is the computer operating system that I use when I get to choose. It's a version of the GNU/Linux operating system that's developed cooperatively by people around the globe. It's very stable, very high-quality, and you can decide for yourself whether you want older, more proven software, newer software, or bleeding-edge software. Freedom and control. Sweeeet.
It's also somewhat more difficult to install than its commercial counterparts, so most people start with Fedora or Ubuntu first. You can get more info about Debian (and the operating system itself!) at http://www.debian.org/
- this is a small file that allows you to burn an installation CD that gets most of its files from the net. It's much quicker than downloading an ISO because you only get the files that you need.
- install the smallest number of packages possible during the initial install process. I've found that it's better to get a minimal system up and running and then add packages to it later.
Before installation make sure that you unplug the power cord
for a few seconds and then plug it back in. Modern machines don't always power down completely, sometimes they stay awake enough to see network events and I've had problems with the kernel not being able to initialize devices like network cards as a result. It's best to get a fresh start.
After installation check:
- is all of the system memory recognized (i.e.
cat /proc/meminfo)? If not you might need to use a HIGHMEM enabled kernel, or pass the amount of memory into
- if you've got more than one cpu, are they all recognized (i.e.
cat /proc/cpuinfo)? If not then you might need to recompile the kernel with SMP support.
- are the disk drives using DMA (i.e.
hdparm -d /dev/hda)?
Before you walk away from the console:
installing using chroot
- add one non-root account (Debian by default doesn't let root log in remotely)
- install ssh server and client
- ssh to another machine and then back again (just to test that you can)
- this seems like a good way to get debian onto a machine which isn't supported by Debian's installer, perhaps one with funky kernel drivers like my Compaq DL-380. http://lists.debian.org/debian-user/2002/debian-user-200204/msg01010.html
- Debian by default appears to install just the "C" locale, but you can do a little work to get many more languages. You need to install the
and pick the languages that you want. They'll be generated when you leave the program. The language codes are listed in
and there are aliases in
. To switch the locale set the
environment variable, e.g.
$ LANG=fr_FR.ISO-8859-1 hello
Bonjour, le monde!
fan speed control
automatically mounting devices
GNOME 2.8 (in sid now) supports auto actions when devices (such as thumb drives and digital cameras) are plugged in. Here are my notes on getting it to work.
First make sure that you've got the right packages installed. I needed to install
(and all of the other packages that apt-get pulled in).
One of the packages that gets pulled in is
which is a daemon that manages the device files in
doesn't auto-load modules the way devfs used to, so you probably want to load the modules that you need by listing them in
. In my case I needed to load
since I've got a serial mouse. On another machine I needed to load
to get the OSS emulation device files.
Make sure that you've got the devices that you need for your USB bus: http://www.linux-usb.org/FAQ.html
. I needed
reducing disk I/O
quote from the article:
USB device permission
- Set the spin down time for the hard drive using sdparm.
- Use noatime on all mounted disks.
- Run syslogd with "-m 0" to get rid of the 20-minutes "--MARK--" entries. (For debian, set it in /etc/init.d/sysklogd)
- Of course, only run stuff you actually need
- And the final step, just figured out: Mount /var/run on a tmpfs. Daemons like openvpn seem to write there on regular intervals, so keep these away from the hard drive.
I had a problem where Debian would see that a camera was plugged in but I could only list the files on it (e.g.
) as root. It turns out that there's a group called
that controls access to the
files that are used to talk to the camera.
By Unix tradition the system hardware clock is set to UTC, but Windows expects it to be set to local time. You can edit this in
sets the time zone.
You probably want to shut the PC speaker off - it's very annoying. Add
- installing codecs (including MP3)
Debian tends to be conservative about the versions of software that they include in their stable distribution, but sometimes you want to be more cutting-edge. There's a repository of Iceweasel backports at http://mozilla.debian.net/
so you can install newer versions of the browser on older versions of Debian.
- list of keyboard rules
- The content of this file will be appended to the keyboard layout
$ setupcon -k
- reload the console keyboard map
(via the link
which is a shell script that reads
- keyboard options. I like to add:
to this file to make Emacs much easier to use in both X and the console.
Setting up an Email Server