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This is my first time posting and I know you have probably heard this before, but I am a complete newbie to the world of Linux. I have been using Knoppix for the past few days and now I want to install a Linux distro to my hardrive. I decided on Debian 4.0 Etch (I think is the latest version). I have been to the Debian website and couldn't figure out exactly how to download it. If anybody could explain step by step how to download it from the website, it would be greatly appreciated.
My computer has two harddrives. Both drives have windows, and one of them I am going to install debian on top of. My other computer has the dvd burner, so I guess I'll have to download it and burn it to dvd on this computer. Or can you install it directly form the website. Like I said all this stuff is really new to me so I apologize if the answers to these questions seem really obvious.
If you move from debian home page to "Getting Debian" section (here) then you will have several alternatives. You probably want to download a bootable image of Debian. Choose the image that fits to your pc architecture (i386 is for intel). netinst CD needs a web connection for installation, whereas with full CD/DVD you don't need web connection.
I reccomend to read installation manual, especially section 3.5 "Pre-Partitioning for Multi-Boot Systems". Yeah if you want to dual boot you need to partition your disk before.
I'd recommend a netinst CD if you download, but I'd be doing you a disservice if I didn't recommend a good reference book. 'The Debian System' covers everything you really need to know to get a networked desktop system installed, and nothing you don't. It should be available at your local bookstore. The 'Debian Bible' is also excellent for server configuration, but I recommend it as optional, and 'The Debian System' as a must for Newbies.
Okay so I started downloading a netinst cd, then once it's finished I burn it to a cd then install it on the computer of my choosing, right? Thanks for the book recomendations, I was also thinking of purchasing a linux book aswell. But was wondering, are all distros basically the same since they all use the linux kernel. It's the packages that come with the Linux kernel that make the distros unique, correct?
You do not need to pre-partition the disk if you're going to use the entire thing for the Linux installation. Many people think Debian is too difficult to configure for a person entirely new to Linux. It depends on the level of patience, determination, and savvy you have.
It also peeves me that although that "Debian GNU/Linux 3.1 Bible" and "The Debian System" are available from Amazon and other internet stores, all of the book stores locally only have Ubuntu books on the shelves, maybe a few Fedora and SUSE perhaps but no Debian!
And by the way, go for it! I've tried both and prefer Debian. Actually I found Debian easier to install and configure.
Read some stuff over at the Debian forums and the Install and Administration guides at the Debian website too. There's lots of ways to use Debian and you have the freedom to easily configure things to your liking.
Consider a dist-upgrade to Lenny (testing) if you like to keep up with the latest software innovations. But by all means start from the Etch media and go from there once it's installed.
And, debian-multimedia.org is a nice repo to add (you shouldn't add many to the default debian repos and the security repo) if you like to use non-free proprietary codecs (mp3?) and watch your commercial DVD's. Adding contrib and non-free to the ends of the repo lines in /etc/apt/sources/list gets you the full Debian repo's as well.
Just do some how-to reading at the Debian forum and you'll get the hang of it.
Thanks everyone for your replies, it's much appreciated.
It can be somewhat confusing for a newbie with all the documentation available on the web so it's awesome to have a forum like this incase you can't find what you're looking for on the net. I just installed Debian and found it to be a breeze although I recieved a few errors I was able to correct them.
But one problem I can't get passed is the log in prompt. I enter my login name and password then a few Debian messages come on and then:
I don't know what I am supposed to type after this. I have checked the Debian website but was unable to find any info on this(perhaps I looked in the wrong place). I also checked linux.org in the courses section and it also had no info on this.
Last edited by cartman_85; 08-21-2007 at 10:47 PM.
I typed in "startx" and I recieved this message: -bash: startx: command not found. I also typed in "dpkg-reconfigure" and recieved the same error message again. I guess I didn't install the package for the GUI. I think I only installed the Standard system and not the desktop environment. I guess I have to reinstall?
You shouldn't need to reinstall. If you're connected to the Internet, you should be able to download and install the required packages. Otherwise, if you have the CDs, you'll be able to install the packages from there. I don't use Debian on a regular basis, so am not too sure how the package management works. I don't know if you can just run "apt-get install gnome" for instance to get GNOME (a desktop environment and APT is Debian's package management system). Hopefully Matz or rickh will reply to this thread again (or another Debian user!).
I reinstalled Debian at around 1am this morning and everything went better this time. I figured out what error caused me not to have the gui eventhough I selected standard system and desktop environment. I wrote down the commands from your reply so if it happens again I'll know what to do and not have to reinstall.