Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

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Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

Postby vtired on Mon Apr 05, 2010 4:08 am

I use linux, exclusively, but only Ubuntu and Linux mint. For two years now in Linux world but I have not managed to install and make work other distros, fedora, mandriva and lately PClinuxOS. There is always something that I don't understand in these distributions during their installation and I immediately switch back to Linux Mint or Ubuntu. Is it really hard for them to do things Ubuntu way? They should too have something for people who are not computer technicians.
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Re: Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

Postby Superewza on Mon Apr 05, 2010 8:48 am

The only distro i've ever had a problem installing was Arch...
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Re: Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

Postby khsbenny on Mon Apr 05, 2010 2:48 pm

I agree, Mint installs MUCH easier than other distro's I've tried. A few clicks and your away, something like arch gets too confusing and you need patience.
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Re: Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

Postby MALsPa on Mon Apr 05, 2010 2:56 pm

vtired wrote:I use linux, exclusively, but only Ubuntu and Linux mint. For two years now in Linux world but I have not managed to install and make work other distros, fedora, mandriva and lately PClinuxOS. There is always something that I don't understand in these distributions during their installation and I immediately switch back to Linux Mint or Ubuntu. Is it really hard for them to do things Ubuntu way? They should too have something for people who are not computer technicians.


I thought PCLinuxOS was easy to install. Haven't tried the most recent version. Mepis is another one that's been quick and easy. Ubuntu and Mint aren't the only easy ones out there.
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Re: Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

Postby AndrewH on Mon Apr 05, 2010 3:02 pm

The Arch installer isn't the least bit confusing, IMHO. What is confusing is trying to configure it to get a functioning graphical desktop.
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Re: Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

Postby FedoraRefugee on Mon Apr 05, 2010 3:58 pm

For me most of the distros are about equal as far as using the installer. The hardest part is knowing how to partition, and this is really simple once you gain a basic understanding of the process. Of course there are the harder, more manual installs such as Gentoo and Arch, but if you just follow the directions on the applicable website then there is nothing difficult about it, only the patience factor.

What gets harder are the hardware issues you will inevitably encounter. I use nVidia graphics so that is ALWAYS an issue. To make matters worse the 7800GT in my big rig will not work with nv or the current nouveau drivers requiring either the vesa driver for a graphic first boot or init3 long enough to install the nvidia driver. Each distro installs the nvidia driver (either their binary blob or the proprietary driver from the nvidia site) in different ways, so you do have to do some research beforehand. Likewise, I have had problems with my laptop's wifi, though this is being recognized more frequently of late. This is just the nature of the beast though, once you figure out the nuances of your particular hardware then using any distro should not be an issue.

The Ubuntu way is no easier than the Fedora way! If you use the autoten installer in Fedora then codecs and drivers, along with Compiz, skype, googleearth,, and many other popular apps are just a graphic click away. You do not even have to open a terminal these days. Most distros have reached this point. You just have to know where to look for the installers. :D
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Re: Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

Postby lexon on Mon Apr 05, 2010 4:43 pm

Linux was designed by Linux tehcies for Linux techies. That is ok also.
I saw this early in 2003 when looking for a OS to replace Windows.
The culture is controlled by them and they will not change very easily.
Many Linux techies do not like the unclean using Linux. They want you to heavily use command line, break the distro, get it running and heavily modify.
Ubuntu and Mint are moving in the correct direction, though a little slowly.
Windows users want something that will work out of the box with little user modification. Many Linux techies think that is a sacrilege.
I pretty much use Mint 7 Gnome out of the box with adding about four more applications. Other than no IM, PDA, webcam capabilites, Mint 7 does everything I need it to do. Love the security.

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Re: Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

Postby Roin on Mon Apr 05, 2010 5:37 pm

Well until now I havent seen a hard-to-install Linux distro. Even Debian or Slackware are more like hitting enter 10 times and you have an installed system.
The stuff I always fail at is configuring it after installing, making everything work espacily network setup isnt that easy.
But ok thats just my opinion :mrgreen:

Greets,
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Re: Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

Postby Robin on Mon Apr 05, 2010 8:04 pm

I have installed Linux Mint (Gnome, LXDE, and Xfce), Ubuntu, Xubuntu, PCLinuxOS, Mepis, Crunchbang (9.04 and the new Statler), Masonux, U-Lite, Sidux, Debian Testing/Xfce, and just for fun, one that you're not supposed to be able to install called Slax. Only Slax was difficult, and that's because it isn't meant to be installed (which is why I had to try, lol). The Debian installer (same one used in Crunchbang Statler) is "non-graphical" but still easily understood if you take your time with it.

I'm about as non-geeky as it gets. I'm an autistic, artsy-craftsy kinda kid, into dance, music, and theater, not technology much (until recently - it fascinates me now and never did before). If I can install all these without difficulty, I really can't sympathize with people who can't install a super-easy distro like Mint.

I can sympathize with silly mistakes and ignorance, though. I burnt three iso as data disks instead of images before I even bothered to google and find out that there's a difference. I came to Linux with all kindsa silly assumptions and not a little fear and trembling. I made some mistakes that I could have avoided by just taking some time to read a little before jumping into stuff I knew so little about.

My advice (if you don't mind taking advice from a non-geeky, autistic artsy-craftsy dancer kid) is:

1. - Order the Live CD of the distro you're interested in from a vendor like OSdisk.com or On-disk.com. That way you can skip the iso downloading, checking, and burning.

2. - While you're waiting for the CD to arrive in the mail, read about the distro ahead of time. Google it, check the distro's forums, read reviews and articles and stuff. Be sure to check the Hardware Compatibility List (most distros have one, and most keep them pretty much up-to-date) to be sure it will run on your machine.

3. - When your disk arrives in the mail, go slowly and deliberately with every step. You don't just pop it in the CD-ROM and let it auto-run like in Windows! You put the Live CD in and then reboot. During the boot-up, you'll see a quick little Boot Options menu that lasts for just a few seconds. On my 'puter it's "F12 for Boot Options." Hit it a few times until you get to the boot menu, then select (using the arrow keys) "CD-ROM Device," then Enter. Your computer will now boot to the LiveCD and you'll see that your distro's greeting screen!

4. - Resist the urge to hurry up, and by all means take the time to run the LiveCD as a "demo" first. You'll be using Linux (yay!) but without making any changes to your computer. Make sure everything works: Keyboard and mouse, sound, video resolution, wireless if you have it, etc. When you're satisfied and if you decide to install it, almost every distro has an "Install" button right on the desktop.

In Mint the process is almost completely automated! Just answer a few questions and click "Forward" until it's done. When it's finished you can reboot into your brand new Linux. It even opens the CD tray for you so you can remove it and hit Enter to reboot.

But don't skip any of these steps. Especially number two!

Still exploring and still counting myself as a "non-geek,"
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Re: Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

Postby det4100 on Mon Apr 05, 2010 8:20 pm

I believe Robins non-geeky, autistic, artsy-craftsy, dancer kid advise should be made into a sticky in the Newbie area. :D

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Re: Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

Postby MALsPa on Mon Apr 05, 2010 8:23 pm

Robin wrote:1. - Order the Live CD of the distro you're interested in from a vendor like OSdisk.com or On-disk.com. That way you can skip the iso downloading, checking, and burning.


I like doing that. Those disks are inexpensive. OSDisc made a 5-CD Debian set for me even though they didn't have that package listed at their web site -- I emailed them and asked for it, and they complied. Made installing Debian just about painless.

Good advice, Robin, especially point #2.
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Re: Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

Postby MALsPa on Mon Apr 05, 2010 8:23 pm

det4100 wrote:I believe Robins non-geeky, autistic, artsy-craftsy, dancer kid advise should be made into a sticky in the Newbie area. :D

det4100


Agreed!
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Re: Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

Postby FedoraRefugee on Mon Apr 05, 2010 8:33 pm

Robin, you know much more than you believe! :D

Do yourself a favor, try Arch real soon. Just follow the directions:

http://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Off ... tall_Guide

Go through their wiki first though and get a good idea of not only the WM/DE you want (lxde I bet! :D ) but also the apps you will need to do the basics.

It is not hard at all, but it is detail oriented. You will learn SO much! And...You will have more fun than you have yet had with Linux! :D

After Arch I would move to slackware then Gentoo in that order. Just take your time and read the documentation.

I love seeing new users like you come along. You embody the true Linux spirit! Lexxon has a point with his post, I cannot argue it. There is a certain type of person that Linux has traditionally appealed to, and you are it!
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Re: Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

Postby Robin on Mon Apr 05, 2010 9:08 pm

FedoraRefugee wrote:Robin, you know much more than you believe! :D

Do yourself a favor, try Arch real soon.


That's next on my list! I'm a little spooked by Arch, though, because of stuff I've read in other Linux forums mostly. It seems so much more foreboding than Debian, which was also supposed to be really hard (but wasn't). It'll have to wait 'til after school exams and dance recitals when I can give it the time it deserves, but I look forward to conquering "the last great barrier to true geekdom - installing Arch!"

You wrote:

I love seeing new users like you come along. You embody the true Linux spirit! Lexxon has a point with his post, I cannot argue it. There is a certain type of person that Linux has traditionally appealed to, and you are it!


Omygosh, I dunno about that! Like I've written elsewhere, alot of very wonderful super-geeky folks worked very hard for years to make Linux "user-friendly," and I'm very grateful. But I wonder if in a way, they are now victims of their own success, because their work has attracted so many of us non-geeky, ordinary desktop users. Um, hey super-geeks, I love you, but what did you expect to happen when you made Linux so easy that even a non-geeky little Robin could use it?

Still... I'm fascinated, mostly because there's so much choice in Linux, and I'm not used to having such a wide array of choices (desktop environments, file managers - who knew?? In Windows I only had one to choose from). Thanks for your very flattering assessment, but omygoodness, I don't deserve such high praise from a veteran like yourself... not yet anyway! :D

Exploring in between dance and school,
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Re: Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

Postby FedoraRefugee on Mon Apr 05, 2010 9:32 pm

Robin wrote:That's next on my list! I'm a little spooked by Arch, though, because of stuff I've read in other Linux forums mostly. It seems so much more foreboding than Debian, which was also supposed to be really hard (but wasn't). It'll have to wait 'til after school exams and dance recitals when I can give it the time it deserves, but I look forward to conquering "the last great barrier to true geekdom - installing Arch!"


Don't be spooked at all! Not even a little nervous! Arch is EXTREMELY easy, just follow the directions. Gentoo is harder, you will have to concentrate a bit with that one. The true holy grail of Linux, as far as I know, is LFS! Linux from scratch.

http://www.linuxfromscratch.org/

It may be a little dated at this point, I do not know how they keep up and I first tried building an LFS system almost 8 years ago now. I have tried 3-4 times since and have NEVER succeeded! It is not so much that I cannot do it (I believe I can) but I lose patience. It is so much work for a basic system. Arch makes the most sense to me, it is an easy build yet you are creating your own custom distro from the ground up.

Omygosh, I dunno about that! Like I've written elsewhere, alot of very wonderful super-geeky folks worked very hard for years to make Linux "user-friendly," and I'm very grateful. But I wonder if in a way, they are now victims of their own success, because their work has attracted so many of us non-geeky, ordinary desktop users. Um, hey super-geeks, I love you, but what did you expect to happen when you made Linux so easy that even a non-geeky little Robin could use it?

Still... I'm fascinated, mostly because there's so much choice in Linux, and I'm not used to having such a wide array of choices (desktop environments, file managers - who knew?? In Windows I only had one to choose from). Thanks for your very flattering assessment, but omygoodness, I don't deserve such high praise from a veteran like yourself... not yet anyway! :D

Exploring in between dance and school,
Robin


I started with Linux in 1999. I feel the same way about the geeks of the 1990's. They were the real gurus. By the time I cam along the learning curve was flattened out quite a bit! I am not a geek. I am a construction worker! I own an aluminum installation business. I am not saying I am dumb, I have a few college degrees, but I am not a computer professional. Just a hobbyist/tinkerer. Linux is not just for geeks, it has been very approachable to us "normal" folks for ten years now. It is just a matter of WANTING to learn it. Of enjoying the experience, of marveling at what this OS can do, what it is. Most people just want a free Windows. They want spoon-fed and don't really care about the OS. I have nothing against these people, but I will not buy into their "well I'm going back to Windows..." attitudes either. Go! I am in it for the fun! I don't care what OS YOU use! Seriously...

But no, Lexon is right. Ubuntu and Mint are headed the right direction. I think in the end it will be the ruination of the Linux I love, but everything evolves. Just as there are Windows enthusiasts and geeks and power users there will always be Linux tinkerers too. But the majority of folks just want to get online and check facebook or youtube or type the term paper up. Nothing wrong with that. :D
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Re: Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

Postby AndrewH on Mon Apr 05, 2010 10:37 pm

Robin wrote:
FedoraRefugee wrote:Robin, you know much more than you believe! :D

Do yourself a favor, try Arch real soon.


That's next on my list! I'm a little spooked by Arch, though, because of stuff I've read in other Linux forums mostly. It seems so much more foreboding than Debian, which was also supposed to be really hard (but wasn't).

I'd read the same things about Debian, but I thought its installer was basically the same as Mint's.

It's fun, in a way, to install different distros and give them a whirl. VirtualBox is a great asset to this, of course, as are re-writable CDs.

My next thing to try will be FreeBSD. It's sort of like Arch; the installer is fairly straight-forward, but the after-installation configuration is where the "adventure" begins.
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Re: Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

Postby tower on Mon Apr 05, 2010 10:49 pm

Usually when folks say 'easy to install' they mean the user doesn't have to make any informed choices.
Most of the larger distros have an expert mode which gives the user many more options, Mandriva has always been good it that respect.

Some of my biggest Linux disasters have been caused by selecting the automated install button....
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Re: Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

Postby mick55 on Tue Apr 06, 2010 1:35 am

FedoraRefugee wrote:Arch is EXTREMELY easy, just follow the directions

Therein lies the secret "follow the directions"

They are very cohesive and simple to navigate, and make installing Arch a breeze.

However if you try to install with no directions, it is the nightmare everyone says it is. :mrgreen:

Gentoo is a little tricky, but if you install a stage 3 from inside another OS it isn't too bad.

LFS has some woefully outdated/incomplete literature which makes
installing it extremely complicated and tiresome.

Just my 2 cents

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Re: Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

Postby vtired on Tue Apr 06, 2010 8:17 am

I am following the advice above, to read the instructions. I am now reading debian's 'Installation Howto'. I will read it several times and then try. Still I don't understand why they cannot have a simpler option. If I succeed in this I will try others. The problem is that in trying live cd it turns out that I installing and I lose all data, without a warning, or at least a warning that I could understand.
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Re: Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

Postby FedoraRefugee on Tue Apr 06, 2010 9:06 am

Therein lies the secret "follow the directions"

They are very cohesive and simple to navigate, and make installing Arch a breeze.

However if you try to install with no directions, it is the nightmare everyone says it is. :mrgreen:

Gentoo is a little tricky, but if you install a stage 3 from inside another OS it isn't too bad.

LFS has some woefully outdated/incomplete literature which makes
installing it extremely complicated and tiresome.

Just my 2 cents

mick


That is my take exactly. LFS is really not worth the effort in any applicable sense, it is more the challenge of the thing. But yeah...Complicated and tiresome. I do not have the patience.

vtired wrote:I am following the advice above, to read the instructions. I am now reading debian's 'Installation Howto'. I will read it several times and then try. Still I don't understand why they cannot have a simpler option. If I succeed in this I will try others. The problem is that in trying live cd it turns out that I installing and I lose all data, without a warning, or at least a warning that I could understand.


Someone should also mention; with these bigger distros such as debian and Fedora there is quite often several ways to do the same thing. This can make things extremely confusing! Be careful which how-to you use and stick with one method until it works. If you come to the conclusion that the instructions you are following are stupid then it is usually best to start completely over with a clean install!

The reason most of Linux is this way (why they are not simpler) goes back once again to what Lexon implies in his post. It is just the nature of what Linux is. This is where Mint really cornered the market. The way to simplify things is to take away the choice that most Linux users insist on. You do not give the person dozens of options during install, instead the developer comes up with what HE feels is the perfect system. This is why my two favorite Linux systems are diametrically opposed. Mint is dirt simple with no choices and Arch is about the user choosing every single component every step of the way. You can build the same exact system out of either distro, Linux is Linux, but distros are geared towards distinct applications. Debian does have a simpler option; it is called Linux Mint! :D debian is about choice, choice that many advanced Linux users insist on. It is not hard, but it does require a measure of immersion on the part of the user. You cannot just blindly do it, you need to have some understanding of the distro. This turns many off, they yell that they should not have to know anything. Linux should be brainless, it should just all be automatic. It is not. If you want that then just stay with Mint! Linux is Linux, there is no advantage to using any other distro, other than choice.

If you want to explore different distros then I suggest a partitioning scheme that will make this easy. You can use the live CDs and you can use virtualization, but really, there is nothing like a real install on real hardware to show you what a distro is all about. Once you have a basic understanding of partitioning and how the bootloader works then this is as simple as could be. Just create a separate data partition, /data, that you can mount between any distros. Then your data will always be safe. Always treat the OS itself as expendable. There is nothing there worth saving, use xmarks for your firefox bookmarks and back up anything important in /data. The rest of your settings can be recreated in minutes. The more you do this the easier it becomes and the more proficient you become with all the options Linux presents you.

Probably the best advice though is patience. Just relax, have fun. Look at it like a challenge. Like those stupid so-dooky (sudoku :D ) puzzles. You either love them or hate them. You will have to think, you will encounter problems, and you will feel like giving up quite often. But the reward of working through it and solving it is stronger than the frustration of picking through it. Again, the installs on most distros is dirt simple now, as has been mentioned it is the tweaking afterwards. Getting hardware to work, working around distro specific bugs, figuring out the different package systems, and learning different desktop environments or window managers. That is where the fun is at. :lol:
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