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Re: No fool like an old fool (debian installation probs)

On 4/30/23 18:11, DdB wrote:
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 ...

On 5/1/23 04:08, DdB wrote:
> Am 01.05.2023 um 10:23 schrieb Michel Verdier:

>> To install without gnome I select the task ssh server then after I
>> manually select what I want, and a WM if needed.
> Thank you for encouraging me. A good night sleep did help as well.
> Following your advice, i retried a fresh install. This time round, i did
> permit the reformatting of everything, and just noted a new todo to
> resolve that later. But ...
> The install succeeded, an sshd is running ON a machine with GNOME and
> all its (un-) pleasant surprises like: firefox, openoffice, and much
> more. But i know for sure, that i deselected it and only left Desktop +
> ssh server. I guess, that means, that the installer chose gnome as its
> preferred desktop.
> Ok, i will go on from here, as i certainly want a DE + GNOME, only the
> standard tools, i wouldnt have all of them.
> ======================
> One explanation of my choice to stick with PARTUUID's:
> In my overall stategy of using my computer, i am sometimes copying (dd)
> whole partitions into a backup, a secondary partition or a VM, which can
> easily lead to difficulties, if the same LABELS were used, which can be
> changed, but reside INSIDE the partition itself, whereas PARTUUID's
> reside in the GPT, which is not affected on partition copy operations.
> Thus my choice was related to convenience, avoiding some adjustments
> after partition copy operations. Only the installer interferes with the
> so called "persistent" PARTUUID's, which i regard as being offensive (or
> ignorant - for that matter).
> I am going to fix that later (on my machine), returning to my preferred
> fstab format of using PARTUUID whereever appropriate.
> Bonne journée
> DdB

Reading the above plus your previous post "Looking for inspiration/advice/best practices on system upgrade", it seems that you are making things too complicated.

I would pick one machine, disable/ disconnect/ uninstall all of the drives except optical, install a zeroed 2.5" SATA SSD, make a decision regarding BIOS/MBR (legacy) vs. UEFI/GPT, run the Setup utility and configure CMOS/NVRAM settings accordingly, boot the Debian installer, pick "Install", partition the SSD manually with a 1 GB ESP (if doing EUFI/GPT), a 1 GB boot partition (ext4), 1 GB or larger swap partition, and a 12 GB root partition (ext4), at the "Choose software" page select "SSH server", select "standard system utilities", and deselect everything else. After reboot, you should have a working Debian instance.

Here are my notes from a recent UEFI/GPT install onto the Dell Precision 3630 that I am currently using as my daily driver:

March 16, 2023

1.  Insert wiped Intel SSD 520 Series 60 GB into Dell Precision 3630.
    Power up, insert debian-11.6.0-amd64-netinst CD, and press F2 to
    enter Setup.  Choose Settings -> General -> Boot Sequency.
    Leave optical drive checked.  Uncheck all other choices.  Choose
    "Apply".  Confirm.  Choose OK.  Boots into Debian installer:

	Debian GNU/Linux 11.6.0

	Debian GNU/Linux UEFI Installer menu
	Language			C
	Continent or region		North America
	Country, territory or area	United States
	Keymap to use			American English
	Hostname			taz
	Domain name			tracy.holgerdanske.com
	Root password			********
	Re-enter password		********
	Full name for new user		debian
	Username for your account	debian
	Choose a password		********
	Re-enter password		********
	Select your time zone		Pacific
	Partitioning method		Manual
	-> SCSI1 (0,0,0) (sda) - 60.0 GB ATA INTEL SSDSC2CW06
      	   Create partition table	Yes
	   -> 60.0 GB FREE SPACE
	      -> Create a new partition
		 New partition size	1 GB
	         Location		Beginning
		 Name			ESP
		 Use as			EFI System Partition
		 Bootable flag		on
		 -> Done setting up the partition
	   -> 59.0 GB FREE SPACE
	      -> Create a new partition
		 New partition size	1 GB
	         Location		Beginning
		 Name			taz_boot
		 Use as			Ext4 journaling file system
		 Mount point		/boot
		 Mount options		defaults
		 Label			taz_boot
		 Reserved blocks	5%
		 Typical usage		standard
		 Bootable flag		off
		 -> Done setting up the partition
	  -> 58.0 GB FREE SPACE
	     -> Create a new partition
	        New partition size	1 GB
	        Location		Beginning
		Name			taz_swap
		Use as			physical volume for encryption
		Encryption method	Device-mapper (dm-crypt)
		Encryption		aes
		Key size		256
		IV algorithm		xts-plain64
		Encryption key		Random key
		Erase data		no
		Bootable flag		off
		-> Done setting up the partition
	  -> 57.0 GB FREE SPACE
	     -> Create a new partition
	        New partition size	12 GB
	        Location		Beginning
		Name			taz_root
		Use as			physical volume for encryption
		Encryption method	Device-mapper (dm-crypt)
		Encryption		aes
		Key size		256
		IV algorithm		xts-plain64
		Encryption key		Passphrase
		Erase data		no
		Bootable flag		off
		-> Done setting up the partition
	  -> Configure encrypted volumes
	     Write the changes to disk	Yes
	     ->	Create encrypted volumes
	        Devices to encrypt		
	        [*] /dev/sda3 (1000MB; crypto)
	        [*] /dev/sda4 (11999MB; crypt)
		-> Continue
	     -> Finish
	    Encryption passphrase	********
	    Re-enter passphrase		********
	  Encrypted volume (sda4_crypt) - 12.0 Linux device-mapper (crypt)
	  ->   #1     12.0 GB     f  ext4
	     Use as			Ext4 journaling file system
	     Mount point		/
	     Mount options		defaults
	     Label			taz_root
	     Reserved blocks		5%
	     Typical usage		standard
	     -> Done setting up the partition
	  -> Finish partitioning and write changes to disk
	     Write the changes to disks	Yes
	Scan extra media		No
	Debian archive mirror country	United States
	Debian archive mirror		deb.debian.org
	HTTP proxy information		<blank>
	Package usage survey		No

<Edit: At "Choose software", select "SSH server", choose "standard system utilities", and deselect everything else.>

    CD is ejected.  Remove disc.  Close drive tray.

	Installation complete		Continue

    Push power button when DELL logo appears at post.

Take an image with a dd(1) and gzip(1) pipeline to a file on an external HDD:

* If you chose BIOS/MBR, copy sectors 0 through the end of the last partition (inclusive). Such images can be restored onto any device with a sufficient number of sectors and they should "just work". This one of the reasons I prefer BIOS/MBR.

* If you chose EUFI/GPT, you can either copy all the sectors or just sector 0 through the end of the last partition. The first choice makes it easy to restore onto a device with the same number of sectors. The first choice with a device with a different number of sectors and the second choice require dealing with the GPT backup partition table -- either dd(1) tricks or restore the image, boot, and recreate/ repair the GPT backup partition table. You may also need to deal with CMOS/NVRAM boot entries; I do this manually and put the information into my notes.

After that, install additional drives and packages as desired. A dedicated SSD/RAID for VM's, audio/video editor working files, etc. is nice.

I avoid multi-boot.  Instead, I:

* Install mobile racks in my machines and have a stack of 2.5" SATA SSD's (each with one OS instance):



* I use VirtualBox, installed per Oracle's instructions:


-> Debian-based Linux distributions


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