How to clean up apt-get

Tyler Strickland tyler at
Fri Sep 16 12:02:26 MDT 2005

On 09/16/2005 10:56 AM, Al Byers wrote:
> Three years ago I stuck RedHat 9 on my laptop and never worried about
> it. I really hoped that I could treat it as an appliance since all I
> want to do is run eclipse and a j2ee server. It worked well, but then it
> got corrupted and since I was using suse 9.3 somewhere else, I threw
> that on. It did not recognize my built-in wireless and I could not get
> it to fill the screen. I had a Ubuntu set laying around (they send 10 -
> anyone want one?) and I installed it. It found my wireless and filled
> the screen which I thought was a nice thing. Is that a strength of
> Ubuntu or could I count on it from Debian or Gentoo? Looks like I might
> have to learn more about Linux than I care to. Have things changed much
> since Xenix? :0)

I haven't used wireless with Debian, so I can't say much on that, but 
it's detected my various peripherals very well.  In fact, not too long 
ago I decided to give the RH world a try again and downloaded CentOS 4.0 
(based on RHEL 4).  I tried to install it on a machine with a SCSI 
Card/HD that Debian recognized easily, but CentOS didn't have the 
modules built into the installer kernel and wouldn't let me install 
unless I stuck in an IDE drive.  Plus, once I got everything installed, 
I discovered that I can't build my own kernel RPM's to include the 
necessary driver - I have to install the kernel the standard way. 
Debian, on the other hand, has a strong set of tools to build kernel 
packages and manage them just like the official ones. I (again) lost 
interest in the RH world after that.  Debian just makes some basic 
things easier to do than RH does.

For everyday use, I doubt people would see much of a difference.  When 
it comes to getting down and dirty with system setup I've been very 
happy with Debian.  Ubuntu, being based on the Debian, should share that 
ease of management.  Gentoo, from what I've heard (I've never run it but 
have had good friends who did), also shares a certain ease of package 
management, if you consider as package management scripts that download 
the source from its original location (such as, patch it, 
and compile it on your system.  Yes, it takes a while to compile 
everything.  I once had a roommate who used Gentoo - he started 
compiling stuff just about every night before he went to bed.

The basic benefits of Gentoo, from what I've heard, are:
1.  Everything is optimized for your system.
2.  Library versioning problems are not generally an issue, since 
everything is compiled with the libraries on your computer.
3.  Because everything is compiled from source, program authors don't 
have to worry about compiling packages for Gentoo.
4.  If the latest ebuild (package script) for a package is not 
available, you can often change it to work with the latest version very 
easily, though I don't know how that works with gentoo patches to the 

I don't have much need for most of Gentoo's benefits and will probably 
stick with Debian for the near future.


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