Here's a road map for the steps you will take during the installation process.
Before you start, make sure to back up every file that is now on your system. If this is the first time a non-native operating system has been installed on your computer, it's quite likely you will need to re-partition your disk to make room for Debian GNU/Linux. Anytime you partition your disk, you should count on losing everything on the disk, no matter what program you use to do it. The programs used in installation are quite reliable and most have seen years of use; but they are also quite powerful and a false move can cost you. Even after backing up be careful and think about your answers and actions. Two minutes of thinking can save hours of unnecessary work.
If you are creating a multi-boot system, make sure that you have the distribution media of any other present operating systems on hand. Especially if you repartition your boot drive, you might find that you have to reinstall your operating system's boot loader, or in many cases the whole operating system itself and all files on the affected partitions.
This file you are now reading, in plain ASCII, HTML or PDF format.
Tutorial for using the
dselect program. This is one means of
installing additional packages onto your system after the basic install is
Manual pages for the partitioning software used during the installation process.
List of MD5 checksums for the binary files. If you have the
md5sum program, you can ensure that your files are not corrupt by
running md5sum -v -c md5sum.txt.
Hardware information can be gathered from:
Hardware Information Needed for an Install +-------------------------------------------------------------------+ |Hardware| Information You Might Need | |--------+----------------------------------------------------------| | | * How many you have. | | | * Their order on the system. | |Hard | * Whether IDE or SCSI (most computers are IDE). | |Drives | * Available free space. | | | * Partitions. | | | * Partitions where other operating systems are | | | installed. | |--------+----------------------------------------------------------| | | * Model and manufacturer. | | | * Resolutions supported. | |Monitor | * Horizontal refresh rate. | | | * Vertical refresh rate. | | | * Color depth (number of colors) supported. | | | * Screen size. | |--------+----------------------------------------------------------| | | * Type: serial, PS, or USB. | |Mouse | * Port. | | | * Manufacturer. | | | * Number of buttons. | |--------+----------------------------------------------------------| |Network | * Model and manufacturer. | | | * Type of adapter. | |--------+----------------------------------------------------------| |Printer | * Model and manufacturer. | | | * Printing resolutions supported. | |--------+----------------------------------------------------------| | | * Model and manufacturer. | |Video | * Video RAM available. | |Card | * Resolutions and color depths supported (these should | | | be checked against your monitor's capabilities). | +-------------------------------------------------------------------+
Many brand name products work without trouble on Linux. Moreover, hardware for Linux is improving daily. However, Linux still does not run as many different types of hardware as some operating systems.
You can check hardware compatibility by:
If your computer is connected to a network 24 hours a day (i.e., an Ethernet or equivalent connection — not a PPP connection), you should ask your network's system administrator for this information. On the other hand, if your administrator tells you that a DHCP server is available and is recommended, then you don't need this information because the DHCP server will provide it directly to your computer during the installation process.
If your computer's only network connection is via a serial line, using PPP or an equivalent dialup connection, you will not be able to install the base system over the network. To install the system in this case, you must use a CD, pre-load the base packages on an existing hard disk partition, or prepare floppy disks containing the base packages. See Setting Up PPP, Section 8.9 below for information on setting up PPP under Debian once the system is installed.
It is important to decide what type of machine you are creating. This will determine the disk space requirements for your Debian system.
Once you have gathered information about your computer's hardware, check that your hardware will let you do the type of installation that you want to do.
Depending on your needs, you might manage with less than some of the recommended hardware listed in the table below. However, most users risk being frustrated if they ignore these suggestions.
Recommended Minimum System Requirements +------------------------------------------+ |Install Type| RAM | Hard Drive | |------------+--------------+--------------| |No desktop | 16 megabytes | 450 megabytes| |------------+--------------+--------------| |With Desktop| 64 megabytes | 1 gigabyte | |------------+--------------+--------------| |Server | 128 megabytes| 4 gigabytes | +------------------------------------------+
Here is a sampling of some common Debian system configurations. You can also get an idea of the disk space used by related groups of programs by referring to Disk Space Needed for Tasks, Section 11.4.
Remember that these sizes don't include all the other materials which are
usually to be found, such as user files, mail, and data. It is always best to
be generous when considering the space for your own files and data. Notably,
/var partition contains a lot of state information.
dpkg files (with information on all installed packages) can
easily consume 20MB; with logs and the rest, you should usually allocate at
least 50MB for
Partitioning your disk simply refers to the act of breaking up your disk into sections. Each section is then independent of the others. It's roughly equivalent to putting up walls in a house; if you add furniture to one room it doesn't affect any other room.
If you already have an operating system on your system and want to stick Linux on the same disk, you will need to repartition the disk. Debian requires its own hard disk partitions. It cannot be installed on Windows or MacOS partitions. It may be able to share some partitions with other Linux systems, but that's not covered here. At the very least you will need a dedicated partition for the Debian root.
You can find information about your current partition setup by using a partitioning tool for your current operating system . Partitioning tools always provide a way to show existing partitions without making changes.
In general, changing a partition with a file system already on it will destroy any information there. Thus you should always make backups before doing any repartitioning. Using the analogy of the house, you would probably want to move all the furniture out of the way before moving a wall or you risk destroying it.
If your computer has more than one hard disk, you may want to dedicate one of the hard disks completely to Debian. If so, you don't need to partition that disk before booting the installation system; the installer's included partitioning program can handle the job nicely.
If your machine has only one hard disk, and you would like to completely replace the current operating system with Debian GNU/Linux, you also can wait to partition as part of the installation process (Partitioning for Debian, Chapter 6), after you have booted the installation system. However this only works if you plan to boot the installer system from floppies, CD-ROM or files on a connected machine. Consider: if you boot from files placed on the hard disk, and then partition that same hard disk within the installation system, thus erasing the boot files, you'd better hope the installation is successful the first time around. At the least in this case, you should have some alternate means of reviving your machine like the original system's installation floppies or CDs.
If your machine already has multiple partitions, and enough space can be provided by deleting and replacing one or more of them, then you too can wait and use the Debian installer's partitioning program. You should still read through the material below, because there may be special circumstances like the order of the existing partitions within the partition map, that force you to partition before installing anyway.
In all other cases, you'll need to partition your hard disk before starting the installation to create partition-able space for Debian. If some of the partitions will be owned by other operating systems, you should create those partitions using native operating system partitioning programs. We recommend that you do not attempt to create Debian Linux partitions using another operating system's tools. Instead, you should just create the native operating system's partitions you will want to retain.
If you are going to install more than one operating system on the same machine, you should install all other system(s) before proceeding with Linux installation. Windows and other OS installations may destroy your ability to start Linux, or encourage you to reformat non-native partitions.
You can recover from these actions or avoid them, but installing the native system first saves you trouble.
If you currently have one hard disk with one partition (a common setup for desktop computers), and you want to multi-boot the native operating system and Debian, you will need to:
It's perfectly fine to partition from SunOS; in fact, if you intend to run both SunOS and Debian on the same machine, it is recommended that you partition using SunOS prior to installing Debian. The Linux kernel understands Sun disk labels, so there are no problems there. Just make sure you leave room for the Debian root partition within the first 1GB area of the boot disk. You can also place the kernel image on a UFS partition if that is easier than putting the root partition there. SILO supports booting Linux and SunOS from either EXT2 (Linux), UFS (SunOS), romfs and iso9660 (CDROM) partitions.
Whatever system you are using to partition, make sure you create a ``Sun disk
label'' on your boot disk. This is the only kind of partition scheme that the
OpenBoot PROM understands, and so it's the only scheme from which you can boot.
fdisk, the s key is used to create Sun disk labels.
You only need to do this on drives that do not already have a Sun disk label.
If you are using a drive that was previously formatted using a PC (or other
architecture) you must create a new disk label, or problems with the disk
geometry will most likely occur.
You will probably be using
SILO as your boot loader (the small
program which runs the operating system kernel).
SILO has certain
requirements for partition sizes and location; see Partitioning for Debian, Chapter 6.
This section explains how to install Debian GNU/Linux from an existing Unix or Linux system, without using the ncurses-based, menu-driven installer as explained in the rest of the manual. This "cross-install" HOWTO has been requested by users switching to Debian GNU/Linux from Redhat, Mandrake, and SUSE. In this section some familiarity with entering *nix commands and navigating the file system is assumed. In this section, $ symbolizes a command to be entered in the user's current system, while # refers to a command entered in the Debian chroot.
Once you've got the new Debian system configured to your preference, you can migrate your existing user data (if any) to it, and keep on rolling. This is therefore a "zero downtime" Debian GNU/Linux install. It's also a clever way for dealing with hardware that otherwise doesn't play friendly with various boot or installation media.
With your current *nix partitioning tools, repartition the hard drive as needed, creating at least one filesystem plus swap. You need at least 150MB of space available for a console only install, or at least 300MB if you plan to install X.
To create file systems on your partitions. For example, to create an ext3 file
system on partition
/dev/hda6 (that's our example root partition):
$ mke2fs -j /dev/hda6
To create an ext2 file system instead, omit -j.
Initialize and activate swap (substitute the partition number for your intended Debian swap partition):
$ mkswap /dev/hda5 $ sync; sync; sync $ swapon /dev/hda5
Mount one partition as
/mnt/debinst (the installation point, to be
the root (
/) filesystem on your new system). The mount point name
is strictly arbitrary, it is referenced later below.
$ mkdir /mnt/debinst $ mount /dev/hda6 /mnt/debinst
The tool that the Debian installer uses, which is recognized as the official
way to install a Debian base system, is
debootstrap. It uses
wget, but otherwise depends only on
wget if it isn't already on your current system, then download and
If you have an rpm-based system, you can use alien to convert the .deb into
.rpm, or download an rpm-ized version at
Or, you can use the following procedure to install it manually. Make a work folder for extracting the .deb into:
$ mkdir work $ cd work
debootstrap binary is located in the Debian archive (be sure
to select the proper file for your architecture). Download the
debootstrap .deb from the
copy the package to the work folder, and extract the binary files from it. You
will need to have root privileges to install the binaries.
$ ar -xf debootstrap_0.X.X_arch.deb $ cd / $ zcat < /full-path-to-work/work/data.tar.gz | tar xv
The current version of
debootstrap, at least for i386, has been
compiled with glibc 2.3. Therefore if you are upgrading from Redhat 6.0, you
will need to obtain the source files and re-compile.
debootstrap can download the needed files directly from the
archive when you run it. You can substitute any Debian archive mirror for
http.us.debian.org/debian in the command example below, preferably
a mirror close to you network-wise. Mirrors are listed at
debootstrap, the PATH needs to include
/sbin for subsidiary program calls.
If you have a woody version Debian GNU/Linux CD mounted at /cdrom, you could substitute a file URL instead of the http URL: file:/cdrom/debian/
Substitute one of the following for ARCH in the
debootstrap command: alpha, arm,
hppa, i386, ia64, m68k,
mips, mipsel, powerpc,
s390, or sparc.
$ /usr/sbin/debootstrap --arch ARCH woody \ /mnt/debinst http://http.us.debian.org/debian
debootstrap can use the
basedebs.tar file, if you
have already downloaded it ahead of time. The
is generated only every once in a while, so you'll get the latest version of
the base system by pointing
debootstrap directly to a Debian
archive as shown in the previous section.
basedebs.tar file is found in the
base-images-current directory of the Debian archive for your
architecture, for example:
Substitute one of the following for ARCH in the
debootstrap command: alpha, arm,
hppa, i386, ia64, m68k,
mips, mipsel, powerpc,
s390, or sparc.
$ /usr/sbin/debootstrap --arch ARCH --unpack-tarball \ /path-to-downloaded/basedebs.tar woody /mnt/debinst
Now you've got a real Debian system, though rather lean, on disk.
Chroot into it:
$ chroot /mnt/debinst /bin/bash
You need to create
# editor /etc/fstab
Here is a sample you can modify to suit:
# /etc/fstab: static file system information. # # file system mount point type options dump pass /dev/XXX / ext2 defaults 0 0 /dev/XXX /boot ext2 ro,nosuid,nodev 0 2 /dev/XXX none swap sw 0 0 proc /proc proc defaults 0 0 /dev/fd0 /mnt/floppy auto noauto,rw,sync,user,exec 0 0 /dev/cdrom /mnt/cdrom iso9660 noauto,ro,user,exec 0 0 /dev/XXX /tmp ext2 rw,nosuid,nodev 0 2 /dev/XXX /var ext2 rw,nosuid,nodev 0 2 /dev/XXX /usr ext2 rw,nodev 0 2 /dev/XXX /home ext2 rw,nosuid,nodev 0 2
Use mount -a to mount all the file systems you have specified in
/etc/fstab, or to mount file systems individually use:
# mount /path # e.g.: mount /usr
You can mount the proc file system multiple times and to arbitrary locations, though /proc is customary. If you didn't use mount -a, be sure to mount proc before continuing:
# mount -t proc proc /proc
A RedHat user reports that for his system, this should instead be
# mount -t proc none /proc
To configure your keyboard:
# dpkg-reconfigure console-data
To configure networking, edit
# editor /etc/network/interfaces
Here are some simple examples from
###################################################################### # /etc/network/interfaces -- configuration file for ifup(8), ifdown(8) # See the interfaces(5) manpage for information on what options are # available. ###################################################################### # We always want the loopback interface. # auto lo iface lo inet loopback # To use dhcp: # # auto eth0 # iface eth0 inet dhcp # An example static IP setup: (broadcast and gateway are optional) # # auto eth0 # iface eth0 inet static # address 192.168.0.42 # network 192.168.0.0 # netmask 255.255.255.0 # broadcast 192.168.0.255 # gateway 192.168.0.1
Enter your nameserver(s) and search directives in
# editor /etc/resolv.conf
# search hqdom.local\000 # nameserver 10.1.1.36 # nameserver 192.168.9.100
Enter your system's host name (2 to 63 characters):
# echo DebianHostName > /etc/hostname
If you have multiple network cards, you should arrange the names of driver
modules in the
/etc/modules file into the desired order. Then
during boot, each card will be associated with the interface name (eth0, eth1,
etc.) that you expect.
Set your timezone, add a normal user, and choose your
To configure your locale settings to use a language other than English, install the locales support package and configure it:
# apt-get install locales # dpkg-reconfigure locales
NOTE: Apt must be configured before, ie. during the base-config phase. Before using locales with character sets other than ASCII or latin1, please consult the appropriate localisation HOWTO.
If you intend to boot this system, you probably want a Linux kernel and a boot loader. Identify available pre-packaged kernels with
# apt-cache search kernel-image
Then install your choice using its package name.
# apt-get install kernel-image-2.X.X-arch-etc
To make your Debian GNU/Linux system bootable, set up your boot loader to load the installed kernel with your new root partition.
This section will walk you through pre-installation hardware setup, if any, that you will need to do prior to installing Debian. Generally, this involves checking and possibly changing firmware settings for your system. The ``firmware'' is the core software used by the hardware; it is most critically invoked during the bootstrap process (after power-up). Known hardware issues affecting the reliability of Debian GNU/Linux on your system are also highlighted.
OpenBoot provides the basic functions needed to boot the SPARC architecture. This is rather similar in function to the BIOS in the x86 architecture, although much nicer. The Sun boot PROMs have a built-in forth interpreter which lets you do quite a number of things with your machine, such as diagnostics, simple scripts, etc.
To get to the boot prompt you need to hold down the Stop key (on older type 4 keyboards, use the L1 key, if you have a PC keyboard adapter, use the Break key) and press the A key. The boot PROM will give you a prompt, either ok or >. It is preferred to have the ok prompt. So if you get the old style prompt, hit the `n' key to get the new style prompt.
You can use OpenBoot to boot from specific devices, and also to change your
default boot device. However, you need to know some details about how OpenBoot
names devices; it's much different from Linux device naming, described in Device Names in Linux, Section
6.4. Also, the command will vary a bit, depending on what version of
OpenBoot you have. More information about OpenBoot can be found in the
Typically, with newer revisions, you can use OpenBoot device such as ``floppy'', ``cdrom'', ``net'', ``disk'', or ``disk2''. These have the obvious meanings; the ``net'' device is for booting from the network. Additionally, the device name can specify a particular partition of a disk, such as ``disk2:a'' to boot disk2, first partition. Full OpenBoot device names have the form
. In older revisions of OpenBoot, device naming is a bit different: the floppy
device is called ``/fd'', and SCSI disk devices are of the form
``sd(controller, disk-target-id, disk-lun)''.
The command show-devs in newer OpenBoot revisions is useful for
viewing the currently configured devices. For full information, whatever your
revision, see the
To boot from a specific device, use the command boot
device. You can set this behavior as the default using the
setenv command. However, the name of the variable to set changed
between OpenBoot revisions. In OpenBoot 1.x, use the command setenv
boot-from device. In later revisions of OpenBoot, use the
command setenv boot-device device. Note, this is also
configurable using the
eeprom command on Solaris, or modifying the
appropriate files in
/proc/openprom/options/, for example under
echo disk1:1 >/proc/openprom/options/boot-device
and under Solaris:
Many people have tried operating their 90 MHz CPU at 100 MHz, etc. It
sometimes works, but is sensitive to temperature and other factors and can
actually damage your system. One of the authors of this document over-clocked
his own system for a year, and then the system started aborting the
gcc program with an unexpected signal while it was compiling the
operating system kernel. Turning the CPU speed back down to its rated value
solved the problem.
gcc compiler is often the first thing to die from bad memory
modules (or other hardware problems that change data unpredictably) because it
builds huge data structures that it traverses repeatedly. An error in these
data structures will cause it to execute an illegal instruction or access a
non-existent address. The symptom of this will be
gcc dying from
an unexpected signal.
Installing Debian GNU/Linux 3.0 For SPARCversion 3.0.24, 18 December, 2002