My purpose with this posting is to help newbies, period. This is not the ultimate howto or wiki, if anyone knows better or alternate ways to solve these problems, don't be shy, please post them, we all benefit from it. This is basically how i configure Debian, is not written on stone that you should do it like this, but you can try it, and see if it works for you.
This is a compilation of tips and advices from articles by Clinton de Young and Robert Storey from osnews.com and distrowatch.com respectively, googlings, and answers from other contributors to the Debian forum at linuxquestions.org, names that come to mind are: Dead Parrot, HappyTux, and a bunch of others that unfortunately, i can't retain in my feeble mind.
This is the first question a newbie-geek-to-be wants to know. He installed Woody with CD1 and dist-upgraded to Sarge, or installed Sarge with the Sarge installer RC1, and now doesn't know where to go from here.
Before i jump into it, all i have to say to all newbies is this:
READ your butt off, there is no substitute. Follow instructions eventhough it seems like a PITA. Go to debian.org > documentation > manuals, and read.
Give pertinent information when posting your problems, state what Debian version and what kernel you are using, it makes a difference, read what you are told to read, and come back
later on, asking sensible and specific queestions after reading the man, article, or howto, people will respect you, now you know exactly what you don't know, and you will be helped.
But if you post something like:
"I just installed Debian and apt-get ate my <name of app>, and later on, my keyboard and mouse stopped working after told to reboot by my paperboy, and KDE won't let me login for no reason at all, just to spite me i guess, and the thing is: i have never done anything mean to anybody at kde.org, please HELP, this never hapenned to me with <name of no-brainer distro>, i curse the day i listened to my now-ex-friend who told me to install Debian."
Hmm, see my point? is he on Woody, Sarge or Sid, what kernel is he using? because different solutions exist for different kernels; what errors is he getting on the console from var/log? How can we help this infidel?
THE X PROBLEM
"No Screens Found" means you did a bad configuration for the X server during the installation, either your video card, mouse, monitor, etc is badly configured either for lack of knowledge or lazyness. Yes, some people do not want to read, they want easy, fast answers that only solve their problems momentarily, and the next day they are back asking similar questions.
On kernel 2.4, read sections 9 and 10 of the following article, or better yet, read the whole article, even reinstall if you have to, in order to do it right:
The Very Verbose Debian Installation Walkthrough
Debian - Not Just Another Pretty Face Part 1
On kernel 2.6, read this wiki:
Unofficial #debian channel FAQ on freenode (irc.debian.org)
You will save yourself a lot of headaches by reading all this.
Usually a well done:
will solve the problem.
Ok, you got Debian installed, let's get going...WOOHOO!
The first thing i do is install a firewall and mozilla (with which i'm gonna check the firewall at grc.com). My favorite firewalls are Guarddog and Firestarter, they are easy to configure. After installing Sarge the first thing i do is:
Why dist-upgrade and not upgrade? read the APT-HOWTO.
#apt-get install guarddog mozilla
after i finish downloading guarddog, i invoke it (execute it):
it comes up, say OK to the first screen, in the main screen, click on the protocols flap on top of the page. You will find different categories, choose according to your needs.
Here are mine:
Chat = IRC
File Transfer = FTP, HTTP, HTTPS
Interactive Session = SSH
Mail = IMAP, POP3, SMTP, NNTP
Network = DNS
OK/save/get out , your firewall will start working immediately, at the terminal wait about 10 seconds, a couple of lines will come up, do a Ctrl+c and exit. Now all we have to do is, to test it at grc.com with Mozilla.
Firestarter is as easy, take your pick.
MOZILLA, OPERA, and .deb FILES
Mozilla is downloaded, configure it, and go to www.grc.com.
Once there, click on ShieldsUP, this will take you to another screen, go down till you pass 'Hot Spots' and click on 'ShieldsUP' again, this will send you to a third screen, click on 'Proceed', a dialog box will come up, click on 'Continue', in the next screen in the middle of the page, under 'ShieldsUP Services', click on 'All Service Ports', and on this last page, you don't have to do anything, just wait for your ports to be scanned, all 1055 of them! it takes about 2 minutes. They should be all neon-green or blue, no red ports, if you get red ports, go back and reconfigure Guarddog.
One thing i like about Mozilla is that it allows me to kill 3 birds with one shot, i get a browser, mail program, and a composer, which i use as my wordprocessor for my every day chores. Of course, you can also:
#apt-get install mozilla-firefox mozilla-thunderbird
If you like Opera, go to opera.com download opera to your /home directory (/home/your_name/).
Then to install it, as root, from the terminal:
#dpkg -i opera + TAB + ENTER (do not write this)
what this means is that by writing: 'dpkg -i opera' and pressing the TAB KEY it will auto-complete the opera long file name and then, by pressing the key ENTER, it will install the .deb file.
In order to do this, you always have to be in the directory where the file is. Thus, i alwalys download to my /home directory, you could download to /tmp, but then you would have to move to that directory first (#cd /tmp) in order to install app in question.
For you, KDE users, this is what kpackage does.
Clear as mud? hehe, it'll come to you, once you spend 45 minutes at it cussing and bitching, you will never forget it.
will update the menus in most window-managers (wm) except of course, KDE and GNOME who are desktop environments (DE)
Okeedokee, we got the firewall and mozilla installed, we are kinda safe, what's next?
apt-get install sndconfig
run the command sndconfig
EDIT 21 Dec 2004: sndconfig seems to be obsoleted, it gives an error when attempting to be installed. Try this:
Sound and video
find your sound card, and add yourself to the 'audio' group
#adduser <user name> group
#adduser macondo audio
logout/login for this to take effect, as long as you are there, add yourself to the following groups, one by one:
you need a sound mixer:
#apt-get install aumix
calibrate volume and pcm settings
If using apm, install it with modconf
look for apm and install it, then add this line to /etc/modules
add "apm=power-off" in the lilo.conf in the 'append' line.
#apt-get install discover
is very helpful identifying hardware, always install it.
#apt-get install cupsys cupsys-bsd
In mozilla, go to this address and configure printer:
If you want to know if Debian carries apps related to something and what these apps are:
#apt-cache search editors
a list will come up, you can choose from there.
if you want a description, say of vim:
#apt-cache show vim
WINDOW MANAGERS and DESKTOP ENVIRONMENTS
This is a very subjective matter, holy wars are started because of this. My opinion is that whatever makes you happy and helps you work fast, is the correct thing to use. My wife says that with my opinion and a dollar, i can buy a cup of coffee.
For those like me who use old, decrepit boxes, i advice to stay away from KDE and GNOME.
My PII/266/128MB RAM is sluggish and useless with any of these two. I like my system lean and mean, as fast as possible, i installed light apps and fast wm.
#apt-get install icewm icewm-themes iceme openbox
Here's what i think of KDE and GNOME:
OTOH, it flies with XFCE4, IceWM, Fluxbox, Openbox, WindowMaker, and AfterStep, if you have an old box, try all these, and choose your favorite, mine are icewm/openbox, fluxbox became a tad complicated with the new version for my taste. But who me?
Here's what i think of IceWM
APPLICATIONS I INSTALL
#apt-get install locales localepurge deborphan debfoster
I need to install locales, then:
if you are English speaking, choose all the instances of English you use, be it, en_US, en_GB, or any other language you use. For "furriners" like me, i choose all the en_US and all the es_ES (spanish) press ok, in the next screen i choose the language for my environment, making sure it says 'utf-8' at the end of it.
Localepurge, deborphan, and debfoster will save you MBs of space in your hard drive.
Localepurge gives the same configuration, choose again, answer the questions, a good explanation is in the APT-HOWTO at debian.org.
Debfoster is great, as root, invoke it, and answer the questions about keeping certain new apps. Keep everything you don't know what it is, deborphan will list the libraries that are alone and are safe to nuke.
Deborphan when invoked, will give a list of 'orphaned' libraries.
in order to get rid of them:
#deborphan | xargs apt-get -y remove --purge
I use all three once a week, to keep my box clean of garbage.
#apt-get install ksnapshot xchat xzgv numlockx artwiz-cursor memstat xfe vim
ksnapshot- gives you a picture of your desktop/screen
xchat- to chat on the IRC, in the #debian, #fluxbox, #debian-kde, on the freenode server
xzgv- fast and small image viewer
numlockx- enables the numbers pad to the right of the keyboard automatically on login.
artwiz-cursor- a beautiful cursor by the artwiz boys.
memstat- small (8kb) app that shows what amount of ram your apps are using.
xfe- small and quick file manager, very good.
vim- my favorite editor, fast and simple.
#apt-cache search openoffice.org
will give a long list of Openoffice.org apps and plugins which you can choose.
I choose what i need and install them.
#apt-get install openoffice.org openoffice.org-help-es openoffice.org-l10n-es myspell-es
notice that you can install in many languages, in my case: spanish, substitute 'es' for 'en', and you are in business, for myspell, you have to choose btwn en-us and en-gb.
In the Debian menu, under Editors, click on oowriter.
OOo comes up, go to:
Tools > Options > Memory > Graphic Cache > Use for OpenOffice.org
and change the amount of ram from 9 to 32, this will make it a tad faster.
Next from Memory, go to View, my choice:
Look & Feel = OS/2
Scale = 120
Icon Size = Large
I have bad eyesight
The terminal is another of my pet peeves, too small. With your favorite editor go to your
and copy/paste this:
$xrdb -merge /home/your_user_name/.Xresources
next time you start your terminal, you will have a nice, big terminal with white fonts, black background, yellow cursor, with a scrollbar, and 20k lines to scroll back to.
If you are using xdm, kdm, gdm, or wdm, you can make your favorite wm/DE start automatically by editing you ~/.xsession in this way:
and adding this:
then save and exit, logout/login and voilá!
in my case, the next time i login to xdm, icewm will start, if you comment icewm and uncomment openbox, then this last one will start.
If you use startx:
do the same.
When you install x-window-system, it installs xfonts-100dpi, xterm, xdm
If you are using startx and want to increase your fonts, add the following line to your
/home/user/.bash_profile and /.bashrc:
alias startx='startx -- -dpi 100'
you can increas the dpi to 110, 120, etc.
If you use xdm, edit the file:
and add these 2 lines:
#:0 local /usr/X11R6/bin/X -bpp 16
:0 local /usr/X11R6/bin/X -bpp 16 -dpi 100
increase the dpi accordingly.
This should keep you busy for a while, hope this helps.
Edit: if by any chance when you invoke a program from the terminal, it doesn't come up because the server doesn't allow you to: