[svlug] Migration to Debian

Rick Moen rick at svlug.org
Sat Jan 3 01:38:08 PST 2015

Scott DuBois wrote:

> I mainly wanted to get a feel for how the Debian ecosystem works.  

The thread from 2004 included the exact basic advice on the subject I would
still give you today, so instead of writing everything all over again, I
figured it's be more efficient to give you URLs so you could read the
earlier iteration.

That thread started because some guy popped into the mailing list and said
what amounted to 'Hi, tell me what the best Linux distribution is, so I can 
use it and skip the rest.'  Which normally starts a reallly dumb round of
advocay pitches and worse things, but I was trying to elevate the outcome
into something meaningful and useful.  So, you'll have to read past bits
about OpenSUSE, RHEL, etc. to where I also discuss Debian matters.

Please don't tell me you blew off the URLs and ignored them as 'historical
Linux stuff'.  I have an irrational hope that I might not be wasting my time
when I try to inform people.

> My coursework requires me to read books from downloaded PDF that
> are security protected for copyright protection and thus require Adobe
> Reader to be able to perform the security log in.

Install acroread from the deb-multimedia.org repository, as detailed here:

I would personally _avoid_ installing package mozilla-acroread or any other
plugin code to enable acroread to be used by default (directly) for PDFs 
retrieved from public networks.  It is far too severe a security risk.
Instead, right-click download selected PDFs from your Web browser (or
whatever you use to retrieve them), and open those PDFs only, locally.

For normal PDF handling, use the likes of Evince, xpdf, okular, etc.
They're way safer if only because they don't have Javascript interpreters
built into them.

> 1) Is there a way to get around having to install the disk frequently for
> some packages?

Um, yes.  Just remove or comment out the lines relating to your Debian
installer CD or DVD from /etc/apt/sources.list or /etc/apt/sources.d/*, as
the case may be.

As you will see when/if you consult the three URLs I provided, I concurred
with Ivan Sergio Borgonovo that Debian newcomers should stick to the Stable
brnach for a while, while learning how things work.  I pointed out tha
Stable comprises application versions extremely far from the cutting edge,
which indeed makes them ultra-stable but also rather old (less so right
immediately following release of a Stable branch, but true generally).  
The assumption many people including you make that Testing (a rolling
release) is crazily close to the cutting edge, is an extremely common error.
In fact, Testing on a routine basis is more stable than typical non-rolling
major distributions such as RHEL/CentOS, Open`USE, Mandriva, etc.

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