debian install abandoned

Richard Russell richard at
Wed Dec 11 00:49:08 CST 2002

On Tue, Dec 10, 2002 at 01:19:04PM +1030, Luke Vanderfluit wrote:
> Hi all,
> Reading on this group and speaking to a few people, I've picked up the notion 
> that debian isn't the easiest to install.

IMHO, it's quite easy. RedHat and its kin are possibly friendlier, but
debian is not that bad...

> I wanted to try an install using a local network booting from a floppy on a 
> 586/100 with 32 Ram and 1.2 gig hdd.
> I chose debian because I want to evaluate different linux distributions and I 
> have heard positive things about it.
> First a rescue.bin image is needed, then an image applying to your machine, in 
> my case root.bin. That's 2 floppies.
> Next 4 driver disks are needed. I had quite a problem finding their 
> whereabouts and there were no clues in the README or INSTALL files. 

Hmm... I've never needed 4 driver disks -- but then, I've always
installed from CD... (actually, I've installed over network, booting
from floppy, but I had a readily accessible full mirror handy).

> After loading them I was able to configure the network, which is where I 
> needed to be. 
> I got the network interface working and established an FTP connection to 
> another linux box on my network, to access the cdrom.

OK, debian won't work incredibly well with accessing another CDROM
drive on another box (unless there is a method I'm not familiar with,
which there probably is...). You'll find that it treats the CD like a
single repository, and when it wants something from disk 2, it will
try the internet.

> All went well until I went to select packages.
> A tool called "dselect" is used, which takes a bit of getting used to.

Yeah... I never use dselect. I either use aptitude, or more commonly,
just apt-get things as I need them. dselect blows. When installing, I
specifically choose nothing with dselect.

> When it comes to installing the packages there is a lot of action but no 
> prompting for the further 6 (of 7) debian disks. As soon as the install 
> program fails to find a package through 'ftp' it goes 'http' out on to the 
> net.

yes, see above :)

> This becomes very time consuming, particularly because I have all the packages 
> I need on cds and a slow internet connection (56k).

What I did recently, as I had the CDs for a few days, but had to
return them, and didn't want to pay for lots of downloads, yet didn't
want to install everything at once, and had plenty of HDD space, is I
copied the entire contents of every CD into 7 separate directories on
my HDD, locally to my machine, and now just use that as my apt source.
You could do the same, but export these directories over nfs, ftp or
http, or perhaps even use apt-proxy on your server to create a proper
repository. Works dandily.

> All I wanted to do initially was to install ssh, so I could ssh in from my 
> other box, however the simple fact of installing a package became a total 
> upgrade of all software.

mmm... that can happen with dselect, and aptitude for that matter.
less likely with apt-get.

> After the whole install process hung because 'libc6' couldn't be loaded, I 
> decided to try another machine with a bootable cdrom. Only the 7th cdrom 
> booted, then after inserting disk 1, I came across a corrupted file on the 
> cdrom.

Well that's a dud CDROM set, and as likely on debian as anything :)

> I decided to abandon the debian install.

fair enough.

> I will need to get a new set of disks (debian woody),

indeed, you do :) ... and a CDROM (bootable or not -- booting from
floppy and installing from CD is easy).


Richard Russell
Yellow Goanna P/L
e: richard at
m: +61 412 827 805
f: +61 8 8462 2362

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