Forums.Debian.Net FAQ

If none of the more specific forums is the right place to ask

Forums.Debian.Net FAQ

Postby Harold » 2006-06-08 02:03

Think of this as a work in progress -- something that is evolving into...whatever it evolves into. It will never be finished. It will always be in need of some fine-tuning. All submissions and constructive comments are greatly appreciated. Whatever it is that you want to say or add, append it to this thread and I will incorporate into the document. Please do point out typos and things that don't quite make sense. - Harold
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Installing Debian
1. Do I need to download and burn all 14 CDs to install Debian?
2a. Sarge? Etch? Sid?
2b. The CD just says Debian! What did I install?

Reality Check
2c. I'm using Ubuntu, Mepis, SUSE... Can you help me?
3a. I want to do everything in the graphical environment!
3b. Foofoodust 6.4.3 was released yesterday! I want to upgrade NOW! How?
4. What is the best grapical environment!

Something isn't working
5. Wireless networking isn't working!
6. Sound isn't working! Help![/color][/b]
7. My computer boots to a black screen and a blinking cursor! [/b][/color]
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1. Do I need to download and burn all 14 CDs to install Debian?
CD No. 1 will give do a complete basic Debian installation and the KDE and GNOME graphical desktop environments. The remaining 13 CDs contain the remainder of the official Debian packages, all 17,000 of them, arranged in order of decreasing popularity. You want to download and burn only CD No. 1, then use apt-get to retrieve and install other packages as desired.

Another option is to use the netinstall CD, which contains only 120 Meg of data, compared to 640 Meg on CD No. 1. The netinstall CD will do a basic Debian installation, not including a graphic desktop environment. However, once a basic Debian box is up and running, a graphical environment is easily downloaded and installed using Debian's apt-get application.

Rule of Thumb
: If you are going to install on only one computer, use the netinstall CD. If installing on multiple computers, then your time is well spent waiting for the entire 640 Megs of CD No. 1 to download.

2a. Sarge? Etch? Sid?
Debian comes in three flavors: Unstable, Testing and Stable. Debian package maintainers put new and updated packages into Unstable. If, after some minimum period of time has passed, no critical bugs have been discovered, the package moves to Testing. Packages remain in Testing until Debian's release managers decide that all packages in Testing, as a whole, have reached some specific degree of stability, at which time Testing becomes Stable.

At the moment, the Stable group of packages is collectively named Sarge, the Testing group of packages is collectively named Etch, and the Unstable group of packages is collectively called Sid. At some point in the future, Etch will move to Stable, Sarge will move to Old Stable, and a new name will be assigned to Testing. The name Sid always stays with the Unstable branch.

Rule of Thumb: If you are building a server, install Stable. If you are building a workstation, install Stable and upgrade to Testing. If you are a Debian guru who is not afraid of crashing his computer, then go ahead and upgrade to Unstable.

2b. The CD just says Debian! What did I install?
If the CD came in a book or with a magazine, then you can safely assume that it is Sarge/Stable, especially if it says Debian 3.1. If there is still some doubt, type cat /etc/debian_version and press <enter>, and Debian will tell you what version you are running.

Hint! When asking questions on this forum, it helps very much to tell people which branch of Debian you are using. The advice / instructions that we give are frequently fine-tuned depending on what branch you tell us that you are using?

2c. I'm using Ubuntu, Mepis, SUSE... Can you help me?
Our answers are always(!) helpful if you are using Debian. Our answers are usually helpful if you are using a distro based on Debian. But you would be better off posting your questions to your distro's help forum, and the author of this FAQ doubts that there is any major distro which does not have its own help forum or mailing list. Not trying to be rude, but if you are using Fedora, SUSE, Mandriva or any other non-Debian distro, you should not be posting questions to this forum.

3a. I want to do everything in the graphical environment!
Debian (Linux, Unix) is traditionally a text-based operating system. Graphical capabilities have greatly improved over the last ten years, but there are many tasks still best performed (or only performed) at the console prompt. If you really don't like to work at the console prompt, then you will never be happy working with Debian (Linux, Unix).

3b. Foofoodust 6.4.3 was released yesterday! I want to upgrade NOW! How?
Install Ubuntu. Or Mepis. Or some other Debian derivative. Debian maintainers value stability over speed. If you can't bear to wait a few days or weeks (or, occasionally, months), then Debian isn't the right distro for you.

4. What is the best grapical environment!
There is no good answer to this question. Most people new to Linux seem to like KDE. A smaller group prefers GNOME. Many peoople who have been using Linux for a while and are comfortable with it prefer something "lighter," such as Fluxbox, IceWM or Xfce. There is nothing to prevent you from installing multiple environments. You are encouraged to do just that and to decide for yourself which one is best for you.

5. Wireless networking isn't working!
The author of this FAQ has no experience setting up wireless. Would someone like to help write this section?

6. Sound isn't working! Help!
Do apt-get install alsa-base alsa-utils alsa-oss aumix-gtk. su to root and run alsaconfig. If all goes well, your audio card/chipset will be recognized and configured.

7. My computer boots to a black screen and a blinking cursor!

Congratulations! You have a basic Debian installation up and running! Now you want to install a graphical desktop environment... I'll come back to this later.
Harold
 
Posts: 1502
Joined: 2005-01-07 00:15

Postby nayoo » 2006-06-08 03:38

Harold,

I thank you for starting this FAQ project. This will be greatly helpful to the community.

I would like to add some more Questions here. For the answers, I would like to request community to contribute.

  • My monitor went black screen after the Debian installation. (Typical XFree86 or XOrg problem)
  • How to mount
    - CD-ROM
    - Floppy
    - Thumb Drive
  • How can I make Dual-Boot System
    - Debian + XP
    - Debian + BSD
    - Debian + Other Linux Distro
  • What are the standard repositories to be added in the sources.list file?
  • How can I backup my datas?
  • I'm behind the HTTP proxy server, and my "apt-get" command does not work.
  • How can I upgrade from "Stable" to "Testing"? (Sarge -> Etch)
  • How can I upgrade from "Testing" to "Unstable"? (Etch -> Sid)
  • How can I protect my Debian PC from crackers?
  • How can I install plug-ins for my webbrowser? etc..


Those above are all the questions that came to my mind to contribute to Debian forums.net FAQ project. I'm sure there are more to come.

Thank you!!
N.O
nayoo
 
Posts: 320
Joined: 2006-03-28 01:51

Postby Lou » 2006-06-08 13:57

Good move, congrats!

Suggestions:

"1. Do I need to download and burn all 14 CDs to install Debian?
CD No. 1 will give..."

I would put:

CD #1 will give...

When i first read it i thought 'No' was the opposite of 'Yes', i mention this in order to avoid confusion on the newbies' part.

2a. Sarge? Etch? Sid?
Rule of Thumb: "If you are building a workstation, install Stable and upgrade to Testing."

Why go thru that, when you can choose 'Testing' during the installation? at least with the netinstaller in my experience.

6. Sound isn't working! Help!
"Do apt-get install alsa-base alsa-utils alsa-oss aumix-gtk. su to root and run alsaconfig."

You are already root after installing the packages.

Example:
Do apt-get install alsa-base alsa-utils alsa-oss aumix-gtk...when you finished, still as root, run alsaconfig.
Lou
 
Posts: 1775
Joined: 2006-05-08 02:15


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