Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

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

Postby vtired on Sat Apr 17, 2010 3:46 am

Now since the base of Ubuntu is based on Debian, is there a way I can peel off what is Ubuntu and remain only with Debian only?
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Re: Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

Postby Robin on Sun Apr 18, 2010 2:51 am

vtired wrote:Now since the base of Ubuntu is based on Debian, is there a way I can peel off what is Ubuntu and remain only with Debian only?


That's an interesting idea, since alot of people have trouble with installing Debian, but want "pure Debian" with none of the Ubuntu stuff. I wonder if simply installing Ubuntu or Mint and then changing the etc/apt/sources.list to only Debian (let's say "testing") sources would work or if it would break something.

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

Postby FedoraRefugee on Sun Apr 18, 2010 3:54 am

Robin wrote:
vtired wrote:Now since the base of Ubuntu is based on Debian, is there a way I can peel off what is Ubuntu and remain only with Debian only?


That's an interesting idea, since alot of people have trouble with installing Debian, but want "pure Debian" with none of the Ubuntu stuff. I wonder if simply installing Ubuntu or Mint and then changing the etc/apt/sources.list to only Debian (let's say "testing") sources would work or if it would break something.

Curious,
Robin


But if you install Mint (or Ubuntu) then you still have the Ubuntu base.

There are two choices here; roll your own or try one of the existing Mint/debian spins and update it. I would suggest the first. Just install debian then install the Mint repo. That would get you the Mint tools. But...As Robin mentions, the debian install is not as simple as Mint. I honestly do not know why so many (even including Linus Torvaldes apparently :shock: :roll: ) have such a problem installing it, but I am just an elitist jerk according to many so maybe it is much harder than I believe...But that is another story...Anyway, I feel debian is just as easy to install as most other distros, you just have to understand the options.

debian is awesome, if it were me and I disliked Ubuntu and Mint then I would just install vanilla debian (squeeze) and use it. Forget the Mint part. Better yet, try Arch Linux! :wink:
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Re: Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

Postby MALsPa on Sun Apr 18, 2010 5:06 am

FedoraRefugee wrote:But if you install Mint (or Ubuntu) then you still have the Ubuntu base.

There are two choices here; roll your own or try one of the existing Mint/debian spins and update it. I would suggest the first. Just install debian then install the Mint repo. That would get you the Mint tools. But...As Robin mentions, the debian install is not as simple as Mint. I honestly do not know why so many (even including Linus Torvaldes apparently :shock: :roll: ) have such a problem installing it, but I am just an elitist jerk according to many so maybe it is much harder than I believe...But that is another story...Anyway, I feel debian is just as easy to install as most other distros, you just have to understand the options.


When I finally got brave enough to attempt a Debian install, it was much easier than I had expected it to be, and I wished that I hadn't waited so long to try it. But, I was installing it on a very Linux-friendly machine, and I'd already been using Linux for a few years. I don't know how things would have gone for me if I had been a newbie trying to install Debian! But, at the time, I told a friend (a Debian user) that I thought newbies could install Debian if they took their time with it. (He disagreed!)

It seems to me that Mepis is quite close to pure Debian, closer than Mint or Ubuntu. Having Mepis and Debian running side-by-side on the same machine seems almost like having two instances of the same distro, except for a few Mepis tools; especially these days, with Mepis back to using the Debian Stable repos. It's like getting Debian with a quick, easy installation.
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Re: Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

Postby FedoraRefugee on Sun Apr 18, 2010 5:22 am

It is the difference in being willing to go out on a limb and take the chance and learn something new...Or to sit on your butt and complain because you didnt just automatically know how to do it and no one should have to think anymore... :D

I would say there are distros that are not very noob-friendly and there are those that will definitely require some experience. debian is just not very noob-friendly. But if you are capable of googling the things you do not understand it is very straight forward and not complicated at all. Building Gentoo from stage 3 is complicated!

It is funny but there is constantly a thread in the Fedora forum about whether Fedora should be considered as a noob-friendly distro or strictly an adventurist experience-only distro. The truth is it depends on the person not the distro. Fedora was my first real distro and I learned everything I know on it. But no, it was not easy, I had to work for it. I think debian stacks up pretty equally to Fedora, in fact, they are like fraternal twins. They are not identical, it is rpm vs deb, but other than that they feel so close to each other.

They are both great systems and if a new user WANTS to learn Linux and do things the "right" way then they are both great first distros. But going down either of these roads is NOT a simple walk, the road is not paved with gold, it is full of potholes and bandits. But...You will get very street-wise on either of these paths.
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Re: Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

Postby MALsPa on Sun Apr 18, 2010 5:30 am

FedoraRefugee wrote:The truth is it depends on the person not the distro.


+1

8)
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Re: Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

Postby linuxviolin on Sun Apr 18, 2010 6:55 am

Well, Debian install is not difficult... Plus now you have a graphical installer. :roll: Fedora is also quite simple to install, even to encrypt your hard disk is very simple, just a box to check. Btw, it's probably the most simple installer to encrypt your system, other distros should take example! Anaconda is probably one of the best installers. :roll:
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Re: Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

Postby FedoraRefugee on Sun Apr 18, 2010 7:07 am

linuxviolin wrote:Well, Debian install is not difficult... Plus now you have a graphical installer. :roll: Fedora is also quite simple to install, even to encrypt your hard disk is very simple, just a box to check. Btw, it's probably the most simple installer to encrypt your system, other distros should take example! Anaconda is probably one of the best installers. :roll:


I had forgotten about this, I have never used it. I should DL the squeeze ISO and check it out.
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Re: Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

Postby Robin on Sun Apr 18, 2010 11:50 am

It seemed to take a little longer to install than Mint did, but the Debian net-install CD has a nice graphical installer that allowed me to choose my own desktop environment (under "Advanced options --> Alternate desktop environments"). Otherwise Gnome is the default.

I don't think a brand-newbie would recognize some of the terminology nor manually partition their hard drive, but I still think that installing a basic working Debian from the net-install CD is a piece of cake. The standard system doesn't include a GUI package manager, so that kinda makes it a little less "newbie friendly" I guess. But the installation was a snap even for a brat like me. :)

Debian takes some getting used to. In a few minutes I had mine fixed up just the way I like it (disabled ipv6, installed some favorite apps, put in my little desktop tweaks and applets and favorite stuff, etc). A novice would need to know his way around a little more, or just try out stuff and see if s/he likes it. It's worth it for people who want to learn their way around Linux a little more. I'm still a little scared of it, lol, but it's good for me to learn more, and I have the time for it at least for now. If I was rushed like crazy and needed an OS fast and it has to "just work" right now, Mint is the way I would go rather than Ubuntu just because of all the safety Mint users enjoy from those wild updates from Ubuntu that so frequently b0rk stuff.

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

Postby AndrewH on Sun Apr 18, 2010 1:51 pm

Robin wrote:I still think that installing a basic working Debian from the net-install CD is a piece of cake.

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

Postby Fred on Sun Apr 18, 2010 2:41 pm

"Simple" is like "beauty." It is in the eyes of the beholder. :-)

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

Postby Biker on Sun Apr 18, 2010 9:22 pm

I have found that the ease of installation is going to depend a LOT on the individual sitting in front of the keyboard.

We have an entire generation of users who think FTP is some type of florist, directories are something you look a phone number up in, and partitions are those things that separate you from your neighbor in the next cubicle. Windows has created an entire generation of blissfully ignorant users that when confronted with a typical Linux installer, have a small coronary.

Does this mean that Linux installers need to be made "dummy proof". I certainly hope not. I need the flexibility to be able to specify exactly where a distribution gets installed and where the loader gets written to. However, a new user would most likely turn into a quivering pile of goo if they had to install something to one of my rigs. :mrgreen:

GUI installers are almost to the point to where I'll start rejecting distributions to test/play/use based solely on the installer. If the installer insists it knows better than I do as to where it should be installed, you can bet I won't be using that particular flavor. While this may be good for the new folks, it would be a disaster for those of us that need/want that flexibility during the installation process.
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Re: Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

Postby hinto on Mon Apr 19, 2010 8:49 am

I disagree.
I don't have to know how an internal combustion engine works in order to know how to drive a car.
I have to know how one works in order to fix it.

Additionally, I don't have to know how to synch a bluetooth device with my navigation system in order to drive the car, either.

The point is I can stick with the flashy veneer if I want to and only if I need a feature (or am curious on how things work) I can dig a little deeper.

I think a lot of Linux distros do this well. (Mint being one).

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What brought me to SID was apt-get update && apt-get dist-upgrade.
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Re: Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

Postby Biker on Mon Apr 19, 2010 10:48 am

Bad analogy.

While you may not need to know how the combustion engine works, you still need to know the basics. Where does the key go, how do you put fuel in it, how do you check the oil, where's the spare tire, etc.
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Re: Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

Postby hinto on Mon Apr 19, 2010 11:24 am

Where the key goes = where to put the cd in.
Where to put the fuel in = how to plug in the pc.
How to check the oil = how much disc space you have.
Where the spare tire is = where to plug a usb stick in.

The analogy holds.

I can build computers, I can build engines. Most days I don't want to. I just want to drive to work and develop software.

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

Postby vtired on Thu Apr 22, 2010 4:17 am

Finally managed to install Debian Lenny, using the installer disc, and getting packages from the INTERNET. Only that for not knowing where to install GRUB, when the system boots it doesn't see Linux mint that was already there.
The next challenge is installing it without Internet connection. When I get to the download page I get 'Index of /debian-cd/5.0.4/i386/iso-cd', [DIR] Parent Directory -
[ ] MD5SUMS 02-Feb-2010 15:06 2.5K
[ ] MD5SUMS.sign 22-Feb-2010 00:16 197
[ ] SHA1SUMS 02-Feb-2010 15:06 2.8K
[ ] SHA1SUMS.sign 22-Feb-2010 00:16 197
[ ] debian-504-i386-CD-1.iso 31-Jan-2010 20:05 646M
[ ] debian-504-i386-CD-2.iso 31-Jan-2010 20:10 646M
[ ] debian-504-i386-CD-3.iso 31-Jan-2010 20:11 648M

etc.

From there I don't know what next because the first CD only runs as live Debian CD and has no option for installation. The Debian installation tutorial doesn't tell what to do after that. That's what makes installation difficult for anyone, you get to a point where you don't know what next and the tutorial you are following assumes you know what next or that it should be obvious to you.
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Re: Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

Postby FedoraRefugee on Thu Apr 22, 2010 8:57 am

vtired wrote:Finally managed to install Debian Lenny, using the installer disc, and getting packages from the INTERNET. Only that for not knowing where to install GRUB, when the system boots it doesn't see Linux mint that was already there.
The next challenge is installing it without Internet connection. When I get to the download page I get 'Index of /debian-cd/5.0.4/i386/iso-cd', [DIR] Parent Directory -
[ ] MD5SUMS 02-Feb-2010 15:06 2.5K
[ ] MD5SUMS.sign 22-Feb-2010 00:16 197
[ ] SHA1SUMS 02-Feb-2010 15:06 2.8K
[ ] SHA1SUMS.sign 22-Feb-2010 00:16 197
[ ] debian-504-i386-CD-1.iso 31-Jan-2010 20:05 646M
[ ] debian-504-i386-CD-2.iso 31-Jan-2010 20:10 646M
[ ] debian-504-i386-CD-3.iso 31-Jan-2010 20:11 648M

etc.

From there I don't know what next because the first CD only runs as live Debian CD and has no option for installation. The Debian installation tutorial doesn't tell what to do after that. That's what makes installation difficult for anyone, you get to a point where you don't know what next and the tutorial you are following assumes you know what next or that it should be obvious to you.


That is what makes Linux in general difficult for people!

You would have to stop and take the time to research dual/multi booting to figure out the options of putting Grub either in the MBR or in /boot. The fact that Grub 2 is now in play makes things even more difficult here. Difficult, but not insurmountable.

Likewise, if you are performing a net install it would probably be wise to have an internet connection! :lol: If you do not then you will need at least the first ISO CD. (This is usually true in any distro, even if they do not document the fact). The rest of the ISO CDs contain all the extra programs but you only need the first CD to install. Just point the net install at the ISO or the disc in your drive. Again the documentation is there, but you do have to look for it.

This is just the nature of Linux. Many distros are trying to make things easier with wikis and prominent instruction manuals, but unfortunately this only adds to the noise and confusion in most cases. Usually there are 223 ways to accomplish the same task in Linux and without the experience you are left trying to choose whose directions to listen to...

It is ironic but the best documentation and handholding is done by the "hardest" distros! Arch is probably the best, their documentation is almost perfect. The wikis are understandable and easy to navigate, each tutorial covers one subject except for the main install guide (which covers the basic text install). Once done with that manual you will find the manual covering your DE/WM of choice, then you will use the pacman and yaourt manuals to learn package management. Everything is broken down to the essentials. It really is a great system but it requires focus on the part of the user to actually READ and UNDERSTAND the instructions. But even if you know nothing about Linux or computers you can do this.

Fedora has traditionally been a harder distro due to the opposite tact. If you install Fedora and everything just works then you are lucky and you will find it a super easy distro to use. Until you break something... But try finding a clear answer to your problem! Fedora is very fast moving and the developers rarely take the time to fix bugs or find work-arounds. This is left to the community and it is all trial by fire. This is changing as Fedora is trying to change its direction and become a more mainstream distro. They do have extensive project wikis and a huge website that is extremely hard to navigate. The information you need is usually buried in there somewhere, but is hard to find. Really, the forums continue to be the best place for answers as these are real time users who find fixes just as soon as the problems arise. But their forum is usually a lot less patient with stupidity (as exhibited by my attitude in here at times.) They are great people and they do not mind helping but you have to want to help yourself first. Posting a new thread on a problem that has been answered 5 times already that morning is usually not tolerated. Search the forum well before you post!

What is the solution? I do not think there is one. Linux has come a long way and distros like Mint and PCLOS have greatly simplified matters, but this comes at a price. Sooner or latter everyone is going to encounter a technical problem no matter the distro and if that user cannot help himself there really is no one else to turn to for help. You usually cannot just take your Linux computer to "the man." My solution is easy: Learn partitioning and create a separate /data, learn how to download and burn ISOs, and do not be afraid to install a new distro. Usually it is far easier to just reinstall then to try and troubleshoot something you do not understand. You will not learn anything this way, but at least you will have a working computer. :D
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Re: Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

Postby vtired on Mon Apr 26, 2010 5:19 pm

Patience seems to be the key word here. As I wait for LM 9 I am exploring Debian after finally managing to install it, with GUI option. It had surprises for me, the adobe .deb package for Ubuntu doesn't behave the same way in Debian, and it's .deb. For youtube I have only sound, no video. Those are minor headaches because I am not a fun of videos. But I need languages, I came to Linux because I could have one user using English and another one Italian on the same machine, as well as be able to correct spelling on OpenOffice.org documents in other languages. I have also won some new members to Linux because they could switch to their languages on Linux Mint. In Debian I don't see that useful tool known as language support that is dear to me in Ubuntu and Linux mint. I have been Googling for the last one hour and haven't come across anything that I understand. They all say that i should 'sudo dpkg-reconfigure locales', and the what? they still don't think it necessary to explain that. Will patience solve this one too? I think the only great thing about Debian is that it's mother to Ubuntu and grandmother to Linux mint.
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Re: Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

Postby vtired on Fri Jul 16, 2010 5:47 pm

To Fedora refuge,
I have finally managed to have a working debian lenny working desktop machine and for the first time managed to install seamonkey that comes in tar.ball, fallowing their instructions.
Things that I am yet to discover, 1. How to configure the fonts. 2. How to display hotmail emails on the seamonkey browser (under debian lenny). 3. When I install Debian on netbook using USB image from netbootin, how to install grub on the right place. It only accepts to be installed on the same USB drive.
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