[lug] new distro

Timothy C. Klein teece at silverklein.net
Mon Oct 7 11:58:33 MDT 2002

* Peter Hutnick (peter-lists at hutnick.com) wrote:
> 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.

It bothered me, too.  But Debian is 100% volunteer / Free.  Any
bandwidth Debian has access to they had to beg, borrow, or steal.  Well,
I don't think they actually steal any ...

> 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
> nutshell.

That used to be the way.  They now have a third branch, called testing.
It is between.  Brand new packages have to go 30 days or something to
make it from unstable to testing.  Your gripe is the only serious
concern I have ever found with Debian.  Every time I have tried to
switch, though, I have found it not to be that bad.  There are actually
some features in apt that will allow you selectively download from
unstable, in the new version of apt.  apt-get build-dep <pkg>, and then
apt-get source <pkg> will create any branch package you want on your
machine, in a completely automated fashion.  It will just build it from
source, using whatever versions you have.

> 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.

You are somehwat right to say that the Debian package maintainers do a
better job.  They certainly do.  And that, really, is the crux of the
issue.  All the technology in the world is useless if there is not
thoughtfull human support and use behind it.  The dependency is actually
significantly better in apt vs rpm, as well, which rpm has to address
one day if it really wants to seriously improve.
== Timothy Klein || teece at silverklein.net   ==
== ---------------------------------------- ==
== "Hello, World" 17 Errors, 31 Warnings... ==

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