Installing Debian GNU/Linux 4.0r9

Debian GNU/Linux 4.0 has been superseded by Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 (lenny). Some of these installation images may no longer be available, or may no longer work, and you are recommended to install lenny instead.

To install Debian GNU/Linux 4.0r9 (etch), download any of the following images:

netinst CD image (generally 135-175 MB)

businesscard CD image (generally 20-50 MB)

other images (netboot, usb stick, etc.)



If you read only one document before installing, read our Installation Howto, a quick walkthrough of the installation process. Other useful documentation includes:


This is a list of known problems in the installer shipped with Debian GNU/Linux 4.0r9. If you have experienced a problem installing Debian and do not see your problem listed here, please send us an installation report describing the problem or check the wiki for other known problems.

Errata for release 4.0r3

This release fixes the two issues listed below for 4.0r2.

Errata for release 4.0r2

This release fixes the serial console setup with GRUB issue listed below for the 4.0r0 release.

Due to an oversight, the installer does not use the kernel version released with 4.0r2, but a slightly older one (2.6.18.dfsg.1-13). Modules loaded later in the installation may be from a later version (2.6.18.dfsg.1-16), but as these two versions are ABI compatible, this should not cause any problems.

For the same reason, the added support for Nevada SGI O2 machines mentioned in the release announcement is not actually included in this release.

These two issues will be corrected with the next point release for Etch.

Errata for release 4.0r1

This new release fixes a few problems present in the original 4.0r0 release. More USB CD drives will be detected and gksu will be correctly configured when installed with the root account disabled (sudo mode). The creation of ext2 filesystems on amd64 is now possible.

The mirror list has also been updated, along with Catalan and Romanian translations of the partitioner.

With the update of the kernel for this release, some of the installer images originally released with etch 4.0r0 (netboot and floppies) will no longer work due to a kernel version mismatch. CD-based installations are not affected.

Errata for release 4.0r0

Disk devices may change on reboot
On systems with multiple disk controllers, the kernel/udev may assign a different device node on reboot of the system than was used during installation due to difference in load order of drivers.
This can lead to failure to boot the system. In most cases this can be corrected by changing the bootloader configuration and /etc/fstab, possibly using the rescue mode of the installer.
Note however that this problem may occur again on subsequent boots. Fixing this issue has priority for the next release of Debian installer.
Resizing of existing ext3 partitions may fail
The installer is currently not able to resize ext3 partitions that have the dir_index and/or resize_inode features enabled. This includes ext3 partitions created with the Etch installer.
You can however manually resize an ext3 partition during installation. Proceed until the partitioning step, use the <Go Back> button to exit to the main menu, start a shell, and resize the file system and partition using the commands available in the shell (fsck.ext3, resize2fs and e.g. fdisk or parted). If you start partman again after completing the resize operation, it should show the new size of the partition.
Error using loop-aes encryption during hd-media install
If loop-aes encryption is used during an installation using the hd-media images (e.g. from USB stick), this may fail with the following (or similar) error message in the syslog (#434027):
partman-crypto: ioctl: LOOP_SET_STATUS: Invalid argument, requested cipher or key length (256 bits) not supported by kernel.
Cause of this issue is that early in the installation the CD image will have been loop-mounted using the regular loop module, which prevents the loop-aes module from being loaded later.
It is possible to work around this issue by manually unmounting the CD image, unloading the loop module, loading the loop-aes module, and remounting the CD image.
Incomplete installation of Desktop task from full CD
The full CD image is too small to contain all packages needed to install the complete Desktop task. This means that if you only use the CD as a source, only part of the Desktop task will be installed.
You can resolve this either during the installation by choosing to use a network mirror as a source to install packages in addition to the CD (not recommended if you don't have a decent internet connection), or after you have rebooted into the installed system by using apt-cdrom to load additional CDs and then selecting the Desktop task again in aptitude.
Buggy routers may cause network problems
If you experience network problems during the installation, this may be caused by a router somewhere between you and the Debian mirror that doesn't correctly handle window scaling. See #401435 and this kerneltrap article for details.
You can work around this issue by disabling TCP window scaling. Activate a shell and enter the following command:
echo 0 > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/tcp_window_scaling
For the installed system you should probably not completely disable TCP window scaling. The following command will set ranges for reading and writing that should work with almost any router:
echo 4096 65536 65536 >/proc/sys/net/ipv4/tcp_rmem
echo 4096 65536 65536 >/proc/sys/net/ipv4/tcp_wmem
General issues after reboot because of UTF-8 default
The installed system is now set to UTF-8 by default. However, not all applications properly support UTF-8 yet, which may result in minor or major problems when using them.
Please check if such problems have been reported yet and, if not, file a bug report against the relevant package (not the installer).
Limited localization of installed system
For the Sarge version of the installer the package localization-config was responsible for part of the localization of the installed system. This package ran as part of base-config, which has been dropped in the release. Adapting localization-config to run before the reboot is on our TODO list, but meanwhile some localization may not be done automatically when installing in languages other than English.
Installation of Sarge not supported
As a result of some structural changes in the installer, installation of Sarge (oldstable) is not supported.
Graphical installer
The graphical installer still has some known issues (see also the Installation Guide):
  • some non-US keymaps are not fully supported (deadkeys and combining characters do not work)
  • touchpads should work, but support may not be optimal; if you experience problems, you should use an external mouse instead
  • limited support for creating encrypted partitions
  • should work on almost all PowerPC systems that have an ATI graphics card, but is unlikely to work on other PowerPC systems
False warning about missing swap when installing the laptop task
When the laptop task is installed, a incorrect warning will be issued by the uswsusp package saying No swap partition found; userspace software suspend will not work. This is only a incorrect warning and software suspend should work correctly. See also bug #427104.
Network driver sky2 known to be broken
The sky2 network driver is known to be broken in the kernel (2.6.18.dfsg.1-11) used in the installer and may cause kernel panics. See for example #404107. #411115 contains a series of patches that may fix the issues.
i386/amd64: serial console setup with GRUB
There are some issues with the way the installer tries to setup GRUB to use a serial console. Full details can be found in the bug report #416310. Briefly, these issues can be resolved by ensuring that the parity and bits options are also passed in the console= definition.
For most people this will mean that instead of booting the installer with console=ttyS0,9600 you should use console=ttyS0,9600n8.
i386: booting the installer may fail on some older systems
Due to a regression in the syslinux bootloader used for most installer images, some older systems may fail to boot the installer. If the boot halts after displaying Loading initrd.gz...., you should try one of the alternative images that use an older version of syslinux. See also bug report #415992.
amd64: formatting an ext2 file system is not possible (fixed in 4.0r1)
Because the ext2 kernel module is not available, it is not possible to create an ext2 file system. This will be fixed with the next update of the installer for Etch.
powerpc: various issues
The PowerPC port has several issues in this release:
  • installation from floppy on OldWorld PowerMac is broken because no device node is created for the swim3 module and as miboot is not included
  • the snd-powermac module is no longer loaded by default as it will lock up some systems; you will need to add it to /etc/modules manually
sparc: CD installs for sparc32 may fail
The esp kernel driver module is broken which means that installation from CD-ROM is broken for most sparc32 systems. We suggest you use the netboot installation method instead.
sparc: installer appears to hang during boot
There are two situations where the installer may appear to hang during boot after displaying Booting Linux.... The first is when there are two graphics controllers present (this is also described in the installation guide). The second is due to a bug in the kernel's ATI framebuffer driver and affects only certain ATI graphics cards.
In both cases the issue can be worked around by adding the parameter video=atyfb:off when booting the installer.
s390: unsupported features
  • support for the DASD DIAG discipline is currently not available
  • support for LCS network interfaces is no longer available