Bad experiences with distros (was Re: [H-GEN] CRUX (A programmers linux distro))

Russell Stuart russell at stuart.id.au
Sun Aug 8 20:04:01 EDT 2004


On Fri, 2004-08-06 at 21:03, Greg Black wrote:
> > > [1] I have played with Debian installs, but abandoned it once I
> > >     had determined that Debian did not have support for the
> > >     hardware I wanted it to run on.  Since then, I've stuck with
> > >     BSD variants.

Greg, I recall you did post to group one of your experiences of
trying to install Debian.  It was a while (years?) ago.  I vaguely
recall you getting utterly pissed off with the installation
process.  I suspect that once you had got everything installed
you couldn't get anything to work (hardware included) without
reading reams of documentation.  Perhaps I was just empathising,
as that was my experience as well.  In any case after a few hours
of trying you gave up.

The bottom line is that nobody unfamiliar with Woody is going to
get it going in a couple of hours.  You have to edit most of the
files in /etc by hand.  You have google for hours just to figure
out what kernel modules you must load to get your hardware going.

Things have improved since then.  The next release of Debian,
Sarge, is due one in the next 8 weeks or so.  The new installer
that comes with it is _much_ better.  However, I suspect that
Debian will never be newbie friendly.  Debian will is really just
a collection of packages that work together, or at least aren't
incompatible.  No attempt has been made to put a unified, pretty
front end on it - unlike the commercial distributions like RedHat
and friends.

Or a related note I see that aj has stepped down from his role as
Debian's release manager.  From afar (which is where I sit) 
Debian appears to be a sea of political ideologues duking it out 
in a never ending storm of flames, recriminations and open 
hostility.  The vitriol is often directed at those doing the
work.  Against that background it was the cooler heads like aj's 
that made pragmatic software engineering decisions, moving the 
project along to what should be one of its main goals: producing 
a stable, solid distribution.  It always sad to see people like
that move on.






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