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Why Debian?

Don't know what exactly Debian is and why it is supposed to be good? Once uppon a time, I was where you are now.
No reason to feel bad, unfortunately Linux in general and Debian in specific does a poor job at marketing. Being good and telling nobody about it will leave a lot of people in the dark about your real skills.

This is not much different in Distros and technology.

To illustrate, lets consider two users, Jim and Bob.

Bob uses a RPM package based distro of Linux. He is not unexperienced, knows how to install software and how to search for it on the web.

Jim uses Debian, which he has just discovered. He does not know that much about installing software and finding it on the web as Bob.

Lets watch Bob as he installs vlc, also called SuperVideo client, an application to play videos that eats pretty much all the formats there are. If you have ever had a codec installfest (there are only about 12 of them) on Windows and constantly missing one, you know the advantage of all-codecs-included.
(SuperVideo client is just a fictional name)

Watch the steps that Bob needs to get his SuperVideo client.

  1. Open your favorite browser, go to superVideos website.
  2. Check out which RPMs best fit your distro and download them, they can be quite numerous.
  3. Bob starts installing them, but soon finds nasty "dependency unmet" messages, telling him that he also needs LibShStaskM.4.2-5.3.2 without which SuperVideo cannot be installed.
  4. Bob starts hunting the web for the library and finds one, but not directly for his version of distro. He downloads it anyway and finds it asking for even 2 more libraries, that also need to be installed.
  5. Installing them he finds that one actually conflicts with a package that he has installed already and that is part of his distro. He finds himself in a dead end.
Elapsed time: 23 minutes

Let's watch Jim do it:

  1. Jim just enters: apt-get update and then apt-get install SuperVideo
  2. Jim gets asked if he wants to install it, that it will download xz bytes and that SuperVideo will also need xzy and yyz library, which will also be automatically installed.


Unua:/home/probrowny# apt-get install gparted
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree... Done
The following extra packages will be installed:
  libglibmm-2.4-1c2a libgtkmm-2.4-1c2a libparted1.7-1
Suggested packages:
  parted nparted libparted1.7-dev libparted1.7-i18n
The following NEW packages will be installed
  gparted libglibmm-2.4-1c2a libgtkmm-2.4-1c2a libparted1.7-1
0 upgraded, 4 newly installed, 0 to remove and 3 not upgraded.
Need to get 1723kB of archives.
After unpacking 5992kB of additional disk space will be used.
Do you want to continue [Y/n]?
Get: 1 etch/main libglibmm-2.4-1c2a 2.12.0-1 [133kB]
Get: 2 etch/main libgtkmm-2.4-1c2a 1:2.8.8-1 [940kB]
Get: 3 etch/main libparted1.7-1 1.7.1-3 [198kB]
Get: 4 etch/main gparted 0.2.5-2 [453kB]
Fetched 1723kB in 4s (371kB/s)
Selecting previously deselected package libglibmm-2.4-1c2a.
(Reading database ... 156189 files and directories currently installed.)
Unpacking libglibmm-2.4-1c2a (from .../libglibmm-2.4-1c2a_2.12.0-1_i386.deb) ...
Selecting previously deselected package libgtkmm-2.4-1c2a.
Unpacking libgtkmm-2.4-1c2a (from .../libgtkmm-2.4-1c2a_1%3a2.8.8-1_i386.deb) ...
Selecting previously deselected package libparted1.7-1.
Unpacking libparted1.7-1 (from .../libparted1.7-1_1.7.1-3_i386.deb) ...
Selecting previously deselected package gparted.
Unpacking gparted (from .../gparted_0.2.5-2_i386.deb) ...
Setting up libglibmm-2.4-1c2a (2.12.0-1) ...

Setting up libgtkmm-2.4-1c2a (2.8.8-1) ...

Setting up libparted1.7-1 (1.7.1-3) ...

Setting up gparted (0.2.5-2) ...


After just waiting, SuperVideo, newest version is downloaded, installed and configured, all without moving a finger.
Now you might notice that Jim did not have to even open up a browser to get his software.

Now to be fair, Bob eventually manages to install SuperVideo, but he has spent some time trying to find a solution and feels like giving up many times, asking himself why this needs to be so difficult.

Jim is a happy camper, since he has been in Bob's shoes at some point and lives easier now.

Now to see why Jim lives easier, lets compare the two systems:

this document was created on:
25. Nov. 2006
updated on:
27. Nov. 2006