Debian Linux Web Install III: Installing and Configuring the System

Play

Most of the work of the installation is done. There are a few loose ends before we can walk away and let the computer do its thing.

Next is to select the timezone that you are in:

Select Time Zone

Then to establish the root user’s password. “Root” is the equivalent of the Windows Administrator and has complete reign over the computer:

Root Password

A screen will appear requiring you to reenter the password to ensure that you didn’t make a typo.

The next step is to create a regular user, one who does not have “root” privileges. This is something that has been built into from the beginning and one reason that does not have the security issues of certain other operating systems: most day-to-day computer usage is done under the authority of a user name that does not have the right to break anything important. And if the user does break something, root can always override user to fix it.

This is not to imply that Linux users should not be careful. No computer of mine goes on the net without a firewall, an anti-virus, or a HOSTS file. But, in the Linux world, security is prudence; it’s not an Excedrin headache.

Create User

Just as for the root user, a “create password” screen will appear, followed by a password confirmation screen:

Confirm User Password

Debian will then install the base system and ask you if you wish to select a mirror site for the rest of the installation. The only sensible answer to this question is “Yes.” Otherwise, you now have a nice umpty-ump hundred dollar paperweight.

Use Mirror

This leads to selecting a specific mirror from which the installation program can get the files for the rest of the installation.

The first screen asks you to select your country, because the closest mirror site is the best one to use:

Select Country

And the next asks you to select a specific mirror:

Select Mirror Site

If you are behind a proxy, the next screen allows you to enter the proxy information. Most home users should just leave this blank (if you have set up a proxy on your home network, you will know what to enter here).

Enter Proxy Settings

Debian will then ask whether you want to participate in their “Popularity Contest” to determine which applications are used the most often. Graciously, the screen defaults to “No.”

Popularity Contest

Next, it asks what software configuration you want. The two pre-selected default choices are “Desktop Environment” and “Standard System.” I also selected “File Server” so I could network the computer within my home network. If I want additional software, I can install it later.

Software Selection

At this point, Debian began downloading and installing the packages. Because I selected “File Server,” when it got to downloading SAMBA, which allows Linux computers to network with Windows boxes, it stopped and asked me for the name of my Windows home network:

Network Name

The process of downloading and installing the software took approximately two and a half hours, during which I did something else.

The last step is to install the boot loader. Debian uses GRUB. Since it’s going to be a single-operating-system computer, the installation program recommends putting GRUB in the Master Boot Record:

GRUB

All done:

Installation Complete

You can watch a short, unprofessional, grainy video of the successive and successful boot from the boot loader to the login screen here (AVI).

Next: A short tour of Debian.

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