One of the predominant complaints (of my own, as well) about Debian GNU/Linux is that its install process is horrendously slow-going and overcomplicated. I don’t really think it’s that bad for the expert user, but for the novice it’s very confusing and daunting. It asks questions that don’t really need to be asked during the install process that confuse the crap out of someone that doesn’t even know what it’s referring to. (i.e., “should man and man-db be SUID root?”)

Anyways, on the recommendation of my pal PJ in my Debian vs. Redhat thread, I tried out Libranet, which is a wrapper distribution around Debian -stable.

I have to say it’s pretty impressive. The install process goes very quickly and seamlessly. You are given the option of letting libranet partition your disk itself (it just creates one giant partition), or doing it yourself. The partition managing interface is a little klunky, as they all tend to be, but functional. It’s better than cfdisk, in any event. It includes the feature that cfdisk irritatingly left out wherein you assign a mountpoint as you create the partitions. With cfdisk you are forced to create the partitions and THEN assign them, forcing you to write them down or have a really good memory.

My only beef with it is that it is obviously geared towards desktop use. There’s no option, even with the “minimal install” of packages to not install XFree86 at all. Of course, this is not a huge problem, because it’s still Debian. A simple “apt-get remove xfont* xfree86* xbase*” takes care of that.

If you’re looking to try out Debian but daunted by its reputation, give Libranet a try.