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HI -- I've written a new tutorial on installing Debian. Please check it and lemme know if I need to tweak/modify it. Thanks, I appreciate it. I'm a lousy writer. ...
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  1. #1
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    Tutorial: Installing Debian GNU/Linux, net install, DSL


    HI --

    I've written a new tutorial on installing Debian. Please check it and lemme know if I need to tweak/modify it. Thanks, I appreciate it. I'm a lousy writer.

    installing debian sarge

    machiner

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    Re: Tutorial: Installing Debian GNU/Linux, net install, DSL

    Quote Originally Posted by machiner
    HI --

    I've written a new tutorial on installing Debian. Please check it and lemme know if I need to tweak/modify it. Thanks, I appreciate it. I'm a lousy writer.

    http://www.madcarters.com/archives/5...installer.html

    machiner
    Not bad at all. I did not go over it with a fine toothed comb (or even a lloose toothed comb for that matter) but I did take a quick peek at it. Even if the details turn out to be not qute perfect, I think it's a decent tutorial and certainly encouragement for those who have felt that installing Debian GNU/Linux software is a daunting task.

    My opinion (and I have expressed it many times) is that the Debian installer is too interactive. It forces you to stick around and answer a lot of questions over a fairly long period of time. I recognize that Debian systems support many architectures. Nevertheless, usability engineering suggests that, as much as possible, you design a clear, concise, smooth interface. That includes figuring out what you need to ask the person running your program. Ask as many things as you can at the same time, then go get the job done. Also, whenever possible and practical, provide a mechanism so that you don't have to run the application interactively at all.

    Concerning the Debian installation, I believe that there are ways to provide a file to the installation program that contains all answers to the installation prompts. If that much information is known, I wonder why the stock Debian installer remains so interactive? Some commercial Debian vendors (Xandros, MEPIS, and Linspire come to mind) have got this concept down: request a few screens worth of information in easy to use forms and check boxes, then go out and get the job done.

    None of this, of course, is any reflection on your work, it's more of a rant and a commentary on the state of usability. Debian is WAY better than it used to be, but while it's caught up to where commercial products were, those efforts are now quite streamlined and easy to use. Debian is getting easier, it's certainly understandable and reachable now, but usability continues to lag most other projects. ---That's just my opinion. I like the end result though!
    Brian Masinick
    masinick AT yahoo DOT com

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    Right on

    Are you using Libranet 3.0? I really liked 2.81.

    I happen to agree with you to some extent about the interactivity of the Debian install. Whereas I am a geek to the core - collossal - I think Mepis is onto something by taking an install-it-all approach. almost.

    I do, however, think that people need to have some input to their installation.

    My tutorial is hand-holding, and actually demanding. I recognize that folks coming from Windows, whom I would like to see ditch their OS for Debian, have never had to install theor own OS before. Most of them do not know what a "web browser" is either. With this in mind I "tell" the user which options to choose.

    Some might be put off, but coming from the world of supporting home users I'll wager most will appreciate the guidance navigating through what we both agree is highly interactive.

    I think the Mepis installation might ask more questions, specifically whether a user wants openoffice installed or Koffice. Or whether to install MySQL or not and including a snippet about why it's a good idea.

    I would also like installers such as the Mepis one to not treat their users as if they wouldn't be able to handle a more interactive installation. Assumptions are always a risky business.

    However, and I see why they did it this way, their approach is probably just what many ex-Windows users are looking for.

    Thank you for your thoughts.

    machiner

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    Yes, Libranet and others

    I have Libranet 2.8.1 heavily customized into a very current system, plus I've just completed beta testing Libranet 3.0, so I have that installed, too. I also have SimplyMEPIS 3.3, Mandrake 10.1, and I had Fedora Core 2 installed, but right now I'm running FreeBSD 5.3 on another system as I install Fedora Core 4 Test 2 on my main system. I also have a rarely used instance of Windows XP Professional installed on my main system that I acquired during some consulting work.

    In my repertoire of CDs that I've used to test systems, I have all kinds of stuff. I do a lot of Live CD testing, just had CD Puppy and DamnSmallLinux on this old desktop that's running FreeBSD now. I'm saving LOTS of CDs. Right now I am financially strapped, but one day when things improve I will send and donate most of my CDs to anyone who wants them - just my way of helping out. I did this a few years ago, but then times got tough.

    Anyway, I'm on disc 2 of a four disk installation of Fedora Core 4 Test 2 on my other system.

    Family calls, though, gotta go!
    Brian Masinick
    masinick AT yahoo DOT com

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    How about this graphical installer howto

    AS I have a verizon DSL connection that is flaky - my install tutorials are written such that we are NOT connected to the web during the install. Connection occurs afterward - when it's time to install a desktop. Of course, all of you already connected (either dsl, your LAN, or cable) can just skip past this section, or do what you like.

    http://www.madcarters.com/archives/1...Installer.html

    This tutorial is graphical.

    With the post boot being textual.

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    Re: How about this graphical installer howto

    Quote Originally Posted by machiner
    AS I have a verizon DSL connection that is flaky - my install tutorials are written such that we are NOT connected to the web during the install. Connection occurs afterward - when it's time to install a desktop. Of course, all of you already connected (either dsl, your LAN, or cable) can just skip past this section, or do what you like.

    http://www.madcarters.com/archives/1...Installer.html

    This tutorial is graphical.

    With the post boot being textual.
    Nice job with the tutorial! I wrote some editorial comments on the archives, lamenting that Debian hasn't gone even further in simplifying and streamlining the questions asked during installation and configuration. That's no reflection on what you've written, though. I think you did a good job of writing and explaining how to get a Debian system running.

    I now think that Debian based software is within the reach of most anyone, but I do think that custom vendor implementations, such as Libranet, Linspire, Knoppix, Kanotix, Kubuntu, MEPIS, Xandros, Ubuntu, and others, make an easier entry point for the novice than using the project provided installer. However, the Sarge netinst installer IS VASTLY improved over even the Woody version, which was also quite a bit better than what was available in Potato and the releases before that.

    I almost didn't make it into Debian because I attempted, several years ago, to install plain Debian using the 2.1 installer that I picked up out of a book. A friend sent me a copy of Libranet 1.9.1, and I had no trouble at all installing it. Because of Libranet, I then learned all of the Debian specific ways of doing things, then later, I was able to go back and do a Woody installation and then a Sarge installation.

    To this day, I stick with the Libranet base system, but frankly, what I end up with is my own highly customized, regularly updated, version of Debian Sid. I find Libranet to be, for me, the best starting point out there because I experiment with so much software, but I also find SimplyMEPIS to be a really nice, easy to install and immediately usable desktop system. Both of them are based on Debian repositories, and I am SO thankful for the Debian project and the hard work it represents from people all over the world.

    I have no trouble at all doing a netinst these days, but even so, I find it faster and more convenient to pop in a commercial implementation and do my own customizations from a usable starting point. That way, I can be browsing the Web or writing Email messages or blogs even as I am downloading and installing more software! That's just me, to each his own. Some people like complete freedom and independence to do things EXACTLY their way, and I'm all for that!
    Brian Masinick
    masinick AT yahoo DOT com

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    I am pretty new to linux but I got on fine installing it once I got over the old hard drive problem and the bootable part of the drive needing to be on the first 1024 cylinders of the drive.

    I am sure there is an option "quiet" in the installer that stops the installer from asking so many questions and it makes more assumptions. Then there is the opposite "verbose" that asks lots more questions!

    Personaly I like the fact that you set the OS up to do what you want it to do - this level of interactivity at this stage is great in my book! Try that with windos!

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