This section will help you determine which different media types you can use to install Debian. There is a whole chapter devoted to media, Chapter 4, Obtaining System Installation Media, which lists the advantages and disadvantages of each media type. You may want to refer back to this page once you reach that section.
Whenever you see “CD-ROM” in this manual, it applies to both CD-ROMs and DVD-ROMs, because both technologies are really the same from the operating system's point of view.
CD-ROM based installation is supported for most architectures.
The network can be used during the installation to retrieve files needed for the installation. Whether the network is used or not depends on the installation method you choose and your answers to certain questions that will be asked during the installation. The installation system supports most types of network connections (including PPPoE, but not ISDN or PPP), via either HTTP or FTP. After the installation is completed, you can also configure your system to use ISDN and PPP.
You can also boot the installation system over the network without needing any local media like CDs/DVDs or USB sticks. If you already have a netboot-infrastructure available (i.e. you are already running DHCP and TFTP services in your network), this allows an easy and fast deployment of a large number of machines. Setting up the necessary infrastructure requires a certain level of technical experience, so this is not recommended for novice users.
Diskless installation, using network booting from a local area network and NFS-mounting of all local filesystems, is another option.
Booting the installation system directly from a hard disk is another option for many architectures. This will require some other operating system to load the installer onto the hard disk. This method is only recommended for special cases when no other installation method is available.
Although the SPARC does not allow booting from SunOS (Solaris), you can install from a SunOS partition (UFS slices).
If you are running another Unix-like system, you could use it to install
Debian GNU/Linux without using the
debian-installer described in the rest of this
manual. This kind of install may be useful for users with otherwise
unsupported hardware or on hosts which can't afford downtime. If you
are interested in this technique, skip to the Section D.3, “Installing Debian GNU/Linux from a Unix/Linux System”. This installation method is only recommended
for advanced users when no other installation method is available.
The Debian installer contains a kernel which is built to maximize the number of systems it runs on.
Any storage system supported by the Linux kernel is also supported by the boot system. The following SCSI drivers are supported in the default kernel:
NCR and Symbios 53C8XX
IDE systems (such as the UltraSPARC 5) are also supported. See Linux for SPARC Processors FAQ for more information on SPARC hardware supported by the Linux kernel.