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Ramblings about Debian GNU/Linux
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Grokking Debian GNU/Linux

Posted 08-06-2010 at 02:58 AM by craigevil
Updated 02-08-2021 at 09:08 PM by craigevil (added link)

Before asking here or on the <debian-user> mailing list, you should read the Installation Guide,
or if you already have Debian installed, the Debian Reference.
Also take the time to read:
Linux is NOT Windows :
What we expect you have already Done. :

Please read "How To Ask Questions The Smart Way" - before posting any questions.The more you know the better you can explain your problem(s), which in turn makes it easier for everyone to help you.

The Debian Installation Guide for Squeeze 6.0 can be found at:
Debian GNU/Linux Installation Guide :
Can also be installed, the package name uses the architecture, i.e. installation-guide-i386, installation-guide-amd64 , etc
aptitude install installation-guide-i386
Before installing you will also want to read the Release Notes:
Debian 6.0 -- Release Notes :

You'll get more out of Debian and *nix if you learn some of the fundamentals.
Read the "Unix and Internet Fundamentals" HOWTO at
Then, read the Debian Reference at Or install it.
aptitude install debian-reference-en
Newbiedoc is Debian documentation FOR newbies BY newbies (and not-so-newbies). Can be found online at -- newbies check it out! Veterans too, so you can contribute!
aptitude install newbiedoc
The Debian Wiki covers many questions. It can be found at

The Debian reference card is a cheat sheet of Debian commands - quite useful for someone new to Debian - can be found at and packaged for Debian as debian-refcard.
aptitude install debian-refcard
Frequently Asked Questions. The #debian FAQ is at .
The Debian GNU/Linux FAQ is at . Can also be install.
aptitude install debian-faq
Basics of the Debian package management system

The Debian package management tools

Debian package management

Debian survival commands

Aptitude is the recommended package management tool in Debian.
Documentation for aptitude can be found in the aptitude-doc package (to see the languages in which it is available, apt-cache showpkg aptitude-doc) or at
aptitude install aptitude-doc-en
The Aptitude On-Line Help is in /usr/share/aptitude/help.txt

The APT, Dpkg Quick Reference sheet has a list of APT and dpkg commands. It can be installed, also online at
aptitude install apt-dpkg-ref

See Aptitude - Debian Wiki for a comparison between aptitude and apt-get commands. As well as

Synaptic - Graphical package manager -
aptitude install synaptic
gdebi is tool to install manually downloaded .deb packages. It is useful as it automatically resolves dependencies for you.
aptitude install gdebi
If you are running KDE
aptitude install gdebi-kde
for the command-line utility
aptitude install gdebi-core
More general Linux information:
The Linux Documentation Project: Guides

The Rute User's Tutorial and Exposition. A fantastic book that is available at, or install the rutebook package from <non-free>. It covers Linux in a very non-distribution specific method.
The start of the book is "Binary and Octal" and ends with "Security Auditing".
aptitude install rutebook
General Command Line info:
Debian packages that will help you learn how to use bash:
bash-doc - Documentation and examples for the The GNU Bourne Again SHell
abs-guide - The Advanced Bash-Scripting Guide

Linux lessons:
(1) Don't change the permissions
(2) back up your data
(3) KISS - keep it simple, stupid
(4) read the fscking manual
(5) don't fsck with package management
(6) don't type anything you don't understand
(7) always have a boot floppy or CD
(8) read your log files
(9) the FIRST error is the one that counts
(10) don't leave your root shell until you TEST your changes
(11) don't be root when you don't have to be

last but not least this comes up often " How do I install packages on a system that isn't connected to the internet?".

There are a few ways to install packages on a computer that isn't connected to the internet.

Keryx Project Updates for offline Linux users
Keryx is a portable, cross-platform package manager for APT-based (Ubuntu, Debian) systems. It provides a graphical interface for gathering updates, packages, and dependencies for offline computers. Keryx is free and open source.
Description: Update a non-networked computer using apt and removable media
These scripts simplify the process of using dselect and apt on a
non-networked Debian box, using removable media like ZIP floppies and
USB keys.
One generates a `fetch' script (supporting backends such as wget and
lftp, in a modular, extensible way) to be run on a host with better
connectivity, check space constraints of your removable media, and
then install the package on your Debian box.

APT HOWTO Basic Configuration
Adding a CD-ROM to the sources.list file

If you'd rather use your CD-ROM for installing packages or updating your system automatically with APT, you can put it in your sources.list. To do so, you can use the apt-cdrom program like this:

# apt-cdrom add

with the Debian CD-ROM in the drive. It will mount the CD-ROM, and if it's a valid Debian CD it will look for package information on the disk. If your CD-ROM configuration is a little unusual, you can also use the following options:

-h - program help
-d directory - CD-ROM mount point
-r - Rename a recognized CD-ROM
-m - No mounting
-f - Fast mode, don't check package files
-a - Thorough scan mode

For example:
# apt-cdrom -d /home/kov/mycdrom add

You can also identify a CD-ROM, without adding it to your list:
# apt-cdrom ident
Always check the Debian BTS when you find a app not working the way it should.

Also make sure you have reportbug or reportbug-ng so you can report any bugs with packages. Bugs only get fixed if the Debian Devs know about them.

"Debian has a bug tracking system (BTS) in which we file details of bugs reported by users and developers. Each bug is given a number, and is kept on file until it is marked as having been dealt with."

Debian -- Debian BTS - reporting bugs
How to report a bug in Debian using reportbug

We strongly recommend that you report bugs in Debian using the reportbug program. To install and start it, simply run:

aptitude install reportbug; reportbug

It will guide you through the bug reporting process step by step.
Check out for more in-depth support, including forums, mailing-lists, documentation, Usenet groups, IRC.

Other useful links:
# Apt-Pinning for Beginners -
# Search Debian -- Packages -
# Debian Sources List Generator -
# smxi - unofficial Debian maintenance script
Posted in Uncategorized
Views 66676 Comments 21
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Total Comments 21


  1. Old Comment
    Thanks! A pretty useful resource!
    Posted 08-06-2010 at 04:53 AM by rich_c rich_c is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Good work Craig.
    This might be better served as a 'sticky' in the Debian forum here.
    Posted 08-07-2010 at 04:42 PM by the trooper the trooper is offline
  3. Old Comment
    Originally Posted by the trooper View Comment
    Good work Craig.
    This might be better served as a 'sticky' in the Debian forum here.
    Thanks, but 99% of it is just factoids from the dpkg bot in #debian. I just copied the factoids and arranged them.
    Posted 08-07-2010 at 05:08 PM by craigevil craigevil is offline
  4. Old Comment
    Thanks for this compilation of resource links!
    Posted 08-12-2010 at 07:07 PM by the dsc the dsc is offline
  5. Old Comment
    Update for Squeeze, also added some useful links.
    Posted 04-05-2011 at 11:29 AM by craigevil craigevil is offline
  6. Old Comment
    I see I'm not the only documentation junkie :P

    Nice work bringing it all together. I haven't used Debian proper for some years now, but I'm certain new users would appreciate this article.
    Posted 05-25-2011 at 01:19 AM by Telengard Telengard is offline
  7. Old Comment
    These sort of things have a tendency to keep growing, see Slackware Links, put together by onebuck.
    Posted 05-25-2011 at 06:47 AM by brianL brianL is offline
  8. Old Comment
    Some more useful info:
    Newer versions of Iceweasel Debian Mozilla team APT archive -
    Java - Debian Wiki -
    FlashPlayer - Debian Wiki -
    Posted 05-25-2011 at 01:05 PM by craigevil craigevil is offline
  9. Old Comment
    Howto: Set up and Maintain a Mixed Testing/Unstable System -

    HowTo Build a Package from Source the Smart Way -

    NvidiaGraphicsDrivers - Debian Wiki -
    Posted 07-02-2011 at 03:32 PM by craigevil craigevil is offline
  10. Old Comment
    Debian Community Guidelines -

    How can you help Debian? -

    Social Contract -

    Free Software -
    Posted 07-02-2011 at 03:56 PM by craigevil craigevil is offline
  11. Old Comment
    Tech Patterns :: Switching from Debian Iceweasel to Firefox, permanently :
    Posted 07-27-2011 at 05:36 PM by craigevil craigevil is offline
  12. Old Comment
    iw - Linux Wireless -

    Updating your regulatory domain

    The command line is:

    iw reg set alpha2

    Where "alpha2" is the ISO/IEC 3166 alpha2 country code. The information used and set comes from our regulatory infrastructure.

    You can also use the latest wpa_supplicant (as of 0.6.7) now to change your regulatory domain, to do so just add a "COUNTRY=US" entry into your configuration for example.
    Posted 07-30-2011 at 10:25 AM by craigevil craigevil is offline
  13. Old Comment
    Setting Default browser - MozillaZine Knowledge Base :

    Setting Default Applications Using the Debian alternatives system :
    Posted 02-19-2012 at 01:12 PM by craigevil craigevil is offline
  14. Old Comment
    Ways to backup your Debian install:
    FSArchiver -
    Clonezilla -
    BackupAndRecovery -
    Posted 03-25-2012 at 09:27 AM by craigevil craigevil is offline
  15. Old Comment
    UFW - Uncomplicated Firewall
    Description-en: program for managing a Netfilter firewall
    The Uncomplicated FireWall is a front-end for iptables, to make managing a Netfilter firewall easier. It provides a command line interface with syntax similar to OpenBSD's Packet Filter. It is particularly well-suited as a host-based firewall.
    If you run Gnome there is a GUI package, it is called appropriately
    gufw. For those that run KDE like myself there isn't a package in the Debian repos.

    But we can use , UFW KControl Module

    it has to be compiled, for the last step in place of make install, I used checkinstall which builds a .deb package.

    Once installed it shows up in KDE's System Settings under Network, you will see a shield with the word Firewall under it.

    Documentation for UFW:
    UFW -
    Posted 04-09-2012 at 02:06 AM by craigevil craigevil is offline
  16. Old Comment
    Howto get newer package versions for Debian Stable -

    HowTo Build a Package from Source the Smart Way :
    Posted 04-18-2012 at 01:53 PM by craigevil craigevil is offline
  17. Old Comment
    The Debian Administration Handbook

    You can order it in book form or download in various electronic form. You can find the news here:

    The download is a bit hard to find at first glance. You can find it here:

    Also available as a html webpage:

    And at least on sid as a Debian package:
    $ apt-cache search debian-handbook
    debian-handbook - reference book for Debian users and system administrators

    # apt-get install debian-handbook
    Reading package lists... Done
    Building dependency tree       
    Reading state information... Done
    The following NEW packages will be installed:
    0 upgraded, 1 newly installed, 0 to remove and 19 not upgraded.
    Need to get 22.0 MB of archives.
    After this operation, 23.9 MB of additional disk space will be used.
    Once installed it can be opened in a browser /usr/share/doc/debian-handbook/html/index.html
    Posted 05-11-2012 at 06:31 AM by craigevil craigevil is offline
  18. Old Comment
    # Some helpful Debian links:
    # Debian -- The Universal Operating System :
    # Debian GNU/Linux Installation Guide :
    # Debian HCL; Debian GNU/Linux device driver check & report -
    # The Debian Administrator's Handbook -
    # Debian Social Contract -
    # Debian -- Reasons to Choose Debian -
    # Official Debian -- Documentation :
    # Debian Wiki -
    # Official Debian mirrors
    # Also at
    # Debian oldstable repo
    # Helps you get your packages into Debian
    # Debian Backports :
    # Basics of the Debian package management system -
    # Debian package management :
    # Debian package management tools
    # Newbiedoc :
    # Aptitude user's manual -
    # Apt - Debian Wiki -
    # The APT, Dpkg Quick Reference
    # Secure APT -
    # Aptitude - Debian Wiki -
    # SourcesList - Debian Wiki -
    # AptPreferences - Debian Wiki :
    # Apt-Pinning for Beginners :
    # Search Debian -- Packages -
    # Debian-Database.ORG - Unofficial Debian Repositories Collected -
    # UnofficialRepositories - Debian Wiki -
    # Debian infographic : https://claudiocomputing.files.wordp...n-en-v1-01.png
    # smxi - unofficial Debian maintenance script
    # inxi - A newer, better system information script for irc -
    # Mastering Debian and Ubuntu :
    # HOWTOs from The Linux Documentation Project (TLDP) at
    # Trouble shooting ALSA on Debian
    # Howto install Oracle Java on Debian
    # Howto: Set up and Maintain a Mixed Testing/Unstable System :
    # HowTo Build a Package from Source the Smart Way :
    # Howto get newer package versions for Debian Stable -
    # Grokking Debian GNU/Linux - :
    # Craigevil's Giant sources.list -
    Posted 06-14-2012 at 04:40 AM by craigevil craigevil is offline
    Updated 06-14-2012 at 04:52 AM by craigevil
  19. Old Comment
    How To Make Chromium Use Flash Player `Pepper` From Google Chrome ~

    Very cool especially for those that do not want to use Google Chrome.
    Posted 09-06-2012 at 11:50 PM by craigevil craigevil is offline
  20. Old Comment
    Debian unlike other distros like Ubuntu does not come with sudo enabled by default. That said it is easy enough to set it up.

    How to setup sudo:

    1) Use visudo to edit your sudoers file
    2) Add your user to the sudo group
    adduser foo sudo
    3) Or you can use gksu, or kdesu on KDE.

    Visudo Manual -

    Add a User To Group -

    Proper way to open apps as root in X -

    sudo - Debian Wiki -

    HOWTO - get kdesu back to normal in KDE4 -

    This one is actually pretty easy. In a terminal here is what you do:
    Anywhere you see ## just after that is instructions you do NOT have to type the text directly AFTER the ## signs,
    what you have to type will either be BEFORE the ## on a line or the line will have NO ## signs.
       ##first type in:
        ##after you hit enter you will see
        Password:         ##<----------- type in your root password here.
        ##Now you will see your prompt change from a $ to a # sign
        ##Don't worry, almost done now...
        ln -s /usr/lib/kde4/libexec/kdesu /usr/bin/kdesu
        ##hit enter, then type:
        ##You are now back to your regular user in your terminal. Lets test that puppy out!
        kdesu dolphin
        ##The normal kdesu dialog should pop up asking for roots password with the explanation that the program 
        ##dolphin needs root permissions. You can just cancel the dialog box since it was only a test to see if the link
    Posted 09-18-2012 at 03:19 PM by craigevil craigevil is offline
    Updated 09-18-2012 at 03:27 PM by craigevil


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