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Re: Setting up to do repetitive installs on ONE machine (cf BabelBox)

On Tue, Aug 28, 2012 at 07:26:18AM -0500, Richard Owlett wrote:
> Richard Owlett wrote:
> >I have two objectives:
> >1. Define, by experimentation, optimal installation
> >parameters to meet my
> >idiosyncratic concept of a "minimal install".
> >2. Determine if there are bugs in Debian Installer, the
> >instructions for
> >the installer, or MY reading of those instructions.
> >
> >I've bought the 8 DVD set of Debian 6.0.5 and have set aside
> >a laptop as a testbed. I would divvy up the 80GB drive with
> >8-10GB for a quasi-static Debian install [some other
> >experiments, possible supervisor for these tests] and ~40GB
> >for DVD content [possibly some additional packages]. The
> >rest would be for the resulting test install and possibly
> >preserving some log files.
> >
> >[SNIP the majority of my original post]
> >
> >Are there other routes to my goals I should investigate?
> >
> In this thread, and others, there have been an underlying
> assumption/suggestion that I do a netinstall. I do not now, nor in
> foreseeable future, have a home network. And as my only web access
> at home is dial-up, that is out ;)
Even more reason to use apt-cacher-ng or something similar.  If you have
multiple Debian installations, you will only have to download updates
once.  All Debian installations will get their updates from


I'd recommend you use Virtualbox for all of your "test" installations.
So start by installing Debian on the laptop, and include a GUI (the
default is Gnome, but you could pick something else if you already have
a favorite.  

apt-get install apt-cacher-ng

You can even import the deb files from some/all of the 8-DVD set you
bought, so they will be available any machine configured to use this
proxy.  http://www.unix-ag.uni-kl.de/~bloch/acng/html/howtos.html#imp

Configure the laptop to use the apt-cacher-ng proxy by putting
this line in /etc/apt/apt.conf:

Acquire::http::Proxy "http://localhost:3142";;  

Then configure that machine to be a gateway (sorry, I don't have a link 
for a how-to).  As a gateway, all computers on the local network will
get their internet access through the gateway machine.  You will
probably want to configure a DHCP server on the laptop.

So if you had a real network, the ethernet port of the laptop would
connect to a switch, which would connect to many other computers.  They
would all get IP addresses from the DHCP server on the laptop.  The DHCP
server would be configured to tell those other computers that the laptop
is their gateway.

apt-get install virtualbox-dkms

Now you can use virtual machines instead of real machines to set up your
local network.  It works the same as I described above.  You will need
to read up a bit on the networking options that Virtualbox provides.
I think you want "bridged networking", but it's been a while since I've
used it.  You should be able to get ip addresses on your virtual
machines that are similar to your laptop's ip address (,, etc)


When you install Debian in a virtual machine, make sure to specify the
proxy that apt should use (the installer asks you).  Enter it in this

(make sure that you specify the IP address of your laptop's ethernet

Have fun practicing networking!


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