[lug] debian

Peter Hutnick peter-lists at hutnick.com
Thu Sep 18 16:39:30 MDT 2003

David Morris said:
> On Thu, Sep 18, 2003 at 02:26:47PM -0600, Peter Hutnick wrote:
>> At the risk of setting off the Debianistas, this is not an atypical
>> "end user" experience with Debian.

At least I walked into it with my eyes open.

>> Debian focuses on Freedom and (extreme) stability.  These are
>> admirable, but make it hard on a guy who is hoping to run contemporary
>> hardware and have it "just work."
> See my other post for details, but this is not quite the
> correct reason the hardware doesn't "just work" out of the
> box.  The support in this case *is already there* (though
> the NVidia drivers are better), but they are not loaded by
> default.  This creates a much cleaner and faster system, at
> the expense of more needed user knowledge.

Forgive me, but this is nonsense.  In every case that I am aware of Linux
kernel modules will not load if the hardware isn't present.

The reason hardware "just works" with Red Hat (that relates to this
context) is a utility called kudzu that does a pretty good job of probing
for hardware and makes the necessary changes to the system to have that
hardware "just work" without (significant) user intervention.

But even if that were not the case I am skeptical about your claim that a
system would run more slowly with extraneous modules loaded anyway.  They
wouldn't produce any interrupts and they would consume a negligible amount
of memory.

If I am mistaken on any of these points I hope you will correct me.

> There are HOWTOs, FAQs, and guides all over the place to give the tiny
> bit of extra knowledge needed if you just look for it.

I don't deny this, but could you explain what this has to do with hardware
"just working"?

> I have yet to find any hardware that runs on RH that cannot
> run on Debian.  95% of the time all you have to do is load
> the appropriate module (which is already installed)....the
> other 5% of the time, Linux support is so iffy in the first
> place, not even RH can get it to "just work" for a novice
> user.

1. The latest RH kernel for the current RH distro will nearly always be a
newer version than the Debian stable kernel.  This is not a criticism. 
The reasons are quite valid, but are not germane to this discussion.

2. Beyond the simple point version, Red Hat does significant back porting
of drivers.  I dismiss your "iffy" comment on the same evidence you give
for it: none at all.

3. There is a world of difference between "cannot" and "just works" which
you seem to have overlooked.

All I am saying is that neither Debian nor Red Hat are "universal
solutions," but in my opinion RH is the better tool for this particular

This is assuming, of course, the goal is to get the system working with
minimal fuss in order to do some computing tasks.  If the goal is to have
a server who's operation is completely transparent to the admin, or to
burn a weekend trying to get the damn wireless card to work then Debian is
the better choice ;-)


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