D.5. The Graphical Installer

The graphical version of the installer is only available for a limited number of architectures, including PowerPC. The functionality of the graphical installer is essentially the same as that of the regular installer as it basically uses the same programs, but with a different frontend.

Although the functionality is identical, the graphical installer still has a few significant advantages. The main advantage is that it supports more languages, namely those that use a character set that cannot be displayed with the regular newt frontend. It also has a few usability advantages such as the option to use a mouse, and in some cases several questions can be displayed on a single screen.

For PowerPC, currently only an experimental mini ISO image is available[25]. It should work on almost all PowerPC systems that have an ATI graphical card, but is unlikely to work on other systems.

Just as with the regular installer it is possible to add boot parameters when starting the graphical installer.


The graphical installer requires significantly more memory to run than the regular installer: 170MB. If insufficient memory is available, it will automatically fall back to the regular newt frontend.

If the amount of memory in your system is below 32MB, the graphical installer may fail to boot at all while booting the regular installer would still work. Using the regular installer is recommended for systems with little available memory.

D.5.1. Using the graphical installer

As already mentioned, the graphical installer basically works the same as the regular installer and thus the rest of this manual can be used to guide you through the installation process.

If you prefer using the keyboard over the mouse, there are two things you need to know. To expand a collapsed list (used for example for the selection of countries within continents), you can use the + and - keys. For questions where more than one item can be selected (e.g. task selection), you first need to tab to the Continue button after making your selections; hitting enter will toggle a selection, not activate Continue.

If a dialog offers additional help information, a Help button will be displayed. The help information can be accessed either by activating the button or by pressing the F1 key.

To switch to another console, you will also need to use the Ctrl key, just as with the X Window System. For example, to switch to VT2 (the first debug shell) you would use: Ctrl+Left Alt+F2. The graphical installer itself runs on VT5, so you can use Left Alt+F5 to switch back.

[25] The mini ISO image can be downloaded from a Debian mirror as described in Section 4.2, “Downloading Files from Debian Mirrors”. Look for netboot/gtk/mini.iso.