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A lesson learnt

I am installing my first Ubuntu computer, a laptop for a friend who just wants to use the Internet. Even though I am not entirely sure whether to ridicule the installation process — it took the installer 2:47 hours to produce the first user dialog on this PIII 600MHz with 256Mb of RAM, so I had to use the alternative text-mode installer — or be impressed by the desktop that eventually filled the screen with more-or-less everything working out of the box, I think I did learn a lesson today, as trivial as it may sound.

The screen of this laptop stays blank throughout the boot sequence even though Ubuntu put so much effort into a flashy splash screen. Thus, I logged on to #ubuntu and found someone who had time to help:

< madduck> i just installed feisty on a laptop and now when i start, after
           grub, it says "Starting up" and then has a black screen until gdm
           has started
< madduck> where is the fancy splash?
< someone> madduck: the splash screen uses a standard VESA mode which,
           apparently, your system doesn't support. Remove the "quiet
           splash" options from menu.lst to see boot messages in text mode.
< someone> madduck: you can try fixing the VESA mode with the vga= kernel
           boot option. Start with 'vga=ask' and enter 'scan' at the prompt
           at boot time.

But I still had no success when someone apparently typed into the wrong window and triggered the childish area of my brain:

< someone_else> ls
< someone_else> clear
< madduck> rm -rf ~
< someone> madduck: what was the purpose of that?
< madduck> someone: EWIN :)
< someone> madduck: I'm not prepared to support you if you go around telling
           people to delete their home directories, however funny you think
           that is.

I apologised (sincerely), and the person went on to help me, pointing me to more VESA modes and making me try them until I had a lead.

No wonder Ubuntu gets the users.

I am not saying that Debian is at the losing end in this scenario.

Instead, I am preaching to the choir who sings back: "but Debian wouldn't be Debian without the flames."

And I think to myself: "I wonder who actually engages their brains and continues to hold that view when they utter it."

NP: The Young Gods - Kissing the Sun (Orange Mix)

Update: without having to be told by anyone, I know there are people in Debian who try to be equally helpful and reasonable. In fact, Debian has gotten a lot better in the last years, in part (but not exclusively) thanks to Debian Women. This post does not try to discredit those who already make Debian a better place, or to piss anyone off. In fact, it's about a lesson I learnt, which may be obvious to many, but which hasn't been as obvious to me until today.