003 08:37 UTC

1. Debian distributions are also identified as stable/testing/unstable same with woody/sid/sarge - so configuring your "sources.list" file with first-type is safer because when distribution changes(that is when sid will become stable and woody obsolete) you will _not_ change "sources.list" (there is also an experimental branch but let's not go there...)
2. default installed kernel is probably not what you want, compile new one or install a compiled one(if you have a recent laptop you have to compile a kernel to include acpi - AFAIK after 2.4.21 is included in kernel)
3. the stable distribution(Woody as 2003-09-04) is excellent and has many, many updateds,check on-line for un-official URL to put in your "sources.list".
4. Debian has an excellent user-guide , check ww.debian.org/doc

the most fundamental aspect of a Debian install
by win-jimmy on Thu 4th Sep 2003 10:07 UTC

One very fundamental matter was left out of this review. It is questionable whether the author would actually be writing about the experience of installing Debian right now (rather, might still be struggling through the installation) without the help of the fine folks at the Debian users listserv. This is not an attempt to complement them for the obviously crucial help they gave, since the author does a decent job of that. Rahter, it is to point out that an even more fundamental aspect of the Debian install is to have an already-working computer with a 'net connection so that you can participate on the listserv! Better yet, this machine should be in your home, right next to your Debian target machine, so you can more conveniently apply the lessons learned from the listserv folks. So, one of the most fundamental aspects of a Debian install is to have an already-working computer with a 'net connection! And that's where you'll lose most people: why would you want to install Debian if you already have a reliably working computer? At the least people should be forewarned that they shouldn't replace a working system with a 'net connection with Debian, unless they have an alternate to use for the tech support they'll need. Recognizing these sorts of harsh realities up front might preempt alienation by frustrated would-be installers later.

Re: quanta
by dpi on Thu 4th Sep 2003 12:41 UTC

You can't just do dist-upgrade from Woody to Sid to *only* get Quanta or KDE3. KDE3 depends on a lot of stuff, including QT. QT depends on a lot of stuff, including Glibc. And those QT, Glibc, and a lot more other libraries and programs (or one can call 'em 'packages') versions don't match either. So it _has_ to install all those software even if you don't want to.

Woody comes with KDE2. In order to run KDE3 on Woody edit /etc/apt/sources.list and add:
deb http://download.kde.org/stable/latest/Debian stable main
then do
apt-get update
then do
apt-get dist-upgrade
Note that you're not running anything official for Woody. These are 3rd party packages. Although i gotta add that i've been running these for ages, and they've been stable and usable for a while now.

but kbear is still pretty crappy -> in which way? Have you tried an alternative? Try gftp, for example.
quanta won't install -> it does here (Woody with the 3rd party KDE3 repositry in sources.list)
k3b doesn't run properly. -> in which way? Have you tried gcombust for example? cdrtoaster? You don't *have* to use KDE software on KDE. You can also use other software which wasn't meant as component of KDE.
going back to testing didn't help -> That's like, logical. Upgrading is no problem. Downgrading is. Thus, think before you Upgrade.
and starting off in stable wasn't great either. Stable runs k3b fine, but leaves me with Mozilla 1.2 -> if you want the newest of the newest software in Debian there are a few possibilities: run Sarge or Sid *or* compile yourself some stuff in Woody *or* use 3rd party packages *or* try another distro.
Mozilla -> Konqueror, Firebird, Mozilla
Ultraedit -> Try kwrite.
CuteFTP -> Gftp, IglooFTP, or learn CLI and try ncftp which has a nice frontend.
Roxio -> Never heard of.

For other 3rd party apt repositries besides the KDE3 one, see http://www.apt-get.org

RE: Too much hassle
by Chad McCullough on Thu 4th Sep 2003 15:58 UTC

"As for Gentoo, I think it's a total waste of time and energy to compile a whole software system for every individual computer. What is the gain?"

The only benifit I can see from running Gentoo is the knowledge you gain of your system during the install process. Other than that, how's it any better than Debian using apt-get?

Great article, by the way. I wish I could have read this article before my attempt at installing Debian Woody. I did finally get it installed, though.......

Spelling 101
by Baz on Fri 5th Sep 2003 12:27 UTC

"Debian's APT ("Advanced Package Management")"

Yup, that would spell APM.

Learn something new...
by thekernel32 on Fri 5th Sep 2003 18:01 UTC

I've been a debian user for 5 years and I still found this article useful. He is very right about the default of a 2.2 kernel installation. It wasn't until last month that I figured out to type 'bf24'. I have also come to enjoy the installer more than any other installer. (some think I'm just sick) What I like about it is that it doesn't feel like theres any extra "stuff" in it. It gets right down to business and I get my system configured and up. I also didn't know how to configure X. I have always just read the X window system manual and configured things manually if the defaults didn't work. Take note: I wouldn't trade the experience of a manual X config for very many things, it's educational and valuable for finding out why the config program broke.

About debian being a little rough around the edges... I think that just makes it perfect for someone who has opinions about how they want their system to work. I know what I'm looking for, and I know how to make it happen. The biggest problem I had with other distros is their all-encompasing admin tools that try to be all things to all people. For goodness sake edit a config file and be done with it.

I guess to come to a point all I have to say is this: Debian is not for everyone, but for those that are willing to pay for it in blood, sweat, and tears the rewards are more than worth it in the end.

Debian: Gnome centric and not cutting edge enough.....
by Yohan555 on Fri 5th Sep 2003 21:16 UTC

I have always ended up giving up on Debian, simply because its not cutting edge enough for my taste. Really cutting edge development versions that I like to try and play with are not available (Debian packages even in SID seem to be extremely conservative). Finally I prefer using KDE and Debian is clearly Gnome oriented. KDE Add-On Packages for either Mandrake, SuSe or RedHat are available through apps.kde.com but are not available for SID.

Graphical Installer for Woody
by Panthros on Sat 6th Sep 2003 02:57 UTC

The best way to install Debian in my opinion is from the Progeny Graphical Installer (PGI) 1.0 Download the iso and give it a try and see how a Debian installer should be! It has been out for over 10 months now and I hope to see it in a future Debian. Thank you Progeny for giving back to the community.

http://archive.progeny.com/progeny/pgi/

Debian's great
by Joeri Sebrechts on Sat 6th Sep 2003 13:33 UTC

Debian is great as long as you read all the documentation on debian.org (though admittedly, some of it is outdated). There are a lot of "debian" ways of doing things that you won't find out about otherwise, like modconf to select which modules you want loaded, or kernel-package to easily roll your own kernel and turn it into a debian package, or update-menus and the files in .menu to configure your window managers app menu, or the alternatives system for selecting default apps (something redhat added recently as well I hear), or...

Installation and (especially) configuration is a bitch though. But once you manage to go through it once you know debian's idiosyncracies, and it no longer bothers you. Besides, it's true what they say about you only having to install debian once. Although I did manage to destroy my first debian install (by forcing dpkg to do stuff it shouldn't have), I haven't had to reinstall debian since (that was several years ago). I took three systems through the potato -> woody upgrade (one of them even remotely), without it posing any real problems. Debian is pretty slick that way.

I'd just like to mention also that if you want anti-aliased fonts, you need to install defoma and msttcorefonts (look around for howto's, I know they exist). that'll give you the exact same fonts windows has. Don't know whether it's limited to unstable though (I run a mix of woody and unstable on most of my machines). I believe the bitstream vera fonts have been packaged too (they should be pretty as well), but I haven't tried those. Everything as Verdana suits me fine for now.

Knoppix.
by FUD on Sat 6th Sep 2003 17:55 UTC

Use Knoppix. 5 minutes to automagically set up you Debian desktop + you see what you're getting before you install.

RE Debian's great
by maxphil on Tue 9th Sep 2003 02:55 UTC

I agree. I am in the process of moving back to Debian after using Gentoo for the past year and seeing what the latest was with Mandrake and Redhat, and experimenting with Slackware. Gentoo is a wonderful system, and great learning tool, but it's insistence on compiling everthing from source is just not worth it to me. Debian is designed to be powerful, and though it doesn't seem it, be easy to manage. You do have to learn the installer and the idiosyncrasies of it's slick tools, but modconf makes module configuration a cinch, make-kpkg simplifies building the kernel, and of course, apt-get is simply the greatest in simplifying package management.

I just tried MEPIS www.mepis.org, a Debian based livecd that can also dump a fully workable Debian system to hard disk, which looks great. I would also recommend Libranet if you can afford it. Libranet greatly helps installing by virtue of it's hardware detection and graphical configuration, sadly two things lacking from Debian's otherwise powerful installer.

x-window-system package
by John Fry on Tue 9th Sep 2003 23:18 UTC

Nice article! One comment: I recommend that users do not install x-window-system. That installs absolutely everything pertaining to X, including stuff like font servers that people on single workstations don't need. Workstation users should install x-window-system-core instead.

some more cosmetics :)
by oscar on Wed 10th Sep 2003 07:02 UTC

"I happen to know that my card uses the via-rhine.o driver, so I edit /etc/modules and add this line:

via-rhine"

Also the "Debian-way" to achieve the goal of this line in /etc/modules, is to insert the following line into /etc/modutils/aliases then run update-modules:
alias eth0 via-rhine

This way the loading of the module will be associated with the interface access (ifconfig) not the boot procedure.

Restarting the network interfaces can also be done using ifup and ifdown.

xwindow system
by janek kozicki on Thu 11th Sep 2003 13:57 UTC

I like you review very much, and I hope it will help all newbies around in installing it.

I have only one remmark about the name of "xwindow system", I think you should :%s/xwindows/xwindow/ga (vi command ;) because there are no xwindowS, there is only xwindow system