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No fool like an old fool (debian installation probs)

Hello list,

after receiving so much good advice, i finally made up my mind and began
playing through the installation (debian bullseye, current stable) in my
simulation-VM in order to learn about the pitfalls to avoid. After more
than a dozen tries, i am running out of fuel, because i am continuously
running into problems, that i would have preferred to circumvent.

At first, i picked a debian (debian-11.6.0-amd64-DVD-1.iso), as the 11.7
release was not yet out), and installed from there, choosing the Expert
Install. The main reason was, that i was expecting to be invited into
customizing the system picking software to install by hand.

But at first, i ran into a multitude of problems with the partitioning
tool, even though the system was already properly configured (GPT +
EFISYS + OS + Swap + several other partitions booting in UEFI style).

For example, when i allow the use of the swap partition, it gets
reformatted and another PARTUUID is assigned to it, leading to failures
booting other systems from that disk. OTOH Disallowing its use for the
time being leads to install failures due to the 4GB of RAM apparently
not being enough for that VM.

Another problem, similar but distinctly different happens around the OS
partition. Whenever i gave it to the installer, it reformatted it while
changing the PARTUUID, again leading to failures in the boot process of
the other partitions... Until i discovered this workaround: Assign the
partition to ext4 and the mountpoint / but not allowing to delete its
content (as that would induce the reformatting). Instead, after
finishing partitioning, i asked for a shell and from there manually
deleted ONLY THE DATA from the partition(s) used. Then installation
progressed further.

BTW: Apparently, this was the only way to keep the PARTUUID, as deleting
the data by overwriting with zeroes lead to the installer overwriting
the fs structures making another mke2fs necessary.

But the worst of all, was the software selection: Even though i asked
for debconf priority low, i got only a few checkboxes to pick from. And
choosing GNOME did automatically install software i neither need nor want.

But omitting GNOME from the list lead to a system failing to boot with
tons of messages stating the absense of all kind of gnome parts.

So, just in order to make some progress, i had to willingly and
temporarily kill the bootability of other partitions in order to have
the install terminate without failures.

At that point, i decided to try the netinstall, as it is now available
with release 11.7 and i did expect there to be more choices. And when
even that one failed to boot without GNOME, i even did check the
sha512sum to make sure, i was using the proper one. - I did!

Now, i am confused. Many years ago, the expert installer was very
difficult to use and did provide very many choices (and liberties to
spoil the fun). Now, i dont seem to be able at coming to the stage,
where i can seriously test more complicated things (like multi-boot,
zfs, and other things) that make up my current host in its buster version.

It is quite obvious, that i am lacking SOME kind of understanding,
because what i am trying to accomplish should really be quite easy, but
i am only experiencing troubles.

Oh, as a side note: As a nicety of my setup, i can use bash scripts,
that work well from my main OS, or from the simulation VM which can be
used to test functionality before it is rolled out to the host. That is
why, i am relying/insisting on absolutely identical PARTUUIDs inside
that VM.

Now, i am really curious as to how to get to a proper system without
having to go through the baby-steps beginning with debootstrap, and all
the millions of configuration steps, that i did not even bother to list.

I am really interested to understand, in which way i am creating all
those problems for myself. Could it be related to the fact, that i am
accessing the net fom a VPN? - I don't think so.

Any suggestions/questions/hints from the power-users in here?
... would be wildly appreciated ...

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