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Re: how to install debian....

On Thu, Apr 17, 2003 at 10:24:02AM +0100, svk svk wrote:
> Thanks Emile. But I dont get it..
> 1) How do I know if the machine has BIOS or not?

Emile was pulling your leg a little, I think. Trust me, your machine has
a BIOS. :) It's the fundamental bit of firmware that lets any operating
system boot up and deal with the hardware.

> 2) Where do I get floppy or cd to boot from? Is that the Debian
> distribution CD you are talking about?


> 3) Even if I have the CD, how is machine going to know about the CD or
> floppy? Is that something the BIOS can handle?

Typically, yes. Modern BIOSes can boot from a CD.

> 4) Same question as Q3 above , about other peripherals or cards etc..

That comes later.

> 5) If I boot from debian CD or floppy, when am I supposed to make
> partitions etc? Cant do it using some debian package after I have
> installed because it'll erase/damage installation, and cant do it
> beforehand because there's no OS to do that yet.

The installation program on the CD will offer you the chance to do that.

> 6) This is IMPORTANT and I've been losing sleep over this... I intend
> to use a LARGE hard disk. The partitioning guidelines in installation
> doc say that If over 6GB, it'll give problems. What shall I do? I want
> to make this a big machine, and I want to get a BIG HDdrive, because
> they come cheaper (in cost-per-GB terms) if I buy bigger sizes. e.g.
> if 20GB costs me 100 Units, 40GB is 165 Units and 80GB is just 270
> Units.

The warning I think you're looking at is this:

  For new users, personal Debian boxes, home systems, and other
  single-user setups, a single / partition (plus swap) is probably the
  easiest, simplest way to go. However, this might not be such a good
  idea when you have lots of disk capacity, e.g., 20GB or so. Ext2
  partitions tend to perform poorly on file system integrity checking
  when they are larger than 6GB or so.

You could always read on and see how to create multiple partitions and
filesystems. Actually I've had no problems with the single 20Gb ext3
filesystem on my laptop; if you use the "bf2.4" install flavour, it will
offer you the opportunity to create ext3 filesystems.

As far as I know, the 6Gb recommendation is just a performance thing.
That is, it's OK to create ext2 filesystems larger than that, but it
could take a while for your system to boot up.

> 7) What will happen to the disk space that I dont partition/mount
> etc.. e.g. if I partition 20GB in 4 pieces of 5GB each and name them L
> M N (no name for 4th) and mount them as /lll, /mmm, /nnn (4th not
> mounted) then what? did I just threw my money in water? What exactly
> should I do in order to use the extra surplus space?

You should probably be mounting extra filesystems as /usr, /var, /home,
and so on. If you're not sure what to do (and it sounds like you aren't,
because four 5Gb partitions is rarely the right answer) then you'd be
better off with one big partition and a swap partition at the end of the

> 8) In Windows, it's easy to see and understand the partitions as they
> come to be represented as separate drives (c: and d: for example) but
> what happens in debian? Do I get two roots (/ directories) or what?
> How exactly does it work? How to differenciate between a simple
> directory and a directory that is actually a separate partition/drive.

No, you don't get two roots. Extra filesystems are attached on
directories (such as /usr) called "mount points". There's nothing
special about these directories in advance; you can mount a filesystem
at a random place in your home directory if you like.

'mount' will show the active mount points.

> 9) How to add another Hard Disk a)for a day or two

Insert it, run fdisk to partition, run mke2fs to create partitions on
it. (Read 'man mke2fs' first.) Take it out a few days later.

> b)permanently

Same as a), but don't take it out. :)

> and b.1)without partitioning or b.2)want to partition it before/during
> adding.

Should be clear from the above, as the partitioning and filesystem
creation is something you do yourself.

> 9.1) How many hard disks can I have at most?

The Linux kernel at least has device names allocated for up to 20 IDE
hard disks. I'm not sure if all of that's actually supported. You're
unlikely to run into a limit other than that imposed by your hardware,


Colin Watson                                  [cjwatson@flatline.org.uk]

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