Managing Expectations (was Re: Debian 3.0 CDRs)

Alfred alfred at
Thu Aug 8 16:06:44 EST 2002

Firstly, if people are getting sick of this thread just say :)

When I tried installing debian I was running short of time and wanted a 
machine that worked there and then, I didn't have the time to spend 
learning the semantics of debian (config locations, apt issues, etc). I 
have been using linux since I installed Slackware back in 95 off floppy 
disks (urgh...) and I understand the "RTFM" and "fix it yourself" 
mentality, I suffer from it also. However, when I was installing debian 
I didn't have the time to indulge myself the luxury of exploring the 
system, I had a deadline.
I think my problem was two fold. Firstly I had a hard time finding 
details about the apt system, in particular the sources.list and what 
each entry meant. Also, at the time I did the install woody didn't have 
Xfree 4.0 (it was about 9months ago from memory) and so I had to use a 
third party to grab the xfree 4.0 debs. That caused some pain.

I got it working after a couple hours, but I felt frustated by taking so 
long to do something that was automatic with all my previous 
distributions (i.e getting a current windowing system).

Its first impressions that are important, and Debian let me down in that 
department. Perhaps some of the Debian team can take this to heart :)

Alex Satrapa wrote:
> On Thursday, August 8, 2002, at 02:03 , Sam Couter wrote:
>> Alfred <alfred at> wrote:
>>> ... To get Xfree 4.0 (for GL support) and KDE 2.2 to run was a major 
>>> exercise
> The hardest part would be becoming familiar with the apt system over the 
> rpm system.
> "Woody" contains XFree86 4.1.0 and KDE 2.2.25, your 
> /etc/apt/sources.list would only need to look like:
> deb woody main contrib non-free
> deb woody/non-US main 
> contrib non-
> free
> deb woody/updates main 
> contrib non-free
> I don't see anything "hackish" about modifying a configuration file in 
> such a simple manner.  Except of course that it requires the use of a 
> text editor and a keyboard, rather than a mouse and a pointy-clicky 
> interface.
> Yes, the Debian installer has a long way to go in terms of configuring 
> package sources. I just say "no" to all the questions about which sets 
> of sources to use, then after the machine has rebooted and finished the 
> install process, I edit the /etc/apt/sources.list and update/upgrade.
> The hardest part about moving from something else to Debian is to 
> discard your expectations of how Debian is supposed to work.  It doesn't 
> work like RedHat, it doesn't work like Mandrake.  Debian works like Debian.
> Alex

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