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Distribution: Debian Testing, Stable, Sid and Manjaro, Mageia 3, LMDE
To actually install all you need is CD number 1. Everything else is needed if you are taking them to a box that has no connection somewhere and want an up to date copy of the Debian repo.
CD1 will give you a fully functional install with the default packages that Debian uses on fresh installs.
A net install is nice too in that it just gives you a bootable system with no gui at all and you can install what you want from the prompt after you sign in. If you have not done this before it is good to have a list of packages you want to install.
You do have the option of a basic install also (I actually think this is the default option). I just generally have it quit with out doing that and install at the prompt.
but what do i do now: i am looking at (tens of ?)thousands of meaningless names ("eog_2.30.2-1_amd64.deb") ... if they were an obscure dialect of urdu, i would not know the difference.
how do i decide which of these "packages" (am i using the right word here?)i need -- or does this question not
make sense? i assume that some of these thousands are "dependents" (meaning that other of the packages depend on their being present)?
i hope that this next query is not considered another question, forcing me to open a new topic - i submit that it is related.
i will be installing Debian on VirtualBox https://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Downloads . i have failed with attempts to install other os's (slackware, by name), and was told that the reason is that its install as a VB guest can be significantly different from the same install on bare metal (something about VB, in some cases, requires that the .iso image be modified); further, that if a 64-bit version proves to be recalcitrant, then the 32-bit version will be more likely to succeed.