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Debian Software Linux

Debian And The Rise of Linux 438

There's an article in this month's LinMagAu that asks a question about how the rise of Linux will impact Debian and what that could mean. Good article, especially interesting if you have been a fan of Debian.
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Debian And The Rise of Linux

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  • Yeah watch out (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Yuioup ( 452151 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @08:11AM (#6329699)
    I totally agree with the article. How many times have we seen technically superior technology being totally ignored and people going for 'popular' technology. Remember, the PC itself wasn't a technically superior machine. The intel processors weren't the best at the time, but everybody started buying PC's because they all wanted to play Leasure Suit Larry on it (.. and use Wordperfect).

    So Debian should be more of a VHS than a Betamax if it wants to stand a chance...

  • by CompWerks ( 684874 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @08:17AM (#6329722)
    What's wrong with RH? It's made the most headway in developing a true alternative to M$. Anyway you cut it RH helps all linux distro's across the board.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 30, 2003 @08:23AM (#6329741)
    Of course you don't see Debian in the corporate enviroment. You don't see Slackware or LFS, either! RedHat and SuSe get the corporate markets becuase the provide the backup and support that corporates need. The partner with major hardware suppliers and ISV's. They can talk that weird language called "Business".

    While Redhat and SuSe are doing all this, Debiam is three years out of date and squabling over the word "free" in BigBobsSuperDuperMega Licence Version 9e1, and wether or not the last Star Wars film was any good.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 30, 2003 @08:32AM (#6329786)
    "By mid 2004 at the latest Linux will be a serious contender on the average desktop. The downfall of Windows won't be imminent (that will take another couple of years at least) but Linux will begin to take a serious chunk of the market. Kids will be doing their homework with it, Moms and Pops will be doing Internet banking and sending email to Aunt Edna with it, secretaries will be drafting letters with it, accountants will be creating spreadsheets with it."

    Would you like to bet some money on that?

    "But will Debian be there?

    We all know that Debian is technically one of the most advanced operating systems on the planet, but is it ready to ride the coming shockwave of the desktop Linux juggernaught?"

    The desktop linux juggernaught? Oh, you mean Gnome. Or do you mean KDE? I know, you mean X, everyone's *favorite* GUI.

    The linux desktop is an absolute mess. The article's claim that windows will be dead by mid-2006 is ridiculous. MS has too much money, too much monopoly, and too much inovative stuff just around the bend (read: Longhorn will take advantage of the technology MS developped through the complicated research process of using Mac OSX a lot) to keel over that easily. What's the point of an article if its assumptions are super-optimistic trash?
  • by Malc ( 1751 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @08:36AM (#6329807)
    "Debiam is three years out of date"

    That's just tripe, and you know it. I have no idea why you got moderated up twice for spreading FUD. I use Mandrake and Debian at home, and Red Hat and Debian at work. Debian is pretty modern.
  • Segments (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rf0 ( 159958 ) <rghf@fsck.me.uk> on Monday June 30, 2003 @08:36AM (#6329808) Homepage
    IHMO I really feel that Debian is aimed at the server and techincal user market and not the sort of people who run windows. Debian is very very powerful but not that intuative. For example to setup networking you have to /etc/network/interfaces. In RH you click on the pretty networking panel.

    However as mentioned in that article apt-get is a saviour. Security problem on RH. Download RPM, check deps, install. Fix broken config

    Debian: apt-get update && apt-get install

    Walk away

    Just MHO

  • by Malc ( 1751 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @08:42AM (#6329825)
    "he way the average Joe User is going to see it: Oh, Red Hat has Apt now, cool. I'll use that instead of Debian. "

    Unfortunately, Jow User doesn't realise that it isn't Apt itself that makes Apt great. It's the effort that goes in to creating the packages correctly that Apt uses. Broken and poorly maintained packages will render Apt as useful as RPM.
  • by IamTheRealMike ( 537420 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @08:43AM (#6329832)
    There already is such a system in the form of the LSB.

    The main problems with using Debian as a reference distro are:

    a) Not as popular as some other distros (which is not btw just because the clueless masses are stupid, give people some credit).

    b) They don't have any real problem breaking binary compat with other distros, see their decision over the libdb mess.

    c) The LSB already does it, and is widely accepted, has test cases etc.

  • by DaStoned ( 639930 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @08:43AM (#6329833)
    APT is a tool, not an idol so quit the crap. Being a very useful tool indeed it should be, has been and will be ported everywhere it is needed. Go ahead, port it to Apple, the users will only benefit from it.

    Calling APT the main and only advantage of Debian is plain ignorance.

    Debian's strength lies in maturity which results from well-defined development policies, experienced & dedicated developers and large quantities of common sense :)

    Apart from raving over APT for the first 1/3 of it's length, the article is, of course, right. Average Joe cannot tackle Debian.

    Still, I wouldn't worry so much. The server market is huge. Debian simply kicks ass there.
  • by martin ( 1336 ) <maxsec@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Monday June 30, 2003 @08:44AM (#6329837) Journal
    umm NetBSD....a few more than Debian..


  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 30, 2003 @08:44AM (#6329839)
    If you look around were Debian is used, it will
    usually be used where few competent people are running a large amount of systems. (And do not want to cope with unnecessary problems). Decentral organized universities are a good place to find something.

    Of course you will not see a community driven efford to make the best thing possible in an environment, where mangers decide what to take.
    (They will always use other criterias then the quality of the product...)

  • by Alkarismi ( 48631 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @08:45AM (#6329843) Homepage
    Debian is not only the distribution of choice for the technically savvy, it is in most cases the best choice for deployment in Business.

    The inevitable rise of GNU/Linux is one thing, Debian's place in the world is another. The two are not connected!

    We deploy GNU/Linux and Free Software, every day, in an Enterprise setting. The opinion-du-jour on 'Linux on the Desktop' has almost nothing to do with distribution selection for any particular business. To the extent that Debian sticks to its long tradition of quality, stability, security and attention to detail it will remain right at the top of the shortlist (certainly for us at the very least).

    Any increase in GNU/Linux usage is good for the community. Home users will be swayed by what they have always been swayed by - ease of use, getting their stuff done, and eye-candy. Decisions on Distributions used in business will continue to be made using a differenct set of criteria.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 30, 2003 @08:45AM (#6329845)
    > ... Debiam is three years out of date ...

    If you consider the derivitives of Debian, such as Knoppix, you can't say that it is out of date. Knoppix has absolutely the easiest installation of any operating system out there (unless you want to go back to DOS ("format c: /S" was pretty easy).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 30, 2003 @08:46AM (#6329854)
    for a server, run the STABLE. For a desktop system that is running the cutting edge use UNSTABLE/TESTING.

    It's what I do and it works fine. I have had many long uptimes and would have even longer ones if it weren't for kernel recompiles..
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 30, 2003 @08:47AM (#6329859)
    Debian lives by its contributors. If you reckon they're going away, there's a issue. But I certainly don't see that happening at the moment, so what's the problem again?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 30, 2003 @08:49AM (#6329877)
    So, if a package is included in RedHat, it is ok to use. But if the the same package is in Debian unstable, it is not? Because it's more unstable?
  • by bazongis ( 654674 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @08:51AM (#6329890)

    Here is why I am likely to stick to debian in the foreseeable future:

    • it's not because of the philosophy (I love the philosophy, but it wouldn't keep me from switching to a better distro if that makes my life in front of the computer better)
    • it's not just because of apt
    • it's because the packages have an extremely high quality, and because of a long term hassle-free upgrade procedure

    Let me explain this in a bit more detail:

    I started using debian roughly 4 years ago, after having tried various other distributions for different amounts of time (admittedly I was a complete clueless newbie then and had only limited abilites to stray too far from the default install).

    Since then I have been running exactly the same debian installation.

    I have started with stable, then went to testing, then went to unstable. In this time, I've upgraded my cpu and mobo twice, replaced various hardware, and have upgraded my desktop environment through various fairly incompatible KDE versions, and painlessly went through the c++ ABI changes.

    And all I've done in all that time is simply 'apt-get upgrade' or 'apt-get dist-upgrade'. Nothing else.

    The package quality of debian packages is usually extremely high, and most package maintainers go to great lengths to make complicated upgrade procedures virtually invisible. And it works.

    In the mean time, I have seen many of my friends repeatedly re-install their linux system from scratch, because upgrading simply didn't work out quite as expected. And I felt reminded of those good old windows times, where you just re-installed your system every half a year or so.

    I don't want that. I want to install my system and keep it up-to-date and want to never have to re-install it (unless the box was compromised of course).

    That's why I love debian, because it makes the daily package-juggling and -upgrading easy, and thus improves my quality-of-life-in-front-of-the-box considerably.

    I can't say I'm up-to-date with other distributions any more, and I've got nothing against other distributions at all. I am fairly sure the installation procedure of most other distros is far superior to the current debian installer, and probably many have more user-friendly configuration tools as well.

    I just watch all my friends doing things I don't want to do. And that makes me a happy debian user.

    And for the same reason I would immediately decide for debian when it comes to setting up a linux box at work (partly of course because I know he system better).

    Anyway, thanks for reading :-)

  • Screw average Joe (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 1gor ( 314505 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @08:51AM (#6329893)
    I'm sick of this argument: "Average Joe doesn't care... It's too difficult for average Joe... The product has no future... Let's make the product easier for the brain-dead and dumb it down".

    For the record, there exist such thing as market niches and they can be lucrative enough. Not everything should be mass-produced. Maybe millions of average Joes do not care about single vendor and forced upgrade risk. Let RH make money servicing them. There will be a limited number of sophisticated and influential users who will always need (and support) Debian.

  • by JanneM ( 7445 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @08:53AM (#6329907) Homepage
    You are probably aware of this, but just to clear some misconceptions:

    rpm deb

    apt up2date Red Carpet

    In other words, rpm (like deb) is a package format. Apt (like up2date, red carpet nad a number of others) is a system for downloading and installing packages, finding and solving dependencies between packages and so on.

    Running apt on redhat still means using rpm - it's just that you use apt as the manager, instead of using the rpm tools directly to do stuff manually. As packages, rpm and deb are pretty much equal; rpm has gotten a bad rap in part because rpm based distros typically did not have a package manager earlier, and foremost, because there was no solid, single repository for them with people dedicated solely to find and fix inconsistencies and conflicts before pushing them out to users.
  • by sqlrob ( 173498 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @09:00AM (#6329945)
    Please explain the inclusion of GCC 2.96 in RH then.
  • by Alkarismi ( 48631 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @09:27AM (#6330093) Homepage
    You're considering the issue ONLY from your perspective as a desktop user! Take a look at how much businesses spend on their server-side compared with the desktop and you'll see that the server is where it's at! The spend on the desktop is going to go WAYYYYYYYYYYY down and GNU/Linux will play its part in this.
    You are correct that Debian has proved itself on servers, that is why there will always be a place for it whilst it sticks to its heritage.
    If you really like portage that much you should try FreeBSD btw, it kicks your portage into touch ;)
  • I agree on most of your points.

    I'm a Debian user, not a developer, and I chose Debian for two main reasons: I like to understand what goes on, and many distros try to hide things from me to be "friendly". I don't have anything against RTFM, at least to a great extent. The other reason is that it is the most free distro around. Additionally, I had many good friends using Debian, always somebody I can call up.

    However, I'm not capable of packaging anything myself, and I'm not a hacker. I'm a newbie. Things are hard, even after RTFMing...

    Woody is allready terribly outdated, security packages like snort and nessus are pretty much useless. Then, KDE 3 is a whole lot more stable in my experience than KDE 2.2.2 which is in Woody. SpamAssasin must be kept up-to-date in the arms race with spammers. Exim is so old, people on the Exim-lists can't help you because they don't remember how Exim 3 was configured...

    There are many who cries for an easier install, but I don't. It wasn't that hard, even for a newbie like me. Just had to call up my friends a few times. Debian folks are very helpful.

    It seems like Sarge is following pretty much the same path as Woody did, released when really big things has been done. What I would like to see is Sarge being just an updated Woody. No new installer, no new groundbreaking stuff, just updated packages, Snort, Exim 4, Apache 2.0, KDE 3.1, GNOME 2.0, etc. Up-to-date, tested and out the door...

    That's what I would like to see, but I realize there is very little I can do to help it happen.

  • by Moraelin ( 679338 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @09:41AM (#6330179) Journal
    Please don't take it as some offence, but you seem confuse two very different issues there.

    Yes, Windows does insist on doing the non-neighbourly thing and do whatever it damn pleases, like it's the boss. It's done so all the time. One of the things which put me off as early as Win'95 was that it insisted to auto-detect something completely wrong, in spite of my best efforts to tell it not to.

    Yes, I too would like some more control over what happens on _my_ computer. Bill Gates has his own computer(s), he doesn't need to completely take over mine, thank you very much.

    _However_, I fail to see how that means that user-UNfriendly is the way to go. Yes, you can still edit your own config files, and noone will replace them with a Windows-style registry. But why is it bad if Random J User can configure the same things via a comfortable GUI?

    Some people seem to have this elitist attitude that "Hey, we're the only ones who matter, because we can chain 10 obscure shell commands via pipes, to achieve some trivial result. All you point-and-drool GUI users suck and should go away."

    And it's _precisely_ this kind of attitude which has kept Linux off the desktop so far.

    When Mr Oldtimer Guru wants to demonstrate Linux to his pal Random J User, or help Random J User configure his freshly installed Linux distro... guess what happens? Let's say it's something as easy as helping Random J User configure his ISDN connection.

    The knowledgeable Mr Oldtimer Guru starts grepping around and editing arcane config files in emacs or vi. All while his pal Random J User is getting this frightening impression that the _only_ way is to go through all that nightmare. Because for Random J User, with zero Unix knowledge, it _is_ a nightmare to just look at all that. He's already getting the creeps at the mere thought of trying to remember that the next time he needs to change something.

    That is already assuming that Mr Oldtimer Guru isn't elitist too. We're assuming here that he's a nice guy, but as it happens, just a too firm believer in the command line and vi. He wouldn't even _consider_ using a nice GUI there, just because, you know, GUIs are just for those clueless Windows wimps.

    Whereas if Mr Oldtimer Guru remembered that it's all for the benefit of a NON-technical person, and used one of the nice GUIs available for configuring an ISDN connection in Linux, _then_ Random J User might have felt less threatened. Maybe Random J User wouldn't then proceed to uninstall Linux and swear never to touch it again.

    So basically yeah, user-unfriendly != survivability. And it's a good thing, too. The whole "unfriendly == good" or "unfriendly == the proper Unix way" philosophy is doing far more harm to Linux than Microsoft ever did.
  • by Xouba ( 456926 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @09:41AM (#6330181) Homepage

    I found very funny the messages that start like this. It seems no one dares to complain about Debian, because they've somewhat accepted that it's "superior" (note the quotes; I'm not saying it is, just quoting). Anyway, the "I love Debian, but I use <distro> because <reason>" is quite standard. Usually <reason> has been it's hard to install, and it seems that it's still the number one complaint. I agree to a point with that: it's hard if you know nothing about computers. I wouldn't ask my fashion designer fellow to install Debian only by himself (though, thanks to his friends, he's quite computer savvy now, and he's the "computer expert" in his own department :-)), but I won't ask him to install Mandrake or RH either. If you don't know what a partition is, you won't understand that you need to partition a HDD even if it's said in big, red and blinking letters, with a nice dancing HDD that sings aloud.

    But anyway, on to the trolling:


    As other have said, Debian is not just apt. One of the reasons given, and something that I think most people don't value enough, is the ability to upgrade fully the distribution with 0 downtime. Ever tried to upgrade a rpm-based distro? I did only a few times, so correct me if I'm wrong; but usually it means inserting the CD with the new distro and upgrading. I'm not sure if that means that you have to reboot, but I'd dare to say that you have. And that is what a corporate environment needs? My ass.

    There's a trend that I've always seen in Linux, since I started: people start with "flashy" distros (RH, SuSE, Mandrake, etc.), because they're easier to install. As they know more about Linux, they gradually change to Debian. This may be not true anymore; there are always the wanna-try-coolest-distro types that will install anything that is perceived as new and cool; I think that they're mostly into Gentoo now. But it has been true in my experience.

    I know people that sysadmin RH boxes, and they usually like Debian once they've worked a bit with it. Debian may be hard to install, but in the long run is the easiest to maintain; and that's not only because of apt, but because it's very well thought off, and not driven just because marketing.


    C'mon, -1 Redundant or Troll. I've earned it :-)

  • by MrPink2U ( 633607 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @09:43AM (#6330193)

    Debian will remain my first choice for a server distro for its stability and for ease of maintenance (at least for me).

    While I agree with your statement that Debian will never take over the desktop market, I disagree with the statement regarding Gentoo. Gentoo is a little too techie for Jane/Joe user. Gentoo's installation procedure is no piece of cake if you aren't an experienced Linux/Unix user. chroot, mke2fs, fdisk, etc. aren't tools that I could see any of my non-IT friends undertaking.

    Please don't take this as a Gentoo flame. I think it is a fun distro with a lot of up to date packages. It's just that with today's hardware I really don't see the need to tailor my software for my architecture. The performance gains aren't worth waiting for the compiles to finish.

  • Useability (Score:3, Insightful)

    by stephenpeters ( 576955 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @09:50AM (#6330237) Homepage
    In articles like this much is made of the inevitable decline of Windows desktops in favour of GNU/Linux. Journalists like to predict when Microsoft will die and which distribution will be the new OS star. This however may all be irrelevant to average users, as neither Microsoft nor Open Source Software have yet produced an operating system that the average computer illiterate user considers useable.

    Microsoft is driven by its marketing machine to produce more and more features in a relentless treadmill of unecessary upgrades. So providing a horrific mess of options and menus to the user.

    Development of Open Source operating systems have been driven by the needs of its developers. While many of the packages are indeed excellent they do not provide an easy to use system for the end user. No one has yet produced a free distribution that the average user would find easy to use. Each desktop has its own quirks and way of doing things.

    I belive that the next few years will see GNU/Linux or ****BSD becoming the dominant server operating system. This is something that Debian excels at. The desktop market is up for grabs as Microsoft seem to be faltering. Apple seem to understand the useability angle as their current systems are eminently user friendly. If Apple keep the costs of their hardware down they are well placed to own the desktop market for a while.

    Only when a distribution such as Debian tries to produce a distribution with usability as the overiding priority will users switch to GNU/Linux.

    In the long term though Open Source Software will inevitably be the only choice for the majority of software worldwide, not just the desktop.

  • I'm as critical of Debian as anyone, probably because I really, really like their philosophy. Unfortunately, their philosophy causes them to be about 2 years behind the current average Linux distro. On the other hand, Debian stays this far behind because all the work done to the distro must work across, what?, about 9 different architectures. (Maybe it was 11?) This includes the installer. I've given Debian a whirl, but I haven't made the jump yet. However, there's a chance that I might get a dozen old HP and Sun workstations that are collecting dust at my company, and the thought of being able to run the same Linux distro across both platforms really, really intrigues me. Debian on x86? Well, if you really want to, I guess. But Debian on non-x86? Hands down. "Real" Unix machines that can find their way into hobbyists hands won't be bleeding edge, and Debian's lag will actually be a huge asset to someone wanting to outfit such a machine.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 30, 2003 @09:57AM (#6330290)
    "Could it be coming from Redhat that he seems to be whoring in the article"

    This guy writes like 500 lines about how great Debian is and you point out one line acrediting Redhat and now he works for them? You people used to be amazing, now you're frickin' disgusting.

  • by Reservoir Penguin ( 611789 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @10:01AM (#6330329)
    Actually he wrote a 500 line article how Debian used to be great but now is dying because there is atp4rpm.
  • by Mr_Silver ( 213637 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @10:04AM (#6330344)
    ... if his experience with WinModems is anything like mine.

    Is there any simple (as in Joe User simple, not simple as in run this script, patch this file, compile this kernal simple) way to get WinModem support under Linux?

    I always said that the user interface needed to be slicker to get people using it. With Redhat 9 (and Gnome) I think it's there - but the absolute killer for me is that i've wasted far too much time so far farting around with trying to get a WinModem to work.

    If Joe User can't dial up to check his hotmail - Linux will be off the PC before you know it.

  • by Zigg ( 64962 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @10:14AM (#6330411)

    You're trying to be clever, I know, but you're failing miserably. The grandparent's point was that his system has smoothly upgraded without needing to be reinstalled throughout those four years.

    I have the same experience with my laptop.

  • Wow, Deja Vu... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by StressGuy ( 472374 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @10:14AM (#6330413)
    A can remember a fairly simialar thread on Slashdot a few years ago. Back then there was a strong "GUI is for weenies" mentality and it was the Slackware fans that were the true hardcore Linux crowd (whatever happened to Slackware?).
    My position back then was that, "If you want Linux to compete with Windows on the desktop, then it has to be as easy to use as windows, if you don't want it to be within the abilities of the average user, then you will never compete with windows". Well, *that* commentary caused some backlash.

    Linux (or GNU/Linux if you must), is a good system regardless of whether it competes with Windows on the desktop or not - it's certainly doing well in the server market. However, what I said back then is just as true today. For Linux to compete on the desktop, "average Joe user" must be able to pop in a CD and have the installation auto-detect everything he needs and generally "take him by his little pink hand" and walk him through everything he needs to do. The average user just wants it to work, he has neither the time nor the inclination to fiddle with it. He's not lazy, he's just not that "hard-core" about computers. Additionally, he needs Quicken (or an equivalent), he needs TurboTax (or an eq.), he needs AutoCad, he wants to play games (GameSpy for Linux?), etc.. If he can't get what he wants/needs, then he'll stay with Windows regardless of whether or not he feels Linux is a superior system.

    Today, Linux enjoys a growing market share. It may well compete with or even replace Windows on the desktop and I hope it does. If it is desired to get there from here, then Linux must compete with Windows in it's own areana.

  • Re:kernels (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sevensharpnine ( 231974 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @10:25AM (#6330513)
    [...] which will attract the more technical users when they abandon linux
    as too mainstream

    And exactly what is wrong with "mainstream" software? If you're picking your OS based on l33t obscurity, stay the hell out of the discussion. Technical merit and licensing are far more important than bragging rights on irc.
  • by DescData ( 196712 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @10:32AM (#6330576)
    This attitude is a dead end. I compare what is happening to Linux distributions to what happened to Personal computer in the 80's. There were advocates for several platform, (my closet computer is Atari Falcon), but over time they all moved on. Why?

    Being involved with computers is only interesting contributes to something that grows. A growing user base is the sign that you got it right. It's like the audience of a standup comic. When the average guy leaves for something else, your project has truly died.

    Debian does not have to die. It just needs to reorient it's self. It needs to become the best at listening, and making everyone a contributer in some way.
  • Stealing is good! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by siskbc ( 598067 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @11:10AM (#6330916) Homepage

    I'm all for diversity, but to me the problem with Linux (and no flames, I use linux every day) is that each distro has a few good features, but none really nails it. I love slackware's simplicity, and have become accustomed to it's install, but I suppose a more user-friendly install would be nice. Debian, as you say, has some great features but suffers the same problems as slackware. Redhat and mandrake are very user friendly but do things in nonstandard ways sometimes, making it a pain to figure out why they do what they do. You get the idea.

    It ultimately would be great for some distro to piece together all these features into something that has ease of use but allows great control as well. And since there are different definitions of what is great, there will still be different distros. Being a chemist, I would love to see a distro with more "science-y" tools. But what we need to see go away are needlessly clunky installs and some of the clearly inferior tools.

    Sometimes, this arises from the same "reinvent the wheel syndorme" that plagues the linux office suite problem - why does KDE need to make a bad office suite while making a decent OE? Similarly, why write a bad package manager when a good one exists? What's surprising is that since this is open source, I would expect more "borrowing" than currently occurs since it's perfectly legal.

    Bottom line is, I don't really care if Debian goes the way of the dodo, so long as the cool stuff that Debian gave to the OSS community stays with us.

  • by BrokenHalo ( 565198 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @11:21AM (#6331025)
    I have no beef with Gentoo (I use Slackware) but it sems to me that RedHat appears to have a de facto grip on any claim to be a reference system, simply by virtue of its popularity. And yes, some people do manage to get a RedHat or Mandrake system to run stable, though I never did.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 30, 2003 @11:32AM (#6331122)
    I don't know why this comment was cut and pasted anonymously from another story about debian, [slashdot.org] but it's cheap karmawhoring.
  • I agree. Let the nerds have their distro, let the business world have the main ones. *ducks*

    Debian should not get into the "Joe User" mode, because it alienates the only people that use it. Let RedHat, Mandrake, and SuSe fight over Joe User. Just as long as it's linux.

  • by fishynet ( 684916 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @12:51PM (#6331767) Journal
    umm I dont see anything hard about the debian installer... I first installed it right when I started using linux. The hardest part I think is the partitioning, but every distro has to do that. Gentoo is much harder to install than debian.
  • by Chad Page ( 20225 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @01:26PM (#6332055) Homepage
    - testing/unstable *does* have fresh software, and reasonably free of bugs. It has KDE 3.1.2 for instance. (and apt-get can keep testing and unstable straight)

    - It works the same way on many, many platforms. I can run the same Linux on my iBook and my x86 boxes, and I only have to remember one way of doing things.

    - It has a leaner core installation, which makes it good for setting up firewalls and/or on small hard drives.

    - It runs well on old hardware. I'm working on a P133-eleron (no L2 cache) notebook for a friend and it *needs* XFree 3.3.6 to work, and Debian still has that. Heck, I even got KDE running somewhat decently on it. (having 72MB helps)

    - Very hackable. Look at Knoppix, which is itself very hackable. My main home 'puter runs Knoppix on a 1GB CF card with an IDE adapter. (It's a tweaked version, but the regular version works on CF too!)

    [it's ironic that Knoppix, arguably the easiest type of Linux to get running, is based on Debian which has one of the more complex installers ;) ]

    Basically, it's what works for me.
  • by Sentry21 ( 8183 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @01:42PM (#6332172) Journal
    What's wrong with RH? It's made the most headway in developing a true alternative to M$.

    I'm sorry, but when did the point of Linux become 'to destroy MS'? I always thought it was about making good software that people want to use, and sharing it with everyone so the people can benefit. Red Hat seems more interested in making a profit - and as a corporation, that is, in fact, the one thing they exist to do. I disapprove of this. It's like totalitarian communism - 'everyone helps everyone (to help me)'.

    Redhat, as I've said before, is the MS of the Linux world. Which is not to say it's evil, but it certainly doesn't have the quality that Debian does, for one major reason: customers. Debian has users, Red Hat has customers. Red Hat has to provide new versions to its customers on a timetable. They can't afford to wait until things are finished, they have to get it out the door.

    Debian, on the other hand, does not have that limitation. Debian releases happen when they're done, when they're ready to get burned onto a CD and downloaded by the ISO and dist-upgraded, and not a second before. Debian releases are done right, and the long release cycle is because they take the time to do it right the first time. THAT is what Linux and open-source should be about. Not doing it first, but doing it right.

    Anyway you cut it RH helps all linux distro's across the board.

    Not really, no. Red Hat has a horrible history of security holes, including (for example) keeping Wu-FTPd as the default FTP daemon, despite security hole after security hole, for over four years (or at least, four years of everyone criticizing them for being so stupid). They leave spades of ports open in the default installation, because someone might some day need them, instead of providing an option to turn them on later. They provide a packaging system that, at its best, is mediocre. They corporatize Linux, and make everyone feel as though they have to compete to be better. They made such a big deal about being the only Linux out there that corporations only support Red Hat - which severely hurts other Linux distros. Oracle, for example, is only supported on Red Hat. True, that's Oracle's fault, but Red Hat's boisterious success has marginalized distros that don't have overly commercial gains, and that hurts everyone across the board.

  • by rnws ( 554280 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @04:18PM (#6333574)
    And every ISP I have worked for (it's been a few, since 2.0 had just come out as I recall) has run Debian (and I got hired by the first one as the Windows geek.)

    One of the reasons is one of the self-same reason that RedHat created the "server" variant of it's line - it moves more slowly than the mainstream version so you (in the commercial sense) know that it's not going to change tomorrow - it's something you can rely on (not to be different by 9am tomorrow.) IT pros *like* predictability and reliability (one of the reason's all that old mainframe code is still out there.)

    I must say the thing that pisses me off the most is people who say the installation is hard - no, it's not. All I have ever done with Debian is just sit there, make some choices and tap the enter key (ok, type the hostname and such too ;-)
    Many of my (newbie) friends have had the same experience, "I heard it was hard?" Just keep hitting enter. "Wow, that didn't hurt at all."

    Where does this idea that it's hard come from? The fact that it's text-based? Well that certainly didn't hinder Microsoft from growing into a giant with things like MS-DOS and Windows 3.x or id Software with all of it's dos-based games, or Novell or any of the *nixes either.

    Sure it can be a bitch when something is missed by the installer but so are all of them - and Debian can be a damn sight more interactive during install than some of the graphical routines out there (that want to treat you like a Mac or Windows user and hide the really useful, powerful bits from you.)

    So yeah, maybe Debian is a slow, sure, wrinkly old tortise but dammit I need that kinda reliability in my business.

Adding features does not necessarily increase functionality -- it just makes the manuals thicker.