| I would like to echo the sentiment of many other commenters in saying hardware autodetect, GOD YES PLEASE. As far as graphical install… I agree it would be a nice thing. I dont think I would use a graphical install, but what the hell is wrong with putting it there for people who would. We all know that if we could manage to include graphical install that there would most certainly be a text only option.
I am very dismayed and quite frankly disgusted with those with the attitude of “if you can’t use the cryptic difficult Debian install, you are a worthless slug and don’t deserve to use it at all, off with you to Red Hat you pathetic newbie, let your vile presence never again disturb our sacred space!” OK so I exaggerate, slightly. I have seen a lot of this sort of attitude, that of you must be of a certain level of technical proficiency to be admitted into the “club”, that we don’t can’t won’t and shouldn’t care about anyone who doesn’t have a certain level of technical proficiency. This sort of attitude is just plain wrong for so many different reasons.
First of all, it is a slap in the face of the values that Free Software claims to adhere. With this sort of elitist attitude, we move from software with a price barrier to software with a knowledge barrier. With the downfall of all of the Debian based commercial distros, which all had graphical interfaces, there exists no point of entry for new users into the Debian world. At least before I could tell some one “start off with Progeny” or something. With the attitude the developers have now, a person new to computers or new to Linux would be told, either directly or indirectly “go away, you aren’t good enough to use Debian” and so they don’t… probably now with the impression of Debian as a bunch of elistist snoody assholes… and where any new user to get a response that was even half as harsh as what most of the “dont put a graphical install” people have said here, then the label would be justly earned.
By raising the knowledge level so high, you are pretty much insuring that no new users will ever start with Debian. Having started with one of the Red Hat derived distros, they will probably stick with it from there on out. Thus all that has been accomplished is keeping the number of Debian users from increasing and making sure that Red Hat type systems and all their ickiness continue to become the “standard”.
I have friends that want to use Linux. Many have heard about what XP is like and they are saying “OK, they have gone WAY too far, I can’t handle it anymore” and know I am a Linux geek. “Can you show me how to install Linux, Mark? I want to learn!” and I know there is no way in hell that I can use Debian, the one true and pure form of GNU/Linux (you know it is pure cause it the only one that has that confusing “GNU” thing ahead of it) with these people who eagerly want to learn… so I have to give them some lesser form.
Get a clue you elitest snobs. FREE means so much more than your narrow definition. Free isn’t free if free means “free to those with a degree in computer science, or equivalent.” There are many many people out there who are not computer experts, but want to use Debian because they feel that the principles (at least the nice lofty ones Debian claims to have) are in accord with their own personal beliefs. They want to become part of that community, but no the developers say ,”no fuck you, you aren’t good enough, what are you going to give US!”. Yeah, sit back and scratch your head and wonder what this hypothetical “Free” stuff is … So what you are really saying is free if you can give something back which we find acceptable.
In their blind ignorance and arrogance, they can’t see the value of people like Rev Andrew Summers, a good friend of mine who has spent his entire life working for justice and came to me wanting a computer free of software from a monopoly. What possible value could this person, who can barely double click, be to Debian. Now, I shouldn’t have to anwser this question, if they REALLY meant Free in EVERY sense, a user should not have to PROVE their value… But some seem to think they do… so lets think about what this “clueless” person is doing for Debian. Many people come to see Rev. Summers every day. I made sure that people see Logos proclaiming it to be a Linux system. Would have been nice if it could have been a Debian GNU/Linux system… but they dont design Debian to be workable by the “clueless”. People ask him “gee Andy, what is that you are using on your computer” and he tells them, and why.
We need to get out of our heads the elitist ideas that those who aren’t technically oriented shouldn’t be allowed to play in our yard. Having more numbers of users helps us all. Had the number of Debian or Debian derived users been significant enough… it probably would have made a significant difference in the LSB decision to standardise on RPM. It probably would influence more people to offer debs.
So please rethink a little when you say that graphical interfaces are completely unneeded.