It is said that the installation of Debian Linux is know as one of the hardest among all Linux Distributions. In this article we will see that this is just a myth, in fact it is very easy, even for beginners. All you need is basic understanding of disk partitioning techniques and a downloaded/burned netinstall image which suits the hardware architecture you intend to install onto Debian Linux, and a internet connection. Of course there are other requirements, such as a working PC with a CD-ROM drive and free/unpartitioned space on your hard disk. :”’NOTE:”’ Do not download all Debian GNU/Linux 4.0 installation disks! You only need the first CD or go to netinstall CD.
Beginning of the installation
Make sure you set your BIOS to boot from the CD-ROM. Once you boot Debian, it will welcome you with an Introductory Screen similar to the one below.
At this stage you can navigate with the function keys F1-F10:
Feel free to navigate through all ten screens. Once you are ready press F3 which allows you to choose from 4 different types of Boot methods. See picture below:
Just to keep things simple, you should start the installation in text mode; so type “install” and press enter. Let your PC boot and start installer. Here you can choose preferred language, country and keyboard:
This part of installation is pretty much automatic and does not require your interaction with Debian installer. Debian installer loads all required components and detects your hardware.
Configuring Network Interface Card
It is time to connect your network card to your LAN and consequently to the Internet. If there is a DHCP server available on you Local Area Network you do not need to interact with installer. However, if no DHCP server is available you will be asked to manually configure your networks interface. Choose “Configure network manually” and press ENTER. Then supply Debian installer with information such us:
- IP address
- network mask
- name server
Type your preferred hostname, your hostname can be changed anytime after installation, so just pick something quickly and continue installation.
Hard Disk Partitioning
This part of installation can be considered as the hardest. It require a basic understanding of partitioning techniques. Make sure you know what you are doing before its to late.
Here you can choose which hard disk to use.
Here we can choose partitioning type according our needs.
Partitions are ready to use.
Create ext3 partitions
Feel free to create more partitions according your needs. If you intent to create more than 4 partition keep in mind that 4th partition needs to be an extended partition. To do this, simply create a logical partition after your 3rd primary partition.
Create swap partition
Do NOT forget about swap partition!!
Creation of User Accounts
This part of installation is very simple. You will be asked to enter a root password and create a user for you new system.
Core System Installation
Automatic installation of all core packages. No interaction with Debian installer is required.
APT tool setup
If you configured your network interface correctly you can now add some mirrors for package manager to use which can serve as a supplement for software which is not available on CD. Because we used the netinstall cd this step is pretty much compulsory.
Choose a mirror which is closest to you.
Select packages to install
Since you would like to have clean installation and just necessary packages, remove all selections and all options:
Boot Loader Installation
This part of Debian installation is very important. Debian installer attempts to detect other installed operating systems. If Debian installer finds other operating systems it will give you an option to install grub on some other partition rather than MBR, which is in many cases a good choice. Make sure you set a boot flag on your partition where you have installed GRUB. Debian installer will prompt you to make this partition bootable(active). If you do not have any other operating systems installed feel free to install GRUB in the Master Boot Record (MBR).
What you just installed is the bare minimum, at this stage you can use apt-get tool to install the rest.
This installation of Debian GNU/Linux 4.0 contains the bare minimum in regards to packages required to run this system. Do not despair! You can use apt-get tool to help you customize your system to fit your needs.