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Debian Linux Installation Guide

Core System Installation

A network connection provided, downloading and booting Debian's Netinst CD should be the quickest way to get a running core Debian system. For that, deselect any possible selections like e.g. desktop or standard during the software selection part of Debian's netinst installation procedure.

Ask your network administrator for network configuration details. An automatic networking configuration requires a running DHCP system. Otherwise, the following information will be requested during the installation procedure:

  • ip-address

  • netmask

  • gateway

  • dns-nameservers

You can do this during the installation procedure, or change your network configuration later.

For the time being, only the user root should be added to the system. Therefore, just cancel the corresponding dialog during the installation procedure prompting you to enter the first user's name.

Next, ensure the source list of Debian's package manager apt includes the following statements:

deb http://ftp.de.debian.org/debian/ etch main contrib non-free
deb-src http://ftp.de.debian.org/debian/ etch main contrib non-free
deb http://security.debian.org/ etch/updates main contrib non-free
deb-src http://security.debian.org/ etch/updates main contrib non-free

You can do this during the installation procedure, or later by editing the file /etc/apt/sources.list

Anyway, after the first system boot, you should update your Debian system by running the following commands as root:

apt-get update
apt-get upgrade

Network Configuration

Ask your network administrator for network configuration details.

The network configuration file is /etc/network/interfaces. Furthermore, you must run the following command to restart your host with the current network configuration:

/etc/init.d/networking restart

Automatic networking configuration requires a running DHCP system.

For static networking, you will need to request the following information from your network administrator:

  • ip-address

  • netmask

  • gateway

  • dns-nameservers

Important note (Debian Etch only): The standard etch setup configures ethernet network interfaces (eth0, eth1) using the option allow-hotplug eth0*. This causes many problems concerning networking (e.g. deletion of the eth0 interface when restarting networking # /etc/init.d/networking restart. So, please use the option *auto instead in /etc/network/interfaces.

Automatic

This is an adequate network configuration file for DHCP managed networks.

# The loopback network interface
auto lo
iface lo inet loopback
# The primary network interface
auto eth0
iface eth0 inet dhcp

Static

This is a general network configuration file template for BGBM external network servers:

# The loopback network interface
auto lo
iface lo inet loopback
# The primary network interface
auto eth0
iface eth0 inet static
        address 160.45.63.xx
        netmask 255.255.255.0
        network 160.45.63.0
        broadcast 160.45.63.255
        gateway 160.45.63.1
        # dns-* options are implemented by the resolvconf package, if installed
        dns-nameservers 160.45.8.8
        dns-search bgbm.fu-berlin.

Basic System Configuration

Consider to prepare your system with the following useful software packages

| less | Text pager |
| unzip, zip | For .zip files |
| lvm2 | Logical Volume Manager |
| ssh | OpenSSH client and server |
| ntpdate | NTP client (network time sync) |
| psmisc | process related utilities (killall) |

Use the apt-get command to install these packages

apt-get install less unzip zip lvm2 ssh ntpdate psmisc

Follow the instructions below to get a basic configuration for some of these software packages

OpenSSH configuration

The openssh server has been configured to accept logins via openssh keys only. So, no username/password access should be possible on this system. Therefore, the following options must be set in the openssh-server configuration file /etc/ssh/sshd_config as follows:

PasswordAuthentication no
UsePAM no

The public keys of users enabled to login as root must be stated in the file_/root/.ssh/authorized_key_.

NTP configuration

Note (For Xen virtual machines only): Since the system time is set by the host machine, you don't need to setup or configure NTP !

Using ntpdate-debian is the most comfortable method to update the network time of a host. Just edit /etc/default/ntpdate and set NTPDATE_USE_NTP_CONF=no. This enables the time servers listed in NTPSERVERS for time sync.

Note (For host located at FU-Berlin): Add the time server of the FU-Berlin (time.fu-berlin.de). Others may be blocked by the firewall of FU-ZEDAT !

NTPDATE_USE_NTP_CONF=no
NTPSERVERS="time.fu-berlin.de 0.debian.pool.ntp.org 1.debian.pool.ntp.org 2.debian.pool.ntp.org 3.debian.pool.ntp.org"

Of course, you would like to sync the system time using ntpdate-debian regularly (e.g. hourly). For that, you can use cron by simply writing a script to run or creating a symbolic link to the ntpdate-debian executable within e.g. /etc/cron.hourly/.

ln -s /usr/sbin/ntpdate-debian /etc/cron.hourly/
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