Before ending this tutorial, I would like to help you install a very useful application called Synaptic. I will show you my preferred way of install things while not being logged into X as root.
You should be logged into X as a regular user at this point; if you followed my instructions.
Now, right click on the desktop to bring up the menu. Go to XShells and then select Xterm. This will bring up a terminal window. In the terminal window, type "su" to log in as root, and press the Enter key. Enter in your root password as we have done before and press Enter to login.
Now, to install Synaptic, type "apt-get install synaptic" at the command line and press Enter.
Once apt has finished installing Synaptic, you can launch it by typing "synaptic" at the root user's command prompt (you can't run this program unless you are logged in as root).
The synaptic tool is fairly straight forward. Look down through the alphabetical list of all the packages available and find the ones you want. To install them, simply click the Install button and then the Proceed button. The selected application(s) will be downloaded, installed, configured, and set up in your menu for you automatically.
One nice thing about Debian that some other Linux distros have started doing recently too, is that it uses a centralized menu system so your menu structure will be the same even if you switch window managers.
Just to demonstrate how Synaptic works; I will walk you through installing Mozilla using Synaptic.
Launch Synaptic, if it isn't running already, by typing the commands listed above.
Scroll down through the package list until you find "mozilla", and select it with your mouse (there are other mozilla packages too, but you only need this one to browse the web).
Next, click the install button, which is right above the tabs on the left side of the window. Notice when you do so, a blue triangle is placed by the "mozilla" item as well as three other items in your immediate view (the mozilla-browser, the mail client and security package). Synaptic is a front-end for apt, and apt automatically takes care of any dependencies for you; as you can see here.
Now, to install Mozilla, simply click the Proceed button at the top of the window. A dialog box will pop up telling you that there are 9 packages to be downloaded and installed. Click the Proceed button on the dialog and wait for Mozilla to be installed.
Now, some packages are configured by Debconf (the Debian Configuration tool), and require some input from the user. If this is the case, the blue Debconf screen will appear in the terminal windows you launched Synaptic from. If you look at that window now, you will notice that Debconf is asking you if you want to use FreeType2 support in Mozilla. This lets Mozilla support TrueType fonts. Select "Yes" and press Enter.
On the next Debconf screen, select "Auto" so that Debconf can automatically select your dsp wrapper.
You are now finished. You may Close Synaptic now (which will always give you a warning asking if you are sure). Now right click on the desktop to bring up the menu. Select "Apps" and then "Net" and then "Mozilla Navigator" to launch Mozilla (see how your menus are automatically updated when you install programs using apt?)
Well, now you have a very trim Linux system that you can configure to meet your individual needs.
I know this has been long, but hopefully I have provided you with enough information to install Debian and get it to a point where you can explore. Feel free to launch Synaptic and install a different window manager if you want too. Also, if you reboot the machine, it should not boot to a command line, but rather to xdm, which is a graphical login screen. Xdm is quite ugly in my opinion (although with some effort you can change that). If you would like to install kdm (KDE's graphical login screen) or GDM (Gnome's graphical login screen) you can find them in the package list in Synaptic. Debconf will also ask you which login screen you wish to use (if you install another one) and will configure the system to use that login manager for you.
There are many other things that I could write about, such as recompiling the kernel the Debian way and other tweaks you can to do the system. If there is an interest, I will work to do so in the future
Thanks for you patience. I hope you have fun with Debian.
About the Author:
My name is Clinton De Young and I work as a Development Manager for a software company called Altiris. I am a native English speaker, and am fluent in Japanese. On the side I translate documents to and from Japanese and sometimes freelance with companies to write software for the Japanese market. In spite of all that, my family comes first. They are the most important people in my life.
- "Introduction and how to get hold of Debian"
- "Getting to the main installation"
- "Going through the main installation cycle - Part I"
- "Going through the main installation cycle - Part II"
- "Going through the main installation cycle - Part III"
- "Going through the main installation cycle - Part IV"
- "System Configuration - Part I"
- "System Configuration - Part II"
- "Installing XFree86 - Part I"
- "Installing XFree86 - Part II"
- "Synaptic, Mozilla, Conclusion"