My Debian experience so far

Rob Weir rweir at
Wed Mar 12 15:00:49 EST 2003

On Tue, Mar 11, 2003 at 04:58:32AM +1100, Rasjid Wilcox wrote:
> Well, once I took the plunge, installing Debian was not really all that hard, 
> although it definitely helped that I knew how configure some of my hardware 
> 'by hand' - although I believe there are a couple of hardware detection 
> packages available for Debian, they are just no installed as a matter of 
> course.

'discover' and 'kudzu' should both detect cards and such.  'hotplug'
will handle firewire and USB devices (and possibly PCMCIA, I'm not
sure...), 'read-edid' will ask your monitor what modes it supports and
'mdetect' will find your mice.  X, in fact, Suggests discover, mdetect
and read-edid, so (barring some stupid bug that seems to make it not
work on woody) it should be able to configure itself for you.

> The plusses: I love apt.  apt-get install this, apt-get install that.  It is 
> great.  I'm not sure I could ever go back to a rpm based distro.

Amen.  RPM-based distros have apt-get now though, but they still don't
have Policy (or the social structure) that (should, anyway) make
packages work so neatly together.

> The minuses: Woody is too old, and Sid is, well, currently broken.  Not badly 
> broken.  Only a very little really.  

Have you considered Sarge?  It's a little broken now (php4 is
uninstallable...I think that's about it), but libc 2.3.1 has moved in
from testing, so it should start shaping up very quickly now.  Of
course, sarge doesn't currently get security updates, so you have to
weigh up your decision carefully...

> Unfortunately, Kmail has been uninstallable in Sid for at least 31
> days now, and I *really* like Kmail.  

Yeah, I think the maintainer is MIA or something, and, obviously, the
KDE3 version hasn't been uploaded...

> Due to the wonders of apt, I have tried out several other email
> clients, but I still like Kmail the best.  

Have you tried mutt? :)

> I'm currently running it in a RedHat machine 
> installed under VMWare.

Under Debian?  Why?  If you just want a RedHat installation to play
with, install it in a chroot and have it run at full speed and with
access to all your hardware (well, as much as you want it to,
anyway...).  If you want isolation, use UML and run it at ~70% native
speed, with complete separation from your current system for Free.

> Being new to Debian, I have no idea if this kind of delay in getting 'grave' 
> bugs fixed in Sid normal or not.  Perhaps I've just been unlucky and hit a 
> bad time to have my first unstable Debian experience.

As Martin said, Sid's been a bit rough lately...I can't say I've really
seen any serious problems myself, though...I don't use KDE or GNOME or a
2.2 kernel, so I've been fortunate.

> I am extremely reluctant to go back to Woody (and then get the unofficial KDE 
> 3.1 Woody backport) as there are a number of other packages I also want from 
> Sid.

I'm fairly sure lists sid sources for kde3's kmail
and knode, have you had a look?

Rob Weir <rweir at>
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