Installation of Debian GNU/Linux Step by Step (Part 2)

from the July 2002 Newsletter
by John Anderson

Over the last six months I've talked about the benefits of the GNU/Linux operating system. Now it's time to put my money where my mouth is. This article is the second in a step by step guide to installing Debian.

So we’ve organised our pack, made sure it’s sitting right and the map is in our pocket and we’re ready to go. All you need now is the CD, which should have arrived by now and be ready to put into your computer and then start up.

Most CD-ROM drives are bootable these days, so you should have no problem with this. If the CD-ROM doesn’t work let me know and I will provide you with ways of working around this problem.

Anyway upon booting up, you should see a stream of information and finally a nice easy question. What language would like to do the install in? After this you are then asked for your keyboard type. Since my keyboard manual was lost long ago, I’ve always pressed querty/us and it’s always seen me right.

Now comes the interesting part, you need to partition your hard drive. If you can’t remember what this means, take a quick glance at your map and jog your memory. If you haven’t got a map then go back to part one and sketch your partition table out.

The next stage is to initialise the swap partitions. Select the partition you chose for your swap and then proceed. When you are asked if you want to do bad block scans make sure you select no as this is unnecessary and can take a long time.

The next stage is to initialise the other partitions you have created for your /usr or /local partitions. When asked if you want to 'retain Linux kernel 2.0 compatibility, select 'no'. As a new user you are unlikely to require this functionality.

Here we are then, at the top of the first significant ridge. Looking out we can see that our map has served us well and above we can see the next stage the Mountains of Modules.

The kernel is the heart of the operating system, but in order for it to reach all it's limbs like network cards, printers and other hardware, you need modules.

Configuring device driver modules is usually a fairly easy process, if you have ones that cover the hardware you have. You do not need to install a CDROM module if you have an IDE CD Drive. If your CD Drive is working at the moment, you shouldn't need to install another module. If you have a network card, select the network card. Most modern cards configure themselves so you should not need to put in the IRQ.

Configuring the network is only necessary, if you are going to install over a network. In which case, you need to speak to your network administrator about the appropriate settings. The next stage is to configure the base system. Select the correct time zone.

Next, you will be asked to install on the master boot record, select yes.

And finally the boot floppy. Burrowing deep into your pocket, below the scroggin, you should find that old 1.44 floppy disk push it in and we're almost at the summit.

Reboot the whole system and you're reached the end of the first leg. Take a breather, much that scroggin and we'll be back next month with configuration.