Subject to limitations in some cases, you may boot the installation system from a Debian GNU/Linux CD-ROM, floppy disks, a partition on a hard disk, or from another machine via a local area network. In the case of Macintosh, you must retain the original Mac system and boot from it. It is essential that, when booting MacOS in preparation for booting the Penguin linux loader, you must hold the shift key down to prevent extensions from loading. If you don't use MacOS except for loading linux, you can accomplish the same thing by removing all extensions and control panels from the Mac's System Folder. Otherwise extensions may be left running and cause random problems with the running linux kernel.
Boot parameters are Linux kernel parameters which are generally used to make sure that peripherals are dealt with properly. For the most part, the kernel can auto-detect information about your peripherals. However, in some cases you'll have to help the kernel a bit.
In the Penguin boot program, choose File -> Settings..., then switch to the Options tab. Boot parameters may be typed in to the text entry area. If you will always want to use these settings, select File -> Save Settings as Default.
Full information on boot parameters can be found in the
HOWTO; this section contains only a sketch of the most salient
If this is the first time you're booting the system, try the default boot parameters (i.e., don't try setting arguments) and see if it works correctly. It probably will. If not, you can reboot later and look for any special parameters that inform the system about your hardware.
When the kernel boots, a message
Memory: availk/totalk available
should be emitted early in the process. total should match the total amount of RAM, in kilobytes. If this doesn't match the actual of RAM you have installed, you need to use the mem=ram parameter, where ram is set to the amount of memory, suffixed with ``k'' for kilobytes, or ``m'' for megabytes. For example, both mem=65536k and mem=64m mean 64MB of RAM.
If the computer appears to be frozen once you get to the screen asking about
monochrome or color, simply switch to the second virtual console
(Alt-F2 or Option-F2 on a Mac) and manually start
dbootstrap. This bug seems to have been fixed, but it resurfaces
every once and awhile.
If your monitor is only capable of black-and-white, use the mono boot argument. Otherwise, your installation will use color, which is the default.
If you are booting with a serial console, generally the kernel will autodetect this . If you have a videocard (framebuffer) and a keyboard also attached to the computer which you wish to boot via serial console, you may have to pass the console=device argument to the kernel, where device is your serial device, which is usually something like ``ttyS0''.
Again, full details on boot parameters can be found in the
HOWTO, including tips for obscure hardware. Some common gotchas are
included below in Troubleshooting the Install
Process, Section 5.6.
The installation system recognizes a few boot arguments which may be useful. The effects of quiet and verbose are listed in Effects of Verbose and Quiet, Section 11.5.
Currently, the only Motorola 680x0 subarchitecture that supports CD-ROM booting
is the BVME6000. The easiest route In that case will be to use a
set of Debian CDs. Simply
insert your CD, reboot, and proceed to the next chapter.
Note that certain CD drives may require special drivers, and thus be inaccessible in the early installation stages. If it turns out the standard way of booting off a CD doesn't work for your hardware, revisit this chapter and read about alternate kernels and installation methods which may work for you.
USB CD-ROM drives are supported by the `bf2.4' flavor. FireWire devices that are supported by the ohci1394 and sbp2 drivers may also be useable with the `bf2.4' flavor.
Even if you cannot boot from CD-ROM, you can probably install the Debian system components and any packages you want from CD-ROM. Simply boot using a different media, such as floppies. When it's time to install the operating system, base system, and any additional packages, point the installation system at the CD-ROM drive.
If you have problems booting, see Troubleshooting the Install Process, Section 5.6.
For most m68k architectures, booting from a local filesystem is the recommended method.
Booting from the rescue floppy is supported only for Atari and VME (with a SCSI floppy drive on VME) at this time.
If you have problems booting, see Troubleshooting the Install Process, Section 5.6.
Booting from an existing operating system is often a convenient option; for some systems it is the only supported method of installation.
To boot the installer from hard disk, you will have already completed downloading and placing the needed files in Preparing Files for Hard Disk Booting, Section 4.4.
Workbench, start the Linux installation process by
double-clicking on the ``StartInstall'' icon in the
You may have to press the Enter key twice after the Amiga installer program has output some debugging information into a window. After this, the screen will go grey, there will be a few seconds' delay. Next, a black screen with white text should come up, displaying all kinds of kernel debugging information. These messages may scroll by too fast for you to read, but that's OK. After a couple of seconds, the installation program should start automatically, so you can continue down at Booting Into Your New Debian System, Chapter 8.
At the GEM desktop, start the Linux installation process by double-clicking on
the ``bootstra.prg'' icon in the
debian directory and clicking
``Ok'' at the program options dialog box.
You may have to press the Enter key after the Atari bootstrap program has output some debugging information into a window. After this, the screen will go grey, there will be a few seconds' delay. Next, a black screen with white text should come up, displaying all kinds of kernel debugging information. These messages may scroll by too fast for you to read, but that's OK. After a couple of seconds, the installation program should start automatically, so you can continue below at Booting Into Your New Debian System, Chapter 8.
At the MacOS desktop, start the Linux installation process by double-clicking
on the Penguin Prefs icon in the
Penguin booter will start up. Go to the Settings
item in the File menu, click the Kernel tab. Select
the kernel (
linux.bin) and ramdisk (
debian directory by clicking on the corresponding buttons
in the upper right corner, and navigating the file select dialogs to locate the
files. Close the Settings dialog, save the settings and start the
bootstrap using the Boot Now item in the File menu.
Penguin booter will output some debugging information into a
window. After this, the screen will go grey, there will be a few seconds'
delay. Next, a black screen with white text should come up, displaying all
kinds of kernel debugging information. These messages may scroll by too fast
for you to read, but that's OK. After a couple of seconds, the installation
program should start automatically, so you can continue below at Booting Into Your New Debian System, Chapter
Booting from the network requires that you have a network connection supported
by the boot floppies, including either a static network address or a DHCP
server, a RARP or a BOOTP server, and a TFTP server. The installation method
to support TFTP booting is described in Preparing Files for TFTP Net
Booting, Section 4.5. After booting the VMEbus systems you will be
presented with the LILO
Boot: prompt. At that prompt enter one of
the following to boot Linux and begin installation proper of the Debian
software using vt102 terminal emulation:
You may additionally append the string ``TERM=vt100'' to use vt100 terminal emulation, e.g., ``i6000 TERM=vt100 Enter''.
The biggest problem for people installing Debian for the first time seems to be floppy disk reliability.
The rescue floppy is the floppy with the worst problems, because it is read by the hardware directly, before Linux boots. Often, the hardware doesn't read as reliably as the Linux floppy disk driver, and may just stop without printing an error message if it reads incorrect data. There can also be failures in the Driver Floppies most of which indicate themselves with a flood of messages about disk I/O errors.
If you are having the installation stall at a particular floppy, the first thing you should do is re-download the floppy disk image and write it to a different floppy. Simply reformatting the old floppy may not be sufficient, even if it appears that the floppy was reformatted and written with no errors. It is sometimes useful to try writing the floppy on a different system.
One user reports he had to write the images to floppy three times before one worked, and then everything was fine with the third floppy.
Other users have reported that simply rebooting a few times with the same floppy in the floppy drive can lead to a successful boot. This is all due to buggy hardware or firmware floppy drivers.
If you have problems and the kernel hangs during the boot process, doesn't recognize peripherals you actually have, or drives are not recognized properly, the first thing to check is the boot parameters, as discussed in Boot Parameter Arguments, Section 5.1.
If you are booting with your own kernel instead of the one supplied with the installer, be sure that CONFIG_DEVFS is not set in your kernel. The installer is not compatible with CONFIG_DEVFS.
Often, problems can be solved by removing add-ons and peripherals, and then trying booting again.
There are, however, some limitations in our boot floppy set with respect to supported hardware. Some Linux-supported platforms might not be directly supported by our boot floppies. If this is the case, you may have to create a custom rescue disk (see Replacing the Rescue Floppy Kernel, Section 10.3), or investigate network installations.
If you have a large amount of memory installed in your machine, more than 512M, and the installer hangs when booting the kernel, you may need to include a boot argument to limit the amount of memory the kernel sees, such as mem=512m.
During the boot sequence, you may see many messages in the form can't find something, or something not present, can't initialize something, or even this driver release depends on something. Most of these messages are harmless. You see them because the kernel for the installation system is built to run on computers with many different peripheral devices. Obviously, no one computer will have every possible peripheral device, so the operating system may emit a few complaints while it looks for peripherals you don't own. You may also see the system pause for a while. This happens when it is waiting for a device to respond, and that device is not present on your system. If you find the time it takes to boot the system unacceptably long, you can create a custom kernel later (see Compiling a New Kernel, Section 9.5).
If you get through the initial boot phase but cannot complete the install,
dbootstrap's 'Report a Problem' menu choice may be helpful. It
dbg_log.tgz on a floppy, hard disk or nfs-mounted
dbg_log.tgz details the system's state
dbg_log.tgz may provide clues as to what went wrong and how to fix
it. If you are submitting a bug report you may want to attach this file to the
If you still have problems, please submit a bug report. Send an email to
must include the following as the first lines of the email:
Package: boot-floppies Version: version
Make sure you fill in version with the version of the boot-floppies set that you used. If you don't know the version, use the date you downloaded the floppies, and include the distribution you got them from (e.g., ``stable'', ``frozen'', ``woody'').
You should also include the following information in your bug report:
architecture: m68k model: your general hardware vendor and model memory: amount of RAM scsi: SCSI host adapter, if any cd-rom: CD-ROM model and interface type, e.g., ATAPI network card: network interface card, if any pcmcia: details of any PCMCIA devices
Depending on the nature of the bug, it also might be useful to report whether you are installing to IDE or SCSI disks, other peripheral devices such as audio, disk capacity, and the model of video card.
In the bug report, describe what the problem is, including the last visible kernel messages in the event of a kernel hang. Describe the steps that you did which brought the system into the problem state.
dbootstrap is the name of the program which is run after you have
booted into the installation system. It is responsible for initial system
configuration and the installation of the ``base system''.
The main job of
dbootstrap, and the main purpose of your initial
system configuration, is to configure essential elements of your system. For
instance, you may need to use certain ``kernel modules'', drivers which are
linked into the kernel. These modules include storage hardware drivers,
network drivers, special language support, and support for other peripherals
which are not automatically built in to the kernel you are using.
Disk partitioning, disk formatting, and networking setup are also facilitated
dbootstrap. This fundamental setup is done first, since it is
often necessary for the proper functioning of your system.
dbootstrap is a simple, character-based application, designed for
maximum compatibility in all situations (such as installation over a serial
line). It is very easy to use. It will guide you through each step of the
installation process in a linear fashion. You can also go back and repeat
steps if you find you have made a mistake.
To navigate within
If you are an experienced Unix or Linux user, press Left Alt-F2 to get
to the second virtual console. That's the Alt key on the
left-hand side of the space bar, and the F2 function key, at the same
time. This is a separate window running a Bourne shell clone called
ash. At this point you are booted from the RAM disk, and there is
a limited set of Unix utilities available for your use. You can see what
programs are available with the command ls /bin /sbin /usr/bin
/usr/sbin. The text editor is
Use the menus to perform any task that they are able to do — the shell and commands are only there in case something goes wrong. In particular, you should always use the menus, not the shell, to activate your swap partition, because the menu software can't detect that you've done this from the shell. Press Left Alt-F1 to get back to menus. Linux provides up to 64 virtual consoles, although the rescue floppy only uses a few of them.
Error messages are redirected to the third virtual terminal (known as
tty3). You can access this terminal by pressing Left
Alt-F3 (hold the Alt key while pressing the F3 function
key); get back to
dbootstrap with Left Alt-F1.
These messages can also be found in
installation, this log is copied to
/var/log/installer.log on your
During the Base installation, package unpacking and setup messages are
redirected to tty4. You can access this terminal by pressing
Left Alt-F4; get back to
dbootstrap with Left
The unpack/setup messages generated by debootstrap are saved in
/target/tmp/debootstrap.log when the installation is performed
over a serial console.
Your architecture supports the new internationalization features. Therefore, as the first step of the installation, select the language in which you want the installation process to take place.
Some languages have variants available, and will therefore prompt you to ``Choose Language Variant'' after picking your language. Pick whichever variant applies to your geographic region.
The answers you provided in the previous two questions will be used to pick the language which the installer will use, will try to set a suitable keyboard layout, and, later in the process, will be used to pick the default Debian Mirror Server for your probably geographic location. However, you can also override these settings if you choose.
The first screen after ``Choose the Language'' that
will present you with is the ``Release Notes''. This screen presents the
version information for the
boot-floppies software you are using,
and gives a brief introduction to Debian developers.
You may see a dialog box that says ``The installation program is determining
the current state of your system and the next installation step that should be
performed.''. On some systems, this will go by too quickly to read. You'll
see this dialog box between steps in the main menu. The installation program,
dbootstrap, will check the state of the system in between each
step. This checking allows you to re-start the installation without losing the
work you have already done, in case you happen to halt your system in the
middle of the installation process. If you have to restart an installation,
you will have to configure your keyboard, re-activate your swap partition, and
re-mount any disks that have been initialized. Anything else that you have
done with the installation system will be saved.
During the entire installation process, you will be presented with the main
menu, entitled ``Debian GNU/Linux Installation Main Menu''. The choices at the
top of the menu will change to indicate your progress in installing the system.
Phil Hughes wrote in the
Journal that you could teach a chicken to install Debian!
He meant that the installation process was mostly just pecking at the
Enter key. The first choice on the installation menu is the next
action that you should perform according to what the system detects you have
already done. It should say ``Next'', and at this point the next step in
installing the system will be taken.
Make sure the highlight is on the ``Next'' item, and press Enter to go
to the keyboard configuration menu. Select a keyboard that conforms to the
layout used for your national language, or select something close if the
keyboard layout you want isn't represented. Once the system installation is
complete, you'll be able to select a keyboard layout from a wider range of
kbdconfig as root when you have completed the
Move the highlight to the keyboard selection you desire and press Enter. Use the arrow keys to move the highlight — they are in the same place in all national language keyboard layouts, so they are independent of the keyboard configuration. An 'extended' keyboard is one with F1 through F10 keys along the top row.
If you are installing a diskless workstation, the next few steps will be skipped, since there are no local disks to partition. In that case, your next step will be ``Configure the Network'', Section 7.6. After that, you will be prompted to mount your NFS root partition in ``Mount a Previously-Initialized Partition'', Section 6.8.
Did we tell you to back up your disks? Here's your last chance to save your old system. If you haven't backed up all of your disks, remove the floppy from the drive, reset the system, and run backups.
Installing Debian GNU/Linux 3.0 For Motorola 680x0version 3.0.24, 18 December, 2002