Introduction

The document you are reading is the first of a series of articles, together forming what can be thought of like a sort of online, interactive handbook. Their goal is to teach a few basics of Debian GNU/Linux for the beginner user, in a simple, and friendly way.

There are of course many Debian manuals available on- and offline. These pages try to be complementary to those, filling in a gap, often over-looked: An introduction to Debian in layman terms, with as little technical language as possible, but plenty of screenshots and follow-along tutorials. While similar documentation is often only available for systems/distributions that have a specific target audience (like beginner Linux users, or people migrating away from Windows/other systems), such as Ubuntu, Linux Mint and other popular derivatives; Debian itself is often considered "too advanced" for the beginner, and its official documentation mainly targets more experienced users.

Although less popular among people with limited Linux experience, Debian has still much to offer, that is probably worth a one-off investment of time and effort, for installing and configuring a system that can turn any computer into a good solid and trustworthy workstation, requiring minimal maintenance for many years to come. Such system should be able to run on old and new hardware alike, save probably the most recent, shiniest and greatest. At the end of this part, the advantages of using Debian over some more popular distributions will be discussed in the chapter titled Why Debian?

This document does not try to be as complete as the official Debian handbook or even compete with the very detailed online documentation offered about Debian from various excellent sources. Those documents should and will remain as the main point of reference for anyone deeply interested in installing, using and administering Debian systems, while these posts aim to serve a different purpose entirely.

Who might be interested in this manual?

While the aforementioned sources usually try to cover every possible situation, The Way of Debian will try to focus on the most common scenarios, and the majority of the “average users”. Those who most likely will find them useful should be new to, or inexperienced with Linux, people who just want a working desktop without much fluff, or people who need their system for practical purposes, like a work or home PC that is stable and reliable. They would be less interested in experimenting with distros and software and just want to get things done, simply and efficiently.

Who might be less interested in this manual?

Distro-hoppers, experienced Linuxxers, people who enjoy to experiment with new things, or just like to have the latest and greatest, etc., will most likely find these pages either irrelevant, too basic, or not detailed enough, or even boring. And they would be absolutely right. The author still hopes that there will be an audience for whom this work might appeal. Yet if you are a seasoned system administrator and you’d ever care to read through, please point out any mistakes, factual or other errors, you might find. The author (and surely the readers) would be most grateful.