[lug] new distro

Peter Hutnick peter-lists at hutnick.com
Mon Oct 7 10:53:32 MDT 2002

David Morris said:

> I can only second Timothy's support for Debian....it is a
> wonderful distribution that is far easier to use in most
> every way than RedHat.  And for all those that tout the
> benefits of other package management systems than apt-get, I
> can only guess they haven't tried apt-get as I have yet to
> find a single comparison (objective or otherwise) that could
> truthfully say there is a better package mangement system
> than apt-get.

Okay, I'll bite.

I'm real big on the whole "Free" thing, so naturally I installed Debian.

Complaint number one: they try to strong-arm you into installing from a
mirror.  That sucks.  It is a cute idea and all, but I have an unreliable
56k (yeah, right) connection.  I have the patience to suck down an ISO (or
three) with wget --resume and check MD5s, but I can't hang with trying to
install via a totally unreliable method.

Granted, the ISOs are there, but you have to claim to run MacOS or some
other bullshit to get the links.  Lame.

Two: Debian runs two branches, "Broken" and "Stale."  Sure, you can
install select "Broken" patches on a "Stale" install, but our buddy apt is
going to go up the dependency chain and basically convert your entire box
to "Broken."  Thanks.  I understand that this is necessary, /given/ the
pre-condition that there is no branch that is both reasonably recent and
reasonably tested/stable.  But then, that's really the complaint in a

Finally, apt: Okay, it is pretty good.  But I don't believe that it is
substantively better than RPM*.  If anything I think that the Debian
package maintainers do a better job . . . but that just takes us full
circle to the "Broken"/"Stale" debate.  IOW, the selection of packages is
really good, and all the dependency stuff works pretty well (not as well
as the Debinistas would have you believe) but you are stuck with a choice
between a system that is (generally) less tested/stable than, say, the
current Red Hat release, or one that is rock-solid, and roughly up to
speed with the previous Red Hat /major/ rev, or older.  Not much of a
choice IMO.


*Okay, we all know that apt and RPM aren't diametrically opposed.  But in
the final analysis Debian's package system is "apt based" and Red Hat's is
"RPM based."  So when I say "apt" and "RPM" above, I really mean the
distro's package system on the whole.

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