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Old 01-21-2008, 10:00 AM   #1
Registered: Jun 2004
Location: Ashland, KY
Distribution: Debian, Mint, Puppy
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new to Debian, not new to Linux

All right, after years of neglect on one of the oldest distros out there, I am finally gonna give Debian a shot on an old laptop that I picked up up for free. The laptop is a Gateway Solo 9300, PII 400Mhz, 256MB RAM, and a 6GB HD. Not the fastest thing on the planet, but something to have some Linux fun with. I originally was either gonna put Puppy Linux or a slimmed down version of Slackware on it (both distros I know quite well)...then someone mentioned Debian which sparked my interest since in all these years I have never given Debian much of a try. So anyways, my goal now is for a slimmed down version of Debian which performs closely with how Puppy would perform (lightweight window manager as well as some other lightweight apps) but is more functional and customizable (one of the reasons I want something other than Puppy on this thing is b/c I want to be able to run as a non-root user).

So anyways, what I have done so far is download the first CD for Debian 4.0 (Etch) and have gotten myself a little familiar with the installer. I have installed and reinstalled the system a few times to get used to it and now I have just a base install of it on there (around 300MB or so). For starters I was gonna use the icewm as my main window manager...lightweight and I always liked the look of it from using Puppy. I may try out other window managers later on. As for other apps, obviously a web browser, a multimedia player, and a few decent text editors. I will probably add on some networking apps (Putty and gFTP mainly) as I use em to interact with my other systems. Other apps, I am still debating and will cross that when I get there.

Now, granted I know a lot about the distros I have worked with, but there's only ONE thing I know about Debian (and yes I'll admit, I never even gave Ubuntu much of a try) based ones and that is a thing called apt-get. I have used apt-get to retrieve xorg, icewm, and some other apps which install fine. Of course, the system would still boot to CLI. Typing startx of course does bring up icewm just fine. I thought changing the runlevel in inittab would fix that but I still have yet to get a GUI on bootup. Am I missing something? Also, do I have to install the ENTIRE xorg package? Any possible way of trimming it down too so I don't have a lot of unnecessary bloat? I don't think my needs require every little bit and piece of xorg or do I need all of it? Also, I have tried installing certain apps but apt-get doesn't seem to recognize the name (one of them, for example was the seamonkey web browser) there any way to get a list of what it does call some applications?

Well that's all I can think of at the moment. Any help is much appreciated.
Old 01-21-2008, 10:15 AM   #2
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Registered: Aug 2003
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These are somewhat blind guesses, but you're probably looking for these things at least:

- graphical login: it could be as easy as setting up the rc scripts so that a graphical login manager is launched at certain runlevels after boot..or something else, but check
man update-rc.d
- package names:
apt-cache search seamonkey
Old 01-21-2008, 10:28 AM   #3
Dutch Master
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Registered: Dec 2005
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You'll need a desktop manager like gdm or kdm. Perhaps xdm might work for you, as it's a native X application. That way, you'll get a login window that takes you straight into X.

You don't need the entire Xorg metapackage, the xserver-xorg core package with some input modules will do. Which modules you need depends on the hardware. Debian only has 'unbranded' Mozilla stuff, as the Mozilla Foundation didn't allow the Debian project to use the Mozilla logo's the way the Debian dev's wanted it. It's still there, but renamed Iceape and such. Decent editor: nano. Does the job w/o you needing to learn heaps of commands by heart, or difficult keycombinations like Vi(m) and Emacs

Anyway, practically every app you know from Slack and Puppy are also available in Debian.
Old 01-21-2008, 10:32 PM   #4
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What Dutch Master said re gdm, kdm, xdm.

Note also that run levels in Debian are not the same as some other distributions.


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