GNU/Linux is all about choice. Other distributions of GNU/Linux have their devotees, and each in its own way contributes significantly to the overall development of GNU/Linux. Other distibutions include Red Hat, Mandrake, SuSe, and Slackware. There are many distributions indexed at http://www.linux.org/dist/index.html. An early distribution, still being maintained is Slackware available from http://www.slackware.com/. Clearly, Red Hat, available from http://www.redhat.com/, is an excellent distribution responsible for gaining a lot of exposure for GNU/Linux.
While we use Debian GNU/Linux in this book as the underlying distribution what we say here applies to most distributions most of the time.
When converting from RedHat to Debian all of the configuration files
/etc should be kept (e.g., burn them to CD-RW). Both
distributions use many of the same configuration files, although
sometimes they are in slightly different places.
Another approach is to create a parted boot disk (or use a Knoppix CD—knoppix has parted installed) and then create a new partition on your machine onto which you install Debian. This allows you to keep a functioning RedHat install while you set up Debian. Once you have the Debian installation up to scratch you can wipe the RedHat partition and reclaim it for use in Debian (perhaps as /var, /usr). Otherwise delete the partition with parted and enlarge your Debian partition.
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