[ale] Debian. Grr.

Bjorn Dittmer-Roche bjorn at sccs.swarthmore.edu
Sun Feb 22 12:47:29 EST 2004

On Sun, 22 Feb 2004, Joe Knapka wrote:

> I'm trying once again to install Debian. My last attempt was in maybe
> '98 or so, and ended in frustration before I even got the machine to
> boot. This attempt is on the verge of ending in frustration, though
> the machine *has* booted a minimal Debian system from the HD.
> The main problem I'm having is that "tasksel" and "dselect" seem to be
> user-unfriendly in the extreme.  So far I have not gotten "apt" to
> install *anything* but the minimal system. I boot the machine, run

okay, the simple reason for that is that dselect sucks. You should avoid

If your machine boots, I think you are done with base-config, but even if
not, my advice is this: skip doing any software installation from
base-config if it forces you to use dselect, because, as I mentioned,
dselect sucks. Instead, install by hand using apt-get later, because
apt-get rocks. Here's how:

1. edit your /etc/apt/sources.list to point to the internet, not the CD's.
If you don't know how to do this, I'm sure someone on the list will offer
you their file. (The one I use is on my laptop which is off right now.)
You can probably skip this if you really want to do your initial install
from CD's, but you should check your /etc/apt/sources.list file to make
sure it includes all your CDs.

2. run
# apt-get update
You will have to swap each CD in, but that should be the end of that until
you do the actual install.

3. use
# apt-cache search WHATEVER
to figure out the package names of the software you want.

4. run
# apt-get install package1 package2 ....
to install the stuff you want. dependencies are handled automatically. If
you're doing a CD install, you shouldn't have to swap a CD in and out more
than once.

5. After editing your sources file to point to the internet, routinely run
# apt-get update
# apt-get -u upgrade
to keep your system up to date.

Finally, if all else fails, you can use knoppix as a debian installer
(although I *THINK* that forces you into unstable, which is a major
bummer. Anyone know if you can use it to install into stable or testing?
that would rock.)

Good luck!


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