Linked by Dedoimedo on Thu 17th Mar 2011 23:17 UTC
Debian and its clones Writing about Debian is not a simple thing. You know it's the giant that has spawned pretty much every other distro out there. It's almost like a Roman Empire, almost a taboo. Furthermore, it's not a desktop distro per se. It's more sort of a template you use to build your platform. It's also a SOHO server distro, therefore it more fits into the business category, comparable to CentOS and similar.
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This review: Not Good
by da_Chicken on Sun 20th Mar 2011 03:26 UTC
da_Chicken
Member since:
2006-01-01

Installing Debian is actually really, really easy. You just pop in the installer disk and hit the Enter key whenever it stops to ask you something. Well, you may want to select your locale and type something when it asks for the user name and password, but for everything else hitting Enter is the right answer. So if you have enough computer skills to hit the Enter key repeatedly, then you can install Debian. ;)

"If you want to install Debian without a network, you will hit a chain of problems. Without network, you won't be able to configure your repositories, including third-party and proprietary stuff. Without those, there's a good chance some of your hardware won't work, plus you won't have codecs for most of the media out there, including Flash and MP3. Worst of all, if you happen to be using a Wireless card that normally comes with closed-source firmware, you won't be able to get it running without quite a bit of extra effort. On a laptop, this is a showstopper."

You need to have the deb package that includes the non-free firmware on a USB stick, and you can install it either when the Debian installer asks for the firmware, or after you've finished the installation and booted your Debian system. So the missing non-free firmware in the installer is not a problem that can't be solved.

Debian actually plays MP3 files out of the box. And it includes the GNU Gnash flashplayer, which can play some flash videos, but not all. The non-free flashplayer can be installed using the package manager after you've added the non-free package repo.

I've never actually used the GNOME desktop, which is the default in Debian, but I think there's an icon for the networkmanager in the panel. So if you installed the missing non-free firmware during the install, then configuring the wireless connection with networkmanager should not be too difficult. IIRC, also Ubuntu uses the same networkmanager, but apparently using an app in Debian is more difficult for some reviewers than using the exactly same app in Ubuntu.

I think Debian also includes the same GUI package manager frontend as Ubuntu, although I always use the aptitude package manager frontend, myself. So installing any apps you might miss (such as an app for taking screenshots) should be just as easy/difficult in Debian as it is in Ubuntu.

It seems to me that the person who wrote this review must be a clueless idiot, because he had trouble performing such an easy task as installing Debian.

Reply Score: 4

RE: This review: Not Good
by A420X on Sun 20th Mar 2011 06:25 in reply to "This review: Not Good"
A420X Member since:
2011-02-02

This review: Not Good
That comment: Not much better

While I agree with you that installing Debian is a pretty simple (albeit not always the simplest) task, I find it hard to agree with your reaction to the reviewer.

I do agree that the review did feel a bit 'amateurish' but I suspect it would be better received in a more newbie friendly environment (not that we aren't all sunshine and lollipops over here at OSNews ^_^ )

That being said some good points were raised, one of which was the critique of networkless installation.


If you want to install Debian without a network, you will hit a chain of problems.


For starters, no matter how much you try to gloss over the point - the reviewer is right, its not an issue specific to Debian but (again, as the reviewer rightly points out) the situation is worse on Debian - I personally don't see this is as a bad thing, Debian is a great vanguard of free software and by omitting non-free packages from the offline media Debian showcases this great software and encourages its development - the reviewer could have spent more time discussing this philosophical perspective as it would have helped put the situation in context.

Likewise you could have spent a bit more time reading your choice quotes - the reviewer says "if you want to install Debian without a network...

A good point IMO - what if you don't have an Internet connection? You could live in a remote area or simply not be able to afford one...

So the missing non-free firmware in the installer is not a problem that can't be solved.


If like the reviewer you don't want to connect to the net to get a full system or you simply can't it's not really such a simple solution.

As for the screenshot issue, yes it's a simple apt-get install or a few minutes clicking in synaptec but the real question (and I think the one the reviewer was trying to raise) is how was such a commonplace utility so easily missed in the Install (I would like to know this myself actually ;) )
[q]
It seems to me that the person who wrote this review must be a clueless idiot, because he had trouble performing such an easy task as installing Debian.[q]

How you treat reviewers you disagree with is your business, calling them an idiot for taking the time to write a thought provoking (if not more miss than hit) review that you then couldn't even be bothered to respond to thoroughly does seem a tad rich to me ... just my $0.02

Reply Parent Score: 1