Home > Debian > Debian GNU/Linux Installation Guide Debian GNU/Linux Installation Guide Submitted by Jonathan Adda 2003-06-04 Debian 42 Comments Another Debian installation guide with some screenshots. OSNews’ is here. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 42 Comments 2003-06-04 7:12 am Debian is nice but very very old. I wonder when they will release a version wich has XFree 4.3 and KDE 3.1, that will be the time other distro users will have XFree 5 and KDE 6… 2003-06-04 7:15 am >Debian is nice but very very old. Debian is primarily a server system. It is trying to be as stable and secure as it is possible, therefore it has no interest in offering the latest desktop apps. 2003-06-04 7:17 am Hmm, really? That stinks. I’m using KDE 3.1.2 in Debian, as well as Gaim .64 and etc. It’s called sid–nearly as up-to-date as Gentoo. I really didn’t like this guide. It basically says “Push button. Good boy” without explaining anything indepth. The author also makes some factual errors that would confuse newbies. There are also better ways of installing Debian than what he describes. 2003-06-04 7:21 am Sure you could use SID. But then you are running unstable… 2003-06-04 7:32 am “Unstable” is not unstable. I haven’t managed to crash it yet, and I ran it for about 8 months. “Unstable” means “don’t trust this to be as stable as regular Debian”, which is insanely stable. 2003-06-04 7:33 am These days, you rarely find Windows installation guide TV installation guide, cellphone installation guide or ford explorer (SUV) installation guide as they are pretty much mature and ready to use products 2003-06-04 8:16 am Think of it this way, debian unstable is about as “unstable” as any of the other desktop distros you have mentioned 2003-06-04 8:19 am You have the right network card… My Linksys NIC refused to work with the 2.4 kernel despite my requesting the tulip driver. As a result I couldn’t see my router to access the interet. Since all the software is on the mirrors I couldn’t install debian. Just for the heck of it I tried the 2.2 kernel and hey presto i could see the dhcp router and debian installed like a piece of cake. Before that I was banging my head against the wall. I wonder how many other people who have had trouble installing debian had some other obscure hardware problem such as a network card? 2003-06-04 9:17 am Since when are you allowed to post anything you want on OSNews? The discussion boards have alwas been moderated, and I surely hope they’ll stay that way. 2003-06-04 9:54 am I was wondering why he recomended installing woody first and then upgrading to sid? Why not installing sid right away? Is there a difference? 2003-06-04 9:56 am A legitmate comment about Linux being gay? I think you probably have to be a little more politically correct than that to expect the light of day. I think we will see you in the moderated down section before long. Till then! BTW, OSNews’s Debian install guide courtesy of Clinton was what made Debian my Linux distro of choice (on my crap old Pentium 133 which can’t handle Gentoo :=() 2003-06-04 10:11 am I also had a network card problem in Debian (card worked in 2.2 but not in 2.4). I had a SohoWare NE2000-based card. The machine is an old 486 from Compaq. 2003-06-04 10:17 am Yep another cool site for Debian newbees many interesting nfo http://www.aboutdebian.com/ 2003-06-04 10:27 am <<These days, you rarely find Windows installation guide>> Due to Microsoft monopolist practices, Windows comes preinstalled with most new PCs, that’s why you don’t find many installation guides for it 🙂 Format completely your hard drive and then ask someone who has never used a computer to install Windows (any version) and we’ll see how they fare without a how-to. 2003-06-04 10:27 am <<These days, you rarely find Windows installation guide>> Due to Microsoft monopolist practices, Windows comes preinstalled with most new PCs, that’s why you don’t find many installation guides for it 🙂 Format completely your hard drive and then ask someone who has never used a computer to install Windows (any version) and we’ll see how they fare without a how-to. 2003-06-04 11:29 am woot 2003-06-04 11:31 am I managed it! Although, to be fair, I have installed Win3.x, DOS, Mandrake, and even Debian without a guide. I took a long time with RedHat 6.0 though… 2003-06-04 11:32 am Debian is nice but very very old. I wonder when they will release a version wich has XFree 4.3 and KDE 3.1, that will be the time other distro users will have XFree 5 and KDE 6… can’t keep your head out of the dirt, dont you? I don’t want to run an unstable version on xfree (note the .3 after the version!!!) on any of my workstations, and no kde 3.1 is in unstable. maybe you should inform yourself before spreading FUD. 2003-06-04 11:32 am The debian-installer is a subject of a major make-over. Because installing debian is a very rare event in a debianusers life ( once installed, and with a little CLI-knowledge and support, there is no need to ever ever reinstall Debian other than hardware failure or something totally f*cked up like a rm -rf / as root) the debian-installer hasn’t been significantly altered in years. The installer available in the testing and unstable branch are experimental and known to fail lots of times. I would recommend to use gnome2.2 or KDE3.1 backports with a woody system for debian-desktop-newbies, because unstable needs some advanced use of the APT-tools and knowledge of when it’s safe to ‘apt-get upgrade’ to survive. 2003-06-04 11:34 am Sure you could use SID. But then you are running unstable… so debian should include an unstable version of xfree 4.3 in stable? are you nuts? you must be some kind of netherland troll from out of space… yeah space trolls beware 2003-06-04 11:34 am Well, I’d rather have more installation guides, and very detailed ones might I add. Still can’t get the Debian installer to mount the hd whereas RH never bothered me. From a user and a developer perspective, any question coming from a would-be-user is a bug report against the readily available documentation. 2003-06-04 12:52 pm In my experience XFree86 4.3 is FAR MORE stable than 4.2.1 was And this is not just on one particular graphics card…On 3 of machines I find improved stability with 4.3…not that i can say it’s COMPLETELY stable…but then again…XFree86 has always been the weak link of desktop freenixes. Back to my point…even the latest stable release of FreeBSD (4.8) ships with XFree86 4.3…and FreeBSD is even more stability focused than Debian. Ports is just as good as apt-get and you get to optimize your builds and stay easily up to date with port-upgrade. Saying that XFree86 4.3 is unstable is just a cop-out, and this is coming from someone who’s supposedly running debian Sid (a.k.a. UNSTABLE) Sheesh 2003-06-04 1:11 pm I think Debian’s versioning is slightly flawed as it doesn’t convey what they mean. stable -> tested for a loooong time, “won’t” break testing -> tested for a longer time than other distros, shouldn’t break unstable -> newer packages being tested, might break With that said, newer versions of a individual SW packages SHOULD be more stable than older, otherwise there’s little point in releasing a new version, is it? Grouping SW packages (a.k.a. making a distro) on the other hand needs testing. 2003-06-04 1:53 pm For the French guys around here, or people who can speak French, here is a real fucking good howto to install debian. There is every thing from installing a kernel, to nfs serving, with kernel recompilation guide ( very complete ), samber serving, x installation, windows partition mounting, etc… Maybe it would worth translating it into English : http://www.via.ecp.fr/~alexis/formation-linux/formation-linux.html 2003-06-04 2:02 pm If you want more recent applications in Debian and still have a rock solid and well tested base system, just add a couple of unofficial backports source to your apt source list and you’ll get a woody plus the latest KDE & Gnome very easily. http://www.apt-get.org for extra apt source 2003-06-04 2:20 pm just add a couple of unofficial backports source to your apt source list and you’ll get a woody… LOL sorry I couldn’t resist…I had trouble installing Debian the last few times I tried…but maybe with this guide I’ll actually make it work…worth a try anyway, I’d have to say looks rock solid, and i’m an OS junkie anyway, with Mandrake 9.1, FreeBSD 5-CURRENT, OpenBSD 3.3, Solaris 8 x86, and Windows XP installed on my machines…might as well add Debian to that list too -bytes256 2003-06-04 2:26 pm Ah, je crois que c’est un guide d’installation tres bien, mais c’est dommage qu’il a seulement les instructions d’installer Gnome (que est plus facile: pas apt-get install gnome-session nautilus… mais seulement apt-get install gnome), pas les instructions pour installer KDE (que est plus populaire que Gnome), ou une des autres Environments de Bureau et gestionnaires de fenetre. 2003-06-04 2:33 pm [i]With that said, newer versions of a individual SW packages SHOULD be more stable than older, otherwise there’s little point in releasing a new version, is it?<?I> <BR><BR> Lovely idea, but you find that new features can introduce regressions as well as bugs of their own. The point of Debian stable is that it takes a stable base and only introduces bug fixes to the packages, while unstable will take all changes to the package. And remember, a new version of software doesn’t just get added to unstable as soon it’s released, the Debian maintainer has to do that and I would expect they give it a go first. 2003-06-04 2:43 pm Next time there’s a poll on improving OSNews, I’m voting for comment previews! 2003-06-04 2:59 pm I haven’t seen this mentioned, but XFree86 doesn’t follow the Linux kernel’s version numbering scheme of .even releases are stable, and .odd releases are unstable. Any 4.x release is considered stable, and the unstable are only available via CVS or snapshot, and are numbered 4.2.99.x (or now 4.3.99.x). 2003-06-04 3:04 pm I ran Debian on a server for over a year and it was rock solid. Sure, it was out of date, but I could care less as long as the server was stable and secure. 2003-06-04 3:28 pm why should you release unstable? 2003-06-04 4:05 pm I started out with a vanilla kernel a few months ago. Then just last week I recompiled the latest 2.4 kernel, using the options recommended for my nic (ln100tx) from the linksys website. The nic still didn’t work at bootup. But with a little tweaking I got it to work by editing the /etc/network/interfaces file. I basically had to tell it to turn on, the ip of the system, and the ip of the gateway. And everything works great now. 2003-06-04 4:35 pm My problem with debian stems from this false assumption: Newer packages are by nature more unstable. BS!!! From my experience I have seen that as time goes on packages mature and become more stable. Not vice versa!!! 2003-06-04 4:38 pm It is a LNE100TX? What’s the rev. number? Not every LNE100TXs are supported by that driver because they don’t use the same chip… I have a Rev 4.1 and the tulip driver works correctly with the 2.4.20 kernel. 2003-06-04 4:45 pm I made a mistake in my post above. I’m using the LNE100TX (not LN100TX) version 5.1 and it works just fine with the 2.4.20 kernel. 2003-06-04 7:00 pm You have hit the problem right in between the eyes. Debian is all based on this false presumption. It is the same reason why I would never use Debian in the business world. Yes, the 2.4 kernel was unstable when it was first released. So was XFree86 4, Gnome 2, etc. But I would love to compare uptimes/performance of the 2.2 kernel and older versions to newer versions. For the vast majority of the software, these have been improved in newer versions. 2003-06-04 8:27 pm ‘”Unstable” is not unstable.’ I use Debian unstable (sid) on my work workstation. It is *definatly* unstable. I also use Freebsd 5.0, FreeBSD 4.8, and Gentoo at home. FreeBSD 5.0 is the untested FreeBSD release. Equally up to date as debian unstable, and FAR FAR FAR more stable. Same can be said about Gentoo. Even using gentoo bleeding edge pacakges I’ve had far less problems than with Debian unstable. Debian unstable really is unstable, and from the debian message board a lot of people seem to think testing is even more unstable thatn unstable. Debian may have a great installation system, but it is not without it’s share of problems. Mainly old or unstable software. Just to clarify, being stable doesn’t mean having your kernel crash. It means “do application work as intended most of the time” and “can I install apllications without problems.” As an example of what I mean, the alsa drivers AND source packages did not work for a loooong time on unstable. I continually have trouble with updates breaking existing programs. Evolution started crashing after a recent update for no apparent reason. Maybe the worst thing is the lack of good documentation for unstable. I manage to get things working only by being lucky and finding the one news posting that tells me how things work in Debian. Sure, it’s unstable (sid), so this isn’t a fair criticism. But then do go around saying that Debian unstable isn’t unstable, because it most certainly is. And debian stable really is hopelessly out of date. Even with external apt-sources, it’s *still* hopelessly out of date compared to most other major distributions. 2003-06-04 8:27 pm howdy. I wrote the review. in understand it’s a really quick runthrough, but let me explain myself. first off, i didn’t go into much depth because I figure people that want to use debian have had linux experience before and don’t need to have someone define every little thing. as for the process, Fred is right. the unstable installer fails frequently so i prefer to get a base woody system up and running, then once it’s all working, update and upgrade. Like i said in the last paragraph, it’s just my preference. as for NIC’s not being seen, i had that problem several times myself until i used the bf24 kernel, then i had no problems. thanks for reading my article, even though it may not be the best one around. 2003-06-04 8:52 pm I posted the wrong version of that article!! i am going to get them to re-post the corrected version. 2003-06-05 1:34 pm I have a old amd k6-2 300mhz with 256mb of ram and 2.4 gig hd. i use it to test different os. Yes, I know I got to build another faster computer for this purpose. Nonetheless, the only alternative os that would run at a decent speed on that pc was of course Beos and FreeBsd. But I really wanted Linux on there. So I started to test out different Linux distros. The problem I was running into was kde 3.1 is way to much for that old workhorse. Libranet 2.0 was good too which is based on debian but to me it seems that pure debian is faster than the libranet version of it. Well let me tell you debian stable is great. Fast and yes very stable. The start up time and shutdown on debian is one of the fastest i have seen on that pc. In this order for speedy start up and shutdown on that pc are beos, debian, freebsd. I am giving these details out so others that are still using an old pc. The install was a first for me using a pure debian. I expected the install process to be harder but it wasnt to me at least. Maybe I am a bit more advanced at this that I gave myself credit for. Nonetheless debian is running great on that old rig. Yes kde is old on it 2.2 but it is fast and stable and that is what i need on that old pc. So if you havent used debian do it the install wasnt that bad at all. 2003-06-05 1:36 pm Forgot to mention for those having nic problems. My old rig is using a Kingston pci nic card cant remember the model of it but debian didnt have any problem with it.