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Debian Desktop Subproject Launched

Hemos posted about 12 years ago | from the go-apt-get-go dept.

Debian 387

MrOutlander writes "The Debian Project is now officially addressing its usability on the desktop with the launch of the Debian Desktop subproject. Great to see usability being recognized as a very important part of debian. Other than the sometimes daunting install process, Debian is one of the best linux distributions."

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Wow, two Debians in a day (-1, Troll)

gazbo (517111) | about 12 years ago | (#4521430)

And they're both shitty stories, yet on the front page.

Debian = good server? (1)

vkt-tje (259058) | about 12 years ago | (#4521433)

Let's hope they don't forget the real server builders in the process

Sniper is a NIGGER (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4521446)

Did anyone ever think it WAS NOT a member of one of the lower MUDRACES?

Any realistic PATRIOTIC WHITE MAN should know better now than to trust a filthy NIGGER.

Pictures of the ape and info can be found here. [cnn.com]

More Info
MSNBC [msnbc.com] The Struggle [resist.com]

Re:Sniper is a NIGGER (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4521464)

And his last name is Muhammad .
Who saw that one coming?

YOU ARE BOTH HOMOSEXUALS (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4521679)

Can I suck your dicks? Please?

Isnt Linux Customizable? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4521458)

okay, I am not trying to troll/flame here, but I have a question about all these different flavors of linux. If they are soooo customizable, then why need 40 different distros? There is one Apple, there is only 1 Windows (okay, there are two, a prof and a home), why have all these different linuxes? why not just one, make it great, and enter into the desktop market? seems like they are all competing more with each other than with the Big Boys.

Re:Isnt Linux Customizable? (1, Informative)

omegakidd (592638) | about 12 years ago | (#4521527)

MacOS is one project. Windows is one project.
Linux is opensource and many people can start their own projects if they want to. Finally, different linux falvors have different purposes (ex. For the first time user or for the expert.).

Re:Isnt Linux Customizable? (5, Informative)

z-man (103297) | about 12 years ago | (#4521559)

When it comes to Debian it is not just a choice of distro, it is a choice of distro built on good principles as well as on good architecture.

The truth is however that each distro exist to offer you even more customizibilty. You have distros like Slack/Gentoo that many like because they don't include many unnecessary packages and the distro offers you much configurability. Many don't like these distros however because they don't have the time to compile(Gentoo)/configure/install everything the good-old-way or that they just want a distro that is a tad more user-friendly. For those you RedHat/Suse and Mandrake that are distros that are based on a binary package system (Gentoo has ports which downloads the source and compiles it). Each of these have their own "touch" as well.
Mandrake offers many patches/programs to make life easier, so Mandrake is a very popular choice for people that are new to Linux.
RedHat doesn't offer as much as Mandrake in the newbie area, and are a bit more strict on what goes into their kernel and distro. So imo RedHat isn't quite as user-friendly as Mandrake.
SuSe I don't know much about, I know that tthey have a configuration utility that has gotten a lot of positive feedback (YaST isn't it?).

So the choice of distro is just a part of the customization. Part of running Linux is choosing the distro that is right for you.

Re:Isnt Linux Customizable? (1)

wolfc (200617) | about 12 years ago | (#4521605)

The way in which a Linux distribution is customizable makes up the flavor.

My personal favorite is still Debian. I like most of the choices they've made for me, and I don't have (/take) the time to do it differently.

I'm a bit sceptic about (yet another) desktop project for Linux. Mainly because I'm a gamehead so I just follow where game developers lead me, with one exception: a game server must run on Linux.

So for me it's a windows 98se (talk about '1' windows, tsk) on a game station and Debian Linux on my server.

Maybe the focus of a desktop project should go to the games, let's infect the next generation. I for one would love to see my daughter play with a Linux computer instead of one with windows.

Re:Isnt Linux Customizable? (1)

rickms (535706) | about 12 years ago | (#4521609)

You make it sound that there is someone with a rubber stamp authorizing each new distribution. It is simply a matter of different people having different ideas on the best way to distribute GNU/Linux.

Some people would have you think otherwise, but choice is a good thing.

Rick

Re:Isnt Linux Customizable? (5, Insightful)

FooBarWidget (556006) | about 12 years ago | (#4521636)

Because they all target a different audience. It is impossible to have 1 distro that fits all.

Let's look at the following targets: server, corporate desktop, home desktop and embedded.
Server: customizability and security is a Good Thing(tm). You don't need GUI tools, they only make the server less stable. You need to have server software installed.

Corporate desktop: you need GUIs. You don't want server software, but office software. Security is important.
This target conflicts with the server target.

Home desktop: *customizability and security* are not important. The home user simply doesn't care and is lazy. He doesn't want to customize everything, and doesn't want to enter a password to install software.
This conflicts with both server and corporate desktop.

Embedded: you want to have as less stuff as possible because disk space and memory are limited. This conflicts with all of the above.

You see? Totally different targets with totally different needs. And this is just an example, the real world is much, MUCH more complicated. Add a graphical installer and you'll piss off the old school power users or users with old hardware. Don't add a graphical installer and you'll piss of the home user. Add an option and you'll confuse the hell out of newbies. Etc. etc.
You can't have one single distro that fits them all, the situations are too different.

Re:Isnt Linux Customizable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4521643)

Linux is Open Source meaning NOBODY owns Linux, i myself (or anyone else including you) can make a Linux distro and release it, now thats real freedom as in American Freedom...

USA #1

Re:Isnt Linux Customizable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4521655)

is not competing with each others a good thing?
i think it will produce a better solution in the end...

Re:Isnt Linux Customizable? (1)

MCZapf (218870) | about 12 years ago | (#4521662)

I'd say it's because they are still a pain to customize, at lease from my POV.

Re:Isnt Linux Customizable? (3, Insightful)

tetra103 (611412) | about 12 years ago | (#4521778)

I totally agree, but only to a point. I think there should be a standard on what a Linux core system is. And that "core" system should be part of every Linux distro. So what's the "core", I'd make it as simple as possible. It should be a simple filesystem structure, standard set of drivers, and the very minimal set of system commands (something less then 20 commands and perferribly NOT anything from FSF). The "core" probably wouldn't be anything more that say 5Mb. Then everything else, like the GNU utilities, GCC, XFree, ... would all be addons. This would be very analogous to the UNIX days with the BSD distro addon. When you think about it, isn't that what Linux is today? And besides, then we could end that whole dumbass Linux vs Linux/GNU naming scheme that RMS and his FSF buddies cry about. Linux would then be LINUX and GNU will then be what is really is....just a bunch of addon utilities. That to me is the cleanist approach to standardising Linux.

At last (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4521472)

a Linux desktop distro which won't be plagued by bugs!

I'm serious.

Commercial desktop Linuxs are always so buggy, they're worse than Windows.

Re:At last (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4521603)

Thats funny. I gave up Woody after 2 weeks because I was sick of all the small annoying bugs. Went back to Redhat.

one of the best linux distributions? (5, Funny)

jiminim (104910) | about 12 years ago | (#4521475)


In other news:

-Lemonade is one of the best beverages

-Pink is the best color

-Pi is the best number

Pi (1)

MoceanWorker (232487) | about 12 years ago | (#4521502)

and the best movie ;-)

Re:Pi (1)

vlag (552656) | about 12 years ago | (#4521551)

MMMMM ... American Pi.

Re:Pi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4521658)

MMMMMM.... Hair Pi !

This neat-to-eat treat is my personal favorite!.

Re:one of the best linux distributions? (1)

Ogion (541941) | about 12 years ago | (#4521703)

Actually, Pi is quite boring. It's all about circles. The Euler Number, now that's a cool number. You can do a lot of funny stuff with it.

Re:one of the best linux distributions? (1)

leviramsey (248057) | about 12 years ago | (#4521726)

Actually, Pi is quite boring. It's all about circles. The Euler Number, now that's a cool number. You can do a lot of funny stuff with it.

e: The Most Powerful Force in the Universe!

Re:one of the best linux distributions? (1)

distributed.karma (566687) | about 12 years ago | (#4521788)

Well yes.. but since we all know $e^{i\pi}+1=0$ (and yes we all know latex:) then pi and e are deeply interconnected in the fabric of the universe. Without either of them, there wouldn't be people around, discussing the importance of either. :-)

Required Reading... (5, Informative)

toupsie (88295) | about 12 years ago | (#4521476)

Aqua Human Interface Guidelines [apple.com] and Mac OS 8 Human Interface Guidelines [apple.com] . Don't reinvent the wheel, perfect it.

Re:Required Reading... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4521491)

No everyone agrees with apple. Though the do have some good ideas.

Re:Required Reading... (5, Funny)

toupsie (88295) | about 12 years ago | (#4521507)

No everyone agrees with apple. Though the do have some good ideas.

Blasphemy!

Re:Required Reading... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4521521)


Please don't make it look like Aqua.

Re:Required Reading... (4, Insightful)

toupsie (88295) | about 12 years ago | (#4521570)

Please don't make it look like Aqua.

Don't worry about that. If Debian dares to mimic Aqua as a theme for their Deskstop, Apple will sue them over look and feel. Jobs is good at that. However, the HIG provided free of charge online will be a good guide for Debian to enhance the usability of their KDE and GNOME desktops for the novice users.

Re:Required Reading... (4, Interesting)

Bonker (243350) | about 12 years ago | (#4521552)

Personally, I would pay more attention to the OS8 guidelines that the Aqua guidelines. IMHO, Aqua is a little broke. (Quicktime, anybody?) There's way too much emphasis on making computer controls look like real-life objects and not like computer controls.

As someone who's used OS8, OS9, Linux, and all the video variants, let me tell you that OS8 comes pretty damn close to being *golden*. Apple spent a lot of time making OS7-9 pleasant and easy to use and it shows.

Re:Required Reading... (4, Insightful)

The J Kid (266953) | about 12 years ago | (#4521571)

Don't reinvent the wheel, perfect it.

Yes. Yes. Yes. People..read this line and chant it.

And in the process, they could also team up with the 'Debian Graphical Installer' group (see this [slashdot.org] /. article) to provide a full & finished desktop experience.

Re:Required Reading... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4521583)

forget the aqua interface guidelines. look at the icons. i mean honestly those arent user-friendly. macos8 is ok but aqua thanks sir

Re:Required Reading... (4, Interesting)

FooBarWidget (556006) | about 12 years ago | (#4521657)

What about the GNOME Human Interface Guide [gnome.org] ?

Re:Required Reading... (5, Funny)

toupsie (88295) | about 12 years ago | (#4521720)

What about the GNOME Human Interface Guide?

I'm not interested in interfacing with a fabled race of dwarflike creatures, I'm interested in interfacing through a GUI to a UNIX or UNIX-like system.

Re:Required Reading... (2)

FooBarWidget (556006) | about 12 years ago | (#4521764)

Then the GNOME Human Interface Guide is exactly what you are looking for.

Oh BTW, GNOME is a desktop environment. Now you know.

Re:Required Reading... (2)

digidave (259925) | about 12 years ago | (#4521762)

Mod parent up! Funny!

Ok, seriously, Gnome, KDE et al have some serious usability issues to deal with. While at first they seem pretty much like Windows (or whatever else they're trying to duplicate), when you start to use them every day you begin to see how disconnected they are from the rest of the OS. No Linux interface that exists today provides unified system usability.

Apple == left handed computers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4521786)


I agree i wouldn't think Apple is the holy grail of interfaces

i mean these are the people that put the close/max/min window controls on the left hand side of the interface !

whats wrong with that you cry ?
the greater number of world users are right handed and the scrollbars of said windows/documents are on the right unless you are reading Arabic etc)
therefore just to close a window the user has to navigate their mouse across the entire window area which seems to be bad usability design as the distance travelled is the greatest (meaning increased hand motion and time taken to close window slower)

Surely more sense would be to put the main window controls closest to the scrollbars (like windows(TM)/kde etc have done with hidden lh controls) as only a few document languages have the scrolling mechanisim on the left (and btw none are english)
that way the mouse distance travelled is kept to a minimum making to match the users righthandness and the documents scrollport

makes sense no ? but Apple think different

so take a few pointers from Apple but dont think they are the gods of UI design when clearly they are not from a usability p.o.v after all remember quicktime and its virtual thumbwheel ?

AJC

How funny because (0, Offtopic)

cptnapalm (120276) | about 12 years ago | (#4521477)

I was just cursing out Debian, which is my main OS, because yet again my XF86Config-4 got overwriten by a default. WinXP to the rescue...

Re:How funny because (2)

Per Wigren (5315) | about 12 years ago | (#4521541)

No, it's because you said "yes" when it asked if it should replace it, or you used some --always-say-yes flag or "yes | apt-get upgrade" or something like that...

Re:How funny because (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4521638)

I alway have found it funny, that people blame linux for doing what they told it to do, or not knowing how to use it... Start blaming yourself.

Re:How funny because (1)

hplasm (576983) | about 12 years ago | (#4521742)

Hence WinXP to the rescue...something to hang the blame on..uh- hang on, it will probably be to blame..

Re:How funny because (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4521650)

backup your /etc

Re:How funny because (2, Informative)

mbanck (230137) | about 12 years ago | (#4521689)

I was just cursing out Debian, which is my main OS, because yet again my XF86Config-4 got overwriten by a default.

Check out any recent post from Branden Robinson on debian-devel, most of them cover this, this one [debian.org] for example.

Michael

Start Here: (5, Informative)

Bonker (243350) | about 12 years ago | (#4521483)

The Gnome Usability Report:

http://developer.gnome.org/projects/gup/ut1_report /participant_mix.html [gnome.org]

I read this about a year ago. It does an *excellent* job of pointing out many of the inconsistencies and gotchas in any given linux desktop situation.

Re:Start Here: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4521630)

Gnome and Usability, not the 2 words I would put in the same sentence.

Daunting? (5, Insightful)

ksw2 (520093) | about 12 years ago | (#4521499)

Debian's installer isn't any more difficult than any other distribution, IMHO. Why do people freeze up as soon as they see a text-based installer?

Re:Daunting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4521561)

Because they are used to GUIs!?
Wether you like the debian installer, or think text based installers are nice, it doesn't help the other people who don't thinks so(and thats many).
So the "problem" needs to be dealt with.

Re:Daunting? (3, Insightful)

marko123 (131635) | about 12 years ago | (#4521628)

Because people born after about 1980 freak out when they move a mouse and nothing happens.

Sheesh.

Re:Daunting? (1)

GT_Alias (551463) | about 12 years ago | (#4521641)

<mangled movie quote>

The sight of the text had triggered bad memories. The glazed look in their eyes said their text had been cut (and, presumably, not pasted). They were still in the grip of paralysis when we left.

</mangled movie quote>

Re:Daunting? (2, Interesting)

Ace Rimmer (179561) | about 12 years ago | (#4521652)

Bah, maybe if you use it for a server. I installed it on a workstation and besides sound, 3d graphics, i18n everything was quite fine (I've chosen minimal instalation and then used apt instead that pigdoggish green spit dselect ;). After a day or two I had everything working fine but mdk or redhat is another story.

Just try to replace a videocard - what will Debian with default xdm do?

Re:Daunting? (3, Informative)

jmu1 (183541) | about 12 years ago | (#4521710)

I was a Slack user for several years, but the Debian installer was just so darned screwy. I should be able to select a few categories of programs, then edit the contents _if_ i want to. I shouldn't have to pick from some two-thousand package names with terrible(if any) descriptions. I installed Deb once. The system didn't work very well, because I didn't install some of the things I was supposed to. Sure, I could have just started apt-getting. Problem was, I didn't know half of the stuff I needed. Now days, I might be able to cope. Then again, why would I want to cope when I can install Slack or RedHat?

Re:Daunting? (3, Insightful)

Demona (7994) | about 12 years ago | (#4521725)

My first thought is usually, "Maybe they don't know how to read." After all, illiteracy is a growing problem...

Re:Daunting? (4, Informative)

Sepper (524857) | about 12 years ago | (#4521753)

The problem is not the "Text-base install" as much as "No hardware detection" and "too technical centric". The install sometimes looks cryptic to some (have to know that a geforce use the "nv" driver, etc.).

It took me a while to figure out the exact driver for my sparcstation, and in the end, i had to open the box and do a search on google to know.

This new incentive to push debian into the desktop is "a good thing". Even if it doesnt turn out perfect, it's still a step in the right direction.

Too little, too late? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4521504)


Anyone?

System Management for User (4, Insightful)

Sam the Nemesis (604531) | about 12 years ago | (#4521505)

From the site:

We will try to ensure that software is configured for the most common desktop use. For instance, the regular user account added by default during installation should have permission to play audio and video, print, and manage the system through sudo.

I think giving the root privileges to the user using sudo is a security risk. It will be very easy to wreak a havoc on the system, once you break into the user account.

Re:System Management for User (3, Interesting)

larien (5608) | about 12 years ago | (#4521560)

Well, let's compare this to other desktops; XP allows me to do all sorts of stuff with the user I created at initialisation, including create other user accounts. What this is probably aiming for is the same sort of user as XP, i.e. one that doesn't want to know about 'root' he wants things to 'just work'. In any event, it's probably more secure than having the user log in as root with a password of 'password'; how long would that take to crack?

If you're going to deploy this in any kind of serious setting, you'll have admins to set up scripts to remove the glaring security holes in any case.

Re:System Management for User (1)

Sam the Nemesis (604531) | about 12 years ago | (#4521676)

XP anyway is not known for its security. Linux IS. Recently there was article where KMail ran the windoze executable using wine, without asking the user.

Just think of a simple script attachment which your mail client runs without asking you. If the user has sudo rights, then a malicious script can trash the computer. But if he/she was a normal unprivileged user, then the damage won't be to that extent.

Re:System Management for User (1)

MoceanWorker (232487) | about 12 years ago | (#4521567)

very good point.. but it also depends on how one goes about configuring sudo and to what, limited, access they have to certain root commands..

Re:System Management for User (3, Insightful)

FooBarWidget (556006) | about 12 years ago | (#4521690)

But Joe Average doesn't care about security! Do you have any idea how many Windows users don't have a virusscanner installed, even though they know viruses exist? As far as Joe Average is concerned, security doesn't exist.

Debian (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4521509)

Well Debian is excellent, the install makes you feel like a grunt but other than that it's insane. We need a desktop that is not like our Apple and Windows counterparts. Perhaps something like the movie "Minority Report". I want to wear "mouse gloves" and move windows around my walls that are covered in LCD screens. That's new and exciting.

Re:Debian (1)

hplasm (576983) | about 12 years ago | (#4521785)

Has no-one tried doing an LCARS (STNG) front end for Linux? Not the Windoze 'skin' , but as an environment?

Once again, the point is missed (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4521533)

The Debian Desktop is already out for a duck. From their webpage

We recognize that there are only two classes of users: the novice, and the expert.

Wow! Novices and Experts!?! Say, are you guys sure?

Desktop Linux : Failing to understand the user since 1991!
Debian Desktop : Proudly continuing that tradition!

Re:Once again, the point is missed (2)

tanveer1979 (530624) | about 12 years ago | (#4521698)

I would say the novice dosent really exist. No matter what ppl say, currently there is no distribution which a novice can handle.. some level of expertise or atleast the aptitude is necessary. When we have distributions reaching that point we can say Linux has arrived.

However, we dont need all distros to reach there. Thats the beauty of OSS, chose what you like. So currently we have mandrake, redhat approaching the novice user, we have debian for the masters. But requiring some aptitude is actually a good thing. It gives a real novice a great kick to graduate to slightly expirience. The proof is in haloween docs, where the M$ guy says "It was fun, even addictive" . Making ppp work by giving a noauth option may seem rudimentry to a slashdot crowd, but to someone totally unaware of unix world fixing such a problem will provide a great ego kick. That I did it feeling.

So IMHO, the desktops should require some expertise, albeit little, but lots of documentation. Think this way, what would a novice choose, some illegal exception at blah blah blah and then crash, or neat messages telling exactly what went wrong.

Look in the automobile world, nowdays cars require expertise with so many gadgets, but the current generation goes for it, coz it kind of gives them with geekiness. Dont forget that a person who can program his HI-FI audio has an aptitude for *tinkering*. Its just the presentation. Give the user the power, make his/her learning curve an enlightling experience.

Believe me, it will work, its the right mantra

Re:Once again, the point is missed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4521750)

The problem I have with the statement is that it causes users to be squeezed into two little boxes. According to the Debian Desktop guys, you're either a Novice, or you're an Expert. There isn't an in between (Or, so it would seem). Thats not only niave, its dangerous. Complexity should be a sliding scale, not a system of absolutes.

There are plenty of reasons to ridicule such a statement, but hopefully it should be pretty obvious.

Re:Once again, the point is missed (2)

FooBarWidget (556006) | about 12 years ago | (#4521783)

Well there are a lot of experts who use Windows. So what makes you think it's hard/impossible?

Co-ordination please (5, Insightful)

pubjames (468013) | about 12 years ago | (#4521535)

It's fantastic that there is so much happening in the Linux desktop area at the moment. But a plea to you guys -- can we have some co-ordination and co-operation please? Everyone seems to be doing their own thing in many areas. Remember, your competitioin is Microsoft, they have 95% of the desktop market (or there abouts). You should be teaming together to fight them, not amongst each other.

The OSS community can make a desktop that is better than XP. In fact, all of the bits of the puzzle are already there, it's just that they are in different distributions! (Xandros, SUSE, RedHat, Lindows, Debian...)

When Linux has a reasonable foothold in the desktop market, then go ahead, fight away. But until that day, please share and co-operate. For motivation, imagine Bill Gates giggling to himself and muttering "what a bunch of losers". Works for me.

Re:Co-ordination please (1)

Sam the Nemesis (604531) | about 12 years ago | (#4521701)

The OSS community can make a desktop that is better than XP. In fact, all of the bits of the puzzle are already there, it's just that they are in different distributions! (Xandros, SUSE, RedHat, Lindows, Debian...)

Lindows ?!?? You mean Lycoris, right?

Re:Co-ordination please (3, Insightful)

merz (550238) | about 12 years ago | (#4521721)

Is Microsoft really the "enemy"? Do the distros need to against this common foe? I don't think so. The OSS movement wasn't started to fight Microsoft, it was started to provide freedom and choice .

Yes, commericial distros have appeared, and their competition is Microsoft (and Sun, and the BSDs, and Apple), but that doesn't mean that the non-comercial distros (a la Debian) need to join in the fight also. They don't have a competition per se because they have no real financial stake in the product. Debian is developed by volunteers and hobbyist who enjoy the work they do. If they didn't get satisfaction from it, they wouldn't be doing it. Do most Debian developers think they are competing with Microsoft? Probably not...

Plus, cooperation between Linux distros is somewhat implicit. Since they are required to provide the source under the GPL, they are already sharing with the community.

I think that the number of distributions is a good thing for the non-comercial distros. As for the commericial distros, well they are already decided to join forces. [unitedlinux.com]

Re:Co-ordination please (1)

leviramsey (248057) | about 12 years ago | (#4521768)

The OSS community can make a desktop that is better than XP. In fact, all of the bits of the puzzle are already there, it's just that they are in different distributions! (Xandros, SUSE, RedHat, Lindows, Debian...)

I wouldn't be surprised if the Debian Desktop borrows Mandrake Control Center. After all, Mandrake uses the Debian menu system.

In other news (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4521544)

Hemos is currently quashing it for some reason, but apparently Maryland police may [nytimes.com] have caught the sniper. Offtopic, but seriously read the article. So far this looks to be the real thing.

Is it Me? (0, Offtopic)

Captain Large Face (559804) | about 12 years ago | (#4521545)

Or does the Gnu on the front page look like it's toking on a big joint?

Re:Is it Me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4521651)

It's you.

Maybe it's too much to ask, but . . . (5, Insightful)

Selanit (192811) | about 12 years ago | (#4521555)

a processor architecture update would be good too. Currently, all Debian packages are compiled for use on a 386. I can't think of ANYONE who still uses a 386 for ANYTHING. So why do we need to continue supporting it?

At the least, I'd like to see the Debian compiles updated to i586. (That's the equivalent of a Pentium 1, in non-geek speak.) There are still quite a few of those in use.

Updating the targetted processor architecture would give a significant performance boost to Debian. I mean seriously, nobody is going to run KDE or Gnome on a 386 -- it'd take DAYS just to start a program.

It might also be possible to support multiple processor architectures; eg during installation you get a list of i386, i486, i586, and i686 (386, 486, Pentium 1, More Recent Stuff). Then apt would fetch the appropriate package flavor. Of course, this would require non-trivial amounts of storage space, not to mention all the time needed to re-compile everything.

Re:Maybe it's too much to ask, but . . . (4, Interesting)

Stephen Williams (23750) | about 12 years ago | (#4521674)

How much of a performance increase is gained by optimizing the "average"[1] application? I don't mean stuff that bangs the CPU, like bzip2, or an MP3 encoder, or whatnot; I mean something interactive like a mail client, which spends most of its time in an idle state, waiting for the user to press a key or click the mouse.

Optimizing the kernel for a particular CPU model is almost certainly a win (I'm not a kernel hacker and don't know how much of a win); but it seems to me that the costs of producing and storing multiple optimized versions of an "average" app probably outweigh the benefits. And since i386 is the lowest common denominator, Debian may as well just continue building for that.

-Stephen

[1]: if indeed there is such a thing as an "average" app.

Re:Maybe it's too much to ask, but . . . (2)

FatRatBastard (7583) | about 12 years ago | (#4521751)

How much of a performance increase is gained by optimizing the "average"[1] application?

Surprisingly quite a bit. I moved my linux workstation over to Gentoo and it runs a lot snappier than my old debian setup. (no hard numbers, simply the feel from day to day use) I have an Athlon 750 and an ancient ATI PCI Rage Pro card so every drop counts.

Re:Maybe it's too much to ask, but . . . (3, Informative)

Selanit (192811) | about 12 years ago | (#4521789)


Optimizing the kernel for a particular CPU model is almost certainly a win (I'm not a kernel hacker and don't know how much of a win); but it seems to me that the costs of producing and storing multiple optimized versions of an "average" app probably outweigh the benefits. And since i386 is the lowest common denominator, Debian may as well just continue building for that.


I suspect that you're probably right about the costs outweighing the benefits. (Sigh.) It's just that when I tried out Gentoo, the difference in execution time was noticeable, and not just in big applications like KDE. I had used custom compiles of KDE and XFree86 under Debian Woody for some time, but the underlying stuff must have slowed it down. Under Gentoo, it takes my machine about 22 seconds to start KDE, whereas under Debian Woody it took about 45. In my book, a 50% decrease in startup time is significant.

Re:Maybe it's too much to ask, but . . . (2)

dzym (544085) | about 12 years ago | (#4521695)

Define "significant". Processor architecture optimizations are not all they're cracked up to be.

Re:Maybe it's too much to ask, but . . . (1)

JoZZ (598639) | about 12 years ago | (#4521708)

Hmm.. I use Debian with X installed on an old 386. Its only a Xterminal to a X-server but nonetheless X+Debian+i386. But, I do agree with you. Make it i686 I say. And have a SmallDebianDist instead. All a i386 needs is basic console tools and basic X-suff (not KDE/GNOME). Shoud not be more than a handfull of packeges (say 640MB max). My current installation isn't bigger than 100MB (but people want's different stuff)

Re:Maybe it's too much to ask, but . . . (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4521711)

A) I'm running Debian on old 386's now as routers. Why should I have to throw away that perfectly working hardware?

B) compiling for 586 is retarded. The only sytems that benefit from 586 optimizations are 586 systems - 686 systems are architectured differently so that good 586 optimizations don't do much for 686's. Optimizing for 686 would actually give a performance benefit. If you want that, go use Arch Linux or Gentoo.

C) Recompiling all those packages, or keeping both i386 and i686 archives, would be a tremendous amount of work. And, to be honest, 99% of apps don't benefit that much from the optimizations anyways. Recompile your multi-media apps (or use ones that detect the corrent modules at runtime) and install an optimized kernel package, and you should be good.

Great! (4, Interesting)

e8johan (605347) | about 12 years ago | (#4521556)

This is exactly what is missing if Linux is going to make it to the mainstream desktop.
As soon as Linux is recognized as a userfriendly, easy-to-use desktop with lots of free (as in beer) software by the average user Windows will get into real problems. Such an opening would generate a *huge* increase in the number of users and thus in the interest in supporting Linux from different companies.

Two points to avoid flaming: 1) I know that Linux is only the kernel, simply sed 's/Linux/Gnu\\Linux/' and be happy, 2) "as in beer" is how the average user will see it, my mother don't care for open source, she wants to use it as a tool!

Re:Great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4521681)

It should also BE a userfriendly desktop.
To users that is.
It doesn't help that all linux hackers thinks it beats windows, and say so over and over untill ignorant people belive it (untill they try it them selves.)

In no way can linux yet compete in an office environent with windows. (Ofcourse, already linux users will think so.)

Re:Great! - a correction (1)

Sam the Nemesis (604531) | about 12 years ago | (#4521758)

simply sed 's/Linux/Gnu\\Linux/' and be happy

sed 's/Linux/Gnu\/Linux/' # forward slash between GNU and Linux

RMS is not going to like you ;)

Wrong focus? (2, Insightful)

m0i (192134) | about 12 years ago | (#4521573)

Shouldn't Debian focus on trying to stay up to date on core components instead? We all know that some critical packages are way out of date:
-XFree, 4.2 just appeared in unstable
-KDE 3
-Mozilla 1.1
And it's even worse for people using woody without 'proposed-updates' package repository!

The 'testing' distribution is a step in the right direction, but there's a lot more to do that just to focus on Desktop, IMHO.

Re:Wrong focus? (5, Informative)

PeterClark (324270) | about 12 years ago | (#4521660)

Well, I don't know what the hold-up for Mozilla is (someone else can jump in), but in the case of KDE3, the only reason that it isn't in unstable now is because of the GCC3.2 transition. One the transition is complete, it's ready to go in. (Of course, there are debs maintained now by the official packagers, they just can't be called official packages because they're not in unstable. But they work just fine.) As for XFree, the big hold-up was testing and patching it to be compatible with all the other platforms. As I understand it, XFree develops pretty much exclusively for x86, and then lets the Debian folk port/patch is over to Alpha, Sparc, PPC, etc.

You also forget that Debian is not a company, but a community. In other words, you cannot dictate what will be done; people will do whatever interests them. It works, it's just that at this point with so many transitions and changes going on, the process has slowed down. Want to sped it up? Fork over some $$$ to a developer. Simple as that.
:Peter

diabian's install is daunting? (1, Offtopic)

Gizzmonic (412910) | about 12 years ago | (#4521588)

I guess that makes me 3l33t, since I didn't have any problems with it (despite knowing little about Linux).

I use diabian at home to run my firewall advice. It's an old K5 machine that runs at 100mhz...remember when they bought that other CPU company (what was their name, Ktech?)

I used to play Duke Nukem on it, and my name was K5KICKBUT...

Whoa, I guess I am l33t!

Re:diabian's install is daunting? (-1, Offtopic)

omegakidd (592638) | about 12 years ago | (#4521627)

it is 31337 ... im bored.

Finally (1)

smcavoy (114157) | about 12 years ago | (#4521590)

I've been a Linux user for over 6 years now, and a Debian user for 2. I use nothing but Debian on my workstation and all of my servers at work. I am gald to seed they are finally addressing the need for a nicely integrated desktop for Debian. I can only imagine that it will be as solid as the base OS, I just hope it doesn't take as much time to release as woody did :)

I Have No Problems. (2, Interesting)

_iris (92554) | about 12 years ago | (#4521617)

(disclaimer: I have not installed Debian since 2.2)

Personally I have no problem with Debian's installer. In fact, it is the best I have seen yet. In a desktop situation you can (with the exception of partitioning a disk and one or two other places) just continually hit [ENTER] and come out with a base Debian install.

Which installer is better?

Debian for the masses... (1)

zborro (591127) | about 12 years ago | (#4521632)

If somebody tries to criticize Debian in the usability arena, he receives a lot of stupid answers like:

* If you cannot use vi why the hell are you using linux?

* Text interfaces are the best!

---
Now we have a project going toward a good installer and one to increase usability...

I'd like to know what the pure debianists think about it!

bye

Re:Debian for the masses... (1)

kyoko21 (198413) | about 12 years ago | (#4521777)

Personally when I install debian on my various platforms, I never install X. My reasons are simply that why do I need it when I do everything in through command line interface? Not to mention the boxes where I install Debian on all make too much sound and noise and put out a lot of heat. If the boxes don't need X then I won't consider installing it. I wish it could be said the same about Oracle. I hate the fact that they have moved their installer to a GUI format and taken away the ability to install through the commandline. Now I am forced to install X. *sigh*

Personally I find Debian to be very stable and though it is hard to learn, but in the end you will appreciate the knowledge that you have gathered. It's not so much the destination is the key, but the path that you take to get there. That is what Debian is and that is what I think of Debian everytime I use it.

How about making the apt sources... (1, Troll)

Lord Bitman (95493) | about 12 years ago | (#4521639)

not install a spreadsheet, word proccessor, hex editor, and powerpoint clone, when you tell dpkg or apt to install a /window manager/
Since when is a powerpoint clone part of a window manager?

Re:How about making the apt sources... (2)

dzym (544085) | about 12 years ago | (#4521739)

That would be because Gnome and KDE are "desktop environments", not "window managers". Sawfish is a window manager.

In any case, the "gnome" metapackage only suggests "gnome-office", it does not depend on it.

Debian will not even suggest you install gnome-office if you just install sawfish.

Get your terminology straight.

Ximian Setup Tools (4, Interesting)

SmileyBen (56580) | about 12 years ago | (#4521648)

Slightly off-topic, but bear with me: they mention using Ximian Setup Tools, but all mention of this project appears to have dissappeared from Ximian's website. Does anyone know what's happened to it? Are the tools orphaned, abandoned, or just moved (and hidden somewhere)? They were looking very promising, and in terms of achieving what this Debian desktop project is trying to, they seem to fit the bill very well...

Anyone...?

Re:Ximian Setup Tools (5, Informative)

FooBarWidget (556006) | about 12 years ago | (#4521732)

Ximain Setup Tools have been abandoned. Ximian is no longer sponsoring it. Instead, it continues it's life as GNOME System Tools [gnome.org] .

network.img from mandrake (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4521666)

Its what debian WANTS to be. It installs from the internet, autodects your hardware, graphical installer, and easy to use desktop, and has urpmi and rpmdrake, the best package managers on earth!

one floppy is all you need.

Menus (4, Interesting)

PeterClark (324270) | about 12 years ago | (#4521692)

One thing I hope that they will do is have better integrated menus for GNOME and KDE programs. I ran KDE in Debian and always hated that by default, there was a "Debian" submenu for non-KDE programs. Ditto under GNOME. Programs ought to be grouped by task, not by desktop.
:Peter

there are only two classes of users (2)

chegosaurus (98703) | about 12 years ago | (#4521694)

The article says "there are only two classes of users: the novice, and the expert"

How about all those novices who think they're experts?

Wow (1)

Kj0n (245572) | about 12 years ago | (#4521702)

I must admit that today is Debian's big day: new installer, new desktop environment, new users (thanks to /.).

Debian dosent support usb mice. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4521736)

IT DOES NOT! I did RTFM, STFW and LTFM, but it still wouldnt work, Since I use a laptop I cant use it. (and no, im not using that shitty touch pad). But SuSE and Mandrake auto Detect it perfectly.

If debian wants people to use it, then its got to support hardware made in the 2000s, and not the 1980's! Its no good having a glitzy desktop if you cant use a mouse.
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