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Resources for the Debian distribution.

I guess my current opinions of Debian include:

The first bullet below sort of misses the point. The point is that in Mandrake, SuSe, Red Hat, etc., there are periodic releases with new version numbers (8.0, 8.1, 8.2, 9.0) -- upgrading is sort of a step function. In Debian you can upgrade every day if you want, and whatever has been added or upgraded on the website is upgraded on your computer, but you are still using Debian 2.2 (or whatever), aka Potato (or whatever).

Hmm, is my understanding above correct? Is it as easy to upgrade the kernel or glibc? (I suspect that it is not quite as easy, at the very least you'd have to reboot to put the new kernel in operation, but is there more to it than that, or it just an apt-get followed by a reboot?)

  • It may be the only distro that has a "clean" upgrade procedure that let's you continuously update a system (vs. the Mandrake (Red Hat, Suse, etc.) "step" update system (at each version release). I should explain this better -- in Mandrake, if you want to upgrade from say 8.2 to 9.0, many people recommend that you do not try the upgrade procedure, but that you make a new clean installation of 9.0, perhaps preserving things like /home. Doing an upgrade seems to often lead to problems of one sort or another. IIUC, in Debian, you just apt-get package after package (and maybe can even specify multiple packages, like to "upgrade" from stable to testing) and apt-get gets the necessary things and installs them, and the system works properly afterwards. (I should also talk about upgrading a specific package -- in Mandrake, your best bet for upgrading (unless you are willing to compile and then updatedb (or something like that) is to update only if there is an rpm for the specific version of Mandrake that you are running with the updated software you desire. In Debian, if you find the apt-get package for the software version you want to upgrade to, it will take care of everything no matter what "version" of Debian you are currently running???.
  • Installation is not easy (personal experience (failed) and comments from others) -- once installed it may be great
  • Knoppix or some other distribution (Libranet?) that is Debian based and provides a better installer may be a good alternative. Knoppix is primarily a "run from the CD" distribution, but there is an experimental way to install it to a hard drive -- see below.

See also Knoppix.

See AboutThesePages.



Some Debian Based Distributions

Get the benefit of using apt-get on a Debian distribution, with a simplified install:

There are / were others.

Using Apt Get

summarized from Getting to Know Debian:

apt-get (Advanced Package Tool)

Setup: Type apt-setup as root, add apt servers (do all this as root??)

To select Debian version: edit /etc/apt/sources.list, change "stable" to "unstable" or "testing". Update your package list, and do a distribution upgrade. Downgrading (towards stable) is possible, but not recommended.

Update list of available packages: apt-get update

Upgrade entire distribution: apt-get dist-upgrade

The above will show you the packages that will be upgraded and how much data must be downloaded. If stop the download you can resume later without losing what you've downloaded so far.

Search for packages to upgrade: apt-cache search <search_term>=

Example: for math(s?) related packages: apt-cache search maths

Upgrade a specific package: apt-get install <package_name>

Example: apt-get install mathwar

Remove a package: apt-get remove <package_name>

Example: apt-get remove mathwar


See ResourceRecommendations. Feel free to add additional resources to these lists, but please follow the guidelines on ResourceRecommendations including ResourceRecommendations#Guidelines_for_Rating_Resources.


  • (rhk) An Unbiased Review of Debian 3.0; bfeeney; October 17, 2002 -- interesting and worth reading the comments as well (I read some) -- some reinforce my thoughts about the difficulty of installation

  • [[http://www.digital-drip.com/][

Recommended for Specific Needs

Installing Knoppix to a hard drive

  • (rhk) Knoppix makes a great GUI installer for Debian; Joe Barr; Nov 4, 2002 -- main command is sudo /usr/local/bin/knx-hdinstall, but this and the next article are worth reading, especially to change the default language from German to English and other hints:

I simply right-clicked on the DE in the bottom right hand corner of the screen and a menu appeared. I chose English and applied it. When I restarted X, I could read the menus and use a familiar keyboard layout again. Eastman later informed me that if I had entered Lang=us at boot time, the language/locale would not have reverted to German.

  • Pentium-class processor, preferably 300MHz+
  • 64MB RAM
  • A spare partition on your disk, min 3GB

Recommended by Others

No Recommendation

  • (rhk) [[][]] --

Not Recommended

  • (rhk) [[][]] --


  • () RandyKramer - 28 Oct 2002
  • <If you edit this page: add your name here; move this to the next line; and include your comment marker (initials), if you have created one, in parenthesis before your WikiName.>

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