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Debian GNU/Linux Installation Guide

This manual is free software; you may redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License. Please refer to the license in Appendix E, GNU General Public License.


This document contains installation instructions for the Debian GNU/Linux 3.1 system (codename “sarge”), for the Intel x86 (“i386”) architecture. It also contains pointers to more information and information on how to make the most of your new Debian system.


Although this installation guide for i386 is mostly up-to-date, we plan to make some changes and reorganize parts of the manual after the official release of sarge. A newer version of this manual may be found on the Internet at the debian-installer home page. You may also be able to find additional translations there.

Table of Contents

Installing Debian GNU/Linux 3.1 For i386
1. Welcome to Debian
1.1. What is Debian?
1.2. What is GNU/Linux?
1.3. What is Debian GNU/Linux?
1.4. Getting Debian
1.5. Getting the Newest Version of This Document
1.6. Organization of This Document
1.7. About Copyrights and Software Licenses
2. System Requirements
2.1. Supported Hardware
2.1.1. Supported Architectures
2.1.2. CPU, Main Boards, and Video Support
2.1.3. Graphics Card
2.1.4. Laptops
2.1.5. Multiple Processors
2.2. Installation Media
2.2.1. Floppies
2.2.3. Hard Disk
2.2.4. USB Memory Stick
2.2.5. Network
2.2.6. Un*x or GNU system
2.2.7. Supported Storage Systems
2.3. Peripherals and Other Hardware
2.4. Purchasing Hardware Specifically for GNU/Linux
2.4.1. Avoid Proprietary or Closed Hardware
2.4.2. Windows-specific Hardware
2.4.3. Fake or “Virtual” Parity RAM
2.5. Memory and Disk Space Requirements
2.6. Network Connectivity Hardware
3. Before Installing Debian GNU/Linux
3.1. Overview of the Installation Process
3.2. Back Up Your Existing Data!
3.3. Information You Will Need
3.3.1. Documentation
3.3.2. Finding Sources of Hardware Information
3.3.3. Hardware Compatibility
3.3.4. Network Settings
3.4. Meeting Minimum Hardware Requirements
3.5. Pre-Partitioning for Multi-Boot Systems
3.5.1. Partitioning From DOS or Windows
3.6. Pre-Installation Hardware and Operating System Setup
3.6.1. Invoking the BIOS Set-Up Menu
3.6.2. Boot Device Selection
3.6.3. Miscellaneous BIOS Settings
3.6.4. Hardware Issues to Watch Out For
4. Obtaining System Installation Media
4.1. Official Debian GNU/Linux CD-ROM Sets
4.2. Downloading Files from Debian Mirrors
4.2.1. Where to Find Installation Images
4.3. Creating Floppies from Disk Images
4.3.1. Writing Disk Images From a Linux or Unix System
4.3.2. Writing Disk Images From DOS, Windows, or OS/2
4.4. Preparing Files for USB Memory Stick Booting
4.4.1. Copying the files — the easy way
4.4.2. Copying the files — the flexible way
4.5. Preparing Files for Hard Disk Booting
4.5.1. Hard disk installer booting using LILO or GRUB
4.6. Preparing Files for TFTP Net Booting
4.6.1. Setting up BOOTP server
4.6.2. Setting up a DHCP server
4.6.3. Enabling the TFTP Server
4.6.4. Move TFTP Images Into Place
4.7. Automatic Installation
4.7.1. Automatic Installation Using the Debian Installer
5. Booting the Installation System
5.1. Booting the Installer on Intel x86
5.1.1. Booting from a CD-ROM
5.1.2. Booting from Linux Using LILO or GRUB
5.1.3. Booting from USB Memory Stick
5.1.4. Booting from Floppies
5.1.5. Booting with TFTP
5.1.6. The Boot Prompt
5.2. Boot Parameters
5.2.1. Debian Installer Parameters
5.3. Troubleshooting the Installation Process
5.3.1. Floppy Disk Reliability
5.3.2. Boot Configuration
5.3.3. Common Intel x86 Installation Problems
5.3.4. Interpreting the Kernel Startup Messages
5.3.5. Bug Reporter
5.3.6. Submitting Installation Reports
6. Using the Debian Installer
6.1. How the Installer Works
6.2. Components Introduction
6.3. Using Individual Components
6.3.1. Setting up Debian Installer and Hardware Configuration
6.3.2. Partitioning and Mount Point Selection
6.3.3. Installing the Base System
6.3.4. Making Your System Bootable
6.3.5. Finishing the First Stage
6.3.6. Miscellaneous
7. Booting Into Your New Debian System
7.1. The Moment of Truth
7.2. Debian Post-Boot (Base) Configuration
7.2.1. Configuring Your Time Zone
7.2.2. Setting Up Users And Passwords
7.2.3. Setting Up PPP
7.2.4. Configuring APT
7.2.5. Package Installation
7.2.6. Prompts During Software Installation
7.2.7. Configuring Your Mail Transport Agent
7.3. Log In
8. Next Steps and Where to Go From Here
8.1. If You Are New to Unix
8.2. Orienting Yourself to Debian
8.2.1. Debian Packaging System
8.2.2. Application Version Management
8.2.3. Cron Job Management
8.3. Reactivating DOS and Windows
8.4. Further Reading and Information
8.5. Compiling a New Kernel
8.5.1. Kernel Image Management
A. Installation Howto
A.1. Preliminaries
A.2. Booting the installer
A.2.1. CDROM
A.2.2. Floppy
A.2.3. USB memory stick
A.2.4. Booting from network
A.2.5. Booting from hard disk
A.3. Installation
A.4. Send us an installation report
A.5. And finally..
B. Partitioning for Debian
B.1. Deciding on Debian Partitions and Sizes
B.2. The Directory Tree
B.3. Recommended Partitioning Scheme
B.4. Device Names in Linux
B.5. Debian Partitioning Programs
B.5.1. Partitioning for Intel x86
C. Random Bits
C.1. Preconfiguration File Example
C.2. Linux Devices
C.2.1. Setting Up Your Mouse
C.3. Disk Space Needed for Tasks
C.4. Installing Debian GNU/Linux from a Unix/Linux System
C.4.1. Getting Started
C.4.2. Install debootstrap
C.4.3. Run debootstrap
C.4.4. Configure The Base System
C.4.5. Install a Kernel
C.4.6. Set up the Boot Loader
C.5. Installing Debian GNU/Linux over Parallel Line IP (PLIP)
C.5.1. Requirements
C.5.2. Setting up source
C.5.3. Installing target
D. Administrivia
D.1. About This Document
D.2. Contributing to This Document
D.3. Major Contributions
D.4. Trademark Acknowledgement
E. GNU General Public License
E.1. Preamble
E.3. How to Apply These Terms to Your New Programs

  Published under the terms of the GNU General Public License Design by Interspire