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Re: A long rant on Debian 9

Hi John,

Take a look at the relevant section of the installation manual at:
and then download the unofficial non-free installer iso at:

You can put the iso on a USB and install from there directly.  It already contains the missing firmware so you don’t need to mess with separate USBs and tarballs, etc.


On May 6, 2018, at 1:51 PM, John <jpff@codemist.co.uk> wrote:

> I have been a user of debian for many years on a number of computers
> as well as other GNU/Linux systems.  Recently I discovered that my
> i686 32bit machine was out of support and they were not supporting
> 32bit machines any longer.  After some bad experiences with Tumbleweed I
> decided that I would install stretch so I could get experience of it
> when I am forced to upgrade my firewall (running jessie with a whezzy
> kernel).
> So today I d/loaded the net-install iso for debian 9.4 and wrote it to
> a usb stick. Then tried to install on the target (Thinkpad x40).
> Nice idea but it refused to use the wifi, so I proceeded via wired
> ethernet hoping I could resolve the issue later.  In the process I
> think I determined the wifi problem was the need for firmware for the
> Intel ipw2200 hardware.
> After rather a long time it said it was installed so I rebooted -- a
> big mistake!  I was hoping for a computer where I could write
> programs, mainly with xterm, emacs (with elisp) and C.  I had asked
> for no gnome no kde no xfce...  I usually run fvwm on X but I got a
> screen with nothing obvious to do.  I did get icons (spit!) offering
> games and firefox but no xterm -- I was expecting to install emacs
> myself as I use a very recent system -- but it was in effect not a
> computer but some kind of toy. I do not play computer games and
> thought I had said not to install any
> Since then I have failed to get wifi although I have got the firmware
> -- but no instructions on how to install.  Got aptitude installed and
> discovered load of gnome stuff cluttering up the disk (which is
> limited) and memory (ditto).
> How do I get a working computer?  I can ssh in from elsewhere but that
> is not what I need.  And I need wifi.
> I have never had this problem in 35 years on unix and linux, and am
> very disappointed.  I suppose I can install things like csh and
> possibly xdm, exim from source etc but without an xterm.....
> I also noticed eventually that the duff screen came from tty2 rather
> that tty7 that I was expecting.
> Sorry for the rant but I really was expecting simplicity as before.
> ==John ffitch

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