This section will help you determine which different media types you can use to
install Debian. For example, if you have a floppy disk drive on your machine,
it can be used to install Debian. There is a whole chapter devoted media,
Chapter 4, Obtaining System Installation Media, which lists the advantages and
disadvantages of each media type. You may want to refer back to this page once
you reach that section.
In some cases, you'll have to do your first boot from floppy disks.
Generally, all you will need is a
high-density (1440 kilobytes) 3.5 inch floppy drive.
Whenever you see “CD-ROM” in this manual, it applies to both
CD-ROMs and DVD-ROMs, because both technologies are really
the same from the operating system's point of view, except for some very
old nonstandard CD-ROM drives which are neither SCSI nor IDE/ATAPI.
CD-ROM based installation is supported for some architectures.
On machines which support bootable CD-ROMs, you should be able to do a
installation. Even if your system doesn't
support booting from a CD-ROM, you can use the CD-ROM in conjunction
with the other techniques to install your system, once you've booted
up by other means; see Chapter 5, Booting the Installation System.
Both SCSI and IDE/ATAPI CD-ROMs are supported. In addition, all
non-standard CD interfaces supported by Linux are supported by the
boot disks (such as Mitsumi and Matsushita drives). However, these
models might require special boot parameters or other massaging to get
them to work, and booting off these non-standard interfaces is
unlikely. The Linux CD-ROM HOWTO
contains in-depth information on using CD-ROMs with Linux.
USB CD-ROM drives are also supported, as are FireWire devices that
are supported by the ohci1394 and sbp2 drivers.
Booting the installation system directly from a hard disk is another option
for many architectures. This will require some other operating system
to load the installer onto the hard disk.
Many Debian boxes need their floppy and/or CD-ROM drives only for
setting up the system and for rescue purposes. If you operate some
servers, you will probably already have thought about omitting those
drives and using an USB memory stick for installing and (when
necessary) for recovering the system. This is also useful for small
systems which have no room for unnecessary drives.
You can also boot your system over the network.
Diskless installation, using network booting from a local area network
and NFS-mounting of all local filesystems, is another option.
After the operating system kernel is installed, you can install the
rest of your system via any sort of network connection (including
PPP after installation of the base system), via FTP or HTTP.
2.2.6. Un*x or GNU system
If you are running another Unix-like system, you could use it to install
Debian GNU/Linux without using the
debian-installer described in the rest of the
manual. This kind of install may be useful for users with otherwise
unsupported hardware or on hosts which can't afford downtime. If you
are interested in this technique, skip to the Section C.4, “Installing Debian GNU/Linux from a Unix/Linux System”.
2.2.7. Supported Storage Systems
The Debian boot disks contain a kernel which is built to maximize the
number of systems it runs on. Unfortunately, this makes for a larger
kernel, which includes many drivers that won't be used for your
machine (see Section 8.5, “Compiling a New Kernel” to learn how to
build your own kernel). Support for the widest possible range of
devices is desirable in general, to ensure that Debian can be
installed on the widest array of hardware.
Generally, the Debian installation system includes support for floppies,
IDE drives, IDE floppies, parallel port IDE devices, SCSI controllers and
drives, USB, and FireWire. The file systems supported include FAT,
Win-32 FAT extensions (VFAT), and NTFS, among others.
The disk interfaces that emulate the “AT” hard disk interface
which are often called MFM, RLL, IDE, or ATA are supported. Very old 8 bit
hard disk controllers used in the IBM XT computer are supported only
as a module. SCSI disk controllers from many different manufacturers
are supported. See the
Linux Hardware Compatibility HOWTO
for more details.