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Debian Etch 4.0 Install Thinkpad R50e

16 Jul, 2007

I installed the release version of Debian Etch today. Here's what I did.

Get the CD

First download CD1 of the set and run this to check that the md5 checksum is correct:

md5sum debian-40r0-i386-CD-1.iso

The output should be:


If it is OK then burn the image to a CD. Probably best to choose a write speed below the maximum the CD drive can do to minimise the risk of an error occurring during the burn which might cause problems later.

Once the CD is burned, put it into the drive and reboot. The CD will boot and at the first screen press ENTER to boot the installer. If you see a message similar to "Kernel panic - not syncing: VFS: Unable to mount root fs on unknown-block(104,7)" is likely there was an error burning the CD. Check the ISO image and burn it again at a slower speed.

Install the Base System

I followed the screens and choose the following options:

United Kingdom
British English
Keyboard: British English
Hostname: dirac
Domain name: 3aims.com

I then let Debian setup the partitioning choosing to use an encrypted LVM volume and one partition for all data. When setting up the encrypted volume Debian takes quite a long time erasing previous data which it doesn't seem to do for other partition types. After it is setup you need to choose an encryption passphrase, the longer the better. I chose the hostname as the volume group for LVM. After confirming you are happy, the installer finishes setting up the partitions. It installs the base system and I chose the default kernel.

Choose a root password Setup a user

Then I chose ftp.uk.debian.org as the apt mirror and I don't have a proxy server. Configuring apt crashed the first time but worked the second.

After that I opted out of the popularity contest and installed Desktop Environment, Laptop and Standard System from the options. I always find it is useful to install a very standard setup even if that isn't what you want eventually. The reason is that most documentation will assume your setup is similar to everyone else's and if it isn't you are likely to find you are missing parts of the system other people will expect you to have. Following this approach might use slightly more disk space in the short term but it will save a lot of effort in the long term.

Anyway, after a restart there was the system. Here are the changes I made next...

Configure the New Desktop

Install some extra software:

apt-get install vim-gnome vim-python nautilus-open-terminal python-dev python-imaging vim-scripts vim-runtime subversion unzip openssh-server thunderbird tomboy apache2-utils clamav msttcorefonts rsync build-essential

Remove some I won't use:

apt-get remove --purge epiphany-browser nano bc dc

Remove CD from /etc/apt/sources.list otherwise apt will sometimes try to install software from it and that can be a pain if you don't always have the CD with you. It should look like this:

deb http://ftp.uk.debian.org/debian/ etch main
deb-src http://ftp.uk.debian.org/debian/ etch main
deb http://security.debian.org/ etch/updates main contrib
deb-src http://security.debian.org/ etch/updates main contrib

Set the editor to vim:

gvim ~/.bashrc

Then uncomment the line starting PS1 and set the editor to be vim by adding this:

export EDITOR=vim

Sound doesn't work out of the box. Run this:

dirac:/home/james# cat /proc/asound/cards
 0 [I82801DBICH4   ]: ICH4 - Intel 82801DB-ICH4
                      Intel 82801DB-ICH4 with AD1981B at 0xd0100c00, irq 11
 1 [Modem          ]: ICH-MODEM - Intel 82801DB-ICH4 Modem
                      Intel 82801DB-ICH4 Modem at 0x2400, irq 11</code>

Then install and configure alsa:

dirac:/home/james#  apt-get install alsa-utils alsa-oss alsa-base

Actually this doesn't seem to help although sound plays fine as root. Update: None of this sound configuration should have been necessary. The solution is documented here.

Gnome Setup

Web Browser

From the menu I selected Desktop->Preferences->Preferred Applications and chose Iceweasel instead of Epiphany. I then removed the Epiphany icon from the top panel and added Iceweasel and Terminal ones by right-clicking and selecting Add to Panel.


Tick Always Open in Browser Windows
Tick Always use text-entry location bar

Samba Mounts

Choose Places->Connect to server from the menus then select a Windows Share and in Location enter smb://fermi/james/file.


Copy from smb://james@fermi/james/files/Backup/Thunderbird/Profiles to ./mozilla-thunderbird then start thunderbird then rename the profile to whatever the current one is!

Edit profiles.ini to look like this:



Flash Support

Get Adobe 9. Then copy the file to the ~/.mozilla/plugin http://www.mail-archive.com/debian-user@lists.debian.org/msg466736.html

Shortcut Icons

Add the gnome terminal and gvim icons to the panel.

Fat32 Support

sudo apt-get install dosfstools

VMWare Setup

Get the server software from the VMWare site and generate a serial number from the same page then run the following commands, accepting the defaults most of the time. A new icon will appear in the Applications->System Tools menu called VMWare Server Console.

apt-get update
apt-get install linux-headers-`uname -r` libx11-6 libx11-dev x-window-system-core x-window-system xspecs libxtst6 psmisc build-essential
tar xvfz VMware-server-*.tar.gz
cd vmware-server-distrib
cd /usr/lib/vmware/lib/libgcc_s.so.1/
mv libgcc_s.so.1 libgcc_s.so.1.old
ln -sf /lib/libgcc_s.so.1
cd /usr/lib/vmware/lib/libpng12.so.0
mv libpng12.so.0 libpng12.so.0.old
ln -sf /usr/lib/libpng12.so.0

The last statements are to fix a bug where you can't click the Browse button. Then run this to load vmware:

vmware &

Other useful notes

Setup a new user and home directory:

useradd -c "Joe Blogs" -m jblogs

Setup Pylons:

mkdir ~/Desktop/SVN/pylonshq.com
cd ~/Desktop/SVN/pylonshq.com
svn co http://pylonshq.com/svn/Pylons

Install virtual Python:

apt-get install python python-dev subversion
wget http://peak.telecommunity.com/dist/virtual-python.py
python virtual-python.py
wget http://peak.telecommunity.com/dist/ez_setup.py
~/bin/python ez_setup.py</code>

Install AuthKit:

~/bin/easy_install "AuthKit==dev"

Fixing the uswsusp problem which occurred in the release candidate of the installer but which doesn't affect the final version:

sudo dpkg-reconfigure uswsusp
update-initramfs: Generating /boot/initrd.img-2.6.18-4-686

Then I configure sudo, setup wireless networking, configure vim and add a printer.

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