Debian Installation

Debian Installation

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Installing Debian

The description below worked fine for me; however, I would recommend to you, to install the 'testing version' of Debian, called Sarge, using a modern installer. See here for a detailed description.

The following description explains, how i installed Debian on a PC, where previously SuSE Linux (and some other operating systems) were installed. Luckily, I had a copy of the primary disk on the secondary disk, and therefore it was relatively easy, to check what was installed under SuSE and to install the same software under Debian.
So, if you have two disks on your PC, I recommend to make a complete backup of your primary disk to the second disk: Simply use any floppy or CD with either a 'Rescue System' or boot from a Knoppix CD and then enter:
      cp /dev/hda /dev/hdb
(Should you have a laptop, it may well be that the second disk is /dev/hdc; so then you have to enter:     cp /dev/hda /dev/hdc

Useful links (in German):>/a>

Now, we begin with the installation. Before, I recommend to print the file /etc/fstab and also to possibly enter the commands
df -h | lp
lspci | lp
in order to get an overview of your current sizes of the partitions and the PCI-hardware (the last command may only work as user=root).

The principle for the installation was the following: first, install a small Linux version of the Debian release 'woody' and then upgrade to the current testing release called 'Sarge'. I bought the CD-set of the Woody-release 3.0 r1 at Lüthi Consulting for about CHF 80.- (about $ 50.-); including a book. Now they sell a "Woody DVD" for only CHF 17.- !!

Boot and install a 'small' version of Debian Woody:
- Boot from the first CD
- F3 (get menu)
- bf24
- de (select 'Deutsch' as language)
- Select 'Deutsch (Schweiz)'
- CR  ('CR' in this web-page means 'carriage-return'; pushing the 'Return' button)
- Configure keyboard
- 'Schweizer'
- swap-partition (use already existing swap partition)
  (in our case this was /dev/hda5 )
- Yes
- Format and mount ('Einbinden') of a Linux partition
  * ReiserFS
  * /dev/hda8 (in our case; that's were SuSE Linux was until now)
- No
- Yes
- Yes (/)
- Continue ('Weiter'): Installation of kernel and modules)
- Yes
- Load and configure driver modules
- Continue ('Weiter')
- Kernel-Modules:
  * for now, only kernel/drivers/net ('Treiber fuer Netzwerkkarten')
  * eepro100 : Intel EtherExpress Pro 100 M
    (we got this information from the command 'lspci')
  * Yes
  * Ok (without parameters)
  * Cancel
- kernel/drivers/parport
  * select parport and parport_pc (we have a printer at the parallel port)
- Finish ('Beenden') - we have selected all modules
- Configuration of the network
  * kava (machine name)
  * No
  * (your IP-address of your machine in your local network)
  * (your net-mask)
  * (IP-address of your gateway; e.g. a router to the internet)
  * local (your network-name; in our office, this would be
  * Your DNS-servers - ask your provider
    (in our case, provider ETHZ and Swisscom:
- Installation of the base system
  * CDROM as installation media
  * /dev/hdd
  * continue ('weiter')
- /instmnt
- Now follows the installation of the boot manager. Since I already have
  an installed GRUB, I do not want to overwrite its configuration.
  Therefore I enter:
- continue ('weiter'): new start of the system (ecject floppy and CDs)
- Yes
- My GRUB start-screen appears and I select the entry of the system (partition)
  where I now have installed Debian
- Ok
- Create a boot-floppy
- New start of the system
- Yes (leave floppy in)
  (in /boot/grub/menu.list there must be an entry: kernel (hd0,7)/boot/vmlinuz root=/dev/hda8  vga=791 -
  but before you have to enter: cd /boot/grub ; cp -p vmlinuz-2.4.18 vmlinuz)
- ok
- Time-Zone Configuration: NO (Hwclock is not GMT)
  No (keine MD5-Passwoerter)
  Yes (Shadow Password)
  Neuer Benutzer (Konto, Name, Passwort)
  Yes (remove PCMCIA - we have no WLAN on this desktop)
  cdrom (insert the second Debian installation CD !!)
  Yes (Security update)
  No (do *not* run tasksel)
  No (do *not* run dselect)
  Y CR
  No (man not installed setuid)
  CR (Y: erase previously downloaded .deb files)
  4 (local delivery of e-mail only; select with 'space bar')
  CR (OK)

  Upgrading from 'woody' to 'sarge':

  login as root
  cd /etc/apt
  Edit (e.g. vi) /etc/apt/sources.list
    * comment lines with "deb cdrom"
    * add the follwing lines:
      deb sarge/updates main
      deb sarge main contrib non-free
      deb-src sarge main
   apt-get update
   apt-get upgrade
      ok (keymaps)
      ok (don't touch keymap)
      Yes (all users may read home-dir)
   apt-get dist-upgrade
   Dialog (Interface for debconf)
      OK (autosave once)
      Y (upgrade glibc)
      Y (restart services)
      Y (upgrade system)
      Yes (mandb database)
      ok (lilo)
   apt-get install mdetect discover read-edid
   (... takes about 20 minutes with 160 kB/sec ...)
   (... wait ...)
   Yes (LCD-Display - Rendering)
   Ok (USB-Stuff)
   Ok (lm-sensors)
   None (Palm)
   (... wait ...)
   cd /boot
   cp vmlinuz-2.4.18-bf2.4 vmlinuz
 - Boot with floppy
   apt-get install ssh
      Yes (Protocol 2 only)
      Yes (ssh-keysign with SUID root)
      Yes (sshd server)
  - In file /etc/fstab add: /dev/hda6 /suse ....
    and:   mkdir /suse
  - mount /suse
  - cp /suse/tmp/ /tmp
  - apt-cache search kernel | grep image | grep 686
    --> kernel-image-2.4.26-1-686
  - apt-get install kernel-image-2.4.26-1-686
    no (no install of partition boot block)
  - apt-get install kernel-source-2.4.26
  - cd /usr/src
  - tar xjvf kernel-source-2.4.26.tar.bz2
  - ln -s kernel-source-2.4.26 linux

  - cd /tmp
  - apt-get install make
  - sh
    no (no version check of gcc)

  - apt-get install xserver-xfree86   (suggested: xfonts-base)
    Yes (autodetect)
    OK (xfree86)
    OK (pc104)
    de_CH (Keyboard Layout)
    Yes (mouse detection)
    OK (/dev/psaux)
    Im PS/2 (Ok)
    Yes (LCD)
    1280x960 @ 60 Hz
    (nicht gut, aber 1280x1024 ist nicht in der Auswahl!!)
    1280x1024 (select by typing 'space bar')
- apt-get install gcc-3.3
- apt-get install nvidia-kernel-common
- apt-get install g++ (this is *necessary for installing the NVIDIA driver!!)
- apt-get install kernel-headers-2.4.26-1-686
--> Now we may compile the NVIDIA module with: sh
  (see above)
- apt-get install xfonts-base
- apt-get install x-window-system
     kdm (select display manager)
- In the file /etc/X11/XF86Config-4 substitute "nv" by "nvidia"
- Boot machine...
  --> X-Server works, but resolution is still bad...
- Login as root (not ssh -X root@localhost ; this does not work!)

- apt-get install alsa kde-i18n-de myspell-de-ch

- Add user 'kradi' (my account) in /etc/group under "audio"
- Hintergrundbild: blue-bend
- apt-get install sux g77 rsync chrony host lm-sensors i2c-2.4.26-1-686 a2ps
                  xawtv gpa lm-sensors-2.4.26-1-686 gnupg flashplugin-nonfree
                  rdate xosview kdirstat mozilla-firefox rawrec ftp
                  webcam motion less ddclient wget libnet-telnet-perl apsfilter
                  cupsys cupsys-client (contains lpstat!)
                  cupsys-bsd cupsomatic-ppd hotplug
- tasksel
  * Desktop environment
  * Linux Standard Base

- Modify /usr/lib/X11/app-defaults/XOsview (new version looks prettier for me)

- /etc/profile:  Add   export COLORTERM=1   (for files in color with 'ls')

- cd /dev ; ln -s hdc dvd
  (and make appropriate entries in /etc/fstab and  mkdir /dvd )
- On the Desktop create a new icon for DVD)

- Add a line in /etc/apt/sources.list with 'mowgli':
  # divx4linux, gpg-idea, lame, transcode, xv, win32-codecs, gpsdrive
  deb sarge unofficial

  --> apt-get install xv

- As root restore the settings for KMail:
  cp /suse/home/kradi/.kde/share/config/kmailrc /home/kradi/.kde/share/config/.
- Java:
  apt-get install java-common java-virtual-machine-dummy
  Add line in /etc/apt/sources.list:
     # Java
     deb testing main non-free
  apt-get update
  apt-get install j2rel.3 j2sdkl.3
     (enter 'space' until '(END)' appears, then enter "q" and "yes")
     the same again: (enter 'space' until '(END)' appears, then enter "q" and "yes")

- apt-get remove lilo ; dpkg --purge lilo
- apt-get install grub grub-doc
  update-grub   (creates /boot/grub )
    y  (creates /boot/grub/menu.lst )
  --> Edit /boot/grub/menu.lst and add entries for SuSE-Linux)

- For comparison: an image of the SuSE Desktop
              and an image of the Debian Desktop

- The following information is mainly for our local users and may not apply for you... Here we 'rsync' (move) the preliminary Debian partition from
/dev/hda8 to /dev/hda6 where SuSE Linux was before):

- Boot in 'Minilinux'
  mount /data2 (hda6)
  mount /data8 (hda8)
  rsync -avHx --delete /data8/ /data2/
  shutdown -r 0

- Boot in Debian on /hda6
  cd /app
  cp -rp /suse/app/gmt* .
  cp -rp /suse/app/matlab .
  cp -rp /suse/images /
  cp -rp /suse/songs /
  cd /
  chown -R kradi:kradi songs
  etc. .....

- apt-get install mpeg123
- Install bladeenc as described on
The installation of flash-plugin, RealPlayer, setup of Konqueror for wav, mp3 and xmms, as well as the activation of the system-wide /etc/profile for individual users in their file .bashrc is described in our weg-page about Debian Sarge installation. - cp /suse/etc/init.d/bigbrother /etc/init.d cd /etc/rc2.d (and also rc3.d, rc4.d, rc5.d) ln -s ../init.d/bigbrother S99bigbrother cd /etc/rc0.d (and also rc1.d, rc6.d) ln -s ../init.d/bigbrother K01bigbrother

For further reading (in German):

Last Update: 06Oct2004 uk   -   Created: 06Jun2004

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