HOWTO: Lenny Minimal Install

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HOWTO: Lenny Minimal Install

Postby Lou » 2010-08-18 03:22

This howto is dedicated to newcomers, newbies, FNGs, and the rest of the
pilgrims and wannabes.

My desktop has an Atom processor, Intel integrated board, 1 gig of RAM, a cdrom,
an sda 160 gigs hd, a couple of Altec speakers my neighbor was gonna throw away,
a $6 spanish kbd and a $4 mouse. The tower cost me $100 second hand of course. I
explain this so you know you don't need a top of the line box.

I burned the Lenny netinstall cd (~180 MB), inserted the cd, rebooted, at the
prompt i hit TAB, a line with parameters come up, i changed "vga=normal" for
"vga=791" and added "bootkbd=es" (i got a spanish keyboard) and "expert". Push
Enter and away we go!

I choose the language (English), the country (Panama), the keyboard (Spanish),
the screen with DHCP comes up, and it auto-configures, next i give my box a name
(foo), next i type my isp domain: (cableonda.com).

Next i choose the country for my mirror (USA), the debian server i want, leave
the proxy screen as is and go forward, the partition screen comes up.

I choose the Guided option and gave Debian the whole hard drive. Chose the
partition scheme that gives me the following: /, /home, /var, /usr, /var, and
/tmp. Took the default Ext3 file system, i make sure the boot option in / is
"on" and say yes to formatting the disk. Debian will be the only OS. At this
point the partition is over and i write the changes to the hard drive, starts
formatting. The next step is to install the base system, it installs the kernel
2.6.26-2-686.

Next i enter the user name and password twice, next the password for Root twice.
WRITE THIS IN A PIECE OF PAPER FOR LATER USE!

Next, comes the APT configuration, i choose the USA repositories, back on the
main installation menu is the Packages Installation. A menu comes with the
options "Desktop Environment" and another one i can't remember, disable both of
them with the space bar, so nothing is installed.

I install GRUB to the MBR and the installation is finished, the installation cd
is expelled and the machine reboots.

When it comes back you are facing a black screen with the word
Code: Select all
login:


Write 'root', press Enter, you'll see the word 'password' enter your root
password, press Enter and now you're 'root' (#)

Only as root you can install, uninstall, edit files not on your /home, etc.
So now we update/upgrade the system:
Code: Select all
# apt-get update && apt-get dist-upgrade

blah, blah, ok it's over, now packages installation:
Code: Select all
# apt-get install xorg gnome-core

OR
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# apt-get install xorg kde-core

After it finishes installing your favorite desktop environment, you have to
enter the X system as a normal user, you exit root and become user.
Code: Select all
# exit (Enter)
login: username (Enter)
password: xxxxx (Enter)

now you're user (whatever name you chose)
Example:
Code: Select all
macondo@foo:~$ startx (press Enter)


Badda bing! you're in like Flynn! in your brand new desktop, you're a genius! :)

*********************************************************************************

If you're a sicko like me, you only install window managers and independent apps.
After you do the apt-get update/dist-upgrade, you install your favorites:
my video card is Intel.
Code: Select all
# apt-get update && apt-get install xserver-xorg-video-intel xinit rxvt-unicode ratpoison menu sudo feh xfonts-terminus unrar elinks numlockx unclutter iceweasel xchat firestarter sysvconfig less zip unzip bzip2 locate debfoster localepurge preload scrot sylpheed brasero gpm gv ntpdate pcmanfm

$ startx (Enter)

bye bye!

Note: in the next section which explains the configuration, some apps will be installed from the Backports repositories (or repos) you gotta start learning the lingo.
Last edited by Lou on 2010-09-15 16:31, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Lenny Minimal Install

Postby MeanDean » 2010-08-18 03:52

if I may add a note....

I would suggest installing without recommended packages if you want to keep it slim.
If you using apt-get then use the --no-install-recommends option
for gnome
apt-get install xorg gnome-core --no-install-recommends
for kde
apt-get install xorg kde-core --no-install-recommends

If you want a really slim install of kde/gnome without extra software then do not go with even the -core package but instead install the separate packages.
for gnome:
apt-get install metacity gnome-session gnome-panel gnome-applets nautilus --no-install-recommends
or
for kde:
apt-get install ksmserver kwin konqueror kicker --no-install-recommends
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Re: Lenny Minimal Install

Postby Lou » 2010-08-18 11:14

You are absolutely right Dean, my bad! I guess not installing gnome/kde ever, has its drawbacks :)

Please feel free to improve this howto!
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Re: HOWTO: Lenny Minimal Install

Postby gerry » 2010-08-20 19:57

Wow! I never thought I'd be giving Lou advice! My computer is an old Intel Celeron 600MHz, 256MB ram machine, which I decided at the last moment not to throw away. For a minimal install, don't even think about Gnome or KDE, just go for Xorg, your favourite window manager, and whatever apps you feel like. One luxury I have allowed myself is Synaptic, so that I could look for a light PDF viewer and so on. I've tried various window managers, but like Icewm best. Need a lot more command line use than a full install would, but it's all straightforward. And I use startx, because even Slim adds 15 seconds to the boot time.

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Re: HOWTO: Lenny Minimal Install

Postby Lou » 2010-08-20 20:26

gerry wrote:Wow! I never thought I'd be giving Lou advice!

Why not? I learn from everybody; but in this case, you misunderstood the intention of the howto.

gerry wrote:My computer is an old Intel Celeron 600MHz, 256MB ram machine, which I decided at the last moment not to throw away. For a minimal install, don't even think about Gnome or KDE, just go for Xorg, your favourite window manager, and whatever apps you feel like.


Remember, i wrote the howto for newbies (first sentence in the article) so i kept it simple (install xorg + gnome-core/kde-core), they don't know crapola about window managers. Later on in the howto, i explained you could install any window manager and whatever apps you wanted (ratpoison et.al.) and gave an example.

Lou wrote:# apt-get update && apt-get install xserver-xorg-video-intel xinit rxvt-unicode ratpoison menu sudo feh xfonts-terminus unrar elinks numlockx unclutter iceweasel xchat firestarter sysvconfig less zip unzip bzip2 locate debfoster localepurge preload scrot sylpheed brasero gpm gv ntpdate

Is this minimal or what?

gerry wrote: One luxury I have allowed myself is Synaptic, so that I could look for a light PDF viewer and so on. I've tried various window managers, but like Icewm best. Need a lot more command line use than a full install would, but it's all straightforward. And I use startx, because even Slim adds 15 seconds to the boot time.


Synaptic is for wimps and it weighs a ton. PDF viewer? gv.
Icewm is one of the best if not the best. No mention of 'slim' in the howto, just startx. Read the howto again, i fail to see your point :)
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Re: HOWTO: Lenny Minimal Install

Postby anticapitalista » 2010-08-20 21:23

IMO Lou missed out a must to install:

# apt-get install bash-completion

(I think this is omitted from the netinstall.iso, but I may be thinking of a debootstrap install)

Edit: and for sound

# apt-get install moc

should bring in necessary audio packages.
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Re: HOWTO: Lenny Minimal Install

Postby Lou » 2010-08-20 21:46

anticapitalista wrote:IMO Lou missed out a must to install:

# apt-get install bash-completion

(I think this is omitted from the netinstall.iso, but I may be thinking of a debootstrap install)


Hi anti, i never install bash-completion and it's always there, especially when i install a .deb, maybe now that i'm using Sid is different.

anticapitalista wrote:Edit: and for sound

# apt-get install moc

should bring in necessary alsa packages.


I know nothing about music, never install it, as long as i can watch videos on youtube and listen to them, that's enough for me :)
I can't listen to music and type, nor chew gum and walk!
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Re: HOWTO: Lenny Minimal Install

Postby gerry » 2010-08-21 07:06

@ Lou- I did understand your post. Maybe my reply didn't say what I really meant: the words "minimal install" and "Gnome" or "KDE" don't (in my opinion) go together.

And I also meant that I support you in advocating the use of "startx" in a minimal install, because, as an illustration of why one might want to do this, and why it's not just an example of what one can do without, it actually saves me 15secs at boot time.

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Re: HOWTO: Lenny Minimal Install

Postby Lou » 2010-08-21 12:57

Amen!
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Re: HOWTO: Lenny Minimal Install

Postby nadir » 2010-08-21 23:57

The how-to is good, see this as nitpicking:
Remember, i wrote the howto for newbies (first sentence in the article) so i kept it simple (install xorg + gnome-core/kde-core), they don't know crapola about window managers.

If one is a newbie and installs gnome-core: It looks like crap and you need to hunt for the packages you need. No big fun.
If you want to set it to "low-resources" you first need to install gconf-editor. Etc.
Perhaps xfce4 is a better base for such a purpose (its small for an environment, its fast for an environment, but it offers all the comfort a newbie might dream of, if you add the xfce4-goodies you get a bit of extra-fun, but you may configure it without that). I am not sure if the same is valid for lxde, i for one have got problems with it (doesn't say much).

Not everything can be said at once, and i think it is right that the stock newbie will want either gnome or kde. What i just posted came to my mind when re-reading your how-to.
I got a short summary how to strip down gnome a bit. If i find it, and you like, i may add it here.
"I am not fine with it, so there is nothing for me to do but stand aside." M.D.
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Re: HOWTO: Lenny Minimal Install

Postby Lou » 2010-08-22 00:32

nadir: my main concern was for them to have Debian installed. What you say is valid, XFCE and LXDE look good and are fast, no arguments :)
This howto is open to all kinds of contributions, please add your part, the main thing is for them to be able to enjoy Debian. I get tired of answering the same questions :)
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Re: HOWTO: Lenny Minimal Install

Postby nadir » 2010-08-22 02:10

It's by far not as much i have assumed it would be.

So: assuming you follow the how-to by Lou to do a minimal installation of
Debian, but you want to use gnome-core. (if you use kde you may do most of it from kde-systemsettings)
You use minimal cause you want to keep it fast (cause you have to or cause you want to)

You may speed it up a bit, if you do (some of ) the following:

1)apt-get install gconf-editor.
Open it from the main-panel (applications -> system-tools-> configuration editor) and do the following:
-apps -> metacity -> general -> set to low_resources
-desktop-> gnome -> interface, -> deselect enable_animations
- apps -> nautilus -> desktop -> remove the desktop-icons

2)apt-get install gtk2-engines-xfce
You can choose one of them, for example, with lxappearance, gtk-theme-switch or gtk-chtheme.
(perhaps you can set it from gnome, but i wouldn't know how. Mhh...looks like panel->preferences->appearance->theme->customize->control). I like xfce-cadmium or xfce-4.4

3)If you can live with it remove the wallpaper and make use of a coloured background instead.
You can do this from the main-panel:
system ->preference ->appearance -> background.
Choosing colors/vertical gradient doesn't look that bad.

4)To make gnome-core look a bit better you will want to install gnome-themes and gnome-themes-extra
(the gnome-themes might or might not come with a gnome-core installation. What comes with it looks bad).

5)You can also use a different window-manager than the default one of gnome (metacity)
You can use at minimum icewm, e16, openbox and perhaps others as the window-manager of gnome. You may do it from gconf-editor too. I never had the feeling it would speed it up.
If i use gnome i want to use metacity. Might be me.

6)At least in my experience gnome-terminal is slow and uses some RAM. Consider using either xterm (which should already be there)
or roxterm (which offers the usual comfort, but needs to be installed). Perhaps tilda.

There are a few more things you might try ( vm.swappines&cache pressure in /etc/sysctl.conf, nice_value in /etc/X11/Xwrapper.config , remove services with sysv-rc-conf, use preload/prelink, etc),
but they are not gnome-related. Besides that i am not sure if they really change a lot and how they work exactly.
Search the how-to section for it or search for the word <speed> at forums.debian.net (say you might use: this one + the links to be found there. Also searching for <Lou> in the how-to section will pop up a lot when you want to save resources)

Setting gnome to low-resources with gconf-editor is already a big step forward. Try the rest if that doesn't do enough for you.
Hope this helps. :-) (just did all of it and xfce is still way faster, nearly like fluxbox).

PS: i have to reread and recheck that tomorrow. It is quite late now.
If it doesn't relate to the purpose of the how-to let me know, and i will remove it. No problem with that.
"I am not fine with it, so there is nothing for me to do but stand aside." M.D.
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Re: HOWTO: Lenny Minimal Install

Postby Lou » 2010-08-22 14:05

nadir:
It's fine, the more, the merrier, thanks for the contribution.
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