HOWTO ignore the Debian installer [was Re: debian install abandoned]

Matthew Geddes mgeddes at
Thu Dec 12 10:11:34 CST 2002

On Tue, 2002-12-10 at 16:48, Dan Shearer wrote:
> Stephen,
> I completely concurr that the Debian install procedure is awful. Once
> installed however I find Debian is one of the top few operating systems I
> know of in terms of upgrade convenience, especially for servers which
> might be installed maybe once every 3-5 years. Some time ago I made sure I
> knew how to drive dselect (so that I knew what I would be missing :) and
> have avoided it ever since.
> To get this in proportion: if someone dropped around with a laptop and
> said 'quick, I need Linux running on this thing' I wouldn't even dream of
> Debian or Slackware. SuSE/Mandrake/RedHat/Conectiva would do a much better
> job in a fraction of the time.
> Here is the only way I install Debian:
> 1. minimal base install (from a boot-floppies CD + very fast network,
> often a mirror setup on the local LAN from the CD set). The menu-driven
> installer is very basic, but gives more flexibility than any of them
> except Slackware if something goes wrong.

Debian 2.2 was the easiest to install. Once you got the system booted
from CD1, you could change VTs and start a shell. From there, all you
needed to do was:

 * Partition your disk
 * Create your filesystems
 * untar the tarball called 'base'
 * Install a kernel and boot loader

Once you'd done that, you could boot your debian system and apt-get your
heart out. It actually ended up taking a lot less time than using the
Debian installer.

With version Debian 3.0, the base install is no longer a tarball, but is
a group of .deb packages :-(. On the plus side, the installer is much
better than 2.2 and perhaps even becoming close to the level that
RedHat's 5.x series installers were at :-P.

> Now, speaking of awful installers, we could talk about OpenBSD... :-)

It depends on your definition of awful. I actually prefer the OpenBSD
installer over the Debian 2.2 installer. :-)



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