I also don't get the polotics of debian...
(grin) Lots of people say that
Simply put, deb is a proof of concept, not a distro as such. As a project, It has grown so large that the provision of images, installers etc gives it the impression of being a distro, and in practice it is. The docs on site will explain it better than i could but just to brief it ... deb just shows that it's possible to create a system thats completely compliant with FSF principles. It's offered in that context and other people/organisations are encouraged to use it as a base for their own particular distro expressions.
The graphics card is Matrox Mellennium G400
I probably wont be much help on that as i'm a bit of a pesant when it comes to monitor/graphic cards. But ... is nVidia involved there at all ?. Anything needing a proprietry or even partially closed driver ... i would not be surprised if they removed it's support. Meaning that other locations/souces would be needed to facilitate it.
You could try debs mailing list though. Which can be quite mad. Alternatevely one of the deb based systems forums may be able to help there.
last time there was no network no xsever and pretty much all hardware was not detected..
sounds unusual .... very unusual
So far its just the monitor/graphics card
I have run through dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xfree86 so many times im bored of it... and the questions are just plain stupid no other distro has ever asked for such detailed information... (in like ten years).....
It seemed to me to be quite standard on the question level, thinking of debs 3.0 woody install. The installer wasn't that good itself. Did the job my end. Iv'e heard people speak well of their new installer though.
the only simple way I can think of sorting this out is find an old knoppix that still uses xfree86 and steal the settings from there... but why should I have to....
If anything, deb will support the old xfree86, there must be something more to it. But, if it can be done with a work around like thatt, why not.
Alternatively you could ignore setting up X, just get the packages in and just boot to the console. Then use an existing config as you suggest above. Saving existing configs like Xs' can be really handy.
What are the actual specs for your monitor and card. Sounds like the hint is in those devices somewhere. Post those. I suspect the issue is really there.
Could you post the messages etc that the configuration generates.
If there is a known issue invoving that hw, then it surly must be in the deb based forums somewhere, or in debs mail archives etc
Or, wake in a Knoppix LiveCD, get X up and running ... print out, or other wise save the config ... then use that with deb. I always do that myself, only because i would forget all my settings otherwise anyway
, or an installer will give me a bland half configued left shifted setup that will need tweaking anyway.