A general source of information on Linux is the
Linux Documentation Project. There you
will find the HOWTOs and pointers to other very valuable information on parts
of a GNU/Linux system.
If you want to buy a CD set to install Debian GNU/Linux system from CD-ROM you
should look at the
page. There you get a list of addresses which sell Debian GNU/Linux
on CD-ROMs. The list is sorted by country so you shouldn't have a problem to
find a vendor near you.
If you live outside of the USA and you want to download Debian packages, you
can also use one of many mirrors which reside outside the USA. A list of
countries and mirrors can be found at the
Debian FTP server
This section contains an annotated list of files you will find in the
disks-alpha directory. Which files you need to download will
depend on the installation boot option and operating system installation media
you have chosen.
Most files are floppy disk images; that is, a single file which can be written
to a disk to create the necessary floppy disk. These images are, obviously,
dependent on the size of the target floppy. For instance, 1.44MB is the normal
quantity of data which is what fits on standard 3.5 inch floppies. This is the
only floppy size supported on your architecture. The images for 1.44MB floppy
disks can be found in the
If you are using a web browser on a networked computer to read this document,
you can probably retrieve the files by selecting their names in your web
browser. Depending on your browser you may need to take special action to
download directly to a file, in raw binary mode. For example, in Netscape you
need to hold the shift key when clicking on the URL to retrieve the file.
Files can be downloaded from the URLs in this document, which are within the
directory, or you can retrieve them via ftp from
You can also use the corresponding directory on any of the
Debian mirror sites.
These are the "Rescue Floppy" disk images. The rescue floppy is used for initial setup and for emergencies, such as when your system doesn't boot for some reason. Therefore it is recommended you write the disk image to the floppy even if you are not using floppies for installation.
Select the floppy image for your supported sub-architecture, as indicated in CPU, Main Boards, and Video Support, Section 2.1.2.
This file contains an image of a temporary file system that gets loaded into memory when you boot from the rescue floppy. This is used for installations from CD-ROM, hard disk and floppies.
Boot images used for network booting, see Preparing Files for TFTP Net
Booting, Section 4.4. Generally, they contain the Linux kernel and the
root.bin root file system.
This is the Linux kernel image to be used for hard disk installations. You don't need it if you are installing from floppies.
These files contain kernel modules, or drivers, for all kinds of hardware that are not necessary for initial booting. Getting the drivers you want is a two step process: first you identify an archive of drivers you want to use, and then you select which particular drivers you want.
The driver archive floppies are not used until after the hard drive has been partitioned and the kernel has been installed. If you need a particular driver for initial booting, for your subarchitecture, or to access the hard drive, choose a kernel with the necessary driver compiled in and supply the correct boot parameter arguments. Please see Boot Parameter Arguments, Section 5.3.
Remember that your driver archive must be consistent with your initial kernel choice.
If you are not limited to diskettes, choose one of these files.
These files are needed only for computers without a working network connection, or those with unsupported network hardware. They contain the programs needed for the most basic GNU/Linux operating system. Often the contents of these files can be obtained automatically by the installer over a working network connection.
If you are not limited to diskettes, choose this file.
In Linux you have various special files in
/dev. These files are
called devices files. In the Unix world accessing hardware is different.
There you have a special file which actually runs a driver which in turn
accesses the hardware. The device file is an interface to the actual system
component. Files under
/dev also behave differently than ordinary
files. Below are the most important device files listed.
fd0 First Floppy Drive fd1 Second Floppy Drive
hda IDE Hard disk / CD-ROM on the first IDE port (Master) hdb IDE Hard disk / CD-ROM on the first IDE port (Slave) hdc IDE Hard disk / CD-ROM on the second IDE port (Master) hdd IDE Hard disk / CD-ROM on the second IDE port (Slave) hda1 First partition of the first IDE hard disk hdd15 Fifteenth partition of the fourth IDE hard disk
sda SCSI Hard disk with lowest SCSI ID (e.g. 0) sdb SCSI Hard disk with next higher SCSI ID (e.g. 1) sdc SCSI Hard disk with next higher SCSI ID (e.g. 2) sda1 First partition of the first SCSI hard disk sdd10 Tenth partition of the fourth SCSI hard disk
sr0 SCSI CD-ROM with the lowest SCSI ID sr1 SCSI CD-ROM with the next higher SCSI ID
ttyS0 Serial port 0, COM1 under MS-DOS ttyS1 Serial port 1, COM2 under MS-DOS psaux PS/2 mouse device gpmdata Pseudo device, repeater data from GPM (mouse) daemon
cdrom Symbolic link to the CD-ROM drive mouse Symbolic link to the mouse device file
null everything pointed to this device will disappear zero one can endlessly read zeros out of this device
The mouse can be used in both the Linux console (with gpm) and the X window environment. The two uses can be made compatible if the gpm repeater is used to allow the signal to flow to the X server as shown:
mouse => /dev/psaux => gpm => /dev/gpmdata -> /dev/mouse => X /dev/ttyS0 (repeater) (symlink) /dev/ttyS1
Set the repeater protocol to be raw (in
setting X to the original mouse protocol in
This approach to use gpm even in X has advantages when the mouse is unplugged inadvertently. Simply restarting gpm with
user@debian:# /etc/init.d/gpm restart
will re-connect the mouse in software without restarting X.
If gpm is disabled or not installed with some reason, make sure to set X to
read directly from the mouse device such as /dev/psaux. For details, refer to
the 3-Button Mouse mini-Howto at
The base woody installation on the author's computer required 117MB. The installed size for all standard packages was 123MB, with a download size of 38MB; so 278MB of space was needed to install the base and all standard packages.
The following table lists sizes reported by aptitude (a very nice program, by the way) for the tasks listed in tasksel. The system for which the figures were reported already had all standard packages installed. Note that some tasks have overlapping constituents, so the total installed size for two tasks together may be less than the total obtained by adding the numbers up.
Task Installed Download Space Needed Size (MB) Size (MB) To Install (MB) desktop environment 345 118 463 X window system 78 36 114 games 49 14 63 Debian Jr. 340 124 464 dialup system 28 8 36 laptop system 3 1 4 scientific applications 110 30 140 C and C++ 32 15 47 Python 103 30 133 Tcl/Tk 37 11 48 fortran 10 4 14 file server 1 - 1 mail server 4 3 7 usenet news server 6 2 8 print server 48 18 66 conventional unix server 55 19 74 web server 4 1 5 TeX/LaTeX environment 171 64 235 simplified Chinese environment 80 29 109 traditional Chinese environment 166 68 234 Cyrillic environment 29 13 42 French environment 60 18 78 German environment 31 9 40 Japanese environment 110 53 163 Korean environment 178 72 250 Polish environment 58 27 85 Russian environment 12 6 18 Spanish environment 15 4 19
These are the effects of the verbose boot argument for woody:
These are the effects of the quiet boot argument for woody:
Installing Debian GNU/Linux 3.0 For Alphaversion 3.0.24, 18 December, 2002