[lug] RFI Debian vs. Slackware

Michael J. Pedersen marvin at keepthetouch.org
Thu Oct 5 12:54:41 MDT 2000

On Thu, Oct 05, 2000 at 05:45:19AM -0600, J. Wayde Allen wrote:
> OK, I've always used dselect.  Looks like I'll need to fire up apt to see
> what that looks like.

Actually, apt doesn't seem to have much of an appearance. It's a collection of
command line tools. apt-get is one of them (and, admittedly, one of the few
that I use).

gnome-apt, however, is a complete tool as well. Try that one out.

> Oh come now <grin>, it isn't any worse than emacs is it <BIG GRIN>?

Actually, the fairest comparison for dselect is to vi. Steep learning curve
cryptic commands, and ungodly powerful once you've gotten good at it.

> > dselect is a user interface nightmare.
> I don't think it is that bad.  I don't like the fact that it starts up
> with a split screen, but that is easily turned off by pressing
> "shift-I".  You can get more or less info about the highlighted package by
> hitting the shift-I key combination again and again.  Let's see, to
> install you use the arrow key to highlight a package and hit + to
> uninstall you simply hit - .  The underscore _ says to uninstall and
> expunge the package.  To put a package on hold you press = .  If you want
> to search for a package hit / and then type in the word to search
> for.  There is definitely a learning curve, but I wouldn't call it a
> nightmare.

Actually, Wayde, I think you've proven my point :)

> OK this confuses me.  Typing "apt-get install program" looks to me a lot
> like typing "rpm -i program" which is I believe the rpm way.  I actually
> setup dselect to use the apt-get method, and kind of like the psuedo
> graphical interface.

Actually, it's very different. apt-get does a number of things for you
automatically. If you attempt to install a package with a number of
dependencies, apt-get installs them as well (asking first if you really want
to install all of this new stuff). But, the beauty part comes in on what's
next. If you've configured apt once (your /etc/apt/sources.list file), then
apt is ready to work nicely for you. It goes out, downloads the files into a
temporary directory, and then installs them all in the correct order for you.
You only need to decide on which one you need to install :)

Oh, and periodically, run an 'apt-get clean', so your cache will be cleaned
for you.

> Huh?  I actually LIKE the Debian install.  It makes more sense to me than
> many of the newer graphical installations, and my success rate with it on
> older and oddball hardware seems to be higher.  I think that is because
> there are many places you can intervene.  The highly scripted graphical
> interfaces don't seem to be as forgiving.  This is all highly subjective
> stuff though, and probably depends more on familiarity than anything.

Agreed, familiarity counts heaily here. The 2.2 installer seems nicer for the
new folks. The 2.1 installer almost made it an absolute requirement that you
be a dselect master, which was a bad thing, in my opinion. Especially sinced
it would force you into dselect. I don't think the 2.2 installer does this,
though, as I recall (but I could be wrong).

> I like chocolate ice cream too, perhaps you'd rather have vanilla <grin>?

Actually, I prefer the neapolitan style, in case I'm in the mood for some
strawberry flavoring, too :)

> This is partly due to Debian being slower to adopt changes though.  Debian
> distros tend to be less aggressively cutting edge than either SuSE or Red
> Hat.  Slackware is whatever you want it to be.

Very true, I did neglect to mention that. With Debian, you will not be on the
cutting edge unless you explicitly choose to be. If you get a CD set, you will
be stable almost guaranteed right from the get go (unless you have faulty
hardware, of course :)

> I kind of like to know a little bit about the more popular distros since I
> get lots of questions.  Otherwise, Debian is what I use at work.  My home
> machine runs KRUD (this week anyway).

Ah, but I get tired of the install/reinstall routine. I've long just wanted a
distro that I could install, use, and stay productive with (without having to
wipe out lots of work periodically). Now, when I tinker, I'm at least not
destroying a whole bunch of work anymore. I even like my home systems to be
stable and familiar and usable and ... You know :)

Re-stress: This is only an opinion, please take it as that and nothing more.
There is no disparagement meant to other distros in any of these statements.

Michael J. Pedersen
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