[conspire] comments on LMDE
paulz at ieee.org
Fri Sep 9 23:24:41 PDT 2011
Executive summary: I had thought that downloading the ISO file and installing LMDE from it would be a simple / efficient way to install Linux. Instead is that I encountered a series of obstacles. While there probably were solutions to each one, I wound up spent a lot of time and mental effort and not getting anything useful.
A net install of Debian took about as much time as installing LMDE from the DVD. For my purposes, it was good to go after just the basic install. Yes, I might someday revisit Gnome vs. the other choices or maybe just tweak Gnome configuration.
I think this is consistent with Rick's opinion.
Specific details below:
--- On Thu, 9/8/11, Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com> wrote:
> From: Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com>
> Subject: Re: [conspire] comments on LMDE
> To: conspire at linuxmafia.com
> Date: Thursday, September 8, 2011, 11:01 PM
> Quoting Paul Zander (paulz at ieee.org):
> > LMDE seemed like a good solution.
> When you say 'LMDE', you're referring at this point to
> either of two
> different default desktops, either GNOME or Xfce4 (in
> either case for
> either IA32 or x86_64 CPU archs).
Sorry I was not specific. The file used was linuxmint-debian-201101-gnome-dvd-i386.iso. When I downloaded it a couple months ago, gnome was the only option for the "Debian" variety. Gnome was the only option that was said to be compatible with Debian updates. XFCE / Debian was added later.
> Personally, when I install Debian via any means -- or for
> that matter
> just about any *ix -- I don't usually let the default
> environment' (if there is one) stick around for long,
> because I usually
> prefer just plain Window Maker with no DE. I happen
> to have a Debian
> virthost with Xfce4, again, but that's an exception.
> Anyway, the
> foregoing's relevant to your 'slab' comment, I believe:
> > 0) The “slab”. Actually someone else pointed
> this out
> > before I started. I could have tolerated the slab if
> it was the
> > only problem.
> After a little Web-searching, I think I've identified what
> talking about. Linux Mint Debian Edition's _GNOME_
> variant defaults to
> a particular style of GNOME menus called 'slab-style',
> which is said to
> be similar to that of MS-Windows. Apparently, this is
> a huge point of
> contention among bloggers and whatnot who editorialise
> about 'desktop
This was also discussed by Bruce on the conspire in February.
> Anyhow, the way the GNOME DE works is amenable to
> configuration and
> change. I consider the process a bit annoying, but
Yes. If this was the only issue, I would have lived with it until I decided to fix it.
> (And I'll also mention, again, the LMDE variant that gives
> you Xfce4 by
> default instead of their GNOME thing.)
> > 2) /home. The install phase for mounting partitions
> gave two
> > choices: “mount as /” and “mount as
> /home I
> > wanted to use a different partition for /home, but
> then I couldn't get
> > things to work.
> Not sure what 'couldn't get things to work' means,
After the installation with /home on a separate partion, when I logged in I get series of pop-up windows with error messages. The slab did not appear making it "difficult" to evan open a terminal window.
I did determine that:
* install from DVD that without separate /home partition would allow me to login without the error popups.
* copying the contents of /home to another partition and editing fstab to change the mount points and re-booting got me back to set of errors. I tried several variations, such as booting from live DVD to be able to rename the original home directory. I was operating under the illusion of ,"if I just find a fix to this problem, things will be good".
> > 3) Updates. Synaptic appeared to be friendly...
> Meh. ;->
Well the GUI offered a list of packages it could install. The choices could be divided down by categories. So "looked like" it was useful to learn the names of packages I would like to consider.
> > ...but when trying to install various packages, it hit
> > obstacles for unresolved dependencies.
> Nothing quite like apt-get for mostly intelligent
> dependency handling.
> > Using apt-get directly didn't work, but at least gave
> > error messages. I did a series of experiments with
> variations of
> > `apt-get update` and 'apt-get dist-upgrade` to no
> Again, I have no idea what 'didn't work' means.
Depending on which package I was trying to install, apt-get listed files it could not find.
The linux mint forum had many postings of problems that suggested commands like `sudo apt-get update` would fix the problem. I tried several different things, but did not find the magic bullet. At least one time, Firefox got corrupted and would not run and I had to start over the the DVD. Again, I was under the mistaken illusion that I could find a quick fix.
> Before any Debian-ish package tools on the level of apt-get
> superstructures such as Synaptic can function,
> (or /etc/apt/sources.list.d/*) needs to have useful
> contents. That
> should get populated during installation.
forums.linuxmint.com has numerous threads from others with install problems. Some suggested edting sources.list
The LMDE install created this sources.list:
deb http://packages.linuxmint.com/ debian main upstream import
deb http://ftp.debian.org/debian testing main contrib non-free
deb http://security.debian.org/ testing/updates main contrip non-free
deb http://www.debian-multimedia.org testing main non-free
The same file after the debian install was:
deb http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/ squeeze main
deb-src http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/ squeeze main
deb http://security.debian.org/ squeeze/updates main
deb-src http://security.debian.org/ squeeze/updates main
# squeeze-updates, previously known as 'volatile'
deb http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/ squeeze-updates main
deb-src http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/ squeeze-updates main
> > Finally I gave up. I downloaded and burnt a CD for
> > net-install.
> Official Debian's netinst disc images are very useful and
> reliable. I
> nonetheless usually burn CD1 or DVD1 instead, on the theory
> that I'm
> going to end up shlepping around a disc in any event, and
> it's more
> likely to be immediately useful if it provides as many
> local package
> options as will fit on the disc.
Currently home page of www.debian.org has "Download Debian 6.0" in the upper right corner. The resulting file was ~400M and included 32 and 64 bit installs in both terminal and GUI versions. With hindsight, I should have looked around and found the other options, including the 180MB net-install for only 32 bit.
There is an interesting trade-off between the time of downloading and burning a large ISO file that includes many packages I might want along with some I won't want versus downloading just the installer. With hind-sight, I had to wait for the download of netinstall flavors I didn't need at this time.
> > Next, I referred to the list of packages I wanted to
> install. All
> > of them were already installed! Obviously my
> thinking is more
> > closely aligned with the Debian people than the Mint
> Glad you liked it. If you want the proprietary /
> patented codecs, AV
> stuff, and the like that Linux Mint throws into the default
> you'll be needing to take some extra steps to retrofit
> them, but, me,
> I'm always right at home on a Debian-ish system regardless
> of which
> installer was used to get it going.
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