Re: Installing Debian
John Lynch wrote:
So, I am asking if someone wouldn't mind giving me EASY to understand
instructions [for installing Debian], in "easy english" as someone I know always says.
The only way to really make it easier is to eliminate the variables
(floppy vs hard drive vs CD installation, etc). What follows makes a lot
of assumptions, so beware.
Step 1. Acquire a Debian (Woody or Sid, Potato is too old) CD.
Step 2. Boot off that CD.
Step 3. When you're asked to partition the hard disk, do so. Do you have
any free space that is unpartitioned. If not, cancel out of the
installation, and free up some unpartitioned space. (Defragment Windows,
and then use a tool such as FIPS or Partition Magic that can repartition
the drive (since you have XP, I don't think the free tool FIPS can do
it); alternatively, wipe and reinstall XP, leaving at least 2GB free on
the tail end for Linux.) Then repeat steps 1 & 2. At the partitioning
scheme, we're going to do it easy this time; secure next time. Create
one large root partition (your free space size minus your amount of ram
times 2. For example, if you have 2 GB free on the drive, and 128MB RAM,
your partition would be ( 2048 - 256 = ) 1792MB. don't worry if it's not
exactly that amount.) Then create a second partition, and change its
Type so that it is a swap partition (type 82 or 83; I forget which is
which). "W"rite the changes to disk, and then "Q"uit the partitioning
Step 4. Skip the step "Configure Device Modules".
Step 5. Install the OS/Kernel and Modules
Step 6. Make the hard drive bootable.
Step 7. Make a boot floppy (or skip this step; you can always boot off
the CD if necessary).
Step 8. Reboot the computer.
Step 9. Create a password for root, and create a normal user account
(always log in as the normal user, not as root; you can "su" (or better
"sudo") to become root when necessary). Choose what you want installed.
Expect things to be broken.
Step 10. Use an editor (ae will probably be the default) to edit
/etc/lilo.conf. The line that says something like "other=/dev/hda10",
change to "/dev/hda1", and the label line to "Windows". A few lines
above that, change the "Default=" line to "Windows". Save the file and
exit the editor. You may need to uncomment the "prompt" and "timeout"
lines, or you can press the left shift key just after the POST (Power On
Self Test) to bring up the lilo prompt, at which time you'd type in "linux".
Step 11. Run as root the command "lilo".
Step 12. Reboot to make sure you can boot into both OSes now.
Step 13. You now have a base installation of Debian, with WinXP being
the default OS. You'll have a lot of broken-ness and incompleteness yet
(X), but you've got the basics in place now, and can come back with more
Want My computer To Be Able To Do Wish List:
* I want it to have a dual boot system with Debian and Windows XP.
* I want Windows XP to be the default OS so all my parents have to do to
make the computer work is hit the power button and wait for it to load
up (they know even less about computers then me!!!).
NOTE: If they know nothing about computers, DO NOT introduce them to
Windows. Start them out on Linux, and they'll be happy, unless they need
some proprietary feature only available in Windows, in which case, you'd
be smart to find another solution for that feature.
* I want to be able to go onto the internet in both Windows XP and
Debian (I have cable so I'm hooked onto the net 24/7, except when I turn
off my computer or Telstra is down)
Never done it, but plan to soon. Others can help here.
* I want to be able to access files from my Windows partition when I'm
in Linux, and vice verca (my understanding is I must partition my
harddrive to have a dual boot system).
The "mount" command to see your Windows stuff from Linux. Windows is
incapable of seeing the Linux stuff; Billy wouldn't want you to be able
to do that. But you can "share" a partition, as long as it's Windows
compatible (FAT16,32, NTFS, etc), but there are issues.
* I want to be able to access files from my other computer which is
networked to the one I am going to run Debian on (I only have the 2
computer's networked, the other computer currently runs Windows 98 and
has a very small harddrive of 6gig!!!!!!).
* I want to be able to run Debian on my computer that runs Windows 98,
but only have it installed on my other Computer which runs Windows XP,
so no memory is taken up on my Windows 98 computer (I don't know if this
is possible, from what I read in the installation manual it is possible,
however this would just be a benefit, if it is MUCH too difficult to do
then I won't set it up like this, I might in the future when I know more
You can't "run" Debian from the 98 box; you can run an X server on the
98 box that will allow you to run Debian apps (shells, editors, Mozilla,
etc). (Well, with something like VMWare you could, but don't go there
until you have a bit more experience.)
* I don't want to loose ANYTHING that is on my computer, without the
need of backing it up or else I'm a dead man (I will be backing it up
regardless, but that is for worst case scenario).
Partitioning is where you'll run into issues. Partition Magic, etc, may
be your friend.
* I also want to be able to run writing programs, databases, etc, e-mail
programs, internet browser programs and coding programs (such as C++,
perl, my understanding is they come free with Debian. I only know
languages, but I want to learn more).
Linux is the place for you.
* Create mutiple users (again this isn't neccessary, just in case
someone in my family ever wants to use Debian which I doubt)
Linux is definitely the place for you. Windows sucks at this (although
it's better than it used to be).
Log in as yourself on the first VT; then "startx" (once you have X working).
Ctrl-Alt-F2 to get to the second VT; log in as your family member; then
"startx -- :1" to start a second instance of X, that's totally and
completely separate from your instance. Ctrl-Alt-F7/F8 to hop between
the two. (Or just stay out of X and Alt-F1/F2 to hop between VT1 & 2, or
any combination thereof.) For fun, add a third and fourth family member.
* Set a password that you have to type in to login (I am not sure about
this though because if for some reason my dad or mum go into Debian and
don't know the password, will this cause the entire thing to not work,
or will it just prevent them from access to certain folders, or will it
just restart the computer using Windows XP? again this isn't neccessary,
but this is a wish list)
This is the default behaviour. And yes, if they don't know their
password, they ain't gettin' nuthin'. By default though, they can press
"Ctrl-Alt-Delete" to reboot the computer, but if anything else is
happening on the system (you're compiling your program that cures
cancer), that process gets abruptly shut down. So it's better for them
to remember their password.
OpenOffice for office suite; Mozilla for web browsing and email (others
would disagree about the email, but for you and your folks, that'll be a
good starting place).
*thinks* I think that's all I want my computer to do. I know it's a lot
but most of those things (albeit the Debian specific things) it can
already do in Windows XP.
NOW here's my understanding of how to get all of those things done,
unfortunately this will be shorter then my wish list.
Installing Debian Steps:
* Defrag the computer (so everything gets all grouped together instead
of spread out, this is neccessary so nothing is lost when u partition
* Partition the harddrive into 3 seperate parts (1 for Windows XP and
the bulk of the memory, 1 for the Debian OS and 1 for the files. I am
not sure where programs, such as Debians version of Word, would go in
all this, I also don't know what programs to use that are free and work
in Windows XP).
* Download Debian (I am not sure if there is an easy to download copy of
Debian for newbies like me or not. If there isn't I have absolutely no
idea which files to download or how to set them up. I don't want to have
to buy the CDs).
If you have a CD burner, download the unofficial Woody ISO (first disk
only - then pull the rest off the net later if necessary). If not,
you'll have to go a different route. I'm not sure if you can do the hard
drive route with XP; you may be reduced to the floppy method. CD is
BEST. Borrow a CD from your local LUG if nothing else.
* Install Debian through a medium of your choice (now is the really
confusing part, I can do it via a CD of the files I burn into it, which
sounds the hardest. Or I can do it via a floppy, which they kept telling
me not to do. Or I can do it from the harddrive, I don't know where I
would put it, whether in the Windows XP partition or one of the Debian
partitions. Or through my other computer that runs Windows 98. I also
have no idea how I would open up the debian installation program).
I've got to go to a meeting now; but if you need more info on this
paragraph, let me know and I'll try to give more later.
* Create the dual boot system at some stage somehow with a delay of 3
seconds before it starts up Windows XP so I can make it run Debian
instead. (Someone in a linux IRC told me about this).
See above discussion of /etc/lilo.conf.