Justin Mason wrote:
>Hi ILUG --
>>guess what -- I'm switching. I've just ordered a new IBM Thinkpad T40,
>and I'm planning to change the habit of 5 years (or so) and put Debian on
>it instead of Dead Rat/Fedora. However, this'll be only the second Debian
>install-from-CD I've ever performed.
>>Now, I know Debian has some wierd "this is the default, but you're
>expected to know not to use it" features during the CD install; for
>example, my first attempt a few years ago died tragically during a
>frustration-filled battle with dselect. (grr.)
>>So, given that I'm planning to get 2.6.1 running with ext3, XFree86 4.3.x,
>and KDE 3.2, any other gotchas I should watch out for? So far I've
>>- watch out for absurd crap in default Stinkpad configuration (namely,
> don't boot it without booting into linux first and renaming a Windows
> filesystem conversion tool, as WinXP will convert its nice FAT32 fs
> into NTFS at first boot, which is a bitch to resize).
>>ASPLinux saved me from a similar fate. Asked Dell to ship laptop with
FAT, but it arrived NTFS! First thing I did, a minimal ASPLinux
install, shrinking the NTFS, then I blew out ASPLinux and reformatted
the rest of the drive. At the time there was nothing Free out there to
shrink NTFS, but at least the ASPLinux CD could be downloaded and
distributed (even if you did have to basically run an installation to do
>- install from Woody CD 1, as "unstable" and "testing" are Not
> Recommended for CD installs
>>>You could install from one of the tests of the new installer
http://www.debian.org/devel/debian-installer/. It's rapidly coming
together (it already works in general) for x86 anyway and think it will
do you just fine!
>- use "bf24" at the boot prompt to get a 2.4.x kernel
>>>If you use the new beta installer you will get a 2.4 kernel.
>- don't use dselect, it is the spawn of the devil
>>>I use apt-cache search|show to see what I want. Then I use command
line apt-get! I always use -u so I will get to confirm it if it wants
to do anything extra. There's also tasksel which can get you up and
running to start with (i.e. X, compilers, desktop, basic servers). I
always seem to end up going mad whenever I try to use aptitude or one of
the gui's but it's probably my fault. I just don't get my system in a
twist (be it the actual system or the package management systems front
end) and it's usually very easy to get what you need installed..
>- after basic install, edit sources.list and s/stable/unstable/, then
> apt-get update and dist-upgrade
>>>If you've come from a testing install, then put testing and unstable in
there. Then when you install new software you can choose to try and
pull it out of testing with -t testing. This provides some isolation
from the possible randomness of unstable, and except for specific needs
(which you pull from unstable, including their dependencies which need
upgrading). So "apt-get -u -t testing packagename". At least it will
keep you paying more attention to just what is being upgraded when you
go to pull packages from unstable. Just remember that you have to
watch for security announcements if you use testing, as
security.debian.org doesn't distribute new packages for testing.
Testing is coming together into sarge at the moment and a lot of stuff
is there (KDE is still back on 2.x though) and you'll probably find that
nearly all your system will be happy with testing though bits and pieces
will get pulled from unstable. Once you have conherent packages for
something, it will probably stay that way until you step in to try and
update something again which requires you going dipping back into
unstable, but you will stay aware of all of this and heence be far less
likely to break your system (it's called unstable for a reason, however
stable the upstream and/or the packages in their might be).
A dist-upgrade to unstable is a slightly radom thing and is far from
guaranteed to work at any time. By simply starting on sarge and then
upgrading things you really need you should find it easier to keep a
consistent system. There seems to be an unstable based
debian-installer cd aswell though, so you could just go straight for
unstable and ignore the upgrade or dist-upgrade altogether!
>- get 2.6.1, XFree86 4.3, and KDE 3.2 up and running after that point
>>>Now you've reached funtime! I think I'd start with getting
kernel-package, then I'd read it's guidance on converting machines to
2.6 as a starting point, it should outline the packages you need and
everything you need to know to compile your own 2.6 kernel package!
Alternatively just go for it with a debian 2.6.0-test kernel and see how
There are numerous sources for XFree86 packages for Debian, I had used
some found from apt-get.org previously, but would probably go for
experminetal now (though it could hit unstable before your laptop
arrives). As for kde, you'll have to pull that from an external source
(kde have binaries for Woody or apt-get.org turns up to cvs builds from
january 3 or 26) or build it yourself.
>- engrave "Elbereth" on the floor if dselect shows up and attacks.
>>>Any other tips?
>>>One tip is knoppix (www.knoppix.net is a good starting point). It's a
great easy way to check out the hardware and have a working config to
Another is #debian at irc.debian.org when you are having debian problems!
The best advice I can give is if you are used to administering a system,
then do a minimal debian install (base only) and then set it up piece by
piece. Follow the debian way (i.e. stick to debian packages, or at
least debian developers packages) unless you really have to/want to
digress, cause at some stage whatever changes you make you'll likely
want to reverse out and it just mightn't be that straightforward (all
depends on what you've installed from where and how you've dealt with
any interactions with dpkg). Of course it all depends what you want to
ultimately use your system for.
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