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My experience installing the Debian distro

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Old 07-11-2011, 09:26 PM   #1
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My experience installing the Debian distro

I have always been interested by Linux since a while back, trying portable liveCDs just to get a taste of the system. Of course, those things were rather nerfed and sometimes led to crashes. The prospect of not using the hard drive at all with those minimalist live cd distros is rather interesting, but whatever.
Now, my mom was practically coerced nicely into buying a new netbook by a friend, and thus I found an opportunity to try out an installation.

I had to first perform some upkeep in the Windows 7 Starter. First, I had to shrink the partition file. Yes, Windows' Disk Management has a native support for that. But, I could not shrink more than half of the space available in the hard drive. The reason behind this was because of the System Volume Information, where the System Restore files are, were in a freaking sec. After much time consumed trying to find a free solution that would move those files, I came across the program JKDefrag. It defragmented the system and then optimized it by moving the System Volume Information folders to a more appropriate place. It allowed me to shrink the Windows 7 partition down to around 25-30 GBs.

The way I chose to install Debian was by win32-loader. It is a file you run in Windows, and then you restart the system.

Installation via wireless did not work as it wasn't detected. It doesn't like Realtek rtl8188ce card. Much time was burned until I finally just used an ethernet cable and thus was able to proceed. After the installer downloaded a few files, I got to the partition screen. After some messing around, I decide the root folder (denoted by "/" would be on a partition of 5 GBs and have the ext3 filesystem. The swap partition would have 768 MB, and the /home partition had 5 GBs and the ext4 filesystem. The rest of the install wasn't painful, although with my DSL connection, I had time to go out and mow the grass while it downloaded some files. I had to set the root password and user information after that. Afterwards, I decided to install GRUB because the "/" parition was a logical partition, and I wasn't taking ANY chances.

Debian started up nicely, but the wireless was still a problem. After much anguish trying out various solutions, I eventually found out that Realtek offers a Linux driver for their wireless card. After some Google searches, I found how to install these tarballs. In the root terminal, use "cd" in the command line to go to the directory where the tarball files were extracted, and then type in "make install" to do the two tasks necessary to install the file. FINALLY, wireless works.

GNOME is the desktop environment I'm currently using.

Now, onto the more fun stuff. GNOME also has a system monitor. What's immediately noticeable is that NONE of the swap(which is similar to the page file in Windows), is being used yet. So it seems, that Debian keep everything in the much faster RAM than Windows.

It also tells me that the "/" directory is 77% full. I guess I could have made it a little bigger. The /home directory, on the other is almost empty.

GNOME comes with the Epiphany browser. I'm using IceWeasel though, which is a rebranded Firefox for Debian.

So, so far, I learned that:
1. Microsoft makes partitioning needlessly painful
2. installing Debian over WiFi can be hit or miss due to hardware issues
3. Debian is FAR less of a resource hog that Windows 7 starter and it's "smarter".
4. I could have have made my "/" partition a little bigger.
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Old 07-11-2011, 10:54 PM   #2
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Re: My experience installing the Debian distro

I got a MSI Wind 2 years ago for my birthday with Windows XP. I haven't gotten around to setting up a dual boot, but do have Puppy Linux installed on a 1GB USB Thumb drive and exclusively use that when I use the netbook. I installed it on old PCs at work (workstations with P-II processors and 256 MB of RAM) and the workstations became usable again, since they couldn't handle XP or W2K well, if at all. Nice little distro.
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Old 07-12-2011, 07:38 PM   #3
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Re: My experience installing the Debian distro

I never install anything over a wireless network and if it's a single machine, I'm doing it right there at the machine. Having done Ubuntu with WUBI, without it, and manually I'd have to say that I'd go with the Wizard that does it from the new OS itself rather than use an in-Windows installation again. Seemed like even on the same machine I ran into less problems.

My biggest issues with Linux based distros was also wireless cards and graphic cards, specifically nVidia cards (damn you xorg!) as well. I've never configured a Debian install, only installed it for someone, and this was half a decade ago.

I've done the same thing as far as making the root dir too small, I'd definitely say make it larger than the installed folder and larger than you'll see recommended online. Luckily the linux is a bit forgiving with this type of stuff and is built for change.

Been meaning to do a current Debian install since I got this laptop, maybe I'll get around to it soon.
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Old 07-13-2011, 12:02 AM   #4
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Re: My experience installing the Debian distro

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Originally Posted by tryfuhl View Post
I never install anything over a wireless network and if it's a single machine, I'm doing it right there at the machine. Having done Ubuntu with WUBI, without it, and manually I'd have to say that I'd go with the Wizard that does it from the new OS itself rather than use an in-Windows installation again. Seemed like even on the same machine I ran into less problems.

My biggest issues with Linux based distros was also wireless cards and graphic cards, specifically nVidia cards (damn you xorg!) as well. I've never configured a Debian install, only installed it for someone, and this was half a decade ago.

I've done the same thing as far as making the root dir too small, I'd definitely say make it larger than the installed folder and larger than you'll see recommended online. Luckily the linux is a bit forgiving with this type of stuff and is built for change.

Been meaning to do a current Debian install since I got this laptop, maybe I'll get around to it soon.
I was doing a "in front of the machine" install as well. My netbook has no optical drive and win32 loader seemed like a nice alternative. So now I know, having access to an Ethernet connection is necessary for such an installation.

I was just doing the steps required by the installer, so I was just doing the installation.

WUBI seems different from win32-loader. win32 loader doesn't do anything except install a few files to be loaded at boot, and after restarting, then you do the installation by selecting "continue install" on the list you choose an OS.

As this video shows: YouTube - ‪Debian Win32 Loader‬‏ , win32 loader does very little in Windows. Of course, that means all of the needed files will have to be snatched from the Web.

Had I used the guided install, the root partition size would have been 10 GB, the swap 2 2 GB, and /home also 10 GB. But I'm such a stickler for hard drive space.
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Old 07-13-2011, 12:09 AM   #5
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Re: My experience installing the Debian distro

I feel like I just walked into the Twilight Zone with this thread. If there was an emoticon for something flying right over my head, I'd use it here
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Old 07-13-2011, 07:32 AM   #6
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Re: My experience installing the Debian distro

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Originally Posted by SmootSmack View Post
I feel like I just walked into the Twilight Zone with this thread. If there was an emoticon from something flying right over my head, I'd use it here

Are they speaking Martian or Alpha Centaurian?
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Old 07-13-2011, 05:20 PM   #7
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Re: My experience installing the Debian distro

It is indeed disturbing the twisted ways in which the X...tended off-season has infested our ranks..........
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Old 07-13-2011, 05:30 PM   #8
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Re: My experience installing the Debian distro

You can dynamically resize your partition quite easily using GParted.
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Old 07-13-2011, 09:02 PM   #9
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Re: My experience installing the Debian distro

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You can dynamically resize your partition quite easily using GParted.
I'm just scared that increasing the size of one might affect data in the other partitions adjacent to it. lol
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Old 07-13-2011, 09:03 PM   #10
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It is indeed disturbing the twisted ways in which the X...tended off-season has infested our ranks..........
You're just jealous of our geekiness.
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Old 07-14-2011, 08:03 AM   #11
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Re: My experience installing the Debian distro

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Originally Posted by SmootSmack View Post
I feel like I just walked into the Twilight Zone with this thread. If there was an emoticon for something flying right over my head, I'd use it here
This! LOL!
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Old 08-21-2011, 01:35 AM   #12
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Re: My experience installing the Debian distro

My decision to install this has proved to be a good one. My sister got pissed at something and threw the computer hard into a box. Needless to say, Windows 7 is now not able to boot, so Debian is the only thing keeping the comp functional.

I also want to talk about the program "Cheese". It's a program that can work with a computer's webcam. Simply put, it works just fine with the integrated webcam on this computer.
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