Debian installed without GUI - Howtos questions

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Debian installed without GUI - Howtos questions

Postby robergto » 2017-09-01 01:30

Hi there! Thanks in advance for your help and support!
I am new (NEW) to Debian. Like things the hard way, so I've installed it without DE, in order to be able to learn and study. I am glad to turn on the box and get the black screen, with the cursor and white letters.
Have a few questions I'd like to ask:

1) Is there a way to use more than one terminal? With a DE there is, of course, a way of having more than one console opened, I'd like the same result in this, now, obscure screen of mine.
2) Can the resolution be changed? I do not know if the drivers for the display are installed. So far, I got to 'know' that they are installed with xorg, which is not present. Do I need to install it, even if I plan not to use the GUI / DE?
3) Is it possible to change the colours? =D

Thanks again, and have a nice day everyone!
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Re: Debian installed without GUI - Howtos questions

Postby GarryRicketson » 2017-09-01 01:49

1 Yes
2 Yes and No,
3 yes
It is better to just ask 1 question at a time. Each question is a different topic.
Or even better just read some documentation :
https://wiki.debian.org/Console
In Debian, there are already six default virtual Consoles ready to be used. They all can be accessed using the key combination----snip--Read the documentation--

https://wiki.debian.org/ShellCommands
Code: Select all
dircolors: Colour setup for ls

Etc, etc,.....
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Re: Debian installed without GUI - Howtos questions

Postby robergto » 2017-09-01 10:28

Thanks!
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Re: Debian installed without GUI - Howtos questions

Postby furquan » 2017-09-01 11:27

1. Yes it is indeed possible. As @GarryRicketson said, Debian provides 7 TTYs by default (one is used for the X server). If you want to open multiple terminals on one TTY then you need to use a terminal-multiplexer like tmux or GNU screen (read up on those).

2. It depends. If you have no problems with your driver then the you should have no problems changing the framebuffer resolution. Look at fbset for a start.
Code: Select all
$ apt show fbset
Package: fbset
...
Description: framebuffer device maintenance program
 Program to modify settings for the framebuffer devices (/dev/fb[0-9]*
 or /dev/fb/[0-9]*) on Linux, like depth, virtual resolution, timing
 parameters etc.


3. It's easy but again it depends on what colors you want to change. If you want to change the colors of the framebuffer itself then modifying the first 16 colors is as easy as echoing a few escape sequences (if you search a bit you'll find documentation on how to do this). Kbd has a setvtrgb command which allows you to change the color map of the console (it also has other useful tools) which you can use. Either way I'd suggest you to install kbd since it has other useful features like changing the font, resizing text, etc.

And @GaryRicketson is right. These are three different issues and it would be probably better if you segregate them into different threads (in the relevant sections) or better yet, just use Google (or whatever search-engine you prefer); these are common questions and you shouldn't have any trouble looking them up. If you have problems applying those solutions then feel free to ask follow-up questions.

On a side note, I'd suggest you to install fbgrab which allows you to take screenshot of the framebuffer and gpm which provides mouse support for virtual-consoles. There are many more utilities, just look for them and you'll learn.
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Re: Debian installed without GUI - Howtos questions

Postby robergto » 2017-09-01 21:31

Hey! Thanks @furquan!
Your answer is very helpful. I have googled, I swear! =D Everything goes there first. As a matter of fact, I got lost, for many, if not all the answers I came across where gui-related. I mean, they were meant for a system installed with Desktop Environment, although they were CLI related. Therefore, many things I could not practice, for I have not selected the * in the installation menu.
Found the forum and asked. Indeed I didn't want to bother with so many threads!
So far, I can now use more than one terminal. Fantastic. There is so much info around that I get lost, I kind of do not know what to read, or where to start from. google throws so many results, and so many different infos, that it's not easy to follow. That's why I asked for your advice. For instance, I inserted a usb card and... Aha! Now what? =D

I think I'll start with a Debian Handbook I've found. Do you reckon it can be of help? Or is there something that you can recommend, kind of more practical thing. I DO want to learn to use the system, and do not know why, feel attracted to Debian, hehe.

Regards!
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Re: Debian installed without GUI - Howtos questions

Postby sunrat » 2017-09-01 22:48

robergto wrote:...
I think I'll start with a Debian Handbook I've found. Do you reckon it can be of help?

Depends how old it is. For instance, there were massive changes when Jessie was released with systemd so anything older than that will miss out on that important info.
You can use terminal interface and have a desktop environment at the same time.
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Re: Debian installed without GUI - Howtos questions

Postby robergto » 2017-09-02 01:15

Hi there @sunrat!
Say, the book is:
The Debian Administrator’s Handbook
Raphaël Hertzog and Roland Mas
And it takes Debian jessie as subject.

Well, in regard to your statement on the terminal and DE, that would have been a question, but I'd rather search on my own, and if cannot find it, ask here, again. This time, in a separate thread =D
I mean, I've installed ths system without DE, and one of the reasons is to learn to install the DE manually. I'd specially like to turn the computer on and get the CLI, and if I decide it, turn on the DE. Like old DOS and win 3.1, for instance. But it's just an idea, and will come in time.

Thanks for your help!
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Re: Debian installed without GUI - Howtos questions

Postby GarryRicketson » 2017-09-02 01:48

You might want to research "windows manager", WM, instead of "DesktopEnvironment", DE.

I like and use "OpenBox", but there are many others, "TWM" is also nice.
Image

by robergto » I inserted a usb card and... Aha! Now what? =D

Use some logic, what do you want to do with the usb card ?
Perhaps you wish to mount it ? so you can access the files ?
Code: Select all
man mount



Using the CLI one can do anything they could do using a DE, or GUI, plus one can do many things that simply are not included in any DE or GUI, What do you think the GUI uses to run the scripts and programs it does have ? It runs the commands and scripts for the programs via the console, which is the command line interface.
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Re: Debian installed without GUI - Howtos questions

Postby MALsPa » 2017-09-02 03:31

sunrat wrote:
robergto wrote:...
I think I'll start with a Debian Handbook I've found. Do you reckon it can be of help?

Depends how old it is.


The Debian Administrator's Handbook is great, in my opinion, but the version for Debian 9 isn't out yet, looks like: https://debian-handbook.info/browse/stable/

Still worth reading, even if it's old.
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Re: Debian installed without GUI - Howtos questions

Postby deborah-and-ian » 2017-09-02 03:59

Aoki's Debian Reference is also a great start (available online or as a package that provides text files or html)

https://www.debian.org/doc/manuals/debian-reference/
https://packages.debian.org/stretch/debian-reference-en
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Re: Debian installed without GUI - Howtos questions

Postby kedaha » 2017-09-02 12:05

I can't see any point in installing Debian on a home computer without a desktop environment or at least a window manager. But I would add that my preference—and I've set up my system this way— is to to boot to tty1 and then use the startx command to fire up, in my case, Mate. Why? So that I remember to read the system mail? I don't read that on my home computer but only on my server. No, it's because I take the view that as the sole user, I don't need a login screen, which is for a multi-user setup when other users are desktop users. But the default login screen is used at work where users with a Windows background use Debian.

In my opinion, it is better to learn systems administration practically, by trial and error, setting up a headless LAMP server and configuring programs from the terminal via ssh. You need to consult online documentation while you learn systems administration and doing this from a console would be tedious, time-consuming and counter-intuitive. Viewing, cutting and pasting code is essential. It can of course be done using vi or vim, as explained, for instance here, but even using split panes in your console would be quite a tall order. And often, to solve really difficult issues, one needs to do multiple online searches to find the right configuration; but imagine faffing about doing it manually using just Lynx and the keyboard! The infinite monkey theorem comes to mind. :lol: A desktop system and browser like Firefox are absolutely essential to obtain search results in a visually optimal way, not to mention the humble mouse for efficient cutting and pasting to the terminal, in preference to using the clunky keyboard.

In the way I've outlined you'll get bucket-loads of experience in command-line systems administration. A good way to start with this, if you don't have a second machine you can hook up to your router is to acquire a raspberry pi and install a GUI-less Debian system (not Raspbian!).
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Re: Debian installed without GUI - Howtos questions

Postby GarryRicketson » 2017-09-02 12:41

I remember when I first started using a computer, GUI's did not yet exist, we could not do anything involving graphics, like viewing images , etc.
by robergto »So far, I got to 'know' that they are installed with xorg, which is not present. Do I need to install it, even if I plan not to use the GUI / DE?

I strongly recommend still installing Xorg,X11,... or some sort of graphical interface
from:https://wiki.gentoo.org/wiki/Xorg/Guide#Graphical_vs_command-line

Graphical vs command-line

The average user may be frightened at the thought of having to type in commands. Why wouldn't he be able to point and click his way through the freedom provided by Gentoo (and Linux in general)? Well, of course you are able to do this! Linux offers a wide variety of flashy user interfaces and environments which you can install on top of your existing installation.

This is one of the biggest surprises new users come across: a graphical user interface is nothing more than an application which runs on your system. It is not part of the Linux kernel or any other internals of the system. It is a powerful tool that fully enables the graphical abilities of your workstation.

As standards are important, a standard for drawing and moving windows on a screen, interacting with the user through mouse, keyboard and other basic, yet important aspects has been created and named the X Window System, commonly abbreviated as X11 or just X. It is used on Unix, Linux and Unix-like operating systems throughout the world.

The application that provides Linux users with the ability to run graphical user interfaces and that uses the X11 standard is Xorg-X11, a fork of the XFree86 project. XFree86 has decided to use a license that might not be compatible with the GPL license; the use of Xorg is therefore recommended. The official Portage tree does not provide an XFree86 package anymore.

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Re: Debian installed without GUI - Howtos questions

Postby robergto » 2017-09-02 13:58

Yes! Such an ammount of info! But it is more related to what I whant, thanks everyone!

@GarryrRicketson that's EXACTLY what I was thinking of! The Windows Manager, that's the way I'd like to see windows and stuff. Great! I'll reserch on that. It would have taken me more time to get there from google, for sure. Oh, and by the way, searched on the usb usage and found about 'mount' and its meaning, which I had no idea about. You know, as a Windows user I am used to insert stick, hear a noise, see contents. Now I get that I have to know where it is in the system, /dev/sdb1 in mine, and make a mountpoint, mount it, read it. Fantastic. And that's the think, what you state in the last part of your post. I want to learn the basics, what the system does, how he (not 'it', please) manages things, the filesystem and how everything is done.
What a great thing you say, about using a machine with no graphics. I was quite a kid, but indeed have the same scenario. I had a 286 machine, with an ambar monochromatic monitor, with the DOS prompt, and no hard disk! That is the main reason to begin with the CLI in Debian. I'll check the xorg thing, and the windows manager too.

@MALsPa Thanks for your advice, I have already started with it. Since I have installed jessie, there it goes.

@deborah-and-ian Great, I'll check it. Did not know about its existance.

@kedaha Hi there. My point is to learn. I have another computer by the side of the Debian box. Must I say, with windows 7 and all the graphical interface. I want to learn from scratch, from 'ls' to the most complicated tasks. I do not have problem in writing down things in papers, which I do a lot, and then typing them in the command line. One of the things I'd also like to learn is what you talk about, LAMP and stuff. Like setting up a SMTP server, to be my own hotmail =D but I am still in the 'ls' and 'clear' commands! In fact, I have some other machines and plan to get myself a router, in order to get a LAN going, and learn about networks and the like. I guess that when I reach 90, or 91, I'll be good at it! =D Thanks for your advice, much appreciated.

:)
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Re: Debian installed without GUI - Howtos questions

Postby furquan » 2017-09-02 18:01

robergto wrote:Hey! Thanks @furquan!
Your answer is very helpful. I have googled, I swear! =D Everything goes there first. As a matter of fact, I got lost, for many, if not all the answers I came across where gui-related. I mean, they were meant for a system installed with Desktop Environment, although they were CLI related.


Yeah most of the information around the web assumes that you have a graphical interface installed which is not your case. But if you search specifically for the console then you will find relevant information; for example searching for "change tty colors" gives a lot of useful hits.

robergto wrote:So far, I can now use more than one terminal. Fantastic. There is so much info around that I get lost, I kind of do not know what to read, or where to start from. google throws so many results, and so many different infos, that it's not easy to follow. That's why I asked for your advice.

If you are a beginner and are using a search-engine to learn things then there might be a lot that you won't understand. Some of the topics require the knowledge of others hence the reason that some of the information found this way could appear cryptic and hard to follow. But as I said before if you search for specific things then chances are, you'll get specific results; either way

Pardon my terseness because I assumed that you know most of the basic operation of the command-line (such as moving around in directories, installing and removing packages, etc.). But as of now, it's best to leave out things like changing the resolution (if you're having video-driver issues then open a separate thread in the relevant section); other things like changing the color-scheme might be as easy as copying a few lines to your .profile.

robergto wrote:I think I'll start with a Debian Handbook I've found. Do you reckon it can be of help? Or is there something that you can recommend, kind of more practical thing. I DO want to learn to use the system, and do not know why, feel attracted to Debian, hehe.


I don't know much about the Debian Handbook itself (though if it targets Jessie then it might be a little old since Jessie is oldstable) but any guide about the CLI intended for a beginner should be sufficient. Avoid documentation which is meant to be used as reference rather than a tutorial or a guide; for example manpages are usually meant as a reference and as such aren't a good learning source. If I were to recommend a source then I would recommend "Introduction to Linux" by Machtelt Garrels which contains useful information for a beginner learning Linux; covering both the command-line and the graphical environment. But unfortunately, as with many TLDP projects, it has aged and is not really up-to-date with information. So I'll recommend The Linux Command Line by William Shotts instead. It's available as a free-ebook, downloadable in PDF format (link: http://linuxcommand.org/tlcl.php), you should probably check it out since it's intended for beginners like you.

But either way you have to learn the basics of your current environment first (installing new software, keeping the system up-to-date, managing repos, etc.). For this the Debian-Wiki should be sufficient (Here's a good start, read all the linked pages to get a good grasp on the environment you're in).

On installing a WM, it's up to you if you want a graphical-environment or not, although it does help smooth some things up. I won't recommend any particular WM (though I found i3 particularly good, both in terms of performance and configurability, which matter little to you right now) but any easy to use, lightweight WM should suffice. If you want then you can even install a lightweight desktop-environment (I'll recommend Xfce since LXQt is dead). Should you decide to go that route, installing Xfce (for example) is as easy as typing:
Code: Select all
[as root] apt install xfce4

Don't get turned off by the 'lightweight' tag though, Xfce can look pretty if you want it to. You can install other WMs/DEs the same way and it would probably help you to use a dock or something like that if you use a graphical-environment on a regular basis.

Right now you might get inundated with information but the trick is to learn the basics and then make your way upwards (if you do it the other way around you'll only get confused); if you master the basics the rest won't be hard to follow. As of now, focus on the environment first, the shell comes later.
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Re: Debian installed without GUI - Howtos questions

Postby GarryRicketson » 2017-09-02 18:11

Just a note, I am using xfce4-terminal, without the entire xfce DE, the terminal emulator can be installed without the entire DE.
==============edited=========
Just playing around here, every one knows about the 'whoami' command ,
so I invented a new command "whoareyou"
Code: Select all
$ whoareyou
I am your pc
OpenBSD garry.org 6.1 GENERIC.MP#5 i386
Anything else ?
$

Another fun program for the CLI:
Code: Select all
apt-get install sl

It corrects the user if they make a mistake and type "sl" instead of "ls".
To test it, just type 'sl' at the prompt, and see what happens.
https://packages.debian.org/stretch/sl
also this:
https://packages.debian.org/stretch/sysvbanner

Not Debian, but same effect:
Code: Select all
$ banner I like the CLI
  ###
   #
   #
   #
   #
   #
  ###


 #          #    #    #  ######
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  #####  #    #  ######
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    #    ######  #####
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 #####  #         ###
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 #####  #######   ###

$
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