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Re: Switching to Debian from old Slackware 2.1; orientation?

"Daniel S. Barclay" <daniel@compass-da.com> writes:

> I've started upgrading to Debian 1.2 from Slackware Pro 2.1 (yes, very old).
> Given the difference in distributions and other changes in Linux, I feel
> quite blind.  I don't where everything is and how things work now.  Also, 
> I'm not clear on how to configure and customize things without screwing up 
> dpkg.
> Can someone point me to (or provide) any of the following information?

> - The recommended way to customize startup scripts.  

> 	(For example, on my old system, I put commands to swap the control
> 	and caps-locks keys, to add extra swap space, etc., in rc.local.  
> 	Where do things like that go now?)

Debian uses the standard SysVinit system to handle booting.  As
mentioned in the man page, init(8), there is documentation in

Basically what happens is this:

When the system boots, it runs all the scripts in /etc/rc.boot.  Then
it switches to the default runlevel (usually 2). When you switch into
a runlevel, the system runs all the scripts in /etc/rc?.d, where ? is
the runlevel.  First it runs the scripts that start with 'K' (with the
argument 'stop'), which are supposed to kill processes; then it runs
scripts that start with 'S' (with the argument 'start'), which are
supposed to start new processes. Each file has a number in its name,
which determines the order they are run in.

The directory /etc/rc.boot has no restriction on its filenames, you
can put your scriptfile for customizing the keyboard there.

Let me give you an example of how to use the /etc/rc?.d directories,

I installed "qmail", an alternative to sendmail, on my system by hand,
because there is no Debian package yet.  So I created a script 'qmail'
that starts qmail, if you give it the argument 'start' and stops it if
you give the argument 'stop'.  I placed the script in /etc/init.d.  I
want qmail to start when I enter runlevel 2, so I had to create a link
in /etc/rc2.d to the script 'qmail':

  ln -s /etc/init.d/qmail /etc/rc2.d/S19qmail

The 'S' means start qmail, the 19 makes it run between S18netbase and
S20xinetd.  I also deleted the link, '/etc/rc2.d/S20sendmail' because
I didn't want sendmail to start.  (But I still have the script in
/etc/init.d, in case I ever want to use it again.)

Finally, I created a link

  ln -s /etc/init.d/qmail /etc/rc6.d/K19qmail

so that qmail is killed when I reboot (runlevel 6 is reboot).

(All this magic is actually handled by the scripts /etc/init.d/boot
and /etc/init.d/rc, which are referenced by /etc/inittab.)

> - How I can and should set the video mode to something other than 24 X 80
> 	when the kernel boots.

> 	(This is probably just a general Linux question on which I'm quite 
> 	behind.  I used to used vidmode (rdev) on the kernel image on a 
> 	kernel boot floppy.  That doesn't work any more (at least on the 
> 	normal Debian 1.2 installation's custom kernel boot floppy (which 
> 	isn't just a kernel anyway)).)

> - What I can customize and configure without messing up dpkg.  Also,
> 	how to tell dpkg I'm customizing something.  

> 	(I saw a --divert option somewhere.  When do I need to use it?
> 	For example, for dealing with two ISPs, I have two sets of
> 	some configuration files, and swap around the links to them.
> 	Would I need to tell dpkg not to disturb my link files, or to not
> 	get confused by changes or timestamp changes?)

> - How to install or remove modules.  (That is, how to add or remove
> 	modules to whatever boot-time script loads them, not necessarily
> 	the actual loading or unloading of modules.)

> 	(The Debian installation sets this up initially, but doesn't point
> 	to how to change it.  I would guess that's now a standard Linux
> 	system management operation--but I don't know it.)

The module loading is handled by the script /etc/init.d/modules, which
just uses the configuration file "/etc/modules" (this is what you want
to edit").  My /etc/modules file looks like:

# /etc/modules: kernel modules to load at boot time.
# This file should contain the names of kernel modules that are
# to be loaded at boot time, one per line.  Comments begin with
# a `#', and everything on the line after them are ignored.
# An entry named `auto' will cause the system to start kerneld immediately.
# Kerneld then loads modules on demand. `noauto' disables kerneld completely.

wd io=0x300
smc-ultra io=0x280

I believe there is a utility with a pretty interface that will write
the file for you (you use it when you install), but 'vi' works fine
for me.

> Generally, does anyone know of good source of information on what's
> changed in Linux recently (well, since around kernel 1.2.13 and
> Slackware 2.1 and before ELF)?   (I mean besides re-reading all the 
> documentation just to look for changed things.)   I'm probably doing a 
> lot of things some very old ways.

> Oh, one more question:  If problems are noted in this mailing list,
> is someone submitting bug reports to Debian, or should we report all these 
> recent 1.2 bugs to Debian?  

You should check the bug tracking system on the Debian home page, to
see if the bug has been reported yet, then submit a report.


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