Discussion:
What are some common problems when using Debian GNU / LINUX?
v***@yahoo.com
2013-01-19 23:07:19 UTC
Permalink
Hello:

Please provide some examples of common problems when using Debian GNU / LINUX....so that I may more effectively gain a better handle on the trouble-shooting process. 

Thank you!

Sincerely,
Herschel
b***@neutralite.org
2013-01-19 23:36:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by v***@yahoo.com
Please provide some examples of common problems when using Debian GNU
/ LINUX....so that I may more effectively gain a better handle on the
trouble-shooting process.
Thank you!
Sincerely,
Herschel
I think main problems is lack of support for certain hardware, or
"difficulties" (you will had to do some researches... but it is as on
other systems) to install few of them.
Some examples I am thinking about is support for recent NVidia cards,
various wifi or sound chip-sets which do not always have free drivers.
The common way to solve those problems is by adding non-free
repositories, and install them. Forums are a good starting point to
gather informations, they often contain solutions, and the fun point is
that you do not need to limit yourself to debian forums.

Other problems you may encounter depends on which OS you were used to.
If you come from windows, you might be surprised by the strong security
by default and the structure of folders. When I have switched from
windows to debian, I thought that separating software configurations
from their resources from their binaries... etc was stupid. But when you
become used to this, you think the windows' way is wrong, since it does
not allow, by example, to save and restore system's configuration as
easily.

You might also be surprised that some configuration actions are made
through command-line and by directly editing configuration files. Those
configuration elements varies depending on the desktop environment you
will choose. Some of use like to have to tinker with command lines and
files, but I think most people prefer graphical tools.

I really think problems you will have will greatly depends on your
computer knowledge, the OS from which you are trying to switch, and your
hardware.
Ralf Mardorf
2013-01-20 00:50:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by b***@neutralite.org
Some examples I am thinking about is support for recent NVidia cards,
various wifi or sound chip-sets which do not always have free drivers.
The common way to solve those problems is by adding non-free
repositories, and install them.
It's not that easy. Sometimes there aren't or at least are no good drivers
available. What is the OP using Linux for?
I only can give good examples for audio, since this is the domain that is
important for me.

The OP should join a Linux community that does share the same or similar
needs, for audio this e.g. would be the Linux audio community.
Yaro Kasear
2013-01-20 00:39:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by v***@yahoo.com
Please provide some examples of common problems when using Debian GNU
/ LINUX....so that I may more effectively gain a better handle on the
trouble-shooting process.
Thank you!
Sincerely,
Herschel
Maybe the primary problem comes with Debian's more zealous adherance to
the Free Software philosophy. It is a good thing, for the most part, but
it has some disadvantages, particularly in the realm of hardware and the
sort of support a lot of open source drivers offer, specifically with
display drivers or wireless networking..

Biggest example of this having a downside for Debian is official debian
media not providing "nonfree" firmware for wifi chipsets, making it
often much more difficult to install the system if you can't simply wire up.

I've also got to be perhaps a little frank... Debian's multilib/java
support has always been a bit of a low point for me.

Debian does offer non-free software in unsupported repositories, but at
install time these are usually not accessible.

Don't misinterpret this as me not likign Debian, I really do like Debian
for servers (I use Debian on my server.). I don't generally find it as
ideal for desktops as many other distributions for the reasons above.

Debian Stable is maybe not the best for desktops if you're interested in
having more up-to-date software. The concept behind Stable is
near-implausible levels of quality control on the packages.

There is testing and unstable. Testing is actually maybe better thought
as the "Debian best for desktops" by many because it gets into that
balance of "recent" packages with a still somewhat reasonable amount of
stability.

Sid is not recommended for anything but actual testing and quality
control purposes. It's full rolling release but because it's about
developing packages as opposed to providing a full-on usable system as
rolling release, it's not ideally suited for desktops or servers. If you
like rolling release and want to use it as a "stable" Linux system I'd
recommend Arch instead.

But I digress.

Debian is a wonderful system! Great community, very high quality
packages, and easy to get help for. Just watch out for the caveats that
come with a "Free Software" mentality.

Conrad
Ralf Mardorf
2013-01-20 00:55:39 UTC
Permalink
Linux system I'd recommend Arch instead.
Which I don't call a rolling release. Arch was my preferred distro. If you
have a distro with releases you can make hard transitions. For Ubuntu the
transition from init to upstart wasn't an issue, for Arch the transition
from init to systemd made me dropping Arch for the moment.
Yaro Kasear
2013-01-20 04:59:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ralf Mardorf
Linux system I'd recommend Arch instead.
Which I don't call a rolling release. Arch was my preferred distro. If
you have a distro with releases you can make hard transitions. For
Ubuntu the transition from init to upstart wasn't an issue, for Arch
the transition from init to systemd made me dropping Arch for the moment.
It is unfortunate you've been having problems. But the trouble with
making transitions still doesn't make Arch not rolling release. The arch
devs generally expect a certain level of diligence on the part of their
users and usually make a point of putting news about impending rocky
transitions on their site.

But still, and don't interpret me as being aggressive here: Just because
you had problems doesn't preclude a system from being rolling release.
Arch is *precisely* what rolling release is. And it's my preferred model
to waiting for my distributor to come around to making a new "hard
transition" before I can get a new kernel, for example.

BUT, that is a matter of preference.

To the OP, and back on topic here: Debian is a wonderful system. It's
fantastic for applications where you may prefer outright stability even
at the expense of having "latest" software. Going to testing somewhat
alleviates the age of packages at the sacrifice of a little quality
control. Right now, since Wheezy is in the process of "going stable"
Testing is in a general freeze, and I'm not sure how much that's
affected the versions of packages. This makes testing get described as
"semi-rolling release" though it'll still be generally more frequently
updated than things such as Linux Mint Debian Edition, also reportedly a
semi-rolling release.

Bottom line for desktop users on Debian is your biggest "issues" will
likely be contending with the "free software" enthusiasm of the Debian
development team. It's a good thing, generally, but has the big
disadvantage of making it very hard to get the use of your hardware
unless you make use of packages often considered by Debian as
"unsupported." This is not generally a major roadblock except at install
time if you have a wifi chipset and no physical access to your router.
Wifi has an unfortunate model of requiring OS-provided firmware (An
all-around poor model of hardware support, in my opinion.), which in
Linux is usually supplied by firmware those like the Debian developers
consider "non-free" and exclude from the official install media. This'll
make it difficult, sometimes even impossible, to install Debian without
considerable support (Or unofficial custom media with the firmware back
in.).

I'm not the type who gets overly concerned about licensing, though. Even
the "non-free" stuff provided for Debian in their official repos or in
many third party repos is perfectly safe and usable.
Ralf Mardorf
2013-01-20 06:26:58 UTC
Permalink
Even the "non-free" stuff provided for Debian in their official repos =
or =
in many third party repos is perfectly safe and usable.
non-free provided by Debian is safe

regarding to third party repos the OP should ask the list for experience=
s =

of a repo he might want to add

OT: Arch and transitions. There are different kinds of transitions. =

systemd not only stopped the rolling for many experienced users, it also=
=

caused that the mailing list became moderated and some users were =

completely banned from the list. IMO those banned users shouldn't have =

been banned. However, for Debian this isn't an issue, even if Debian wil=
l =

switch to systemd, for "averaged" desktop users nothing will change, jus=
t =

tons of Wikis needs to be edited.

-- =

No good deed ever goes unpunished.
Einer guten Tat folgt die Strafe auf dem Fu=C3=9Fe!
Yaro Kasear
2013-01-20 06:46:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ralf Mardorf
Even the "non-free" stuff provided for Debian in their official repos
or in many third party repos is perfectly safe and usable.
non-free provided by Debian is safe
regarding to third party repos the OP should ask the list for
experiences of a repo he might want to add
OT: Arch and transitions. There are different kinds of transitions.
systemd not only stopped the rolling for many experienced users, it
also caused that the mailing list became moderated and some users were
completely banned from the list. IMO those banned users shouldn't have
been banned. However, for Debian this isn't an issue, even if Debian
will switch to systemd, for "averaged" desktop users nothing will
change, just tons of Wikis needs to be edited.
Debian probably won't be doing the switch to systemd. Systemd required
very Linux-specific kernel features and Debian has a couple non-Linux
ports that'd make going systemd impractical (However I believe systemd
is available in the repos and officially supported.)
Thierry Chatelet
2013-01-20 07:08:21 UTC
Permalink
<SNIP> it also
caused that the mailing list became moderated and some users were
completely banned from the list.<SNIP>
If you mean 'this' mailing list been moderated, my guess is you are
mistaken. And are you positive about people being blacklisted? That
would be pretty bad, dont you think?
Thierry
Ralf Mardorf
2013-01-20 07:23:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Thierry Chatelet
<SNIP> it also
caused that the mailing list became moderated and some users were
completely banned from the list.<SNIP>
If you mean 'this' mailing list been moderated, my guess is you are
mistaken. And are you positive about people being blacklisted? That
would be pretty bad, dont you think?
No, we off-topic were talking about Arch Linux and I don't like it, that
some users were banned, reps. I might be mistaken, perhaps for a long time
just one user is banned and it's not me ;). However, it was about the
advantage that Debian isn't a rolling release. OTOH the rolling release
Arch has got other advantages, that are missing for Debian.

IMO a rolling release as Arch Linux is for experienced users, since a
default install even doesn't install X and even less hard transitions need
some interaction.

A disadvantage for Debian compared to Arch IMO is, that Debian e.g.
installs and starts all kinds of services, installs all kinds of apps etc.
a user might not need.
Andrei POPESCU
2013-01-20 10:21:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ralf Mardorf
A disadvantage for Debian compared to Arch IMO is, that Debian e.g.
installs and starts all kinds of services, installs all kinds of
apps etc. a user might not need.
There is no such thing as "Debian installs". Even in normal mode of the
Debian Installer (as opposed to expert mode) one can still unselect all
check boxes and get only 'base'.

Kind regards,
Andrei
--
Offtopic discussions among Debian users and developers:
http://lists.alioth.debian.org/mailman/listinfo/d-community-offtopic
b***@neutralite.org
2013-01-20 11:01:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by Yaro Kasear
Debian probably won't be doing the switch to systemd. Systemd
required very Linux-specific kernel features and Debian has a couple
non-Linux ports that'd make going systemd impractical (However I
believe systemd is available in the repos and officially supported.)
True. I think there will not be a big switch, since Debian sounds like
to support a BSD kernel. (I think I'll try it someday)
But this does not meant that Debian will not do the switch for it's
linux' port. I do not think so, since it would mean that *BDS and linux
based debian would rely on different tools, and so I guess there would
be no interest to keep the name "Debian" for both. I do not know, I'm
not in developer's minds.
Post by Yaro Kasear
Post by Ralf Mardorf
A disadvantage for Debian compared to Arch IMO is, that Debian e.g.
installs and starts all kinds of services, installs all kinds of
apps etc. a user might not need.
There is no such thing as "Debian installs". Even in normal mode of the
Debian Installer (as opposed to expert mode) one can still unselect all
check boxes and get only 'base'.
Kind regards,
Andrei
Yes. And you can also choose to not have desktop environment. Which
means no xserver.
IIRC, there are several boxes, depending on your needs:
_ desktop environment
_ ssh server
_ laptop tools
_ base tools
_ and one I can not remember...

If you uncheck them all, as I usually do, you start with a system with
almost nothing. Even "less" is not present in such an installation :D

About being unable to install proprietary firmwares at installation if
you have no wired network connection, it's not true. The installer asks
you if you want to install some from an external source, IIRC. Never
tried it, but I perfectly remember the question.


OT :
About arch, I tried to install it. It worked fine in TTYs. But xserver
had broken dependency (I am not sure about the exact one... maybe dbus
or cups... something ugly anyway, that debian have not on it's xserver).
I know that this distro is a rolling release, but I think that xserver
is one of the most used softwares on linux distributions.
I have no hatred for arch, and working hard for installing something
reserved to experts does not surprise me, but I like to be able to at
least a working system before having to tinker it.
In this domain, Debian is really great, because depending on your
needs, you have multiple flavours:
_ old-stable (no install CD I am aware of, it is the one which will be
deprecated after all)
_ stable
_ testing
_ unstable (codename: sid. It needs to be upgraded from a working
distro AFAIK, since there is no installation CD)
_ experimental (which needs to be completed with one of others, since
it does not include all packages. So, again, no install CD AFAIK.)

For users who just want something working, stable is good enough. It
will become an old-stable in 2 years if Debian follow the guideline they
want to follow, and will stop to be maintained 2 years later. It means 4
years of support on security flaws, if I am not wrong.
But I recommend stable only for servers and public accessible desktops,
because it is really stable and does not needs many time to maintain
system up to date.
Open source softwares evolve quickly, and I see no reason for desktop
users to have almost deprecated softwares.

For a normal usage, testing is better, even if the project claims it is
not for production environment. More recent kernels and drivers which
means more supported hardware, and updated web browsers are some obvious
interesting points here. They are simply the most obvious.

For tinkerers, Debian is really great, because you can start from an OS
which run out of the box on most hardware (as it has been said, except
for hardwares without FOSS drivers, and in many cases you can install
them at installation or later by enabling non-free and contrib
repositories). Then you can start to add/remove packages just for
discovering, and even makes your system in a state you do not know how
to recover it (I did it many times to learn roles of some essential
packages :D ) and of course, playing with their configuration. Debian
often provide a widely commented and explained configuration files, and
I've learn many things from those files.
Debian packages does also have many optional dependencies, so you can
really have a lightweight system.

When I look at other distros I have tried: Ubuntu had big, hardcoded
dependencies, arch xserver was broken the 2 days I tried to install it
(but, hey, it is a rolling release, such problems can appear I guess),
gentoo is giving me problems to make the kernel booting correctly and I
still have no idea about how to install brcm4313 and fedora asked me
question I did not understood at installation.
But I must admit, I did not dig long for fedora and arch :D

I have not tried other, but I think that even if gentoo could become my
toy distro, Debian will stay my reference for ease of use and tinker.

Please, user of Arch, gentoo, Ubuntu and fedora, my wishes are not to
start a war here, just to relate my experiences.
Ralf Mardorf
2013-01-20 12:43:49 UTC
Permalink
my wishes are not to start a war here
We could save time and uproar, if we simply link to already existing flame
wars :D.

My apologies, I guess we are to OT for the OP. @ the OP: don't worry about
what we were talking about.

OT: Speaking for myself, installing a new minimal Debian is interesting.
Regarding to the Debian BSD port, I finished a port update for a FreeBSD
install (not Debian) and run into minor, but annoying issues, that
seemingly are taken over from Linux, so I easily could fix some issues,
others are still not fixed yet, since I'm a FreeBSD beginner.

Again @ the OP: I guess the resume for you is, that there's only one
common issue. Before you buy new hardware, ensure that there are drivers
available for that hardware.

Always keep your humor, if something ever should be fishy. Others and me
often behaved like idiots in the past, this only is time consuming and
does cause stress.

Regards,
Ralf
Anthony Campbell
2013-01-21 09:27:01 UTC
Permalink
On 20 Jan 2013, ***@neutralite.org wrote:
[snip]
Post by b***@neutralite.org
If you uncheck them all, as I usually do, you start with a system
with almost nothing. Even "less" is not present in such an
installation :D
I keep a list of all the packages I normally use and then get the same
ones when I install on a new computer. (Obviously this doesn't work for
your very first install.)

[snip]
Post by b***@neutralite.org
For a normal usage, testing is better, even if the project claims it
is not for production environment. More recent kernels and drivers
which means more supported hardware, and updated web browsers are
some obvious interesting points here. They are simply the most
obvious.
[snip]

I'd say you are generally better off using Sid. The name "Unstable"
unfortunately gives the impression that it is unsafe, but this is
misleading. A quick search for "debian unstable vs testing" will produce
plenty of discussion, mostly favouring Sid. See for example
http://www.debian.org/doc/manuals/debian-faq/ch-choosing.en.html and
http://raphaelhertzog.com/2010/12/20/5-reasons-why-debian-unstable-does-not-deserve-its-name/

Quotes from the second of these:

"High impact security vulnerabilities will usually be quickly fixed in
Stable and Unstable. The stable upload is done by the security team
while the unstable one is made by the maintainer. Testing will usually
get the fix through the package uploaded to Unstable, so testing users
get security updates with a delay."

"For less serious vulnerabilities, it’s entirely possible that stable
does not get any update at all. In that case, unstable/testing users are
better served since they will get the fix with the next upstream version
anyway."

I've been using Sid on all my computers for many years, except for one
which I use for lectures and cannot risk falling over just before it's
needed. It's been a long time since I encountered a show-stopper after
an upgrade.

"In most cases, you can save yourself by downgrading to the version
available in Testing. Or by finding a work-around in the bug tracking
system. Or by not upgrading because you have apt-listbugs installed and
you have been warned about the problem."

This is what I do too.


AC
--
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Ralf Mardorf
2013-01-21 09:46:28 UTC
Permalink
The original poster shouldn't care about this discussion. It's interesti=
ng =

for people with some experience using Linux and who have got special nee=
ds.

"The release of Debian called "stable" is always the official released =

version of Debian. Ordinary users should use this version." - =

http://wiki.debian.org/DebianStable

I'll rename the subject for another mail, so that we can continue the =

off-topic discussion.

I hope this is ok.

Regards,
Ralf

PS: For good reasons top-posting, without removing the original message =
=

here.

On Mon, 21 Jan 2013 10:27:01 +0100, Anthony Campbell <***@acampbell.org.u=
k> =
Post by Anthony Campbell
[snip]
Post by b***@neutralite.org
If you uncheck them all, as I usually do, you start with a system
with almost nothing. Even "less" is not present in such an
installation :D
I keep a list of all the packages I normally use and then get the same=
ones when I install on a new computer. (Obviously this doesn't work fo=
r
Post by Anthony Campbell
your very first install.)
[snip]
Post by b***@neutralite.org
For a normal usage, testing is better, even if the project claims it
is not for production environment. More recent kernels and drivers
which means more supported hardware, and updated web browsers are
some obvious interesting points here. They are simply the most
obvious.
[snip]
I'd say you are generally better off using Sid. The name "Unstable"
unfortunately gives the impression that it is unsafe, but this is
misleading. A quick search for "debian unstable vs testing" will produ=
ce
Post by Anthony Campbell
plenty of discussion, mostly favouring Sid. See for example
http://www.debian.org/doc/manuals/debian-faq/ch-choosing.en.html and
http://raphaelhertzog.com/2010/12/20/5-reasons-why-debian-unstable-doe=
s-not-deserve-its-name/
Post by Anthony Campbell
"High impact security vulnerabilities will usually be quickly fixed in=
Stable and Unstable. The stable upload is done by the security team
while the unstable one is made by the maintainer. Testing will usually=
get the fix through the package uploaded to Unstable, so testing users=
get security updates with a delay."
"For less serious vulnerabilities, it=E2=80=99s entirely possible that=
stable
Post by Anthony Campbell
does not get any update at all. In that case, unstable/testing users a=
re
Post by Anthony Campbell
better served since they will get the fix with the next upstream versi=
on
Post by Anthony Campbell
anyway."
I've been using Sid on all my computers for many years, except for one=
which I use for lectures and cannot risk falling over just before it's=
needed. It's been a long time since I encountered a show-stopper after=
an upgrade.
"In most cases, you can save yourself by downgrading to the version
available in Testing. Or by finding a work-around in the bug tracking
system. Or by not upgrading because you have apt-listbugs installed an=
d
Post by Anthony Campbell
you have been warned about the problem."
This is what I do too.
AC
Ralf Mardorf
2013-01-21 09:46:30 UTC
Permalink
On Mon, 21 Jan 2013 10:27:01 +0100, Anthony Campbell <***@acampbell.org.u=
k> =
Post by Anthony Campbell
[snip]
Post by b***@neutralite.org
If you uncheck them all, as I usually do, you start with a system
with almost nothing. Even "less" is not present in such an
installation :D
I keep a list of all the packages I normally use and then get the same=
ones when I install on a new computer. (Obviously this doesn't work fo=
r
Post by Anthony Campbell
your very first install.)
[snip]
Post by b***@neutralite.org
For a normal usage, testing is better, even if the project claims it
is not for production environment. More recent kernels and drivers
which means more supported hardware, and updated web browsers are
some obvious interesting points here. They are simply the most
obvious.
[snip]
I'd say you are generally better off using Sid. The name "Unstable"
unfortunately gives the impression that it is unsafe, but this is
misleading. A quick search for "debian unstable vs testing" will produ=
ce
Post by Anthony Campbell
plenty of discussion, mostly favouring Sid. See for example
http://www.debian.org/doc/manuals/debian-faq/ch-choosing.en.html and
http://raphaelhertzog.com/2010/12/20/5-reasons-why-debian-unstable-doe=
s-not-deserve-its-name/
Post by Anthony Campbell
"High impact security vulnerabilities will usually be quickly fixed in=
Stable and Unstable. The stable upload is done by the security team
while the unstable one is made by the maintainer. Testing will usually=
get the fix through the package uploaded to Unstable, so testing users=
get security updates with a delay."
"For less serious vulnerabilities, it=E2=80=99s entirely possible that=
stable
Post by Anthony Campbell
does not get any update at all. In that case, unstable/testing users a=
re
Post by Anthony Campbell
better served since they will get the fix with the next upstream versi=
on
Post by Anthony Campbell
anyway."
I've been using Sid on all my computers for many years, except for one=
which I use for lectures and cannot risk falling over just before it's=
needed. It's been a long time since I encountered a show-stopper after=
an upgrade.
"In most cases, you can save yourself by downgrading to the version
available in Testing. Or by finding a work-around in the bug tracking
system. Or by not upgrading because you have apt-listbugs installed an=
d
Post by Anthony Campbell
you have been warned about the problem."
This is what I do too.
Hi:)

I kept the original message, so that we could continue here.

I don't have much to say. It sounds interesting for me, to test SID by =

doing a minimal "expert" install.

Regards,
Ralf
Morel Bérenger
2013-01-21 10:56:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ralf Mardorf
On Mon, 21 Jan 2013 10:27:01 +0100, Anthony Campbell
Post by Anthony Campbell
[snip]
Post by b***@neutralite.org
If you uncheck them all, as I usually do, you start with a system
with almost nothing. Even "less" is not present in such an installation
:D
I keep a list of all the packages I normally use and then get the same
ones when I install on a new computer. (Obviously this doesn't work for
your very first install.)
[snip]
Post by b***@neutralite.org
For a normal usage, testing is better, even if the project claims it
is not for production environment. More recent kernels and drivers
which means more supported hardware, and updated web browsers are some
obvious interesting points here. They are simply the most obvious.
[snip]
I'd say you are generally better off using Sid. The name "Unstable"
unfortunately gives the impression that it is unsafe, but this is
misleading. A quick search for "debian unstable vs testing" will
produce plenty of discussion, mostly favouring Sid. See for example
http://www.debian.org/doc/manuals/debian-faq/ch-choosing.en.html and
http://raphaelhertzog.com/2010/12/20/5-reasons-why-debian-unstable-does-
not-deserve-its-name/
"High impact security vulnerabilities will usually be quickly fixed in
Stable and Unstable. The stable upload is done by the security team
while the unstable one is made by the maintainer. Testing will usually
get the fix through the package uploaded to Unstable, so testing users
get security updates with a delay."
"For less serious vulnerabilities, it’s entirely possible that stable
does not get any update at all. In that case, unstable/testing users
are better served since they will get the fix with the next upstream
version anyway."
I've been using Sid on all my computers for many years, except for one
which I use for lectures and cannot risk falling over just before it's
needed. It's been a long time since I encountered a show-stopper after
an upgrade.
"In most cases, you can save yourself by downgrading to the version
available in Testing. Or by finding a work-around in the bug tracking
system. Or by not upgrading because you have apt-listbugs installed and
you have been warned about the problem."
This is what I do too.
I did not known about apt-listbugs, but I have to admit that using
unstable is not as "dangerous" as officially claimed, and my computers
actually runs fine with it.

Well, except one which is using stable, because it is very old.
The point between being very old (more than 10 years) and up-to-date stuff
is that I have noticed more than one softwares becoming more and more
bloated for nothing in time.
Since I am not using DE since some moment in 2012 (can't remember the
month) but a simple window manager and a collection of tools, I guess I
could not move it to more recent stuff, but since it works perfectly (it
is a simple jukebox/file server - well... a file server of 80GB :D ) , is
my last computer able to read PATA disks and to use old joysticks, so it
can also be used for very old games, eventually), I can see no reason to
do so.

About various advantages of sid against testing... well... I never thought
about them.

But I'm a newcomer in linux world, I'm using Debian as my first distro,
and as my main computer OS since less than 3 years, I still have many
tricks to learn. This is why the mailing list is very instructive for me.
--
To UNSUBSCRIBE, email to debian-user-***@lists.debian.org
with a subject of "unsubscribe". Trouble? Contact ***@lists.debian.org
Archive: http://lists.debian.org/***@www.sud-ouest.org
Dennis Clarke
2013-01-21 19:32:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ralf Mardorf
I don't have much to say. It sounds interesting for me, to test SID by
doing a minimal "expert" install.
Funny. It took me a full day and three attempts to install Wheezy onto a
Lenovo G575 laptop. Ultimately I resorted to creating a live bootable
USB image and then doing obscene things like :

dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda bs=8192 count=1048576

.. which baked the disks partition table and first 8G of disk tracks. Perfect.

Only then could I create a new partition table and get on with the job.

I should note that when I tried to use a sun disk lable or a BSD disk label
to get 8 partitions ( which is wrong, sun has 16 partitions but Debian
or fdisk/parted can't do it .. weird ) I ended up with a unbootable
system everytime. Set a partition bootable got me no where.

Had to resort to DOS style partition table.

Then wireless setup on the pefectly supported ath9k driver was a nightmare
for a day.

Finally up and running yesterday on wheezy on this laptop and with minimal
packages.

I would say that the process is still very very far out of reach of the average user
and Linux won't be getting into the mainstream any time soon. This is what is
a major blockage to getting linux into an office. Users have no clue if it isn't
windows and usualy, no clue even if it is.

dc
Joe
2013-01-21 21:29:46 UTC
Permalink
On Mon, 21 Jan 2013 14:32:06 -0500
Post by Dennis Clarke
Post by Ralf Mardorf
I don't have much to say. It sounds interesting for me, to test SID
by doing a minimal "expert" install.
Funny. It took me a full day and three attempts to install Wheezy
onto a Lenovo G575 laptop. Ultimately I resorted to creating a live
dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda bs=8192 count=1048576
.. which baked the disks partition table and first 8G of disk tracks. Perfect.
Only then could I create a new partition table and get on with the job.
I should note that when I tried to use a sun disk lable or a BSD disk
label to get 8 partitions ( which is wrong, sun has 16 partitions but
Debian or fdisk/parted can't do it .. weird ) I ended up with a
unbootable system everytime. Set a partition bootable got me no
where.
No, it wouldn't, Linux has never made use of this flag.
Post by Dennis Clarke
Had to resort to DOS style partition table.
If you have a need for a different partition system, that marks you as
a fairly unusual user. Presumably you are multi-booting with something
a bit exotic. I've never used anything but a DOS (actually IBM, 'why
would anyone ever want more than four operating systems on their
mainframe?') partition system, but I've never needed compatibility with
anything but Windows, nor more than 16 partitions, and I've never moved
on from fdisk.
Post by Dennis Clarke
Then wireless setup on the pefectly supported ath9k driver was a
nightmare for a day.
Wireless can be entertaining, though a lot less so than it used to
be. Even the Network Manager seems to more or less work these days.
Post by Dennis Clarke
Finally up and running yesterday on wheezy on this laptop and with
minimal packages.
I would say that the process is still very very far out of reach of
the average user and Linux won't be getting into the mainstream any
time soon. This is what is a major blockage to getting linux into an
office. Users have no clue if it isn't windows and usualy, no clue
even if it is.
Well, to be honest, most Linux users don't care too much about that.
Linux is where it is without ever having needed widespread desktop use,
it's not likely to wither away now if it doesn't get there. Widespread
use would result in better driver access, but it would also result in
the same kind of malware nightmare that afflicts Windows. There are too
many home and business users who are just too important to use
unprivileged accounts, or to be bothered elevating privilege on just
the few occasions when it is necessary. This is changing, but very
slowly. I help out a bit on an MS technical forum, and some people need
beating with sticks to persuade them that running as root is a bad idea.

And as always, it's worth remembering that few people ever install
Windows. I've only done it twice in the last five or six years. It's
generally pretty difficult and unrewarding to install Windows on a PC
that isn't very recent, and if it is recent, the latest Windows will be
there already. It would be reasonable to expect hypothetical Linux
business computers to be sold with Linux already installed, and tailored
to the machine. The sticking point is that LibreOffice is never going
to match the slickness of office software developed over more than
twenty years, and there's still nothing Open Source that comes close to
Access.

OK, I've had plenty of Linux installation problems, mostly concerning
sound, but life is a lot easier now. It's still never possible to
predict what may cause trouble. If you're not familiar with it, Knoppix
is a Debian-based live Linux which has always had amazing hardware
detection and drivers, and it is often worth booting the latest Knoppix
to see how it deals with a 'difficult' piece of hardware. Live CDs/USBs
are mostly also installable, and this is a fairly painless way of
installing something after you already know it drives your hardware.
Knoppix is not a good candidate for this, as it isn't maintainable, but
there's a live Debian if you're not too keen on Ubuntu, and plenty of
other choices. I've done this a couple of times, and haven't needed any
manual surgery on the target hard drive. Back to the unusual partition
tables...
--
Joe
Ralf Mardorf
2013-01-21 23:14:18 UTC
Permalink
Hi :)

I've got much more than four installs on my machine. One FreeBSD and
tons of Linux installs. The reason for having tons of Linux installs is,
that I don't have the perfect hardware, but I use Linux as an audio
production environment.

It's useless for me to set up a virtual machine to test different
setups, since there is no emulation of my professional and
semi-professional audio cards and there is no emulation of my mobo
either and hardly a virtual machine will be real-time capable.

I'm not using all installs, some are just waiting to be replaced by the
next test install, but around 3 installs are used and at least 2
installs usually are maintained.

Regarding to the most useful partitioning scheme, I agree that DOS/EBR
is the easiest to use. With VBox I tested LVM and I never ever will use
it by choice. BSD is similar to LVM and I only use it, because I have no
choice.

There are two HDDs mounted to the computer, one is around 300 GiB, the
other is around 500 GiB small. Other users might have much more space on
their HDDs, so it's useful to have many partitions.

Since Linux can't show the partitions inside the BSD slice, this is how
my setup is seen by FreeBSD:

***@freebsd:/usr/home/rocketmouse # gpart show
=> 63 625142385 ada0 MBR (298G)
63 121274433 1 freebsd [active] (57G)
121274496 250 - free - (125k)
121274746 503862599 2 ebr (240G)
625137345 5103 - free - (2.5M)

=> 0 121274433 ada0s1 BSD (57G)
0 2097152 1 freebsd-ufs (1.0G)
2097152 8388608 2 freebsd-swap (4.0G)
10485760 16209920 4 freebsd-ufs (7.7G)
26695680 2097152 5 freebsd-ufs (1.0G)
28792832 92481601 6 freebsd-ufs (44G)

=> 0 503862599 ada0s2 EBR (240G)
0 62476724 1 ntfs (29G)
62476724 62669565 991695 linux-data (29G)
125146289 62862345 1986450 linux-data (30G)
188008634 52684236 2984265 linux-data (25G)
240692870 73650176 3820522 linux-data (35G)
314343046 748 - free - (374k)
314343794 4546395 4989585 linux-swap (2.2G)
318890189 121708440 5061750 linux-data (58G)
440598629 7341705 6993630 linux-data (3.5G)
447940334 46299330 7110165 linux-data (22G)
494239664 9622935 7845075 linux-data (4.6G)

=> 63 976773105 ada1 MBR (465G)
63 42973812 1 linux-data (20G)
42973875 61 - free - (30k)
42973936 933794129 2 ebr (445G)
976768065 5103 - free - (2.5M)

=> 63 46299204 ada0s13 MBR (22G)
63 46299204 - free - (22G)

=> 0 933794129 ada1s2 EBR (445G)
0 42957749 1 linux-data (20G)
42957749 42765030 681870 linux-data (20G)
85722779 5092605 1360680 linux-swap (2.4G)
90815384 42154560 1441515 linux-data (20G)
132969944 43246980 2110635 linux-data (20G)
176216924 1020340 2797095 linux-data (498M)
177237264 26476544 2813290 linux-data (12G)
203713808 100861952 3233553 linux-data (48G)
304575760 514 - free - (257k)
304576274 209759742 4834545 linux-data (100G)
514336016 963 - free - (481k)
514336979 419456061 8164080 linux-data (200G)
933793040 1089 - free - (544k)

=> 63 46299204 ext2fs/backs MBR (22G)
63 46299204 - free - (22G)

The NTFS partition doesn't include Windows, only FreeBSD and Linux are
installed and not all Linux partitons are Linux installs, some are just
for different data.

When my machine was a recent machine, there anyway was no Windows
installed. Why should I pay for something I won't use? I also didn't buy
a pre-built computer, I assembled the machine myself and I'm for sure
not the only one who mounted the PC at home, instead of buying an
expensive discounter PC.

Perhaps I should rename the thread to "customized computer". I'm just
kidding. At the moment I suffer from incompatibility between FreeBSD and
Linux. Both *NIX are more compatible to Windows, IMO a grotesque
situation.

I'm sharing the same directory for emails, by several Linux installs.

***@precise:~# ls -l /home/spinymouse/.local/share/evolution
lrwxrwxrwx 1 spinymouse spinymouse 58 Apr 28 2012 mail -> /mnt/archlinux/home/spinymouse/.local/share/evolution/mail

I would like to share it with Evolution from my FreeBSD install, but
there's an issue regarding to permissions.

Now it's really OT, but perhaps somebody can help.

For FreeBSD I don't have control about the permissions of mounted Linux
ext3 partitions.

I get:

***@freebsd:/usr/home/rocketmouse # ls -l /mnt
drwxrwx--- 21 1000 1000 4096 Oct 28 19:11 archlinux
drwxrwxrwx 2 root wheel 4096 Jan 20 20:09 dump

The user is able to access /dump, but only /root can access /archlinux.
The uid of the FreeBSD user is 1001. I wonder why for /archlinux I get
rwxrwx--- and for /dump rwxrwxrwx, those permissions, user and group
will be changed automatically.

Regards,
Ralf
Dennis Clarke
2013-01-22 01:22:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ralf Mardorf
Hi :)
I've got much more than four installs on my machine. One FreeBSD and
tons of Linux installs. The reason for having tons of Linux installs is,
that I don't have the perfect hardware, but I use Linux as an audio
production environment.
very cool. I'm guessing burmester amps, AKG headphones and turtlebeach hardware or similar ?
Post by Ralf Mardorf
It's useless for me to set up a virtual machine to test different
setups, since there is no emulation of my professional and
semi-professional audio cards and there is no emulation of my mobo
either and hardly a virtual machine will be real-time capable.
Well, VMware ESX is very very good but also very very expensive and
no way would it do what you want.

I wasn't aware there was professional sound editing software for Linux.
What sort of software are you running? Just curious here.
Post by Ralf Mardorf
I'm not using all installs, some are just waiting to be replaced by the
next test install, but around 3 installs are used and at least 2
installs usually are maintained.
Regarding to the most useful partitioning scheme, I agree that DOS/EBR
is the easiest to use. With VBox I tested LVM and I never ever will use
it by choice. BSD is similar to LVM and I only use it, because I have
no choice.
I come from the Solaris world and I can say I have no clue about Virtual
Box. While Oracle may own it I just don't see it as a viable and serious
replacement for VMware. I may be wrong and should run a test just
out of blind curiosity.
Post by Ralf Mardorf
There are two HDDs mounted to the computer, one is around 300 GiB, the
other is around 500 GiB small. Other users might have much more space
on their HDDs, so it's useful to have many partitions.
Since Linux can't show the partitions inside the BSD slice, this is how
=> 63 625142385 ada0 MBR (298G)
63 121274433 1 freebsd [active] (57G)
121274496 250 - free - (125k)
121274746 503862599 2 ebr (240G)
625137345 5103 - free - (2.5M)
=> 0 121274433 ada0s1 BSD (57G)
0 2097152 1 freebsd-ufs (1.0G)
2097152 8388608 2 freebsd-swap (4.0G)
10485760 16209920 4 freebsd-ufs (7.7G)
26695680 2097152 5 freebsd-ufs (1.0G)
28792832 92481601 6 freebsd-ufs (44G)
=> 0 503862599 ada0s2 EBR (240G)
0 62476724 1 ntfs (29G)
62476724 62669565 991695 linux-data (29G)
125146289 62862345 1986450 linux-data (30G)
188008634 52684236 2984265 linux-data (25G)
240692870 73650176 3820522 linux-data (35G)
314343046 748 - free - (374k)
314343794 4546395 4989585 linux-swap (2.2G)
318890189 121708440 5061750 linux-data (58G)
440598629 7341705 6993630 linux-data (3.5G)
447940334 46299330 7110165 linux-data (22G)
494239664 9622935 7845075 linux-data (4.6G)
=> 63 976773105 ada1 MBR (465G)
63 42973812 1 linux-data (20G)
42973875 61 - free - (30k)
42973936 933794129 2 ebr (445G)
976768065 5103 - free - (2.5M)
=> 63 46299204 ada0s13 MBR (22G)
63 46299204 - free - (22G)
=> 0 933794129 ada1s2 EBR (445G)
0 42957749 1 linux-data (20G)
42957749 42765030 681870 linux-data (20G)
85722779 5092605 1360680 linux-swap (2.4G)
90815384 42154560 1441515 linux-data (20G)
132969944 43246980 2110635 linux-data (20G)
176216924 1020340 2797095 linux-data (498M)
177237264 26476544 2813290 linux-data (12G)
203713808 100861952 3233553 linux-data (48G)
304575760 514 - free - (257k)
304576274 209759742 4834545 linux-data (100G)
514336016 963 - free - (481k)
514336979 419456061 8164080 linux-data (200G)
933793040 1089 - free - (544k)
=> 63 46299204 ext2fs/backs MBR (22G)
63 46299204 - free - (22G)
The NTFS partition doesn't include Windows, only FreeBSD and Linux are
installed and not all Linux partitons are Linux installs, some are just
for different data.
I totally get that. If anything the partition data looks reasonable and seems
to say, here is a slice of disk at this cylinder and for this many contiguous
cylinders and that makes sense to me.
Post by Ralf Mardorf
When my machine was a recent machine, there anyway was no Windows
installed. Why should I pay for something I won't use? I also didn't buy
a pre-built computer, I assembled the machine myself and I'm for sure
not the only one who mounted the PC at home, instead of buying an
expensive discounter PC.
I don't buy off the shelf either. There is no reason for me to do that. My
biggest concern is support for NVidia quadro cards and that seems to
be a real problem. There are closed drivers from NVidia and then other
drivers from the Debian free repo's call nouveau or some such name.

Regardless, getting a reasonable graphics card to work well seems to
be a problem.
Post by Ralf Mardorf
Perhaps I should rename the thread to "customized computer". I'm just
kidding. At the moment I suffer from incompatibility between FreeBSD and
Linux. Both *NIX are more compatible to Windows, IMO a grotesque
situation.
eek ...

Well I run RHEL6 on my main workstation which is a Sun Ultra 40 machine
with a pack of disks and graphics cards in it. My hope was to drive a big
high res monitor like a HP LP 3065 but getting a movie to play onto my wall
mounted 27 inch monitor is a real hassle as RHEL6 has crappy video support
of the NVidia quadro 3500 and 4500 cards. The audio is a problem as the
Creative Live! card seems to be largely unsupported.

Just a hassle.
Post by Ralf Mardorf
I'm sharing the same directory for emails, by several Linux installs.
lrwxrwxrwx 1 spinymouse spinymouse 58 Apr 28 2012 mail -> /mnt/archlinux/home/spinymouse/.local/share/evolution/mail
I would like to share it with Evolution from my FreeBSD install, but
there's an issue regarding to permissions.
Now it's really OT, but perhaps somebody can help.
Not at all OT until you ask how to install Windows 3.51 on your IBM PowerPC
Model 80 PS/2 desktop. Then we are way OT.
Post by Ralf Mardorf
For FreeBSD I don't have control about the permissions of mounted Linux
ext3 partitions.
drwxrwx--- 21 1000 1000 4096 Oct 28 19:11 archlinux
drwxrwxrwx 2 root wheel 4096 Jan 20 20:09 dump
The user is able to access /dump, but only /root can access /archlinux.
The uid of the FreeBSD user is 1001. I wonder why for /archlinux I get
rwxrwx--- and for /dump rwxrwxrwx, those permissions, user and group
will be changed automatically.
starting from the top, what are the perms of the mountpoint? What is the uid
and gid for that mountpoint and then if you try to mount -t ext3 /dev/foo /someplace
with maybe -o noatime what do you get ?

What are the uid/gid for the directory you want to mount ?

I am hoping it is something trivial.

dc
Ralf Mardorf
2013-01-22 02:46:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dennis Clarke
very cool. I'm guessing burmester amps, AKG headphones and turtlebeach hardware or similar ?
Pioneer consumer HiFi amp, AKG professional but 30 years old studio
headphones, 1 x RME HDSPe AIO professional sound card + an elCheapo ADAT
device (Linux only supports 2 of 8 ADAT channels for the RME card) and 2
x TerraTec EWX 24/96 (Envy24 semi-professional, a card is around 30,- €
at Ebay).
Post by Dennis Clarke
I wasn't aware there was professional sound editing software for Linux.
What sort of software are you running? Just curious here.
Some of the important apps are Qtractor (MIDI sequencer), Ardour 2 (hard
disk recorder), JAMin (Equalizer and compressor), Yoshimi (Synth),
Fluid-DSSI (Sampleplayer).
Post by Dennis Clarke
I have no clue about Virtual Box
It's easy to use. I don't have comparison to other virtual machines.
Perhaps other solutions are better.
Post by Dennis Clarke
I don't buy off the shelf either. There is no reason for me to do that. My
biggest concern is support for NVidia quadro cards and that seems to
be a real problem. There are closed drivers from NVidia and then other
drivers from the Debian free repo's call nouveau or some such name.
Regardless, getting a reasonable graphics card to work well seems to
be a problem.
I don't care much about the graphics. I just care about interaction with
real-time audio, so I sometimes switch from the elCheapo on-board ATI to
an elCheapo PCI express NVIDIA and vice versa.

OTOH it would be nice to have a good workstation for graphic work too,
but I never spend time to calibrate my CRT.
Post by Dennis Clarke
Sun Ultra 40 machine
The chassis of your computer perhaps is nearly as expensive as my
complete machine without the RME audio card. The chassis and mobo of my
machine are the most weak points here. I still have SATA connectors
without clips, so I felt compelled to hot glue the connectors. I had to
bend the chassis to mount all PCI and PCI express cards.
Post by Dennis Clarke
getting a movie to play onto my wall
A friend build some media machines using Windows. It's even an issue on
a Windows machine with good driver support.

IIRC the idea was to connect some cinema like screen simply by HDMI to
the integrated graphics and within some minutes everything should work,
but it end with buying several mobos and expensive graphics and was a
little bit more time consuming.
Post by Dennis Clarke
I am hoping it is something trivial.
I'm booted into Linux at the moment. Maybe a typo in fstab does cause
some voodoo or something similar abstruse does cause the issue.

I can't access BSD partitions by Linux, but I didn't research much until
now.
Post by Dennis Clarke
What does lsusb report ?
$ lsusb | grep WLAN
Bus 001 Device 003: ID 0bda:8172 Realtek Semiconductor Corp. RTL8191SU
802.11n WLAN Adapter

Networkmanager does detect 8 networks. I guess on this install I never
tested ad hoc, but on other installs (with and without networkmanager)
Linux always detected networks.

Regards,
Ralf
Lisi Reisz
2013-01-21 23:32:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joe
OK, I've had plenty of Linux installation problems,
And I plenty of Windows ones. I rarely have to install Windows, and every
time I have to, I breathe a sigh of relief that this is so. Problems with
drivers? Linux?? Linux is sometimes tricky, Windows sometimes almost
impossible, and always a nightmare.

Not one of the people whom I maintain on Linux could begin to install Windows;
and I hope that I have them sufficiently indoctrinated that they would not
want to try! ;-)

Seriously, my experience is that when Linux is properly installed for someone,
(s)he can just use it. And beginners find Linux easier than Windows.

Lisi
Disclaimer: I have never even seen Windows 8, and long may it be so!
Ralf Mardorf
2013-01-22 00:25:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lisi Reisz
Disclaimer: I have never even seen Windows 8, and long may it be so!
Hi all :) hi Lina :)

A friend needed help to set up his Windows 8.

The Windows was already installed to the computer, the user don't need
to install it. A user could also buy a PC with Linux already installed,
but it's not that easy to get and the rip-off usually is more worse than
the Windows-PC-disounter-rip-off already is.

I had to setup PPPoE, it's as hard or easy to do it on Windows as it is
on Linux, but on Linux the clueless user not seldom has to install
packages, before it can be done.

To install Firefox and other software a Windows 8 user only needs to
launch the Windows browser, google for Firefox and then to click a
button to install it.

You might say on Linux, e.g. on Debian the user only needs to launch
Synaptic, to search for Firefox and to click some buttons, but to do
this, the user needs to be aware that there is an application called
Synaptic. The user perhaps won't understand that Synaptic won't find
Firefox, just some obscure Iceweasel.

But this doesn't matter, since the averaged user neither is able to
install apps and set up Internet connections on Linux, nor on Windows.

The averaged dummy-hobby-computer-expert will read a yellow press
article that describes how to launch the Windows browser, to google for
Firefox and how to click the button. For Linux the same user needs to
pay for an expensive Linux magazine that ships with a DVD including a
"special improved Linux magazine Debian version". Again the rip-off is
more evil than the yellow press rip-off + the community has to make the
support for a "special improved Linux magazine Debian version" that is
buggy as hell and has less to do with a Debian from a Debian server or
mirror.

The averaged user has seen this cool discounter printer and WiFi USB
thingy a friend is using for his Windows, so he buys the same printer
and WiFi device. To bad, the printer and WiFi stick don't work on Linux.

I nearly forgot to mention Lennart Poettering. Why does audio not work
for this imaginary user on Linux? He had a Windows install before he
switched to Linux and audio did work.

If people would spend ¼ of the time to learn how o handle Windows, you
and me spend in learning how to manage Linux, they would be able to set
up a stable Windows and to keep the Windows stable, but with the same
effort they wouldn't be able to set up a stable Linux and to keep the
Linux stable.

The are good reasons to prefer Linux, but it for sure is harder to set
up a Linux, to maintain a Linux and while Linux is free as in beer,
hardware is much more expensive and there's much rip-off regarding to
Linux magazines, pre-build Linux machines etc., consumer centers take
care that the rip-off for Windows regarding to magazines and pre-build
computers isn't that evil. To be fair, the rip-off by Microsoft and
software for Windows by other companies is more evil.

Most employers prefer Windows users. Regarding to special tasks there
are nearly no women on e.g. Linux audio users list and many of the men
are unbearable arrogant. There's also a FLOSS community for Windows and
even for special areas there are on a percentage basis more women and
less arrogant nerds joining Windows communities.

I'm against Windows and pro Linux, but I know "normal" people and I'm
aware about reality.

YMMV!

Regards,
Ralf
Richard Owlett
2013-01-22 12:38:03 UTC
Permalink
[SNIP]
To install Firefox and other software a Windows 8 user only needs to
launch the Windows browser, google for Firefox and then to click a
button to install it.
You might say on Linux, e.g. on Debian the user only needs to launch
Synaptic, to search for Firefox and to click some buttons, but to do
this, the user needs to be aware that there is an application called
Synaptic. The user perhaps won't understand that Synaptic won't find
Firefox, just some obscure Iceweasel.
At the end-user level I think Debian has a logical flaw.
It presumes that all software is always available in a
repository (be it FOSS/proprietary, trusted/untrusted,
whatever distinction).
Yesterday I found a program (in beta) whose functional
writeup was interesting. In the latest revision a deb
package was added to the previously available formats. I
downloaded the package with my Windows machine (it was
available at the instant). I now have a deb package on a
flash drive which Debian can read but has no built-in
convenient method to install.
Erwan David
2013-01-22 12:47:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by Richard Owlett
At the end-user level I think Debian has a logical flaw.
It presumes that all software is always available in a repository (be
it FOSS/proprietary, trusted/untrusted, whatever distinction).
Yesterday I found a program (in beta) whose functional writeup was
interesting. In the latest revision a deb package was added to the
previously available formats. I downloaded the package with my
Windows machine (it was available at the instant). I now have a deb
package on a flash drive which Debian can read but has no built-in
convenient method to install.
gdebi is now your friend
Richard Owlett
2013-01-22 17:01:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by Erwan David
Post by Richard Owlett
At the end-user level I think Debian has a logical flaw.
It presumes that all software is always available in a repository (be
it FOSS/proprietary, trusted/untrusted, whatever distinction).
Yesterday I found a program (in beta) whose functional writeup was
interesting. In the latest revision a deb package was added to the
previously available formats. I downloaded the package with my
Windows machine (it was available at the instant). I now have a deb
package on a flash drive which Debian can read but has no built-in
convenient method to install.
gdebi is now your friend
Thank you.
And, for the record, someone had responded privately that I
could also use dpkg -i ...

They both did what I wanted.
Couldn't use the new package as there was an unfulfilled
dependency. But the problem was handled cleanly.
Ralf Mardorf
2013-01-22 17:09:36 UTC
Permalink
Couldn't use the new package as there was an unfulfilled dependency.
[sarcasm] # dpkg -i --force-depends fishy.deb [/sarcasm]
Richard Owlett
2013-01-22 18:01:34 UTC
Permalink
On Tue, 22 Jan 2013 18:01:43 +0100, Richard Owlett
Post by Richard Owlett
Couldn't use the new package as there was an unfulfilled
dependency.
[sarcasm] # dpkg -i --force-depends fishy.deb [/sarcasm]
I don't mind [sarcasm] at all. Especially when it educates
and possibly solves a problem.

The dependency problem was that I had a slightly older
version than the package "required".
#dpkg -i --force-depends fishy.deb
apparently succeeded.

Would that --force-depends had effect all the way down a
chain of dependencies just looking for the latest revision
of each?
Ralf Mardorf
2013-01-22 18:12:17 UTC
Permalink
On Tue, 22 Jan 2013 18:01:43 +0100, Richard Owlett
Post by Richard Owlett
Couldn't use the new package as there was an unfulfilled
dependency.
[sarcasm] # dpkg -i --force-depends fishy.deb [/sarcasm]
I don't mind [sarcasm] at all. Especially when it educates and possibly
solves a problem.
The dependency problem was that I had a slightly older version than the
package "required".
#dpkg -i --force-depends fishy.deb
apparently succeeded.
Would that --force-depends had effect all the way down a chain of
dependencies just looking for the latest revision of each?
Yes, you only can keep it for testing purpose. If you would try to install
anything else, you couldn't do it. You first have to uninstall the package.

If it should work without the dependency, you can build a dummy package,
that fakes to fulfill the dependency, then you don't need to uninstall it.

To build a dummy package there's equivs
http://www.debian.org/doc/manuals/apt-howto/ch-helpers.en.html, it's not
an "Obsolete Documentation".
Assumed some day another package needs this dependency, the dummy package
could cause trouble. It's better to use "--force-depends" only, if you are
developing something, or compiling something and the needed dependency
will be installed later.

It's not a solution for your issue to use "--force-depends".
Ralf Mardorf
2013-01-22 18:16:39 UTC
Permalink
On Tue, 22 Jan 2013 19:12:17 +0100, Ralf Mardorf
Would that --force-depends had effect all the way down a chain of
dependencies just looking for the latest revision of each?
PS. Oops, my English is terribly broken. Yes, you get issues if you keep
the package. No, it's not going to check for latest revisions. It doesn't
touch dependencies, it completely ignores them. You don't have the
dependency installed and no other packages are touched.
Ralf Mardorf
2013-01-22 18:23:34 UTC
Permalink
PPS:

Once you are aware that there is a command, in this case "dpkg", you can
get information by reading the manual pages. $ man foo, e.g. $ man dpkg.
If man pages aren't installed, they are available by the Internet.
http://linuxreviews.org/man/dpkg/
Richard Owlett
2013-01-22 19:05:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ralf Mardorf
Once you are aware that there is a command, in this case
"dpkg", you can get information by reading the manual pages.
$ man foo, e.g. $ man dpkg. If man pages aren't installed,
they are available by the Internet.
http://linuxreviews.org/man/dpkg/
I have http://manpages.debian.net bookmarked for that reason ;)
Morel Bérenger
2013-01-23 16:13:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Richard Owlett
On Tue, Jan 22, 2013 at 01:38:03PM CET, Richard Owlett
Post by Richard Owlett
At the end-user level I think Debian has a logical flaw.
It presumes that all software is always available in a repository (be
it FOSS/proprietary, trusted/untrusted, whatever distinction).
Yesterday I found a program (in beta) whose functional writeup was
interesting. In the latest revision a deb package was added to the
previously available formats. I downloaded the package with my Windows
machine (it was available at the instant). I now have a deb package on
a flash drive which Debian can read but has no built-in convenient
method to install.
gdebi is now your friend
Thank you.
And, for the record, someone had responded privately that I
could also use dpkg -i ...
They both did what I wanted.
Couldn't use the new package as there was an unfulfilled
dependency. But the problem was handled cleanly.
About your dependency problem, I think you might try something like this:

#dpkg -i package*.deb ; aptitude install package

It should first do the broken install with dpkg, and then aptitude will
install it correctly.
This could easily be put in a script to do some checking, of course, and I
think there is a tool which allows that more easily, but I have no idea
about the name.
Since on ubuntu's forums, there are strange URLs starting by apt:// I also
guess that it is actually possible to install stuff from the web easier
than on windows.
But I'm not a buntu user, and I did not tried or checked it.
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Ralf Mardorf
2013-01-22 12:50:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by Richard Owlett
[SNIP]
To install Firefox and other software a Windows 8 user only needs to
launch the Windows browser, google for Firefox and then to click a
button to install it.
You might say on Linux, e.g. on Debian the user only needs to launch
Synaptic, to search for Firefox and to click some buttons, but to do
this, the user needs to be aware that there is an application called
Synaptic. The user perhaps won't understand that Synaptic won't find
Firefox, just some obscure Iceweasel.
At the end-user level I think Debian has a logical flaw.
It presumes that all software is always available in a repository (be it
FOSS/proprietary, trusted/untrusted, whatever distinction).
Yesterday I found a program (in beta) whose functional writeup was
interesting. In the latest revision a deb package was added to the
previously available formats. I downloaded the package with my Windows
machine (it was available at the instant). I now have a deb package on a
flash drive which Debian can read but has no built-in convenient method
to install.
IIRC it was (perhaps is) possible to get Suse packages from the Internet
and to install them with a single click.
Chris Bannister
2013-01-22 15:52:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Richard Owlett
At the end-user level I think Debian has a logical flaw.
You are assuming all end-users are equal.
Post by Richard Owlett
It presumes that all software is always available in a repository
(be it FOSS/proprietary, trusted/untrusted, whatever distinction).
Correct, how do you expect Debian to know about software that isn't in a
repository?
Post by Richard Owlett
Yesterday I found a program (in beta) whose functional writeup was
interesting. In the latest revision a deb package was added to the
previously available formats. I downloaded the package with my
Windows machine (it was available at the instant).
Right, and you authenticated it how?
Post by Richard Owlett
I now have a deb
package on a flash drive which Debian can read but has no built-in
convenient method to install.
What is inconvenient with "dpkg -i doubtfulpackage.deb"
--
"If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people
who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the
oppressing." --- Malcolm X
Ralf Mardorf
2013-01-22 16:25:11 UTC
Permalink
On Tue, 22 Jan 2013 16:52:06 +0100, Chris Bannister
Post by Chris Bannister
Right, and you authenticated it how?
If it should be from a known, reliable HTTPS webpage, the risk would be
similar to the install of an Firefox add-on. Assumed there should be no
virus that detects downloaded Debian packages on Windows machines, to add
malicious binaries to the packge.
Post by Chris Bannister
"dpkg -i doubtfulpackage.deb"
No risk, no fun!

Have fun,
Ralf
Richard Owlett
2013-01-22 17:28:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by Chris Bannister
Post by Richard Owlett
At the end-user level I think Debian has a logical flaw.
You are assuming all end-users are equal.
No. I was contrasting the generic end user such as myself to
the Debian developers.
The groups differ needs, desires, expertise and MOST
IMPORTANTLY _RESPONSIBILITIES_.
An end user takes responsibility for his own actions (not
all of them realize that) and his errors generally will
affect only himself.
A developer has a social contract with a wide audience a
safe and effective product. His errors not only can but WILL
affect many people.
Post by Chris Bannister
Post by Richard Owlett
It presumes that all software is always available in a repository
(be it FOSS/proprietary, trusted/untrusted, whatever distinction).
Correct, how do you expect Debian to know about software that isn't in a
repository?
I don't. There is no reason for them to do so.
Consider, my eldest nephew has been a independent contract
programmer for over 20 years. He knows much more about
software than I do. [My formal training was in hardware
design including those using vacuum tubes.] Why should he
not create a package I would find useful and send it to me
as a deb? Why would Debian know about it? Why wold they want
to? I would still want to be able to install it ;)
Post by Chris Bannister
Post by Richard Owlett
Yesterday I found a program (in beta) whose functional writeup was
interesting. In the latest revision a deb package was added to the
previously available formats. I downloaded the package with my
Windows machine (it was available at the instant).
Right, and you authenticated it how?
Essentially in the same manner as you do any time you walk
into a Mom & Pop restaurant in a strange city. You observe
it and make a judgement call.
Post by Chris Bannister
Post by Richard Owlett
I now have a deb
package on a flash drive which Debian can read but has no built-in
convenient method to install.
What is inconvenient with "dpkg -i doubtfulpackage.deb"
Nothing except that until about 4.5 hours ago I was not
aware of either it or gdebi ;/
Ralf Mardorf
2013-01-22 17:38:15 UTC
Permalink
Essentially in the same manner as you do any time you walk into a Mom &
Pop restaurant in a strange city. You observe it and make a judgement
call.
That's not an authentication, perhaps comparable to a sandbox
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chroot.
Lisi Reisz
2013-01-22 18:40:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by Richard Owlett
Nothing except that until about 4.5 hours ago I was not
aware of either it or gdebi ;/
That is hardly Debian's fault.

Lisi
Richard Owlett
2013-01-22 19:03:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lisi Reisz
Post by Richard Owlett
Nothing except that until about 4.5 hours ago I was not
aware of either it or gdebi ;/
That is hardly Debian's fault.
Lisi
It's just another proof that useful information passes thru
a finite bandwidth channel ;/
Chris Bannister
2013-01-22 18:29:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by Chris Bannister
Right, and you authenticated it how?
Essentially in the same manner as you do any time you walk into a
Mom & Pop restaurant in a strange city. You observe it and make a
judgement call.
And if you miss them slipping something nasty into the ratatoui ... ?
--
"If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people
who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the
oppressing." --- Malcolm X
Richard Owlett
2013-01-22 18:59:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by Chris Bannister
Post by Chris Bannister
Right, and you authenticated it how?
Essentially in the same manner as you do any time you walk into a
Mom & Pop restaurant in a strange city. You observe it and make a
judgement call.
And if you miss them slipping something nasty into the ratatoui ... ?
It would be inconvenient.

More seriously though I'm new to *nix, I have used computers
since the days of vacuum tubes and 026's.
The system all this is being done on is the ultimate sandbox
- a laptop purchased explicitly for experimentation.
As you approach 3 score and ten ...
Lisi Reisz
2013-01-22 23:19:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Richard Owlett
As you approach 3 score and ten ...
And this is relevant because.....

Seriously Richard, we know your age by now. :-)

Lisi
John Hasler
2013-01-22 23:52:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lisi Reisz
Seriously Richard, we know your age by now. :-)
"Oh I was born about ten thousand years ago..."
--
John Hasler
Chris Bannister
2013-01-23 02:20:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Hasler
Post by Lisi Reisz
Seriously Richard, we know your age by now. :-)
"Oh I was born about ten thousand years ago..."
Did you write the very first song?
--
"If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people
who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the
oppressing." --- Malcolm X
John Hasler
2013-01-23 20:48:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lisi Reisz
Seriously Richard, we know your age by now. :-)
"Oh I was born about ten thousand years ago..."
Did you write the very first song?
"...I taught Ada how to hack though she thought her pop a whack and I'll
whup the man who says it isn't so."
--
John Hasler
Brian
2013-01-22 19:04:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by Richard Owlett
Post by Chris Bannister
Correct, how do you expect Debian to know about software that isn't in a
repository?
I don't. There is no reason for them to do so.
Consider, my eldest nephew has been a independent contract
programmer for over 20 years. He knows much more about software than
I do. [My formal training was in hardware design including those
using vacuum tubes.] Why should he not create a package I would find
useful and send it to me as a deb? Why would Debian know about it?
Why wold they want to? I would still want to be able to install it
;)
A little tip: Suppose you do

dpkg -i eldestnephews.deb

and dpkg says it is unhappy and is going to leave the package
unconfigured, or something along those lines. Go to its friend apt-get
and tell it

apt-get -f install

apt-get can reach the dependencies dpkg is ignorant about. It's not
guaranteed to succeed because the dependencies may not be in stable,
testing etc. Aptitude may very well be able to do something similar.
Post by Richard Owlett
Post by Chris Bannister
What is inconvenient with "dpkg -i doubtfulpackage.deb"
Nothing except that until about 4.5 hours ago I was not aware of
either it or gdebi ;/
In 1998 apt was a revolution, so it is not too surprising dpkg's profile
is not as prominent as then. If you want a flavour of the times, install
and use dselect.
John Hasler
2013-01-22 19:10:57 UTC
Permalink
If you want a flavour of the times, install and use dselect.
Please don't do that to the poor guy.
--
John Hasler
Richard Owlett
2013-01-22 19:35:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Hasler
If you want a flavour of the times, install and use dselect.
Please don't do that to the poor guy.
I've used 026's, paper tape, acoustic couplers, magnetic
drums. We oldsters are made of tough stuff.
P.S. I've just installed it ;)
Ralf Mardorf
2013-01-22 19:51:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Hasler
If you want a flavour of the times, install and use dselect.
Please don't do that to the poor guy.
I've used 026's, paper tape, acoustic couplers, magnetic drums. We
oldsters are made of tough stuff.
P.S. I've just installed it ;)
Seriously: I like the GUI synaptic. On command line I use apt and dpkg.
There's also aptitude, but I seldom used it.

A joke: If you're really tough, as desktop environment use
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unity_(user_interface). I guess it's not
available for Debian yet. Unity is a PITA.
John Hasler
2013-01-22 21:47:38 UTC
Permalink
I've used 026's, paper tape, acoustic couplers, magnetic drums.
So have I.
We oldsters are made of tough stuff
True.
P.S. I've just installed it ;)
Well, there are people who claim to actually like it. Don't say you
weren't warned, though.
--
John Hasler
Morel Bérenger
2013-01-23 16:13:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Hasler
I've used 026's, paper tape, acoustic couplers, magnetic drums.
So have I.
We oldsters are made of tough stuff
True.
P.S. I've just installed it ;)
Well, there are people who claim to actually like it. Don't say you
weren't warned, though. --
John Hasler
I must admit that I never played with so old stuff, but being less than 30
allows to have played with some funny cli tools. Do not underestimate
young people born in 80s ;)

Maybe dselect is faster than aptitude... sometimes aptitude's "speed"
bother me.
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Chris Bannister
2013-01-25 12:33:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by Chris Bannister
Post by Richard Owlett
At the end-user level I think Debian has a logical flaw.
You are assuming all end-users are equal.
No. I was contrasting the generic end user such as myself to the
Debian developers.
The groups differ needs, desires, expertise and MOST IMPORTANTLY
_RESPONSIBILITIES_.
An end user takes responsibility for his own actions (not all of
them realize that) and his errors generally will affect only
himself.
A developer has a social contract
Yeah, have you read:
http://www.debian.org/./social_contract
--
"If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people
who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the
oppressing." --- Malcolm X
Helmut Wollmersdorfer
2013-01-23 09:05:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by Richard Owlett
At the end-user level I think Debian has a logical flaw.
It presumes that all software is always available in a repository
(be it FOSS/proprietary, trusted/untrusted, whatever distinction).
Yesterday I found a program (in beta) whose functional writeup was
interesting. In the latest revision a deb package was added to the
previously available formats. I downloaded the package with my
Windows machine (it was available at the instant). I now have a deb
package on a flash drive which Debian can read but has no built-in
convenient method to install.
The usual way to install if a .deb is available on a third party
repository--here a package not available in Squeeze:

# get new source
wget http://ftp.de.debian.org/debian/pool/main/p/postfixadmin/postfixadmin_2.3.5-2_all.deb

# install
dpkg -i postfixadmin_2.3.5-2_all.deb

IMHO in a graphical desktop environment like Gnome2 it is also
possible to double click on yourpacke.deb in the file browser but I
like the console more for such activities.

Helmut Wollmersdorfer
Dennis Clarke
2013-01-22 00:45:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joe
Post by Dennis Clarke
I should note that when I tried to use a sun disk lable or a BSD disk
label to get 8 partitions ( which is wrong, sun has 16 partitions but
Debian or fdisk/parted can't do it .. weird ) I ended up with a
unbootable system everytime. Set a partition bootable got me no
where.
No, it wouldn't, Linux has never made use of this flag.
oh .. well that would do it :-\
Post by Joe
Post by Dennis Clarke
Had to resort to DOS style partition table.
If you have a need for a different partition system, that marks you as
a fairly unusual user.
possibly even bizarre ! ;-)

Seriously, I come from a long history with Sun hardware and before
that, every other damn thing. Even IBM 3090 mainframes etc etc.
Post by Joe
Presumably you are multi-booting with something
a bit exotic.
Not at all .. just normal regular boot and run.
Post by Joe
I've never used anything but a DOS (actually IBM, 'why
would anyone ever want more than four operating systems on their
mainframe?') partition system, but I've never needed compatibility with
anything but Windows, nor more than 16 partitions, and I've never moved
on from fdisk.
I think parted is as fancy as I get. the gnu parted gui can be nice if one
needs to have others looking over your shoulder.
Post by Joe
Post by Dennis Clarke
Then wireless setup on the pefectly supported ath9k driver was a
nightmare for a day.
Wireless can be entertaining, though a lot less so than it used to
be. Even the Network Manager seems to more or less work these days.
The real bonkers bit for me is that wpa_supplicant throws an error message
at boot, every time, yet I still get dhcp working and here I am .. with wlan0
working just fine. No clue what black magic voodoo goes on there.
Post by Joe
Post by Dennis Clarke
Finally up and running yesterday on wheezy on this laptop and with
minimal packages.
I would say that the process is still very very far out of reach of
the average user and Linux won't be getting into the mainstream any
time soon. This is what is a major blockage to getting linux into an
office. Users have no clue if it isn't windows and usualy, no clue
even if it is.
Well, to be honest, most Linux users don't care too much about that.
Yep. Nor do I.
Post by Joe
Linux is where it is without ever having needed widespread desktop use,
it's not likely to wither away now if it doesn't get there. Widespread
use would result in better driver access, but it would also result in
the same kind of malware nightmare that afflicts Windows.
Strictly a philosophy point, but I don't know about that. I would think
that the nature of the Linux kernel would protect users from malware
quite neatly. Also the basic security model of UNIX/Linux protects the
system from one user running riot through /usr and wrecking the
system. An ordinary user can not just delete executables and even
a malicious user can't run riot with memory usage .. I tested that
with a nasty malloc loop and sure enough, the OOM steps in a kills
the process when swap runs out :

Jan 21 00:28:25 mars kernel: [35736.905848] maxalloc invoked oom-killer: gfp_mask=0x280da, order=0, oom_adj=0, oom_score_adj=0
Jan 21 00:28:25 mars kernel: [35736.905860] maxalloc cpuset=/ mems_allowed=0
Jan 21 00:28:25 mars kernel: [35736.905869] Pid: 7160, comm: maxalloc Tainted: G C O 3.2.0-4-amd64 #1 Debian 3.2.35-2
Jan 21 00:28:25 mars kernel: [35736.905874] Call Trace:
Jan 21 00:28:25 mars kernel: [35736.905889] [<ffffffff810b693e>] ? dump_header+0x78/0x1bd
Jan 21 00:28:25 mars kernel: [35736.905899] [<ffffffff81097702>] ? delayacct_end+0x72/0x7d
Jan 21 00:28:25 mars kernel: [35736.905908] [<ffffffff81163aa2>] ? security_real_capable_noaudit+0x40/0x4f
Jan 21 00:28:25 mars kernel: [35736.905915] [<ffffffff810b6d07>] ? oom_kill_process+0x49/0x271
Jan 21 00:28:25 mars kernel: [35736.905922] [<ffffffff810b7402>] ? out_of_memory+0x2ea/0x337
Jan 21 00:28:25 mars kernel: [35736.905930] [<ffffffff810bb068>] ? __alloc_pages_nodemask+0x629/0x7aa
Jan 21 00:28:25 mars kernel: [35736.905940] [<ffffffff8134bd27>] ? _cond_resched+0x7/0x1c
Jan 21 00:28:25 mars kernel: [35736.905949] [<ffffffff810e59f0>] ? alloc_pages_vma+0x12d/0x136
Jan 21 00:28:25 mars kernel: [35736.905957] [<ffffffff810d05ed>] ? handle_pte_fault+0x165/0x79f
Jan 21 00:28:25 mars kernel: [35736.905965] [<ffffffff810cdcd1>] ? pte_offset_kernel+0x16/0x35
Jan 21 00:28:25 mars kernel: [35736.905973] [<ffffffff8134fffd>] ? do_page_fault+0x312/0x337
Jan 21 00:28:25 mars kernel: [35736.905980] [<ffffffff8134d5f5>] ? page_fault+0x25/0x30
Jan 21 00:28:25 mars kernel: [35736.905985] Mem-Info:
Jan 21 00:28:25 mars kernel: [35736.905989] Node 0 DMA per-cpu:
Jan 21 00:28:25 mars kernel: [35736.905995] CPU 0: hi: 0, btch: 1 usd: 0
Jan 21 00:28:25 mars kernel: [35736.905999] CPU 1: hi: 0, btch: 1 usd: 0
Jan 21 00:28:25 mars kernel: [35736.906003] Node 0 DMA32 per-cpu:
Jan 21 00:28:25 mars kernel: [35736.906009] CPU 0: hi: 186, btch: 31 usd: 0
Jan 21 00:28:25 mars kernel: [35736.906013] CPU 1: hi: 186, btch: 31 usd: 0
Jan 21 00:28:25 mars kernel: [35736.906017] Node 0 Normal per-cpu:
Jan 21 00:28:25 mars kernel: [35736.906037] active_anon:1135388 inactive_anon:247310 isolated_anon:0
Jan 21 00:28:25 mars kernel: [35736.906040] active_file:20 inactive_file:42 isolated_file:0
Jan 21 00:28:25 mars kernel: [35736.906042] unevictable:0 dirty:0 writeback:0 unstable:0
Jan 21 00:28:25 mars kernel: [35736.906045] free:22961 slab_reclaimable:2610 slab_unreclaimable:4947
Jan 21 00:28:25 mars kernel: [35736.906048] mapped:1122 shmem:1116 pagetables:8054 bounce:0
Jan 21 00:28:25 mars kernel: [35736.906053] Node 0 DMA free:15912kB min:180kB low:224kB high:268kB active_anon:0kB inactive_anon:0kB active_file:0kB inactive_file:0kB unevictable:0kB isolated(anon):0kB isolated(file):0kB present:15688kB mlocked:0kB dirty:0kB writeback:0kB mapped:0kB shmem:0kB slab_reclaimable:0kB slab_unreclaimable:0kB kernel_stack:0kB pagetables:0kB unstable:0kB bounce:0kB writeback_tmp:0kB pages_scanned:0 all_unreclaimable? yes
Jan 21 00:28:25 mars kernel: [35736.906076] lowmem_reserve[]: 0 3507 5637 5637
Jan 21 00:28:25 mars kernel: [35736.906084] Node 0 DMA32 free:50456kB min:41928kB low:52408kB high:62892kB active_anon:2925096kB inactive_anon:585028kB active_file:12kB inactive_file:8kB unevictable:0kB isolated(anon):0kB isolated(file):0kB present:3591684kB mlocked:0kB dirty:0kB writeback:0kB mapped:924kB shmem:916kB slab_reclaimable:1904kB slab_unreclaimable:1936kB kernel_stack:144kB pagetables:11904kB unstable:0kB bounce:0kB writeback_tmp:0kB pages_scanned:2648 all_unreclaimable? yes
Jan 21 00:28:25 mars kernel: [35736.906108] lowmem_reserve[]: 0 0 2130 2130
Jan 21 00:28:25 mars kernel: [35736.906115] Node 0 Normal free:25476kB min:25468kB low:31832kB high:38200kB active_anon:1616456kB inactive_anon:404212kB active_file:68kB inactive_file:160kB unevictable:0kB isolated(anon):0kB isolated(file):0kB present:2181600kB mlocked:0kB dirty:0kB writeback:0kB mapped:3564kB shmem:3548kB slab_reclaimable:8536kB slab_unreclaimable:17852kB kernel_stack:1848kB pagetables:20312kB unstable:0kB bounce:0kB writeback_tmp:0kB pages_scanned:352 all_unreclaimable? yes
.
.
.

etc etc

There is now even a cool feature :

if ( mallopt( M_CHECK_ACTION, mallop ) != 1 ) {
fprintf( stderr, "FAIL : %s at line %i : mallopt() failed\n",
argv[0], __LINE__ );
exit( EXIT_FAILURE );
}
printf ( " NOTE : M_CHECK_ACTION set to %i\n", mallop );

When did mallopt arrive on the scen ? Don't know but it sure can give great data
on the bad stuff users and software may do.

If you wnt the source it is at the bottom of this email.

So I would disagree and say that widespread usage of Linux would not suffer the
same fate as Windows in terms of endless malware and virus's.


most likely a very different fate.

It would end up on cell phones everywhere as something called Android.
Post by Joe
There are too
many home and business users who are just too important to use
unprivileged accounts, or to be bothered elevating privilege on just
the few occasions when it is necessary. This is changing, but very
slowly. I help out a bit on an MS technical forum, and some people need
beating with sticks to persuade them that running as root is a bad idea.
Personally I want to invent the taser keyboard. A simple command from the
sysadmin and the user gets an education.
Post by Joe
And as always, it's worth remembering that few people ever install
Windows.
OKay .. never thought of that.
Post by Joe
I've only done it twice in the last five or six years. It's
generally pretty difficult and unrewarding to install Windows on a PC
that isn't very recent, and if it is recent, the latest Windows will be
there already.
I did buy Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit ( because why not? ) and then tried
to run it in VMware. What a pig.
Post by Joe
It would be reasonable to expect hypothetical Linux
business computers to be sold with Linux already installed, and tailored
to the machine.
I think these are called Samsung Galaxy cell phones. :-)
Post by Joe
The sticking point is that LibreOffice is never going
to match the slickness of office software developed over more than
twenty years, and there's still nothing Open Source that comes close to
Access.
Well, I have managed to get along well in life without ever creating a Word document after
MS Office 97. I generally look at spreadsheets with disdain and try to figure out what the
hell is so cool about them. USers are forever getting in and changing a spreadsheet
in one department that another department needs and then borking it up.

Thus is what business software is supposed to do ... isn't it?

The average business user today is too young to recall when software ran on some
big iron in the back and you could not simply mess with it.
Post by Joe
OK, I've had plenty of Linux installation problems, mostly concerning
sound, but life is a lot easier now.
My Creative live cards sits unused. Sadly. Never could figure that out.
Post by Joe
It's still never possible to
predict what may cause trouble. If you're not familiar with it, Knoppix
is a Debian-based live Linux which has always had amazing hardware
detection and drivers, and it is often worth booting the latest Knoppix
to see how it deals with a 'difficult' piece of hardware.
Used it many times.
Post by Joe
Live CDs/USBs
are mostly also installable, and this is a fairly painless way of
installing something after you already know it drives your hardware.
This is how I managed to install wheezy. I created a live usb stick.
Post by Joe
Knoppix is not a good candidate for this, as it isn't maintainable, but
there's a live Debian if you're not too keen on Ubuntu, and plenty of
other choices. I've done this a couple of times, and haven't needed any
manual surgery on the target hard drive. Back to the unusual partition
tables...
Well, I have seen plenty of partition tables and to me it is just a simple
list of thing number foo and cylinder x to cylinder y. How damn hard
is that ? Trivial really. Unless the hardware is on fancy fibre arrays
with many many disks and Brocades etc but generally we use management
software for those. A single SAS disk or hardware mirror should just be
able to deal with any partition table that is well known and then the
BIOS/firmware needs the brains to look at it and ask :

Is there a partition table I recognize on the defined boot disk ?

Yes.

Is there a bootable partition in the list ?

Yes.

So load in the boot record off the damn cylinder listed first and then exec it !

I think this is what GRUB is all about .. but .. I'm guessing. It has been years
since I looked at the source code to GRUB2.

dc
Ralf Mardorf
2013-01-22 01:10:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dennis Clarke
Post by Joe
Wireless can be entertaining, though a lot less so than it used to
be. Even the Network Manager seems to more or less work these days.
The real bonkers bit for me is that wpa_supplicant throws an error message
at boot, every time, yet I still get dhcp working and here I am .. with wlan0
working just fine. No clue what black magic voodoo goes on there.
Linux is connected by PPPoE, ad hoc using a WiFi USB stick for me
doesn't work, resp. it might work from time to time for around 1 second.
I need it to use an iPad I won. Currently I've XP installed to VBox to
sync the iPad, but a jailbreak seems to be useless without an Internet
connection.
Dennis Clarke
2013-01-22 01:29:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ralf Mardorf
Post by Dennis Clarke
The real bonkers bit for me is that wpa_supplicant throws an error message
at boot, every time, yet I still get dhcp working and here I am .. with wlan0
working just fine. No clue what black magic voodoo goes on there.
Linux is connected by PPPoE, ad hoc using a WiFi USB stick for me
doesn't work, resp. it might work from time to time for around 1 second.
I need it to use an iPad I won. Currently I've XP installed to VBox to
sync the iPad, but a jailbreak seems to be useless without an Internet
connection.
What does lsusb report ?

just for giggles I plugged in an old cisco/linksys ub wireless dongle and I
see this :

Bus 001 Device 006: ID 1737:0071 Linksys WUSB600N v1 Dual-Band Wireless-N Network Adapter [Ralink RT2870]

So that is a Ralink RT2870 which is well supported :

mars $ lsmod | grep rt2
rt2800usb 17753 0
rt2x00usb 17725 1 rt2800usb
rt2800lib 43755 1 rt2800usb
rt2x00lib 38382 3 rt2800lib,rt2x00usb,rt2800usb
crc_ccitt 12347 1 rt2800lib
mac80211 192806 4 rt2x00lib,rt2800lib,rt2x00usb,ath9k
cfg80211 137243 4 rt2x00lib,mac80211,ath,ath9k
usbcore 128681 9 ehci_hcd,ohci_hcd,usb_storage,rt2x00usb,rt2800usb,usbhid,uvcvideo,rts5139

ifconfig confirms that the MAC address printed on the back of the dongle is in play now
and all seems well :

wlan1 Link encap:Ethernet HWaddr 00:1e:e5:e4:10:73
BROADCAST MULTICAST MTU:1500 Metric:1
RX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
TX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000
RX bytes:0 (0.0 B) TX bytes:0 (0.0 B)

I guess the quation is .. what is the MAC address of the usb dongle you have there and what is the chip in it? Hopefully something well supported.

dc
Andrei POPESCU
2013-01-22 09:55:53 UTC
Permalink
[Please respect Reply-To]
Post by Dennis Clarke
Well, I have managed to get along well in life without ever creating a Word document after
MS Office 97. I generally look at spreadsheets with disdain and try to figure out what the
hell is so cool about them.
It's a table of numbers that you can then perform calculations on,
presuming you have a calculator[1].
Post by Dennis Clarke
USers are forever getting in and changing a spreadsheet
in one department that another department needs and then borking it up.
Bah, my own colleagues are overwriting formulas with values and then
wonder why the sheet doesn't work anymore.

[1] this is only half joke, I've actually seen it several times.

Kind regards,
Andrei
--
Offtopic discussions among Debian users and developers:
http://lists.alioth.debian.org/mailman/listinfo/d-community-offtopic
Chris Bannister
2013-01-22 02:50:19 UTC
Permalink
On Mon, Jan 21, 2013 at 09:29:46PM +0000, Joe wrote:

[...]
Post by Joe
and there's still nothing Open Source that comes close to
Access.
Which is good to know.
--
"If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people
who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the
oppressing." --- Malcolm X
Andrei POPESCU
2013-01-22 10:04:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by Chris Bannister
[...]
Post by Joe
and there's still nothing Open Source that comes close to
Access.
Which is good to know.
Assuming one has the time and knowledge it is possible to use Access for
some smaller tasks that, if implemented "properly" would cost many
thousands of $hard_currency in feasibility studies, consulting,
commissioning, deployment, support infrastructure, etc. just to get a
buggy proprietary solution, designed by people who will never use it and
nobody (including IT support) knows how to fix if it doesn't work.

IMNSHO a FLOSS Access replacement would be quite welcome (I haven't
looked at Libreoffice Base in a looong time).

Kind regards,
Andrei
--
Offtopic discussions among Debian users and developers:
http://lists.alioth.debian.org/mailman/listinfo/d-community-offtopic
Chris Bannister
2013-01-22 10:33:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrei POPESCU
Post by Chris Bannister
[...]
Post by Joe
and there's still nothing Open Source that comes close to
Access.
Which is good to know.
[...]
Post by Andrei POPESCU
IMNSHO a FLOSS Access replacement would be quite welcome (I haven't
looked at Libreoffice Base in a looong time).
Not easy to find (cause Access is a rather silly name), but:

***@tal:~# apt-cache search Microsoft | grep Access
mdbtools-gmdb - JET / MS Access database (MDB) file viewer
--
"If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people
who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the
oppressing." --- Malcolm X
Joe
2013-01-22 12:08:40 UTC
Permalink
On Tue, 22 Jan 2013 23:33:50 +1300
Post by Chris Bannister
Post by Andrei POPESCU
Post by Chris Bannister
[...]
Post by Joe
and there's still nothing Open Source that comes close to
Access.
Which is good to know.
[...]
Post by Andrei POPESCU
IMNSHO a FLOSS Access replacement would be quite welcome (I haven't
looked at Libreoffice Base in a looong time).
Not even close yet. I do play with it from time to time, but it has a
long way to go, though it is certainly under development. The data
storage and retrieval bit is only a minor part of Access.
Post by Chris Bannister
mdbtools-gmdb - JET / MS Access database (MDB) file viewer
Data storage is not the issue, and no serious Access application uses
Access to store the data. An MDB data file is safe enough for a local
single user, but it's no use multi-user and risky over even a wired
network. I'd assume Sqlite has the same issues, for exactly the same
reasons. All SQL database engines have been able to import from MDB
pretty much forever, and MySQL has been a common Access back-end for
many years.

Access is primarily a database-aware visual RAD system, dangerous in the
hands of idiots, but then not much isn't. You can throw together a three
or four table application in a few minutes, without a line of code or
building an MVC model, which would be massive overkill. At the moment,
I'd still prefer to write PHP/Perl/whatever than use LibreOffice Base,
and I'm hoping that will change. For a major project, PHP-Cake or
RubyOnRails are the way to go, but they are hard work for small jobs.
--
Joe
Dave Thayer
2013-01-23 03:18:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrei POPESCU
Post by Chris Bannister
[...]
Post by Joe
and there's still nothing Open Source that comes close to
Access.
Which is good to know.
Assuming one has the time and knowledge it is possible to use Access for
some smaller tasks that, if implemented "properly" would cost many
thousands of $hard_currency in feasibility studies, consulting,
commissioning, deployment, support infrastructure, etc. just to get a
buggy proprietary solution, designed by people who will never use it and
nobody (including IT support) knows how to fix if it doesn't work.
IMNSHO a FLOSS Access replacement would be quite welcome (I haven't
looked at Libreoffice Base in a looong time).
You might want to have a look at the Dabo framework
<http://dabodev.com/>. Written in python by some ex-foxpro devs with
data-oriented RAD in mind.

dt
--
Dave Thayer | Whenever you read a good book, it's like the
Denver, Colorado USA | author is right there, in the room talking to
***@thayer-boyle.com | you, which is why I don't like to read
| good books. - Jack Handey "Deep Thoughts"
Joe
2013-01-23 09:18:54 UTC
Permalink
On Tue, 22 Jan 2013 20:18:35 -0700
Post by Dave Thayer
You might want to have a look at the Dabo framework
<http://dabodev.com/>. Written in python by some ex-foxpro devs with
data-oriented RAD in mind.
Thanks, this does look interesting, and shows how many holes there might
be in Google, I've never heard of this. It isn't exactly new, but has
never turned up in a search, nor in places like this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_graphical_user_interface_builders_and_rapid_application_development_tools

which as far as I can see, is a pretty comprehensive list. I've played
with Lazarus, Kexi, CakePHP, RubyOnRails, OOo/LO Base and a couple of
others and I used to use Delphi 3 about fifteen years ago and had high
hopes for Kylix.

I'm not a database professional, or even a computer professional, I
just started doing a few jobs in Access in 1996 and discovered how much
more you can do with a proper database than with the spreadsheets that
most people use instead. I have dozens of little databases of various
vintages, and a couple of real beasts for time tracking and accounts
that I'd like to get out of Access, but without spending six months
doing it.
--
Joe
Brad Alexander
2013-01-21 16:15:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by Anthony Campbell
[snip]
Post by b***@neutralite.org
If you uncheck them all, as I usually do, you start with a system
with almost nothing. Even "less" is not present in such an
installation :D
I keep a list of all the packages I normally use and then get the same
ones when I install on a new computer. (Obviously this doesn't work for
your very first install.)
I run a script nightly to capture the package list, debconf database,
disk information (df, df -h, and fdisk -l), and autoinstalled packages
list for every host in my network.

What this allows me to do is have a pool of generic hosts (firewall,
web server, wiki, etc) to choose from, then when I build a new box, I
do a base build, then copy the most appropriate package list, and do

dpkg --get-selections < package.list
apt-get dselect-upgrade

Then I can customize the new machine. The other thing is that I run
puppet, and have a module called essentialpkgs that makes sure that
certain essentials are on the box.
Post by Anthony Campbell
[snip]
Post by b***@neutralite.org
For a normal usage, testing is better, even if the project claims it
is not for production environment. More recent kernels and drivers
which means more supported hardware, and updated web browsers are
some obvious interesting points here. They are simply the most
obvious.
[snip]
I'd say you are generally better off using Sid. The name "Unstable"
unfortunately gives the impression that it is unsafe, but this is
misleading. A quick search for "debian unstable vs testing" will produce
plenty of discussion, mostly favouring Sid. See for example
http://www.debian.org/doc/manuals/debian-faq/ch-choosing.en.html and
http://raphaelhertzog.com/2010/12/20/5-reasons-why-debian-unstable-does-not-deserve-its-name/
I generally run sid/unstable, unless there is a reason not to. I have
a few boxes that are testing or stable, but they are appliances (my
Proxmox-VE machines, for example). But the vast majority of my network
runs sid, and has for years. I have only had rare issues, for
instance, during an ABI change or something major. To combat that, I
do staged upgrades. For instance, I will test upgrades on my own
workstation (on the premise that I can fix it easier than my users),
and I also run apt-listchanges and apt-listbugs, and look for
show-stopper changes.

--b
Andrei POPESCU
2013-01-21 22:01:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by Brad Alexander
I run a script nightly to capture the package list, debconf database,
disk information (df, df -h, and fdisk -l), and autoinstalled packages
list for every host in my network.
What this allows me to do is have a pool of generic hosts (firewall,
web server, wiki, etc) to choose from, then when I build a new box, I
do a base build, then copy the most appropriate package list, and do
dpkg --get-selections < package.list
apt-get dselect-upgrade
You might be interested in apt-clone ;)

Kind regards,
Andrei
--
Offtopic discussions among Debian users and developers:
http://lists.alioth.debian.org/mailman/listinfo/d-community-offtopic
Dennis Clarke
2013-01-21 19:24:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by Anthony Campbell
[snip]
Post by b***@neutralite.org
For a normal usage, testing is better, even if the project claims it
is not for production environment. More recent kernels and drivers
which means more supported hardware, and updated web browsers are
some obvious interesting points here. They are simply the most
obvious.
Merely a voice from out in the user land here, but felt I could chime in. Personally
I want a system to work and do not need the latest version of everything or
anything. The vendor shipped OS should "just work" and pulling in an update
should never cause the system to become unbootable or unstable etc. As a
philosophy this works well because it then allows me to build my own binaries
into /usr/local if I choose. I think, and this is a WAG ( Wild As* Guess ), there is
a defacto undocumented standard in the linux world which seems to say that
stuff in /usr/local is just local to that given system and never touched by a
package update. This is in violation of the much older SVR4 and XPG4/POSIX
world ways that state you must place software into /opt/vendor/packagename
with conf data in /etc/opt/vendor and var data in /var/opt/vendorname. The
linux world seems to be a wild west where you can drop binaries into the /usr
file tree. Sure, under /usr/local but still they are referenced BY DEFAULT in the
PATH env var of users .bashrc and .profile etc. This is just insane as I see it
but such is life. Expose users to uncontrolled changes? Bizarre.

So I generally run RHEL 6 on anything important to me, like my personal workstations
and some servers. I run Debian stable on some edge servers with custom builds
of Apache, mod_ssl, libcurl and PHP etc etc. Lastly I do venture into the "testing"
space on one laptop. Never further out than "Wheezy" ever and this is only
because I expect things to work from one boot to another.

Just a comment, setting up wireless networking with WPA2 auth seems to be a
bit of a wild west still and it took a day of fussing to get it to work. Sad but true.

Dennis
Andrei POPESCU
2013-01-21 22:06:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dennis Clarke
I think, and this is a WAG ( Wild As* Guess ), there is
a defacto undocumented standard in the linux world which seems to say that
stuff in /usr/local is just local to that given system and never
touched by a package update.
I'd say it's quite well documented, see 'man hier'.

Kind regards,
Andrei
--
Offtopic discussions among Debian users and developers:
http://lists.alioth.debian.org/mailman/listinfo/d-community-offtopic
Dennis Clarke
2013-01-22 00:15:05 UTC
Permalink
----- Original Message -----
From: Andrei POPESCU <***@gmail.com>
Date: Monday, January 21, 2013 5:07 pm
Subject: Re: What are some common problems when using Debian GNU / LINUX?
Post by Dennis Clarke
Post by Dennis Clarke
I think, and this is a WAG ( Wild As* Guess ), there is
a defacto undocumented standard in the linux world which seems to
say that
Post by Dennis Clarke
stuff in /usr/local is just local to that given system and never
touched by a package update.
I'd say it's quite well documented, see 'man hier'.
well, yes, it is in a man page but not really a ratified standard or anything of
that sort. One can create a man page for anything but, I see your point.

dc
Andrei POPESCU
2013-01-22 10:07:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dennis Clarke
Post by Andrei POPESCU
I'd say it's quite well documented, see 'man hier'.
well, yes, it is in a man page but not really a ratified standard or anything of
that sort. One can create a man page for anything but, I see your point.
I'm not so sure you do (but my reference wasn't the best either):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filesystem_Hierarchy_Standard
http://www.pathname.com/fhs/

Kind regards,
Andrei
--
Offtopic discussions among Debian users and developers:
http://lists.alioth.debian.org/mailman/listinfo/d-community-offtopic
Joe
2013-01-21 22:43:01 UTC
Permalink
On Mon, 21 Jan 2013 14:24:10 -0500
Post by Dennis Clarke
Post by Anthony Campbell
[snip]
Post by b***@neutralite.org
For a normal usage, testing is better, even if the project claims
it is not for production environment. More recent kernels and
drivers which means more supported hardware, and updated web
browsers are some obvious interesting points here. They are
simply the most obvious.
Merely a voice from out in the user land here, but felt I could chime
in. Personally I want a system to work and do not need the latest
version of everything or anything. The vendor shipped OS should "just
work" and pulling in an update should never cause the system to
become unbootable or unstable etc. As a philosophy this works well
because it then allows me to build my own binaries into /usr/local if
I choose. I think, and this is a WAG ( Wild As* Guess ), there is a
defacto undocumented standard in the linux world which seems to say
that stuff in /usr/local is just local to that given system and never
touched by a package update. This is in violation of the much older
SVR4 and XPG4/POSIX world ways that state you must place software
into /opt/vendor/packagename with conf data in /etc/opt/vendor and
var data in /var/opt/vendorname. The linux world seems to be a wild
west where you can drop binaries into the /usr file tree. Sure,
under /usr/local but still they are referenced BY DEFAULT in the PATH
env var of users .bashrc and .profile etc. This is just insane as I
see it but such is life. Expose users to uncontrolled changes?
Bizarre.
I think we're talking about different types of user here, pretty much
congruent with business and private. A business user needs solid
hardware and software and doesn't mind if it's a few years old, which
is just as well as it gets replaced when the company accountant says so.
If the software works, then it works from day one and will never need
replacing or fixing other than for security reasons. That's what Debian
Stable is for, along with servers, which have much the same kind of
requirements and constraints.

Now look at the private computer user, who will often replace hardware
because the latest game won't work on anything more than six months
old. He (usually he) will buy a new PC every year or two, and will find
he needs the latest drivers to use the hardware in it, and the latest
applications to make use of the extra features of the new hardware. He
doesn't need Debian Stable, he needs the very latest, so Unstable, or
Testing if he's a coward. Before the freeze, Testing isn't far behind
Unstable, it's just (normally) free of the most broken of the new bits.
Even then, he may want to compile a kernel, as even Unstable lags a bit
there.

There's a bit of crossover: I want a simple computer, that doesn't need
to support the latest games, that doesn't need a graphics card costing
as much as the rest of the PC, that doesn't in fact cost much at all,
but at the same time I want the latest versions of a few pieces of
software, such as gEDA PCB. This type of serious software is still
under heavy development, and each version really does have new features
which are useful and not just cosmetic. So I run Unstable. I also use a
netbook and a laptop, and it's a pain when a file created by one
version of software doesn't work with a different version, so I run
Unstable on them as well. I have a server (running Stable) where all
the data lives, so the PCs are expendable and can be reinstalled at
minimum effort if required (twice in about eight years so far). I also
do not update all at the same time, so at most an update will break
only one of them. Unless it's a fundamental system problem, such as I
once had with Perl, reversion to the previous version for a while will
sort things out.
Post by Dennis Clarke
So I generally run RHEL 6 on anything important to me, like my
personal workstations and some servers. I run Debian stable on some
edge servers with custom builds of Apache, mod_ssl, libcurl and PHP
etc etc. Lastly I do venture into the "testing" space on one
laptop. Never further out than "Wheezy" ever and this is only
because I expect things to work from one boot to another.
Indeed, horses for courses. If it's booting you're most worried about,
beware of Grub2. That's given me more trouble than all other system
software combined. Tip: don't use a separate /boot partition, the
developers sometimes forget that a few people do that. About three
times so far.
Post by Dennis Clarke
Just a comment, setting up wireless networking with WPA2 auth seems
to be a bit of a wild west still and it took a day of fussing to get
it to work. Sad but true.
Want to try a RADIUS server? There's a good example, on Lenny I had to
compile it myself, as licence issues stopped Debian from including SSL
support. That was fixed by the time Squeeze appeared, and FreeRADIUS
with SSL is now a trivial installation. Configuration is another
matter... You might want to try Network Manager, which is a bit
intrusive, but seems to handle WPA2 (Personal *and* RADIUS EAP-TLS) and
OpenVPN, and wireless, and 3G dongles, and nowadays appears to work. My
RADIUS troubles were actually due to the WAP, Cisco-badged, but of
course not really underneath. Most (maybe all) router firmware is utter
rubbish...
--
Joe
Ralf Mardorf
2013-01-20 00:36:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by v***@yahoo.com
Please provide some examples of common problems when using Debian GNU /
LINUX....so that I may more effectively gain a better handle on the
trouble-shooting process.
For "averaged" usage there aren't "common" problems. What ever "averaged"
and "common" are for. At the moment Debian isn't a distro I use myself,
because there are issues regarding to my needs.

What hardware do you use and for what usage do you need your computer?

Drivers for hardware could cause trouble. For some domains there aren't
professional apps available, e.g. non-linear video editing. If you buy new
hardware, take care that it's supported by Linux. If you need some special
software for professional usage, check if there are such apps available
for Linux.

With Linux you can tweak you system very good, you can unbind devices, you
can set priorities (nice values, or completely different real-time
priority, e.g. for CNC or pro-audio) etc. pp..

The advantage of packages that provide binaries is, that you don't need
days to compile the software, the disadvantage is, that you are dependent
to upstream, resp. the package maintainers. Not entirely true, since you
still can compile apps when using most apps by packages, sometimes issues
already can be solved by building dummy packages, to fake a dependency.

A common problem for any computer and any OS is, that if you have special
needs, you need to tweak your computer/OS.

What's your workflow, what are your gifts, what are your weak points.

IMO it's easier to use Arch's package management and to build Arch
packages, than to use Debian's package management and to build Debian
packages. Another user from this list might claim, the most easiest is to
use the package management from Suse or Redhead or Foo Bar.

It all depends to your skills, needs and hardware.

Regards,
Ralf
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