posted by Luis Lima on Mon 27th Dec 2004 18:05 UTC
IconThere are many ways of installing Debian, this is just how I do it. This guide is dedicated to all the newbies out there, and users with old boxes. Update: Screenshots here.

Remember, if you break Debian, you get to keep both parts.

The net-installer-rc2 is still in beta (Release Candidate 2), the next version will be the official installer, so you get a chance to know what's comming. You can download it from:

Sarge net-installer-rc2 (choose i386)
http://www.debian.org/devel/debian-installer/

The type of installation I had in mind for my old machine is a minimal one, installing light apps that will render my system lean and quick. So, there will be no KDE, Gnome, splash screens, or little stars titillating on the desktop. I will install IceWM, because it's my favorite; but XFCE4, WMaker, Fluxbox, are equally fast and excellent. I want to install the kernel 2.4.27, my box is standard, there is nothing complex, everything works with kernel 2.4.27.

During this installation you will have the options to install Woody, Sarge, or Sid, and the kernels 2.4.27 or 2.6.8/2.6.9, depending on the version of Debian you decide to install.

MY HARDWARE

Processor PII 266
128 MB RAM
Yamaha sound card
Realtek 8139 NIC
Riva 128 nVidia video card with 4 MB RAM
40 GB IDE hd (5400)
Optiquest V73 17" monitor
PS/2 generic 3-button mouse
Logitech iTouch keyboard (spanish)
Monitor's horizontal frequency (30-70)
Monitor's vertical refresh rate (50-160)
ADSL connection

You can find your monitor's frequencies from its manual or googling for its brand and model, or manufacturer. DO NOT USE MINE.

It is a desktop, so users with laptops, adjust accordingly.

AT THE BOOT PROMPT

I inserted the installation CD and rebooted, it brought me to the boot prompt. There, I pressed F1, F2, F3, F4, F5, F6, F7, and F8. I read everything, and chose the following boot parameters:

boot: expert noapic nolapic bootkbd=es
debian-installer/framebuffer=false

expert-
will allow me to have more control on the installation, there will be more options to choose from.

noapic nolapic-
will allow me, together with the installation of 'apmd' (the apm daemon), to shutdown my machine which has an old BIOS, and refuses to shutdown automatically otherwise.

bootkbd=es-
will allow me to use my spanish keyboard from the start.

debian-installer/framebuffer=false -
will tell the installer NOT to install the framebuffer, which hangs my system and has affected my fonts in the past.

If you don't understand any of this, it's OK, just type:

expert (press Enter)
From here on, after choosing an answer (YES, NO, CONTINUE, CANCEL) with the TAB key, press the key Enter.
All set, I press Enter, the installation begins, the first screen comes up...

Choose your country or region <Panama>
Select a keyboard layout <PC-style or PS2 connector>
keymap to use <Spanish>

DETECT AND MOUNT CD-ROM
Modules <Continue>
Prompt for modules parameters <No>
Start PCI card services (unless you use a laptop) <No>
Unable to load some modules <Continue>

CD-ROM DETECTED <Enter>
LOAD INSTALLER COMPONENTS FROM CD <Enter>
Installer components to load <Continue>
Loading components... <it takes a few seconds>

DETECT NETWORK HARDWARE <Enter>
Module to load <Continue>
(here it shows the NIC module to be installed) Prompt for module parameters <No>
Start PC card services <No>

Unable to load some modules <Continue>

CONFIGURE THE NETWORK <Enter>
Auto-configure network with DHCP <Yes>
(it configures it...)
Hostname <write something short, e.g. debian> <Enter>
Domain name <write your isp domain, e.g. pacific-bell.net>

DETECT HARDWARE <Enter>
Prompt for module parameters <No>
Start PC card services <No>

Unable to load some modules <Continue>

PARTITION DISKS <Enter>

a. Erase entire disk (hda)
b. Manually edit partition table

I've got no other OS, so I choose 'a' <Enter>
If you've got Windows or another operating system, choose 'b'.
The installer will guide you.

The next screen will show the different partition schemes:

If you chose the option 'a' above, the next screen will be:

PARTITIONING SCHEMES

a. All files in one partition (recommended for newbies)
b. Desktop machine
c. Multi-user workstation

The installer will partition the hard drive automatically, without the user's intervention. Here's how it will partition depending on your choice:

a. It will create a root partition (/) and a swap one.
b. A root partition, swap, and /home.
c. It will create the following partitions:

/
/usr
/var
swap
/tmp
/home

All this without you moving a finger, pretty nifty!

Newbies choose 'a' and continue.

Of course, I chose "c", always looing for sofmething different, I ended up with this:

Ext 3 / 280 MB
Ext 3 /usr 5 GB
Ext 3 /var 3 GB
Ext 3 swap 390 MB
Ext 3 /tmp 399 MB
Ext 3 /home 31 GB

I wanted to use a different file system besides Ext 3.

So, I went up with the keyboard arrow, to the first partition, root (/), once it was highlighted, I pressed Enter; on the second screen, I went up with the arrow to the first line:

use as Ext 3 journalling file system
and pressed Enter again. This in turn, took me to a third screen, which listed all the file systems available for my choosing:

Ext2
Ext3
ReiserFS
JFS
XFS
FAT16
FAT32
swap area
Physical Volume for LVM
Physical Volume for RAID

NOTE: in this installer, EXt2, Ext3, ReiserFS, and JFS, all work flawlessly with GRUB, except XFS, so if you choose XFS, you will have to choose LILO instead of GRUB from the main installation menu later on. Naturally, this is the one I chose.

Once you choose your file system and press Enter, this will take you back to the previous screen, go down with the arrow until you are at the line:

Done setting up this partition <Enter>

This will take you back to the first partition screen, choose another partition, and do the same all over again, until you have changed all the partitions file system from Ext3 to your new file system, EXCEPT swap. It only takes 2-3 minutes, once you get the hang of it, this installer is hot!

If you choose "a" or "b" from the partitioning scheme, you only have to change the file system on one or two partitions.

When you are thru with all the partitions, back at the original partitioning screen, go down with the arrow, ALL THE WAY DOWN TILL THE END OF THE SCREEN, otherwise, you might miss the following line, select it, so it's highlighted:

Finish partitioning and write changes to disk <Enter>
The next screen list the partitions to be formatted, and it says NO by default for matters of safety, so you don't accidentally make a mistake..

Choose <YES>

It begins formatting...

INSTALL THE BASE SYSTEM <Enter>

It starts installing the base system... 3/4 of the way in, it pop up a dialog box, asking you what kernel you want, make your choice.

kernel-image 2.6.8-1-386
kernel-image 2.4.27-1-386

After this is finished, you're back at the main installation menu, and the next line is:

INSTALL THE GRUB BOOT LOADER ON A HARD DISK <Enter>

If you chose Ext3, ReiserFS, or JFS, GRUB will be the way to go, install it to the MBR or choose another place of your liking. If you chose XFS, skip this line and select the next one:

INSTALL THE LILO BOOT LOADER ON A HARD DISK (Enter)
A box will pop up asking you where you want to install LILO:

/dev/hda. Master Boot Record
/dev/hda2: new Debian partition
other choice (Advanced)

I chose the first one, and installed LILO to the MBR.

The CD ejects, close the CD-ROM <Continue> <Enter>

The machine starts rebooting...

It comes back with the screen:

DISPLAY INTRODUCTORY MESSAGE <Enter>
Welcome to your Debian System <Enter>

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