Debian installation of gnome?

Forgive me if I'm missing a FAQ or something somewhere (and point
me to it if I am!! :) 

I've freshly installed Debian (1.3 - I will upgrade to 2.0 when it's
out) on my PC (bye bye Mr. Bill!) and I'd like to get involved with '
some of the gnome stuff, possibly contributing some programs and the
like.  But first I have to get gnome installed. :)

So I was wondering what the gotchas I might be expecting when
I try to install this thing on Debian...  I've noticed that there are 
a number of .rpm packages, should I use alien to install these (I've
never tried alien before - my last Linux system was RedHat about two
years ago)

Should I try compiling it? (I probably will eventually - I kind of want
the quick fix to look at things right now :) 

Any pointers or tips would be very welcome.  Thanks!

[I'll try to compile the information people send me, maybe we can
form a debian FAQ, if such a thing doesn't exist]

The truth is out there.  I just forget where I put it.

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