larry at garfieldtech.com
Tue Aug 24 14:17:46 CDT 2004
Sounds like you used the Woody installer for Debian 3.0. That was
cutting edge as of 3 years ago. :-) For a desktop, I recommend the
Sarge installer, for the version of Debian that is just about to go
stable. If you don't want to reinstall, you can easily upgrade to it
now by changing your /etc/apt/sources.list file to say "testing" instead
of "stable". Then run:
# apt-get update && apt-get dist-upgrade
Why Debian Is Cool:
1) For servers, "Stable" really is. It is static for a LONG time, save
for bug fixes, and before being declared stable it's hammered on a lot.
On 11 (now 12) architectures. If you have a problem with a properly
configured Stable box, you can be pretty sure it's hardware or something
you did. :-) When a new version is declared stable (Sarge is supposed
to be in September, I think), the command above will upgrade the whole
system cleanly to the next version. Not even downtime unless you're
upgrading the kernel too (which is downtime on any distro, period).
Keeping it patched against security holes is as easy as running:
# apt-get update && apt-get upgrade
about once a day or so. Debian's turnaround time for security patches
in Stable is measured in hours, in most cases.
2) For desktops, you get a HUGE archive of software that you can install
with one or two commands with fully automated dependency management.
Yes, Gentoo and Fedora now claim the same thing, but with Debian you
don't have to wait for it to compile (good or bad, depending on your
POV) and more importantly you have debconf.
debconf. Debconf is the package setup script system that Debian uses.
It's a wizard-style ncurses, dialog, Qt, or command line-based script
that many packages use (any that require actual configuration) that lets
you configure most parameters of the package without touching a config
file. For instance:
# dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xfree86
Gives you a wizard interface to configure your X server. No playing
with the config file directly, and in Sarge it even does a damned good
job of auto-detecting most settings. Yes, X installation without a
hassle. Amazing, isn't it? :-)
Debian also has very nice kernel management tools. You can download
precompiled kernels, or use make-kpkg to compile a kernel from source
and create a .deb package for it that you can install that will take
care of all the symlinks and modules and lilo/grub and so on. Having
been burned by older RH systems' lack of ability to compile your own
kernel AND keep the RPM database up to date (which made installing newer
versions of some packages impossible), this is a godsend for me.
For a desktop, you want to run Testing or Unstable/Sid. Unstable/Sid is
actually fairly stable, most of the time, and it's what I use for my
main desktop. And yes, you can setup ext3 if you use a 2.4 kernel
installer. The Woody installer includes it as an option (bf24), or the
Sarge installer uses it by default and gives you an option of 2.6. You
can also convert after the fact with whatever migration tools there
If Woody's your only view on Debian, then yeah, it will look like it
sucks. :-) But once you get a look at the bigger picture of Debian it
becomes highly cool.
Ronald E. Petty wrote:
> I am new to Debian and was wondering a couple of things. Not to start a
> flame war, but what is the advantage to Debian? I just got it installed,
> messed up a couple of things on install (partitions that is, picked
> wrong place to boot from), however I am on the net.
> I noticed uname -a
> Linux debian 2.2.20-idepci #1 Sat Apr 20 12:45:19 EST 2002 i686 unknown
> So the kernel seems a bit dated, and I also noticed I installed ext2,
> didn't see ext3 as a choice.
> Do regular Debian users update to ex3/reiser? How about the kernel? What
> are my options for updating these things. I can redo the whole install,
> just wandering why it seems so dated? Is sarge coming soon? The
> installer was very retro in feel :).
> Debian newbie
Larry Garfield AIM: LOLG42
larry at garfieldtech.com ICQ: 6817012
"If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of
exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an
idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it
to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the
possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of
it." -- Thomas Jefferson
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