2010-11-12

Preview: Debian 6 "Squeeze" (Part 4: Standard)

There are a couple of things I want to say before beginning with the real content of this post. First of all, I want to apologize for not having written a post for a few days. That said, I did warn at the beginning of this semester that my work may make me busy enough to be unable to write a post, and that's exactly what happened in these few days. Furthermore, it will likely happen again soon, as I anticipate being fairly busy this weekend and next week.
Second, this is not a Debian version that I wanted to test for the sake of testing it; my ultimate goal is to install the Trinity DE and thus make an Oxidized Trinity variant based on Debian. There will be no screenshots because most of the action occurs at the terminal; the finished Oxidized Trinity screenshots will be included in a separate article (because I haven't yet finished). Debian needs no further introduction, so follow the jump to see the rest. I followed these tutorials to do this: this one on doing a net installation of "Squeeze", and this one on doing a minimal net installation of Debian 4 "Etch" with the X Windowing System.
This time I did things a little differently. Yes, I did this in VirtualBox with 1024 MB of RAM, but instead of downloading a Debian Live image, I downloaded a netinstall ISO image and proceeded straight into the installation (upon booting the system). Based on the tutorials, I went into the text-based installer as opposed to the graphical installer.
The installer itself was fairly intuitive. I created a 1 GB swap partition and left the rest of my 10 GB virtual hard drive to the root partition. Also, I opted not to install any extra components except for the "Standard system". (Side note: I accidentally pressed 'ENTER' instead of 'SPACE' to deselect "Desktop environment", so I had to force reboot and do it all over again.) The installation was quick and painless and after about 15 minutes I rebooted and found myself at a shiny, blingtastic terminal. Come on, it's the new black! (Hehheh.) I then logged in as root, which is a very bad security practice but is common in these sort of bare-bones configurations (and you will see why in a moment).
The first thing I did was install and configure "sudo" (because, surprisingly enough, even that isn't available out-of-the-box). To do this, I first typed "aptitude install sudo" (as I was already logged in as root) and waited for Aptitude to finish the installation. Then I typed "visudo" to edit the "sudoers" file; this allowed me to give the default user (which I called "live") permission to use the "sudo" command. To do this, I entered under the line "root ALL=(ALL) ALL" the line "live ALL=(ALL) ALL" (replace "live" with your login name). I then saved with 'Ctrl+O' and exited with 'Ctrl+X'. (If you haven't already figured this out, this is extremely keyboard/command-heavy. Make of that what you will.) I then added the repositories I wanted by typing "nano /etc/apt/sources.list" (Nano is a terminal-based text editor) and added the repositories for Trinity as well as for multimedia codecs (which, incidentally, I still haven't gotten around to installing); I then used the aforementioned commands to save and quit. Finally, I did an "apt-get update" and an "apt-get install desktop-base-trinity kde-trinity", and waited for a while.
The good news is that it worked. The nice thing about this system is that I can customize the settings differently for default and root logins, so I took this opportunity to make root "scary", as is often asked for in the Linux community. The odd thing is that every single package was installed, so I am now left with a lot of useless junk. Oh well.
It was a nice experience being able to have this much control over my system. Maybe this is why Arch is supposed to be so good. Stay tuned for a final[ish, but not really] report on the state of Debian-based Oxidized Trinity!

14 comments:

  1. Hi, how i can contact to you to make a review for a new distro?

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  2. @Manuel: Are you asking me to review a particular distribution? If that's what it is, please just let me know in these comments. Otherwise, if it's a different request, let me know what exactly you would like me to write about (also in these comments). Thanks for the comment!

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  3. Yes it's a review for particular distribution,m you can see the website/download in my profile
    Thanks in advance!

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  4. @Manuel: Well, take a look at this blog in about an hour (from the time of me writing this comment), and please do tell me what you think! Thanks!

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  5. In your article you wrote:
    "The first thing I did was install and configure "sudo" (because, surprisingly enough, even that isn't available out-of-the-box)."

    It's not surprising at all that Debian doesn't set sudo up like Ubuntu does. Debian GNU/Linux isn't a 'desktop' Linux like Ubuntu is. Debian is anything and everything, it's up to you.

    --BK

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  6. @Anonymous: I suppose as a relative newcomer my expectations are somewhat misplaced. I didn't by any means expect Debian Standard to have a GUI frontend for sudo, but I sort of expected the CLI program to be available at the very least. Oh well. Thanks for the comment!

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  7. @PV - You probably haven't been around for too long since sudo widespread usage has never been common by any means and it wasn't until Ubuntu debuted that the practice became something that some users expect by default. In fact, the reason that Ubuntu uses sudo at all is to "protect" the user from the scary "root" account whereas sudo most common use case was to provide different administrative access to staff within an enterprise without having to disclose root credentials and with better activity logging abilities for accountability purposes.

    For most desktop users nowadays, there is no discernible difference between running sudo -s and su or sudo command and su -c command.

    Users running distros like Debian, Slackware and Arch probably know how to setup sudo quickly if they ever need it so these distros probably just don't bother with it, I guess...

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  8. @Anonymous: Yes, I've only been using Linux for just over a year and a half. That's why I also recognize my naivete in expecting sudo to be included by default. Thanks for the comment!

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  9. Instead of modifying /etc/apt/sources.list I'd suggest creating a separate "X.list" file for each repository you want to add on /etc/apt/sources.list.d/

    That way you keep everything separate and can add or remove repositories very easily (changing the filename not to end with .list). It also means that you can move those personalized files from this PC to others without issues or even restrict your backups to those files alone

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  10. @Toote: I never thought of that. That said, I don't anticipate doing very many Debian installations from the ground up, so I don't know how useful this will be for me. That aside, thanks for the tip!

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  11. Debian indeed do set sudo up like Ubuntu does by default provided that you choose the installation option "advance" and leaves the root password "blank" during the installation. You don't need to install and configure "sudo" yourself. The first user becomes sudoer.

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  12. @Anonymous: Huh, that's interesting. I didn't know that; now I know. Thanks for the tip!

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  13. How about reviewing Trisquel?
    Trisquel.info

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  14. @Alden: I have reviewed Trisquel before — you can find it either by searching in the search box or by browsing through the archives. Thanks for the comment!

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