Re: bits/news from the users of Debian?

Goupil wrote:

Goupil wrote:

Goupil wrote:

Lars Bjerregaard wrote:


I saw a link to your survey from LWN, and wanted to reply to it because
of it's
friendly and inviting tone. I'm not subscribed to the list (but maybe I
do that...).

I first touched a set of Linux diskettes around 1995, and have been
with it on and off since then, with increasing intensity. About 4 years
ago, I
took the plunge and became a 100% Linux user on my home desktop, and I
regretted it for a minute. I'm a professional systems developer, and do
measure of system administration as well. I grew up in the world of DOS
Windows, and so Unix was not my "entry by birth" into the world of
computing. By
now I certainly am addicted to the 'Unix way', although I am forced to
Windows at my work.

I keep track of all things Linux and FOSS intensively, and find that by
far the
most interesting things in computing go on in this huge ecosystem. It
is also
close to my heart in terms of philosophy and ethics.

I think during the years I've been trough most of the major
Redhat, Suse, Gentoo, Ubuntu, Debian, and a few others, and during the
years of
experiments and playing around, I have come to know which things about
distribution that *I* value, and put the highest emphasis on. My last
desktop system was Ubuntu, through a few releases, but I came to
realise that I
didn't really want to install a new release every 6 months, and it was
a bit too unstable for my taste, with too many unfixed bugs.

A year ago, I switched to Debian Etch full time on my desktop. At the
same time
I realized I was becoming increasingly disappointed with Gnome, and so
wanted to
check out if Linus is right, and switched to KDE. And boy do I agree! I
KDE, and wouldn't switch for the world now.

What my personal preferences in a desktop system amounts to are:
- Highly stable
- Bugs quickly resolved
- New release about every 2 years
- Good hardware support
- A huge array of packages to choose from
- A rock solid and versatile package manager/system
- A window manager that doesn't get in my way, or tries to be smarter
than me,
but allows me to easily just configure things the way *I* like it.

Those would be the mainpoints. So where I am now after all my travels,
the Etch
+ KDE combination is what comes closest to fit that bill, and I enjoy
tremendously. I've become picky over the years, and I really have to
give big
kudos to the Debian team, for providing such an excellent system to us.
Thank you!

Current annoyances with my desktop system are:
- With the current kernel the boot process freezes hard about every 15
boots on
average. The kernel update before that one froze hard the same way,
every 5 boots. The kernels before that did not have a problem. I should
overcome my hesitation with the Debian bugzilla, and try and submit a

- When X starts, there's a wait for 10 seconds, whilst my Dell monitor
"Cannot display this resolution", until it finally starts correctly.
This was a
problem in Ubuntu as well, and after hours of xorg.conf tinkering I've
given up,
and I just live with it.

- The Wine package is (IMHO) completely broken, and I use the one from

- There's an issue with having to get drupal5 from testing. It should
at least
be in backports, if at all possible.

- Adept, which would be my preffered package manager on the desktop,
does not
work when interactivity is required with the package install ("unable
to display
frontend kde"). It displays a curses frontend which simply doesn't work
on the
display. I've tried fixing it from various tips to no avail. So I use
which is a very fine tool indeed.

- In aptitude, pressing 'C' should display the changelog for the
package, but
only does so 1 out of 20 times. Otherwise it's 'unavailable'. Would be
very nice
to have it always just work.

- I've set up bridging network (TUN,TAP) to facilitate host nic access
VirtualBox machines. For some reason it takes the bridge about 10
seconds during
the boot process to acquire an IP address. Without the bridge there's
no problem.

- Getting iceweasel and icedove to have working links and mailto: links
manuel work. Shouldn't be necessary.

- Working sound required manual tinkering.

- In xorg.conf I had to change 'ati' driver to 'radeon' to get X going
at first.

But I do have to say that I still love Debian. It takes a bit more
tinkering to get everything set up right, as compared to e.g. Ubuntu,
but once
it's done, I get much more of that robust feeling, and things just
work, day in
and day out, which is what I need from my primary home system.

The packages I use the most are:
- Iceweasel
- Icedove
- Krusader
- Wine
- Virtualbox
- K3b
- Vlc
- Kplayer
- OpenOffice

I do have the popularity-contest package installed, and install it on
all Debian
installations which I'm in charge of.

Besides using Debian for my desktop system, I also run it on a couple
of small
office servers which I administrate, and of course Debian is the
perfect server
OS (but then you knew that). I intend to continue to deploy Debian
around the place, and to take the plunge and run it on a VPS, serving
my mail
and other things. That will be fun.

By the way, I would love to have a seperate 'server' and 'desktop' cd
Debian, optimized kernel and package selection for those 2 scenarios. I
it's something Ubuntu gets right. Other wishes I have for Debian is to
to improve the ease-of-configuration on the desktop. Good GUI tools are
a must,
and Ubuntu has a slight edge here. No doubt the desktop is by far the
challenge in the OS world.

You are free to do with these comments of mine as you wish.
Again, thanks for Debian! It's a marvellous OS, with a bright future
ahead I'm sure.

All the best,
Lars Bjerregaard

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OK :)
I'm completely agree with you. Nice and clever Post.

My personal best-of, and my personnal contribution to the community that
i'am proud to present here :) :
(you are sure that if i install a new disk, i install all those

I take that of my small software data base :

alien (to convert game in RPM format to DEBian package)
configure-debian (easiest interface than dpkg fot configuring some
console-tools (for small font and on screen time when i exit of Xorg)
subversion (downloading source of a lot of games and other software,
more simple than cvs)
gkrellm (for a continuous display of the state of my system)
gparted et qtparted (i like the two, for formating hard disk or USB key)
gnu-fdisk (the same in curse)
gui-apt-key (for key for new repository)
hwinfo (for info to vesa mode and some other)
ippl (to choose what kind of info i wan't record on /var/log/syslog and
then display with Superkaramba)
Superkaramba (display Syslog, internet radio, a state of my system, a
like Mac OSX launch, a nice clock)
k3b (formating CD and converting some format)
kdirstat (nice plugin for Konqueror for displaying use of disk : right
clic>Open with KDirstat - Directory Statistics)
gdm and gdm-themes (the nicest and greatest interface for starting
window manager)
kdm kde-kdm-themes kdmtheme (i use it in case of broken gdm)
kommando (nice software, finally i don't use it a lot, i use F1 to F12
to lauch my favorite software)
konqueror (the nicest and more powerfull file manager on the world, it's
my point of view :))
krename (for renaming all my photo with the good name and other work
with large number of file)
lha (sometimes for files, i don't use it a lot)
libqt-perl (to use dialog interface with perl script, usefull)
loop-aes-utils (powerfull and fantastic for crypting files or mounting
CD without to format a CD)
manpages-fr manpages-fr-extra (for french man page, "man:" in adress bar
on konqueror :)
pcopy (powerfull to copy a hard disk in one command, for example : pcopy
/dev/sda /dev/sdb)
picwiz (plug-in for konqueror to resize picture or group of picture by a
right clic)
pptview (for easy viewing of some fun stuff on Power Point format send
by friends :)
rdate (for taking the time on internet for my PC's clock : you must open
TCP 3690 port on your firewall)
symlinks (some script use it)
unrar or unrar-free (for file on rar format)
usbmount (automaticaly mounting of usb key or camera)
wine (it works great for me on Debian Sid)
xfe (nice file manager but less powerfull than Konqueror, it's an
xnest and xserver-xephyr (for starting easily another connexion)

Ktorrent (the greatest for some download)
amule amule-common amule-utils-gui (for some download)
epiphany-browser (nice browser but Iceweasel is great. Alternative)
iceweasel iceweasel-I10n-fr (with there plugin, the nicest and greatest
internet browser on the world :)
icedove icedove-locale-fr (like iceweasel but for mail :)
kget (powerfull for downloading a lot of file, you can stop and restart
the download)
kmess (nice for tchat on MSN but no video i think)
knmap nmap (for security testing of my firewall)
konversation (powerfull and nice for IRC)
kopete (the biggest for MSN because you can tchat with webcam. But i
have had a lot of problem to discuss with webcam with all that kind of
software : a lot of crash. Kopete like other)
amsn (powerfull but some bugs and Tcl/Tk is not the good choice for
interface : not nice. Qt or Gtk would be a better choice)
liferea (the biggest and easiest for news on RSS)
links2 (when Xorg crash, it's the only way to communicate and find info
on internet and you can still use it with a VGA graphic interface : nice
and powerfull)
pidgin (like kopete, a nice software)
wget (powerfull for downloading on curse mode on console)

build-essential (for compilation of a kernel and build package)
g++ gcc cpp (for compilation)
kernel-package fakeroot (easiest way for compiling kernel)

libgtk2.0-0 libgtk2.0-dev libglib2.0-0 libglib2.0-dev libglade-2.0
libglade2-dev (for : "make gconfig" and configuring my kernel)
qt3-dev-tools libqt3-mt-dev g++ (for : "make xconfig" and configuring my
kernel. Alternative)

python python-numeric python-opengl python-pygame python-twisted (I love
game writen on python)
tcl8.4 tcl8.4-dev tk8.4 tk8.4-dev (for compiling aMSN)

evince (for reading PDF. Konqueror can read pdf but evince is nice when
you associate it with PDF file and use it with Iceweasel)
gdeskcal (nice calendar)
gnumeric (nice and powerfull, like Excel on Windows. I prefer it to
OpenOffice because more closer of Excel and reliable).
kpresenter (i don't have the utility but it seems powerfull)
msttcorefonts linux-libertine (for truetype font)
myspell-fr-gut (french dictionnary use by OpenOffice and Icedove)
(the greatest alternative for Microsoft suite. I'am very happy with openclipart-png openclipart-svg (free clipart
for all kind of use :)
scribus (i don't use it today but i know it's great)

Great great great great (the only word it comes to my mouth :)) :
Exchange files with all of your PC on linux :
nfs-kernel-server (you must install it on the PC which will be the
nfs-common portmap (you must install those on the PC which will be the
client AND on the server)

camorama camstream (my webcam : to see if it works :)
jpilot jpilot-* (my PDA : the easiest software to use it)
kino kino-brightness-contrast-plugin kino-hsv-color-space-plugin (great
for my numerical camera with it's IEEE1394 interface)
kdenlive (like kino to make some process on my personal movie)
mjpegtools dvgrab (powerfull plugin for kino, kdenlive and other)
mesa-utils (for glxgears and glxinfo : for testing if the 3D
acceleration of my graphics card works)
pwc (for my Logitech Quickcam webcam)
sane sane-utils xsane (powerfull for my Epson 3490 photo scanner)
splix (for my Samsung CLP 500 laser color printer)
xserver-xorg-input-wacom wacom-tools libxtst-dev (for my wacom intuos 3
xserver-xorg-video-i810 (for one of my PC : a SAMSUNG Q35 with it's
Intel card : all packet must work like it !! A packet to install and you
have 3D accelerated graphic on your PC : Great !)

dia-gnome (vectorial drawing : nice)
Inkscape (the nicest and powerfull for vectorial drawing)
xaralx xaralx-svg (another powerfull software for vectorial drawing)
gimp gimp-help-fr (the reference for all type of drawing)
krita (the nicest. Less powerfull than gimp but easiest to use and
gwenview (I use it all the time : a photo viewer and browser)
kipi-plugins (powerfull plugin for gwenview and other)

audacity (great great great for modifying sound and make fun stuff)
icedax (to convert your musical CD to WAV)
krecord (to record sound)
kwave (to manipulate WAV file)
lame toolame twolame (great codec to manipulate sound)
soundconverter gstreamer0.10-lame (to convert sound on some format :
ogg, wav, flac, mp3)
ripperx (interface for ripping CD. I like it)
rosengarden4 (i don't have the use but i know it's powerfull)
audacious audacious-crossfade audacious-plugins audacious-plugins-extra
audacious-plugins-ugly (a nice and powerfull player)
amarok (nice and powerfull but i don't use it : too big for me)
sox (provide /usr/bin/play for having sound on gdm)

ffmpeg libavifile-0.7c2 libdvdcss2 mjpegtools mpeglib toolame twolame
(MUST have codec to read video on my PC)
w32codecs : DO NOT INSTALL (a lot of problem with it for me : shacking
screen, ...)
vlc (the most powerfull video player : a MUST have : when other are
broken, it's the only player which work)
mplayer (powerfull : and it install some other codec, a MUST have)
totem totem-mozilla totem-xine (The first for me ... when it works :)).
A video player. I love it)
xine (very powerfull software to read video, a MUST have)
gxine gxineplugin (front end for Xine : nice, i use it)
kmplayer kmplayer-plugin (front end for Xine : nice, i use it also)
k9copy (i don't use but i know it's powerfull, like DVDShrink on windows
: DVD -> MPEG)
kaffeine kaffeine-mozilla (powerfull but i don't use : too big for me)
kdenlive (see HARDWARE).
kino (see HARDWARE).

chameleon-cursor-theme comixcursors crystalcursors dmz-cursor-theme
industrial-cursor-theme xcursor-themes (to change the cursor of my
gnome-themes-extras (nice fonts for all the OS)
gtk-engines* (nice themes for gnome)
gtk-qt-engine (for having the same look of KDE's software for gnome
software on KDE)
kde-icons* *-icon-theme (for nice icons for my desktop. I love Tangerine
and kde-icons-crystal)
polymer kde-style* kwin-style* (nice windows on KDE. I love serenity,
kwin-style-crystal and kwin-baghira)
oneko (a small cats play on your desktop. on a console type : "oneko
-tofocus -dog &")

The list is big and you said : he don't use all of those software :))
My point of view : i install all this list because :
all are free, some software are powerfull or usefull for some kind of
use and not for other. I love the choice.
That's all folks :)

Thanks for your job : i love it !

Today i think of my mail, read it another time and find it very
Excuse me for it's sound. "I fall into the net" (I'm not sure of the
translation) :
Proudness and pretentiousness aren't very distant :(.

Some philosophy :)
World and computer are more and more complicated : the two are associated.

On Linux's world i have beginning with Debian because 5 or 6 years ago (i
don't remember) it was the only one i know it was free of charge. I had
trying to install it a lot of time but the problem was to configure my
SAGEM Fast 800 modem. All those files to configure : by what to begin,
what to configure and where ? Too complicated ... So : bye bye Debian,
hello Mandrake :)

1 or 2 years after : Mandrake globally works but there is a lot of things
i don't understand. What are those daemon (daemon, devil : it's russian
for a newbie who come's from Windows world. There is also daemon on
Windows but i didn't know). And i had an ATI graphic card and i was unable
to install 3D accelerated graphics on Mandrake, then NO great games : an
OS without any nice games who works ... too difficult :)).
So : bye bye Mandrake, we try another thing : it's a question of life or
death :))

Ok, ok, it's me ... i come again ! I wan't to be free with my PC, i spend
money for it since ten years and i don't wan't that's him who command me
(that was my feeling with Windows). Let's trying to work each other with :
i have more knowledge, perhaps it's possible and i have time (i had the
chance to have one PC - the oldest - with Mandrake and internet and the
other one with Debian).
Test, test and test, install after install. Reading (not writing, there is
so information that's not necessary) a lot on internet : thanks to all for
your time and competence !
And ...... modem works !!!! yes : the first challenge is a successfull :
the best stimulation to continue.
And ...... 3D acceleration works : the consecration for all this works.
It's the second more important things that make me keeping Debian at this

The rest is more simple, not important and comes naturally days after

So my own experience give me some idea and some feelings.
Sorry there is a lot of time i have not installing another Debian's box (i
have had my count on installing OS and Debian is too reliable :)) and
certainly a lot of idea i give below is already use. I have seen graphics
debian installer on magazine and i find it a very good idea, it looks very
nice and usefull.

First of all for me, OS must be simple to install and to use.
The best example i have found is gdm.
I use it since the beginning because it's nice. The reason is stupid but
it's like that :).
Before some month ago i don't find it very reliable : when i configure it
on it's own interface sometimes it reset (the only way : configure it with
gdmsetup on a console on root).
Today it seems to be reliable and i find it great.
I think it's an example to continue to follow for Debian and other.
I explain me :
there is a nice interface (Gtk ?), simple to use and very clear.
When you fly your mouse cursor over options : small help but clear.
Options are classify by theme on different tab : nice, simple, clear.
And for more hard option you still have /etc/gdm/gdm.conf (the Debian way
is preserved :).
Simplenest way is always the best.
Gdm interface is the way to follow for Debian i think.

For keeping newbie on Debian : help them.
A working Modem and 3D accelerated graphics is very important for all.

Use the installer to guide newbie for installing most frequent modem and
on all case, if it's not possible for some modem, an unique adress
(Debian's site for example :) where to find all information and material
in an easy way.
Example of site : a kind of internet page where you have box to choose the
model of your modem, the country, ... and then it provide the material
(driver and firmware to copy on /lib/firmware/) and parameter or in all
case, give you where to find them.
The example of CUPS is good i think :

Use the same way and presentation for all (important and common) device :
modem, graphics card (less choice for graphics card that's sure but
providing same kind of easy help is necessary i think), printer (it's
already the case) and scanner.

I think if i have had this kind of help, i wouldn't go to see elsewhere
Hope this will be usefull for some other.

Just another thing i wan't to say : configure-debian is a good software
I like it better if you can add some mouse cursor help on the fly and tabs
instead of separate menu and options. Continue, i think you are on the good
way :)
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