These are just some notes I made when I last installed Debian using a snapshot of beta 3 Sarge Debian-installer (dated about 2 weeks ago):
First you need to boot from the 'Sarge' Debian-installer CD:
1. Press ENTER to boot.
2. Choose language [fi_FI in my case to get Finnish language settings; later you can run 'dpkg-reconfigure locales' to change this]
3. Choose keyboardmap [fi-latin1 in my case; later you can run 'dpkg-reconfigure console-data' to change this]
4. Choose module for ethernet card ['none' in my case; pcnet_cs would have been accurate for my PCMCIA NIC but Debian refused to load it -- had to 'modprobe pcnet_cs' after installation]
5. Debian-installer Main Menu: Partition disks
[I had already made room for Debian partition by running QtParted from SystemRescueCD and shrinking my WinXP NTFS partition; also Knoppix has QtParted (but no GAG)]
-- detect hardware
-- partition disks: - swap, -ReiserFS (mount point /)
-- Write changes to disk: <YES>
6. Install GRUB to master boot record [I use GAG (from SystemRescueCD) boot loader, so I said NO here]
-- Device for boot loader installation [In my case, Debian is in hard disk 1, partition 6, which translates to GRUB as (hd0,5), because GRUB starts counting from number 0]
-- Fatal error [I needed to install GRUB again to make it work]
7. Debian-installer Main Menu: Install the GRUB boot loader
-- again asks me if I want to install GRUB to master boot record [NO again; success]
8. Finish the installation [Continue]
After this basic installation I rebooted to my new system and went through the after-installation procedure.
Next I configured the network:
-- DNS in /etc/resolv.conf
-- loopback interface & NIC in /etc/network/interfaces
[I have PCMCIA NIC so I didn't make 'auto' entry for my NIC]
-- made the proper ftp entry in /etc/apt/sources.list [this can be made by running 'apt-setup']
-- then I modprobed my NIC that wasn't configured during installation. [You quite probably don't need to do this.]
-- I had to reboot to make my system work; If you are successful in configuring your network during the installation, you can continue by launching 'aptitude', updating APT, and installing the programs you want to.
[I suggest you start by installing 'x-window-system-core', 'mdetect', 'read-edid', 'mc', 'aterm', and 'fluxbox' to get you started. 'mdetect' tries to auto-configure your mouse and 'read-edid' does the same for your monitor. Better yet, get these specs from Knoppix.]
Then run 'nano .xinitrc' and write 'exec fluxbox' to make it possible to start fluxbox by writing 'startx' from the command line.
If X refuses to launch, you need to run 'dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xfree86' again and give the proper values for your hardware.
[If you've got a PCMCIA NIC, rename /etc/rc2.d/S20pcmcia to /etc/rc2.d/S12pcmcia in order to make sure that your NIC is properly configured before the network connection is started.] [I also use Firestarter so I renamed the firestarter firewall script from /etc/rc2.d/S20firestarter to /etc/rc2.d/S30firestarter so that the network is properly configured before my firewall script starts.]
[These are just my notes for an installation for this particular hardware. Hope they help someone, though.]
PS. the address for the Sarge Debian-installer is:
and the actual procedure of installation is very much likely to be much easier for you than it was for me. I have PCMCIA NIC in one box and PPPoE ADSL connection in another, which makes things more difficult for me than they usually are.