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The Well-Tempered Debian desktop

timothy posted more than 7 years ago | from the warms-the-cockles dept.

Debian 182

An anonymous reader writes "What happens when the editor of a popular Linux website attempts to install a Debian Etch desktop on an old ThinkPad? How does it turn out? Surprisingly well! The article comprises an entertaining account of the entire process, complete with lots of informative screenshots, from downloading the net-install to tangling with Wi-Fi and modem PCMCIA cards as the last step — and everything in between. A great primer for Debian newbies... Go Debian!"

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First post (0, Offtopic)

xming (133344) | more than 7 years ago | (#17359720)

Are you guys all having hang-over or what? I am getting the FP :) Merry Christmas everyone from a Gentoo Desktop.

Any idea...? (1, Interesting)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#17359722)

Any idea why Etch is ripping off the classic Windows GUI? I mean, in a way, all all GUI-s ripp off each other, but look at the chrome of the Windows and the standard controls... ??

Re:Any idea...? (5, Informative)

ninjazach (1043476) | more than 7 years ago | (#17359772)

I'm not sure if I am correct here, but I believe that this particular user had customized KDE with the Redmond KWin window border theme that ships with KDE.

Re:Any idea...? (2, Insightful)

HairyCanary (688865) | more than 7 years ago | (#17359864)

Totally off topic, but the real question in my mind is why do the two most popular GUI's for Linux insist upon copying Windows in the first place? OSX provded that you do not need a start button to have a good GUI. I'd like Linux a lot better if the developers could get a little more original with the GUI. Or if they'd at least target a *good* GUI to copy ;-)

Re:Any idea...? (3, Insightful)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 7 years ago | (#17359890)

Personally, I don't use a windows-like theme at all, but the answer is that the Windows look and feel is familiar to people who are moving from Windows to Linux (easier transition) or who work in both environments on a regular basis (consistency.) I would have thought this is obvious...

Re:Any idea...? (2, Insightful)

Pink Tinkletini (978889) | more than 7 years ago | (#17359912)

But the better they get at copying the Windows look and feel, the less reason there is to switch. I would have thought that was obvious.

Only on Slashdot would me-tooism be celebrated as a virtue.

Re:Any idea...? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17360224)

It is correct to assume people are moving to Linux from Windows because of the small matter of places like Dell and HP pumping out millions of boxes with Windows already installed. This is such a small matter you didn't see fit to consider it in your surprisingly condescending post, doofus.

DIY and white boxes are a silly little minority. I recently saw a older Dell box with a 40GB drive. That drive had two partitions on it; something like 18GB for the Windows OS and another *20* or so with nothing but the restore ghost, effectively negating the possibility of the safe use of that second partition for *nix by a possibly very new newbie.

Instead of ragging on people trying to ease the learning curve for new users why don't you use this holiday computer time to write a letter to Dell and HP and their ilk and ask them to stop spending so much time kissing Bill Gates's ass. It makes them look weak and smarmy. You know, provide a second small blank drive on the second controller, or a truly empty partition or something that might *really* benefit their customers, instead of virtual blowjobs from Marketing.

Re:Any idea...? (1)

scotch (102596) | more than 7 years ago | (#17360264)

Only on Slashdot would me-tooism be celebrated as a virtue.

I've heard your sentiments expressed here countless times.

Re:Any idea...? (3, Insightful)

shish (588640) | more than 7 years ago | (#17360810)

But the better they get at copying the Windows look and feel, the less reason there is to switch

People aren't switching for the GUI, they're switching for the price. The GUI is one of the reasons they stick with windows.

(Statements apply to the vast majority of non-technical people I know; the people who know what they're doing and *do* swap for the interface know how to set a non-default WM)

Re:Any idea...? (2, Interesting)

slocan (769303) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361216)

But the better they get at copying the Windows look and feel, the less reason there is to switch.

So your assumption is that Linux's different UI is one of the reasons which would motivate someone to switch from MS Windows to Linux?

If it has the "same" UI as Windows, then the UI ceases to be a reason to switch?

Well, I did not switch for this reason (and frankly don't think anyone switches to Linux because of it's UI). On the contrary. I thought and felt that the UI differences were more of a challenge against my decision to switch than an incentive. I knew that I would have a lot of learning and readjusting to do, having used Windows and DOS for so long.

At the end, in my case, the UI differences weren't much of a barrier, since I had some experience with an other UI (had used OS/2) and was well motivated by the freemdoms of the GPL and the absence of a license fee. Actually learning a new UI that has it's own virtues was actually fun for me.

Nevertheless, I generally regard UIs that need active learning to use as a barrier to technology adoption. (I.e. except when the challenge is fun.)

Therefore, UI similarities with Windows are not a virtue, but a chosen tactic to lower the difference barrier that can avert switchers. (And that doesn't mean Linux does not have UI features/virtues that I use and I miss when I have to use Windows at work. It has and I do.)

Therefore, having the "same" UI doesn't mean one less reason to switch, nor is it considered a virtue.

____________________

On the other hand, if aliens started mimicking the Windows Start button and UI on their systems, UseIt.com [useit.com] wouldn't have much to "complain" about Usability in the Movies [slashdot.org] and the UIs in the movies would be a lot more dull :-)

Re:Any idea...? (2, Informative)

tacocat (527354) | more than 7 years ago | (#17360166)

That's why they include WindowMaker. No START button and simple interface.

Re:Any idea...? (1)

wizzat (964250) | more than 7 years ago | (#17360722)

Speaking of WindowMaker, it is the desktop environment that I use. I've firmly fallen in love with it, though I've had to considerably alter the standard behavior to make it up to what I'm looking to use. For instance, I like having (exactly) 10 desktops. I like the buttons to do certain things, and the applications to behave certain ways. It is a very customized environment.

However, I've found (not so infrequently), that people who come to my computer for "pair programming" look at my desktop and think it's my screen saver. They quite literally have no idea how to use my box. Every single one of them has left with a "wow, this is a really productive environment!" after I explain how it works.

In the end, I love WindowMaker, and wish it were even more configurable. I suppose I have 2 weeks for the holiday, I could download the source and get to hacking. However, there's a dozen project's I'd love to devote my time to. And as much as I love WindowMaker and its ilk, I can't see it ever becoming mainstream again. The Windows "feel" has a stranglehold on the GUI market.

Re:Any idea...? (1)

quigonn (80360) | more than 7 years ago | (#17360764)

Oh, WindowMaker. Such a cheap rip-off from NeXTstep.

Re:Any idea...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17360458)

why do the two most popular GUI's for Linux insist upon copying Windows

Because if they don't, the desktop thumpers whine that their grandmother can't figure out how to do anything without going to Google and looking it up. If it's not the same down to the bugwards compatible behavior of the "Apply" button, it's too confusing for the 95% of the masses who are apparently blithering idiots.

Re:Any idea...? (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#17360894)

Totally off topic, but the real question in my mind is why do the two most popular GUI's for Linux insist upon copying Windows in the first place?

Well, I can't speak for how everyone else is using it, but I use Linux much the way I use Windows 2000 - each window is maximized, which makes it almost like one application == one desktop. I have some sort of button in the corner I push to start stuff.

Quite frankly, dress it up as OS X or whatever "new paradigm" you want but I must say it's way down on my list of things that could have been improved. Maybe I'm not alone? I'm sure those that use OS X like OS X, that doesn't imply that the other 90% "haven't seen the light". Maybe we just prefer it this way.

Re:Any idea...? (1)

Lussarn (105276) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361058)

I don't know if you have actually used Linux with Gnome (Or any other DE) but if you try it out you would notice that it isn't really like Windows. If there is one thing I hate it is overlapping Windows. The two most used program on my desktop have tabs (Browser and terminal). works way better than overlapping windows. I lay out my programs myself using virtual desktops and they pretty much stay that way until I reboot. In my book Windows doesn't work that way. Possibly can be made to work like that but it's not the default.

Windows and OS X has different kind of workarounds for what I see as a major problem, desktop clutter (Alt-tab, task-bars, exposé). In Linux and Gnome I don't find myself having the desktop cluttered and normally I don't need to use the taskbar or alt-tab even if they are there.

It's nice to see even the real desktop OSes is beginning to understand the need for virtual desktops, they do change your workflow but you need to be a little more carefull when laying out programs. In the end it works better than having everything on the same desktop.

Re:Any idea...? (1)

fimbulvetr (598306) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361274)

I recommend evaluating beryl, or a comparable GL program. I have the same tendencies as you, it seems, for maximizing windows. Recently, I tried beryl and much to my delight it offers the "cube" desktop, but one better - It lets you "push" applications to a different desktop by dragging the app to the edge of the screen. After a small delay it puts them in another desktop - wickedly satisfying for someone who has grown weary of the other alternatives (right clock menu, move to ->, switch then open, etc).

It's a little unstable for me yet, giving me hard lock ups every so often, so don't say I didn't warn you.

Re:Any idea...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17361082)

OSX provded that you do not need a start button to have a good GUI.

Actually, they did. The dock is a UI trainwreck compared to the start menu/taskbar.

Re:Any idea...? (2, Interesting)

vhogemann (797994) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361200)

Well,

The problem is that MacOSX has this "Application Folder" concept, so you can just browse to /Apps in your filesystem and find all of your applications by their name and icon... try doing the same with any Linux distro /usr/bin.

To be able to provide the same simplicity we must change the current layout of the Linux filesystem, I know at least one Linux distro that have done this: GOBO Linux [gobolinux.org] .

Gobo use a rather radical approach to the problem, where every application goes under the /Apps folder. MacOSX for instance only keeps the "userland" applications there.

Re:Any idea...? (2, Insightful)

fimbulvetr (598306) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361310)

Suprisingly, linux separates userland utilities already - well at least debian does. Check your /usr/bin folder and compare to /usr/sbin. Alternatively, compare /sbin and /bin.

The reason it doesn't work so well to do it the way you suggested is because there is a lot of gray area. Every person, company, shareware maker, vendor, etc. is going to have a different opinion of where software should go. Just look at unix in general or even other distros (besides debian/ubuntu/gentoo). Apple can do it without few issues because they are the sole authority on their OS. What's the difference between MS and Apple again?

Re:Any idea...? (2, Insightful)

hahafaha (844574) | more than 7 years ago | (#17359946)

Well, for two reasons. The first is that it makes it easier for new users to switch to GNU/Linux, and the second is that it is a pretty good system (*gasp*).

I mean, think about it. What are the parts that are copied? Similar looking and placed minimize, maximize, close buttons, a menu button, some sort of a menu and panels. Those are all very useful. Their exact location and appearance is there because it is more familiar to Windows users. It is fairly easy to change, too.

For example, my setup is as follows:

A Mac OSX-esque panel thing at the bottom (autohides). It has some of the programs I use regularly). I use the Mist GNOME theme, with a Close button (looks like an X) in the left corner, centered title text (this took editing raw XML to accomplish, BTW, since Mist has title text aligned to the left, by default), and a minimize button on the right. There is no maximize button, because that effect can be accomplished by double-clicking on the title bar. At the top, there is a short panel with the menu, weather, workspace switcher, window list, sound applet, language applet, notification area, sticky-notes applet, power supply applet, networking applet and clock applet.

Re:Any idea...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17360298)

No! the answer can't be as simple or correct as that! Nooooo!

It really is easy to use. It seems that kde/gnome get to be less cluttered looking than OSX.

That and everyone forgets you can move your taskbars around, resize them, and make it look JUST LIKE OSX.

Re:Any idea...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17360020)

The theme and art selections on the screenshots are hideous. I would never use that ugly desktops.

Re:Any idea...? (1)

INT_QRK (1043164) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361044)

Ripping off "Classic Windows GUI"...hmm... I'm sure you didn't mean it this way, but I've on a number of occasions engaged in conversations with co-workers and friends who, when noticing my GNU/Linux (Ubuntu 6.10) desktop on my IBM T-41, suggest how well it "sort of copies Windows." I then kindly remind them of, and invite them to look up, the timelines for X-Windows, MOTIF, LISA, MacIntosh and others relative to MS Windows 1.0. I even still have my first 8088 with pre-windows IBM DOS and a beautiful MOTIF based windowing overlay called GeoWorks. Every once in a while I even take it out of my storage room, dust it off, put it together and boot it up. The MOTIF functionality and controls now, in retrospect, even look "Windows-ish" to me -- even though it pre-dated Windows. I guess when you're ubiquitous like MS you get to rewrite history.

Yea Right (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17359736)

Tried to install Debian once; well actually make that a large number of times over 6 a 6 month period.

I might have succeeded too if my boss would have given me a year's sabbatical with pay in order to complete the job.

Thanks but NO THANKS!

I have better things to do with my time.

Re:Yea Right (1)

dosius (230542) | more than 7 years ago | (#17360050)

With a version newer than 3.0?

-uso.

On an old laptop? (4, Interesting)

Jim Buzbee (517) | more than 7 years ago | (#17359744)

How about installing Debian Etch on an NSLU2? [smallnetbuilder.com]

Not really that old... (1, Interesting)

wasted (94866) | more than 7 years ago | (#17360170)

His system:
...an IBM ThinkPad 2662-35U, ...with a Pentium III 600MHz processor, 192MB of SDRAM, and a 20GB hard drive.

I read the article on an IBM Thinkpad 560X with a Pentium 200MMX processor, 96MB of EDO RAM, and a 30GB Linux partition, running Debian Sarge. If his laptop is old, is mine an antique?

Re:Not really that old... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17360324)

Right. I'm running FC6 on a 266 MHz, 160 MB RAM laptop. Not as old as yours, but I'm running a newer distro. ;-) I agree with you that Etch on his specs is boring. ;-)

Re:Not really that old... (1, Informative)

Orange Crush (934731) | more than 7 years ago | (#17360742)

My handy laptop is an old thinkpad as well--P3 @ 800mhz & 512 ram. The only reason it runs XP is because I could never get power management to work properly under any distros I tried. (a bit of a deal breaker on a laptop.)

Fine and all but (2, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 7 years ago | (#17359748)

What happens when the editor of a popular Linux website attempts to install a Debian Etch desktop on an old ThinkPad?

The real question is: what happens when non-popular-linux-website folks attempt to install a Debian Etch on an old thinkpad? I'm not sure the report would be so peachy...

Re:Fine and all but (5, Insightful)

frdmfghtr (603968) | more than 7 years ago | (#17360238)

The real question is: what happens when non-popular-linux-website folks attempt to install a Debian Etch on an old thinkpad? I'm not sure the report would be so peachy...


Good question...and the answer, my friend, explains why Linux won't make it to the mainstream desktop for quite some time. I'm going to focus my comments on hitting a particular target audience, and neglect the technical/security superiority of one platform over another.

FTA:

Tops on my list of applications are Firefox and Thunderbird, and I always get rid of modified versions and substitute the pristine versions direct from Mozilla.org. So I downloaded both, unzipped and untarred them into /usr/lib/, where Debian likes to keep them, and created symlinks in /usr/bin/ pointing to /usr/lib/firefox/firefox and /usr/lib/thunderbird/thunderbird, where the system expects to find them.

I tried Firefox first, but it wouldn't load. I tried it again, this time by typing firefox from a console window, and noticed that the program was sending out an error message ("error while loading shared libraries") regarding a file called "libstdc++.so.5" that it either couldn't load or find. A quick bit of googling led me to install the missing library, using the command (as root): apt-get install libstdc++5. Thankfully, that was all it took to get the pure, Mozilla.org-supplied Firefox running on my desktop.


Two points of interest here:

(1) The author had to create symbolic links to make Firefox and Thunderbird work.

(2) "A quick bit of googling" was required to get the missing library installed.

Read the first quoted paragraph again. Note the author had to unzip and untar the files into the directory "where Debian likes to keep them," and make the symlinks where "where the system expects to find them." Does the Debian distro put Firefox and Thunderbird in a different directory than the Ubuntu or Fedora? How about Slackware?

Lots of Linux fans berate Microsoft for stooping to the lowest common denominator, i.e. the common user, when it comes to making Windows more or less configurable. These same Linux fans point out that most users are just doing Web surfing, e-mail, word processing, and playing multimedia files/viewing photos--activities that don't require knowledge on configuring user permissions or defining firewall rules or any other low-level ("low level" as in base system) settings.

If these users are the ones that the Linux community are trying to get to migrate to Linux, there's a long road ahead of them. These "commoners" aren't going to know about installing libraries, or making symbolic links because "the system" expects the files in one locations but that particular distro "like them" somewhere else. Here's the real kicker; they don't CARE about these things. They want to read and send e-mail. They want to look at Web pages. They want to look at the pictures taken with their digital cameras. They know "click the setup.exe" files and the installation takes care of the rest, including installing other library files that may be needed. Click the desktop icon, and your program starts.

You want the masses to migrate to Linux? Make application installations "point and click" operations, including all necessary dependency checks and library installations as part of that initial click of the mouse button. Installing apps has to be that easy. There's no getting around it. Computers are no longer the domain for the tech-savvy (and haven't been for some time) and have to be made easy to use, like a television or microwave oven. Computers are a commodity, not an oddity.

Before you go off accusing me of being a MS apologist or fanboy, note that the only thing I use Windows for is playing a couple of games on rare occasion. The rest of time I'm on an OS X platform. I've used Linux in some research projects and tried to convert completely on more than one occasion, but Windows, then OS X, were much easier to use to get my work done. I'm one of those "commoners" who doesn't want to spend time searching out libraries to install and making symlinks to get apps to work following installation. OS X has it about nailed; almost every app I've installed has been a simple "drag and drop" operation, dragging the app's icon to the Applications folder and dropping it there. Done. THAT'S the simplicity that the Linux community needs to achieve.

Re:Fine and all but (1)

krmt (91422) | more than 7 years ago | (#17360292)

You want the masses to migrate to Linux? Make application installations "point and click" operations, including all necessary dependency checks and library installations as part of that initial click of the mouse button. Installing apps has to be that easy.
Using an apt frontend of your choice really is that easy though. This author has gone out of his way to do things in a weird way, the same way it would be weird and difficult to set up an apt-like system for windows. That's what has made it hard for him. Installing software on Debian is insanely easy, provided you don't try and do things in a bizarre way, same as any other system. Just because you consider double-clicking setup.exe more normal than running synaptic doesn't mean that it's the right way to do things. People can and will learn if they make the move.

Re:Fine and all but (3, Insightful)

jb.hl.com (782137) | more than 7 years ago | (#17360462)

Using an apt frontend of your choice really is that easy though.

If, however, the app you want isn't available via apt in the way you like (e.g. you want to use Firefox and not Firepandadovebollocks that Debian ships now...dunno why but last time I tried Linux that really irritated me, possibly a bit more than not being able to get my surround sound working properly) or it isn't available in apt at all (mplayer anyone?), or you need to add extra repositories (which is NOT going to be easy to do for a newbie)...you may be slightly fuct.

Put it another way: if I want to play DVDs in 5.1 surround in VLC, here's how it works on Windows XP:

1. Download VideoLAN installer
2. Run VideoLAN installer
3. Click Next a few times until the installer finishes
4. Go into Windows' speaker settings and change the speaker type to 5.1 surround (which has a little descriptive picture to make it nice and clear) and click OK a few times.
4. Run VideoLAN and play my DVD, with surround sound working

I recently tried to do the same on Debian, and this is precisely how it went:

1. apt-get install vlc
2. Run VideoLAN client, try and play DVD
3. Notice that it crashes every time giving no cause or reason
3a. Smash with hammer
4. Google with the only real error message I get, which has nothing to do with DVDs
5. Find out that libdvdcss is required, and it's on an additional repository, so edit sources.list and apt-get update
5a. Realise that any sane person would have given up at step 3
6. Apt-get install libdvdcss (or whatever the precise package name is, I forget)
7. Run VLC, find out that my DVD plays now...in stereo
8. Play with volume settings and read lots of stuff about alsa.conf via Google
9. After much futzing, work out that ALSA outputs the rear to the subwoofer and vice versa for no explicable reason, so I had to swap the cables round
10. Watch my DVD, only with a pisspoor slow CPU-intensive picture because I haven't installed the NVidia drivers yet, which is yet another rigamarole

For its part, Xine (or at least Kaffeine) was even worse; that just crashed whenever I tried to play a 5.1 DVD. Now; which will be easier for a new person? For most people, over the phone I could tell them to go to VideoLAN.org and click the big Download link, and then tell them where in the Control Panel to go to enable surround. Can I do that on Debian? No. I'd have to explain to them how to edit sources.list, which commands to type in, when to type them in...you get my point.

This isn't just APT though, it's a lot of things. Why does ALSA change the subwoofer and rear plugs around for example? Where is the simple clicky box that changes the speaker settings from Stereo to 5.1? And I understand the licensing implications of including libdvdcss, but...well, who outside Slashdot is going to take "Well, it's the big bad mean MPAA" as an explanation for why getting DVDs working is such a pain in the ass?

Sorry for the length, it being Christmas I may have drunk a little bit too much Hobgoblin (or, I'm sure a few people are lining up to say, "the Kool-Aid") ;)

Re:Fine and all but (2, Informative)

MostAwesomeDude (980382) | more than 7 years ago | (#17360926)

Huh. I'm not sure if you should be Informative or Troll. Anyway, I'll bite.

So, Nvidia drivers aren't all that bad. There's a nice installer for them nowadays that you can download from their site. Same for ATI. Not really that big of a deal; you have to do it on Windows, too.

DVDs are a bit of a pain, but it's not as bad as you make it out to be. You can add sources to your APT list from within most package managers (in a GUI), and you only have to add one source to make it work.

If your 5.1 actually works magically in Windows XP, then I congratulate you, because my nice SB card never bothered to correctly work in Windows. Only the ALSA drivers could make it go into surround or digital mode.

My steps for DVDs on Etch:

* Go to ATI's site, and get the ATI driver package.
* Install ATI drivers.
* Load the fglrx kernel module, and restart the X server. (You could reboot instead, but my BIOS is too slow to boot for my patience.)
* Open up KPackage.
* Add VLC's repository to APT sources from KPackage.
* Download and install vlc and libdvdcss.
* Insert DVD and open VLC.

Not actually that bad of a process.

Oh, also, it says on the download page for VLC that you cannot play DVDs in Linux without libdvdcss. I'm not really sure how you missed that the first time...

Re:Fine and all but (1)

jb.hl.com (782137) | more than 7 years ago | (#17360980)

So, Nvidia drivers aren't all that bad. There's a nice installer for them nowadays that you can download from their site. Same for ATI. Not really that big of a deal; you have to do it on Windows, too.

Installing the drivers on Linux using NVidia's installer requires dropping down to a console (already a daunting prospect for a newbie), making sure you have all the correct kernel sources/headers (non-trivial on Debian, considering the number of linux-headers packages available), and then running the installer. If the system GCC version and the kernel GCC version agree, then the drivers will install, otherwise it's more non-obvious apt-getting for Joe User. Of course, Debian provides packages for the NVidia drivers; they're just broken packages though, because nvidia-kernel-common doesn't appear to exist on apt. Ubuntu's packages, admittedly, work, but this is Debian we're talking here, not Ubuntu.

On Windows, you go to Nvidia's site, choose Download Drivers, choose your version of Windows and your card, click Download and then run the file and follow the prompts. Again, in terms of ease, Windows wins.

You can add sources to your APT list from within most package managers (in a GUI), and you only have to add one source to make it work.

I know full well that you can add sources in Synaptic etc, but how is a newbie supposed to know this? How is someone who has just hopped over from Windows or Mac supposed to know jack shit about source lists and how to add sources? They want to download applications, they won't care what a source list is! It may be obvious for you or me, but it won't be for someone whose idea of software installation is "download, click next a few times and run".

If your 5.1 actually works magically in Windows XP, then I congratulate you, because my nice SB card never bothered to correctly work in Windows.

Admittedly, my SB Live never worked on Windows XP either (I ascribe this to the complete and total suck of Creative in not allowing free download of their drivers, so I had to use shitty and likely incompatible drivers).

Load the fglrx kernel module, and restart the X server. (You could reboot instead, but my BIOS is too slow to boot for my patience.)
Add VLC's repository to APT sources from KPackage.


Uh-huh, but, did you have to quit X? If so, how is a newbie supposed to know how to stop GDM/KDM, install the drivers and restart the X server? How do they know if they have the kernel headers installed or not? If not, how would they know how to install them?

Do they actually know what a repository is? Do they know what goes in which box? How do you expect them to do this? All this is *not obvious*. On Windows, again, you go to NVidia/ATI/VLC's shiny website, click a download link, run the file you've downloaded and boom, you can now play DVDs/use 3D graphics (hell, I didn't even need to install extra video drivers to get tolerable video playback under XP!). None of this repository/killing X/kernel header business will make any sense to a newcomer. It's convoluted and longwinded. A typical user (as well as myself) would rather just click and go.

Oh, also, it says on the download page for VLC that you cannot play DVDs in Linux without libdvdcss. I'm not really sure how you missed that the first time...

Because I was using APT. The be-all-and-end-all for software installation, remember?

Re:Fine and all but (2, Insightful)

MostAwesomeDude (980382) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361004)

Because I was using APT. The be-all-and-end-all for software installation, remember?

Oh, is VLC back in the main repo? Sweet. Mine comes from the VLC repository. On the VLC front page, click "Debian Linux" under installs, and follow the directions. About as painful as, say, fetching .NET or MFC libraries for the first time on Windows.

Uh-huh, but, did you have to quit X? If so, how is a newbie supposed to know how to stop GDM/KDM, install the drivers and restart the X server? How do they know if they have the kernel headers installed or not? If not, how would they know how to install them?

I remember quite well that restarting a Windows computer is standard procedure after installing new video drivers. A reboot is adequate on Linux as well, no console-work needed. I just tend to avoid restarts on this computer due to a laggy BIOS which adds about 90 seconds to every cold boot.

I am trying desperately to remember if build-essential is still automatically installed by the Debian installer. However, I do remember for sure that kbuild is included with the stock kernels, and at least the ATI installer automatically builds the kernel modules when installing via the GUI. No out-of-console work is needed; even if the build package is not there, you can request it through your package manager.

Re:Fine and all but (1)

MobyTurbo (537363) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361462)

Because I was using APT. The be-all-and-end-all for software installation, remember?

Oh, is VLC back in the main repo? Sweet.
Yes, at least its in etch. Hmm, looking at this, it's in all the current versions of Debian: http://packages.debian.org/stable/graphics/vlc/ [debian.org]

Mine comes from the VLC repository. On the VLC front page, click "Debian Linux" under installs, and follow the directions. About as painful as, say, fetching .NET or MFC libraries for the first time on Windows.
Yep. I think the people who find Linux the most unfriendly are Windows power-users. The reason? They know all the ins and outs of the Windows way of doing things, so when things work differently in Linux, it's unexpected.

Re:Fine and all but (1)

krmt (91422) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361600)

Funny, I don't think I've ever heard of setting up 5.1 Surround Sound as being something "average" people do. Most people tend to think "average" means doing things like writing in a word processor or checking email in a web browser or playing music. All of these work out of the box in Debian and any other linux system (mp3 codec issues aside, which aren't a "linux" problem, you can always pay for Linspire if you want those out of the box). The centralized Debian model works amazingly well for such people because it promotes a higher level of quality control than the average decentralized Windows installation. It's not perfect though. For most people, linux suits their needs just fine because they're not windows power users like you are.

There are definitely still problems, but a few years ago we didn't even have a web browser or hotpluggable automounting devices. Only a few months ago, we didn't have a reasonable rendering infrastructure to compete with OSX or vista. If nothing else, Linux pushes forward and breaks barriers one by one. It's ready for a lot of desktops right now, and it'll be ready for even more in the coming years.

Re:Fine and all but (1)

NDPTAL85 (260093) | more than 7 years ago | (#17360800)

Of course double clicking setup.exe is the right way to do things. You are talking youself out of common sense. Self installing programs are the easist to install. Anything else is an advocacy for more effort than is necessary. Its a free country so thats your right, but it is the silly way to do things.

Re:Fine and all but (2, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#17360768)

Two points of interest here:

No, the only point of interest here: He wanted to do something way outside what normal people would. He wanted to manually unpack and install software outside the distro's packaging and even outside normal packaging for Debian over a trademark dispute. Even of the few that knows, most of us don't care and maybe a few even like Debian "making RMS look soft" Legal. And it's so most definately in the category of "nice to have", if not "get a life". Would it be a showstopper if he couldn't do it? Hell no, they're installed and fully functional. This is in the big picture of linux adoption about as relevant as the vi/emacs flamewars.

Re:Fine and all but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17361306)

He wanted to do something way outside what normal people would. He wanted to manually unpack and install software outside the distro's packaging and even outside normal packaging for Debian

Yeah, what a freak. Every knows if it isn't in Debians repositories no one could possibly want it, right? What a moron!

Everyone knows Linux is dead easy DON'T TOUCH THAT!. Ohh, too bad...

Surprisingly? (4, Insightful)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#17359750)

``What happens when the editor of a popular Linux website attempts to install a Debian Etch desktop on an old ThinkPad? How does it turn out? Surprisingly well!''

Only if you don't know Debian and you don't know IBM ThinkPads. If you do know them, you know that Debian generally works really well. Of course, Linux support for laptop hardware isn't always stellar, but IBM seems to actually have made an effort to ensure their hardware, including ThinkPads, played nice with Linux. Alas, Lenovo seems to have no intention of continuing that tradition.

Re:Surprisingly? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17359798)

You must not have read the article. At the very end he mentions that he couldn't get his wireless card recognized by linux. That's a pretty big deal to me, but the author mentions it at the very end. He is too busy ooh'ing and aah'ing about the fonts and graphics.

Re:Surprisingly? (1)

hahafaha (844574) | more than 7 years ago | (#17359960)

That's a pretty big deal to me, but the author mentions it at the very end. He is too busy ooh'ing and aah'ing about the fonts and graphics.

Note the bolded text. If he is ``ooh'ing and aah'ing [sic] about the fonts and graphics'', then those are clearly important to him.

Re:Surprisingly? (1)

moronoxyd (1000371) | more than 7 years ago | (#17360136)

And you seem to have missed the fact that the WiFi card is not build into the Thinkpad, but a PCMCIA card. So the problem has NOTHING to do with IBM and ThinkPads. Same for the modem. So all the hardware that was build into the Tinkpad seemed to have worked properly.

Ubuntu (-1, Flamebait)

owlman17 (871857) | more than 7 years ago | (#17359752)

Since Mark Shuttleworth made it clear in no uncertain terms that they're in it for the money, should Ubuntu users start looking into Debian? The article makes it very attractive to do so.

Re:Ubuntu (1)

triikan (1035650) | more than 7 years ago | (#17359882)

So, should user begin to migrate from Debian... to Debian? Well, sure.

Re:Ubuntu (2)

Stemp (936330) | more than 7 years ago | (#17360012)

This FUD ? again ? Ubuntu is free of charge and always will. Canonical want to make money on SUPPORT.

But it's a good idea to look at Debian from time to time. And anyway as an Ubuntu user, I consider to be part of the Debian family.

Re:Ubuntu (2, Insightful)

fdfisher (1043332) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361318)

Ubuntu may always be "free of charge," but that doesn't mean it will always be free [debian.org] in the way that really matters. The Ubuntu team has already begun shipping binary blobs in the kernel, non-free wireless drivers, and proprietary nvidia drivers [netsplit.com] in their standard, default setup. Debian's primary goal is to be a free (as in free speech) operating system, and as Ubuntu diverges from that fact, it becomes difficult to argue that they're truly "part of the Debian family."

Re:Ubuntu (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361352)

And anyway as an Ubuntu user, I consider to be part of the Debian family.

Looking at the screenshots I was surprised that Etch doesn't have the same installer as Ubuntu. Is that in Sid yet?

I just did that! (3, Informative)

EvanED (569694) | more than 7 years ago | (#17359768)

I just did the exact same thing myself. I don't know what type of computer this guy had, but I installed Etch on a Thinkpad 390X this past Friday. (That's like a 5 year old at least model I got for $40 used...) It went suprisingly simply actually. It even detected my wireless card no problems, which really surprised me.

The only hitch in the procedure that is even sorta the fault of Linux is that I don't know how to get it so that the computer will hibernate/resume.

Re:I just did that! (4, Informative)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 7 years ago | (#17359780)

The only hitch in the procedure that is even sorta the fault of Linux is that I don't know how to get it so that the computer will hibernate/resume.

Check out swsusp [suspend2.net] .

Re:I just did that! (2, Informative)

massysett (910130) | more than 7 years ago | (#17360970)

Check out swsusp

You linked to suspend2. Actually swsusp and suspend2 are different. swsusp is in the main sources from kernel.org. It suspends to disk. suspend2 also suspends to disk, but also has additional features like compression and eye candy. It is not in the main sources from kernel.org so you have to patch your kernel or see if your distro offers a kernel already patched with suspend2 sources (Gentoo does, for example.)

On another note, suspend to ram is built in to the main sources. There's only one implementation of that.

Configuring suspend can be time consuming trial and error. What I think we need is a laptop distro, or at least some sort of app that sees what kind of laptop you have and automatically configures suspend, multimedia buttons, wireless, and other things that are peculiar to laptops.

Re:I just did that! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17361486)

That's a whole set of hitches. It works great, unless you're using SCSI, or a swapfile, or a graphics card it doesn't happen to like, or maybe USB, or ...

If you have a USB mouse and keyboard (like me), good luck with their "compile all your USB drivers in as modules, and unload them prior to suspending" advice.

...and (2, Funny)

EvanED (569694) | more than 7 years ago | (#17359854)

The only hitch in the procedure that is even sorta the fault of Linux is that I don't know how to get it so that the computer will hibernate/resume.

Oh yeah, and my sound card doesn't work.

Re:I just did that! (2, Informative)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 7 years ago | (#17359928)

Whenever you have difficulty installing Linux, the general solution is to use google [google.com] .

Oh my, look at that... The first result provides some clues...

Re:I just did that! (1)

Alan426 (962302) | more than 7 years ago | (#17360464)

I'm writing this on a Compaq 1700 running Xubuntu (Debian-based dist with lightweight XFCE windows manager). This is a PIII with 128M. This Linux runs faster and seems more stable than the W98SE it originally shipped with. No problem with the antique wireless card, either. I agree with the parent about sleep and hibernate modes. Power management doesn't seem to work, but I haven't spent much time messing with it.

for Dell Inspiron 1150 (3, Interesting)

rjdegraaf (712353) | more than 7 years ago | (#17359796)

This page describes install of Debian Etch on Dell Inspiron 1150 [rdegraaf.nl] , including tweaks for Compiz and Truecrypt encryption.

Re:for Dell Inspiron 1150 (1)

thePig (964303) | more than 7 years ago | (#17360168)

This page describes install of Debian Etch on Dell Inspiron 1150 [rdegraaf.nl] , including tweaks for Compiz and Truecrypt encryption.
Looks like this is where the author obtained most of his information.
Anyways, one issue I find with all of these installation guidelines is that they do not always talk about 915resolution etc.
I had installed ubuntu and debian sarge/etch in dell laptops, and every time I had to get the help of 915resolution to get the max resolution possible.
Issues I found in debian etch are -
1. 915resolution needed, as mentioned above.
2. Sound/Audio -esp in flash based sites like youtube. The problem is - this works randomly. Same site might come up proper the second time I restart.
3. Hanging while booting. This occurs every 5 times or so, so the issue is not the max priority. It hangs while detecting hardware. Googling also wasnt much of a help here.
4. Grub latency - Mine is a dual-boot with WinXP. The boot-loader takes ages (approx 3-4 minutes) to come up every time I boot from linux. But, if I were to boot only linux/windows for consecutive 3 times, then the boot loader comes up fast. Googling didnt help here too.

If such issues were all cleared up, I guess linux is ready for an average joe. Installation otherwise was pretty simple.

Re:for Dell Inspiron 1150 (1)

rjdegraaf (712353) | more than 7 years ago | (#17360380)

4. Grub latency - Mine is a dual-boot with WinXP. The boot-loader takes ages (approx 3-4 minutes) to come up every time I boot from linux. But, if I were to boot only linux/windows for consecutive 3 times, then the boot loader comes up fast. Googling didnt help here too.
Some cases, when it takes longer time to boot, turn out a problem with /etc/hosts when name resolution can not be done and lookup times out before continuing the init processes.

Re:for Dell Inspiron 1150 (3, Informative)

krmt (91422) | more than 7 years ago | (#17360684)

1. 915resolution needed, as mentioned above
This is an issue with the Xorg i810 driver, and it's being remedied there. A beta version of the driver (xserver-xorg-video-i810-modesetting) is already available in the Debian unstable branch, and it'll be ready by the next Debian release.

Well done... (1)

PreacherTom (1000306) | more than 7 years ago | (#17359898)

Beautiful title, OP. Well done.

Not that useful (1)

scheme (19778) | more than 7 years ago | (#17359906)

The article is interesting and all but it's not that useful. Installing Etch on a laptop that has components more recent than a PIII 600mhz cpu would be a much useful writeup. Most people are working with much newer equipment and seeing how well Etch supports recent laptop hardware would be much more useful for them.

Re:Not that useful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17360068)

I use Etch on a Celeron 300 ThinkPad 240 with 192 MB of memory. It actually works pretty well; I can even play DVD-quality video. It's fine for browsing the Web, writing documents, and watching the odd video file. Would a faster computer be nice? Sure, and I'm getting one (mostly because the plastic on this one is disintegrating), but this one has served quite well, and I got it for the best price of all: free.

But... (4, Funny)

Klaidas (981300) | more than 7 years ago | (#17359916)

Does this mean that year 2007 will be the YEAR OF LINUX DESKTOP?
I kid, i kid! =)

Re:But... (1)

borgalicious (750617) | more than 7 years ago | (#17360968)

Linux Desktop 2.0!

The Author Isn't Very Thourough (2, Funny)

gers0667 (459800) | more than 7 years ago | (#17359944)

I don't know about this article. The author wasn't able to completely fill his desktop with icons.

Re:The Author Isn't Very Thourough (1)

khedron the jester (888418) | more than 7 years ago | (#17360408)

Agreed. KDE actually has a proper program menu - why does he feel the need to make his desktop just like my Windows one?

KDE (1)

christurkel (520220) | more than 7 years ago | (#17359990)

My only complaint about KDE is the klutter of it--all the stuff in the menus and all the included apps. A nice slimmed down KDE would be nice.

Re:KDE (1)

fimbulvetr (598306) | more than 7 years ago | (#17360162)

Agreed. The clutter is one if the reasons I switched to gnome. Uglyness was second. Kde _can_ be made to look pretty, but it takes a lot of tweaking. The default gnome on ubuntu is excellent, which is one of the reasons I use it. There is still some life left in kde, though. I am very much looking forward to 4, and I still use konsole and kopete on a daily basis. While gnome-terminal is alright, they still have some speeding up to do as well as some option tweaking (Like when you use your "next tab" left/right shortcut, why does it not wrap? When you enter in a new short cut like "alt-v" - remnants of my tera-term days - for paste in the preferences menu, it does unexpected things, etc.)

It's only when I see screenshots like the ones in that article that I realize just how much polish ubuntu puts in. Still not switching from debian on my servers, though.

Re:KDE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17360770)

Odd, gnome has always been UGLY beyond belief. It's so ugly, it drove me to use fluxbox.

Re:KDE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17360550)

Modular KDE is already in gentoo. I would guess in others too.

They will phase out the monolithic install shortly.

Re:KDE (1)

captjc (453680) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361376)

I have used Gnome for the longest time. I recently tried KDE (on Kubuntu). While I had an overall positive experience, my biggest complaint was that it just did not seem to have the usability of Gnome.

For instance, Power management was horrible compared to Gnome (I use a laptop). Installing themes also was also a pain. (Though not really a KDE complaint per se) Synaptic as a graphical package manager beats the pants off anything on K.

Do not get me wrong, I am not bashing KDE, as I said, I liked it very much. But IMHO While K has the looks and nice interface configurability, Gnome is still the most usable [Linux] desktop thus far. I just hope (for the sake of Desktop Linux) that we can get an end product that has the best of both worlds.

IBM ThinkPad 2662-35U (1)

tokul (682258) | more than 7 years ago | (#17360000)

IBM ThinkPad 2662-35U, Pentium III 600MHz processor, 192MB of SDRAM, and a 20GB hard drive.

Not enough RAM.

Re:IBM ThinkPad 2662-35U (1)

cciRRus (889392) | more than 7 years ago | (#17360242)

Not enough RAM.
So he should install Windows 98 instead?

Re:IBM ThinkPad 2662-35U (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17360484)

Well what Thinkpad is it? Who uses that 2662 designation anyway?? We only use that when ordering a replacement or a spare part, or you work for lenovo tech support. What model Thinkpad is the author talking about?

Honestly, throwing that number around isn't earning bragging points at the bar. It's like this guy that seemed convinced that knowing what the acronym DDR (as in memory) stands for, and throwing it into the conversation to describe the machine's features, automatically precludes his desktop computer from becoming en expensive doorstop.

Re:IBM ThinkPad 2662-35U (1)

tokul (682258) | more than 7 years ago | (#17360540)

Looks like X20 [ibm.com] with additional 64 MB RAM module.

Laptop model is from link in his article.

and what's the first thing they do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17360026)

They install Debian, the true paragon of the Free Software movement, and what's the first thing they do?

  • Download and install RealPlayer from real.com
  • Download and install Adobe Reader from adobe.com
  • Download and install Flash Player from adobe.com
  • Download and install the Opera browser from opera.com
  • Download and install Skype from skype.com
  • Download and install Java from sun.com
  • Download and install Crossover Office
  • Microsoft Core Fonts
  • MP3 non-free support
  • Microsoft Video Codecs
  • DeCSS!!!
Why don't you just install Windows? You've missed the entire point.

Re:and what's the first thing they do? (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#17360072)

Why don't you just install Windows? You've missed the entire point.

To some Linux is a Movement. To others it is an Operating System.

You are not obliged to sign on to the Revolution when Debian is your Distro of choice. Thank God.

Re:and what's the first thing they do? (1)

cortana (588495) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361430)

Yeah, they could at least have uesd the official Debian repositories for the packages that are available from them. /me shudders at the prospect of letting NVIDIA or ATI's installers crap all over his system

unzipped and untarred them into /usr/lib/, (1)

tokul (682258) | more than 7 years ago | (#17360036)

Adding applications

Once that was done, I started installing my favorite packages.

Tops on my list of applications are Firefox and Thunderbird, and I always get rid of modified versions and substitute the pristine versions direct from Mozilla.org. So I downloaded both, unzipped and untarred them into /usr/lib/, where Debian likes to keep them, and created symlinks in /usr/bin/ pointing to /usr/lib/firefox/firefox and /usr/lib/thunderbird/thunderbird, where the system expects to find them.

Apparently dude've never read FHS [pathname.com] . Say goodbye to your favorite packages when you apt-get upgrade.

Re:unzipped and untarred them into /usr/lib/, (2, Insightful)

fimbulvetr (598306) | more than 7 years ago | (#17360192)

Indeed. I always like to think this is a sign of newbs. If you need to overwrite the files a package maintainer maintains, what good is a package maintainer anymore? He has three paths from here:

A. Keep doing what he is doing, and suffer compounded problems in the long run. (Which is why I think he is a newb, as most people learn this lesson early).
B. Deal with what his package manager gives him.
C. _Understand_ his system and the intimacies of his package manager. Prevent problems before they happen. Install in /usr/local.

Re:unzipped and untarred them into /usr/lib/, (1, Insightful)

krmt (91422) | more than 7 years ago | (#17360266)

The problem with this article is that the guy clearly wants linux to work just like windows. That's all well and good, but it misses out on the real benefits of the linux (and debian) approach entirely. Still, it's nice to actually see someone write a positive article about Debian for a change.

run from your home dir (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17360692)

maybe i'm doing it wrong, but i run the mozilla firefox from /home//bin. that way i've got all the permissions i need to update without using su or sudo. it does pick up installed addons from the debian version, but to get flash working i just symlink to the libflashplugin.so installed by the flashplugin-nonfree.

the only restriction is you can't run both debian and official versions at the same time. which is fine since i run konqueror for nearly everything.

Re:unzipped and untarred them into /usr/lib/, (1)

littlem (807099) | more than 7 years ago | (#17360788)

Yes, I don't think he's worked out that / belongs to the distro and /usr/local belongs to him.

In addition, many Debian users would also consider it a good thing that the main repistory isn't stuffed with non-free proprietary software.

Etch and Thinkpads (2, Informative)

spidas (1043482) | more than 7 years ago | (#17360110)

The "dear editor" should try installing Etch on a LENOVO-built T60p, and then maybe, just maybe I'll be impressed!! (Writing this on an IBM-built T42p while my brand new LENOVO-built T60p languishes!!!)

debian is _THE_ distro (2, Funny)

C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) | more than 7 years ago | (#17360138)

i know i sound like a fanboy, but i simply love debian...

to the point of tattooing the swirl on my left arm.

and windowmaker's icon in my back.

and yes, i'm as geek as geek can be.

Re:debian is _THE_ distro (1)

wknoxwalker (901812) | more than 7 years ago | (#17360176)

I think I speak for us all when I say,

"post pix plz"

Re:debian is _THE_ distro (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17360294)

Boy, the day you get to play with Mac OS X, you're really going to regret getting these tats done. I'm really sorry for you.

Signed,

Ex-Linux user who has seen the light.

Re:debian is _THE_ distro (1)

C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) | more than 7 years ago | (#17360352)

no i won't... /me owns an iBook G4.

it's with my mother right now. can't wait for her to (finally) buy a mac mini so i can get it back, wipe the disk and install debian.

i bought the quality hardware, not the OS.

Re:debian is _THE_ distro (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17361118)

...can't wait for her to (finally) buy a mac mini so i can get it back, wipe the disk and install debian.

The only thing more pathetic than a PC user is a PC user trying to be a Mac user. We have a name for you people: switcheurs.

There's a good reason for your vexation at the Mac's operating system: You don't speak its language. Remember that the Mac was designed by artists [atspace.com] , for artists [atspace.com] , be they poets [atspace.com] , musicians [atspace.com] , or avant-garde mathematicians [atspace.com] . A shiny new Mac can introduce your frathouse hovel to a modicum of good taste, but it can't make Mac users out of dweebs [atspace.com] and squares [atspace.com] like you.

So don't force what doesn't come naturally. You'll be much happier if you stick to an OS that suits your personality. And you'll be doing the rest of us a favor, too; you leave Macs to Mac users, and we'll leave beige to you.

Re:debian is _THE_ distro (1)

cortana (588495) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361444)

God, I'm so glad I got off the Apple treadmill when I could!

Re:debian is _THE_ distro (1)

freewaybear (906222) | more than 7 years ago | (#17360756)

i'm as geek as geek can be.

Oh yeah, check out my conversation starter I got about two years ago.GEEK [flickr.com]

when they release (1)

towsonu2003 (928663) | more than 7 years ago | (#17360914)

it will be the well tempered out-of-date Debian desktop.

aptitude search (1)

ThePhilips (752041) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361202)

From RTFA:

I soon realized, however, that I generally didn't know the official repository package names for most of the apps that I wanted to download, so using apt-get quickly became a problem.

That's why aptitude's command "search" does exist.

e.g. "aptitude search sudoku" would search package names (and descriptions?) for string "sudoku". "dpkg -l '*sudoku*'" haven't really ever worked.

P.S. RTFA sucks. Judging Linux by ease of installation?? Give me a break. I use Linux precisely because (compared to Windows) I need to install it only once. And then it just works. Many of my friends use Linux precisely because of that stability - that allows people to actually concentrate on my own work. (M$Windows? You just have to reboot XP every week and reinstall it every year - to keep it running normally.)

Re:aptitude search (1)

ThePhilips (752041) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361242)

If all the guys who write all the pointless "let's install Linux" reviews/articles actually coordinated and made a write up about using particular distro for let say one year - encountered problems, ease to find solution, user community, security, etc - that info would be welcome by many users and also distro developers.

Throwing idea. Though modern journalism is well known for its "skin deep" nature, so I do not expect miracles.

What about a *new* laptop?? (0, Redundant)

fdfisher (1043332) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361256)

What would be a better test of Debian Etch is seeing how it handles a *new* laptop. Everyone knows that Debian Stable is going to be easy to install on old hardware because they prioritize stability over timely release cycles and bleeding edge software. But that's exactly why so many people have trouble installing Debian, because they want to install it on new hardware that isn't supported by Debian Stable's outdated drivers.
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