Latest LQ Deal: Complete CCNA, CCNP & Red Hat Certification Training Bundle
Go Back > Blogs > craigevil's random words of wisdom
User Name


Ramblings about Debian GNU/Linux
Rating: 3 votes, 5.00 average.

Grokking Debian GNU/Linux

Posted 08-06-2010 at 02:58 AM by craigevil
Updated 06-14-2012 at 04:37 AM 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 -
# Unofficial APT repositories -
# My Debian sources.list :
# Debian-Database.ORG - Unofficial Debian Repositories Collected -
# Debian Sources List Generator -
# smxi - unofficial Debian maintenance script
# Exoodles multimedia installer script
Posted in Uncategorized
Views 55725 Comments 21
« Prev     Main     Next »
Total Comments 21


  1. Old Comment
    Wow, what a great source! Thx a lot.
    Posted 05-29-2017 at 06:13 AM by Kefijoo Kefijoo is offline


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:08 AM.

Main Menu
Write for LQ is looking for people interested in writing Editorials, Articles, Reviews, and more. If you'd like to contribute content, let us know.
Main Menu
RSS1  Latest Threads
RSS1  LQ News
Twitter: @linuxquestions
Facebook: linuxquestions Google+: linuxquestions
Open Source Consulting | Domain Registration