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The Debian Project

Postby kelsoo » July 9th, 2011, 1:45 am

3) The Debian Project:

What is Debian? A little background:
Debian is an operating system, performing the same job as Microsoft Windows and Mac OSX do: running your computer. It has several major differences. It's Free in terms of both liberty and cost, and you are free to contribute to it. Due to the number of different architectures it runs on, it's flexibility and power, it is referred to as “The Universal Operating System.”
http://www.debian.org/intro/about
http://wiki.debian.org/DebianIntroduction
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debian
http://d-i.alioth.debian.org/manual/en. ... 01s03.html

Debian gives you the choice of several kernels, or core operating programs, the most popular being the Linux kernel. The kernel is the software that interacts with your physical hardware and passes information to your application software. Debian tweaks the vanilla kernel for you, but you can get make your own modifications with tools Debian provides or use a vanilla kernel, too.
http://www.kernel.org/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux_kernel

Many of the programs used to write applications were created using the GNU tools. These include compilers, editors, linkers, debuggers, as well as most of the system-level commands:
http://www.gnu.org/

All the software in the Debian system is free software that complies with the Debian Free Software Guidelines.(DFSG)
http://www.debian.org/social_contract#guidelines

The Debian project recognizes the valuable input of both the GNU system and Linux kernel in the full name of the Debian OS, “Debian GNU/Linux.”

Who owns Debian?
You could say “No one” or “You do.” Unlike most other distributions, there is no company or magnanimous dictator behind it. It's users create it and share it. This is why you are encouraged to give back by what ever means you can, be it programming, graphic design, documentation, translating, or sharing your knowledge in the forum. If you can only contribute money, that's fine too.
http://www.debian.org/social_contract
http://www.debian.org/intro/help

To find out more about Debian finances see here:
http://www.debian.org/donations
http://www.spi-inc.org/

Infrastructure:
Applications that are deemed secure, stable, and free enough to be part of the Debian system are stored on servers, in “repositories” that are mirrored (duplicated) many times around the world. Here is a list of official Debian mirrors:
http://www.debian.org/mirror/list

Along with the mirrors, many additional systems are used by the developers and maintainers to support the development process. Altogether, hundreds of dedicated machines and donated space on hundreds more support the creation and distribution of Debian GNU/Linux.

There are unofficial mirrors also. These may hold, for example, software that has possible patent issues in the USA where Debian is based. These issues may not apply in your country. Some DVD and mp3 software are examples that are not in the official repository but readily available:
http://debian-multimedia.org/

The three main Debian branches:
Debian's distribution is divided into three primary branches; stable, testing, and unstable. So far in project history, they have always been named after characters from the Disney "Toy Story" movies.

Stable is currently Lenny.
Testing is currently Squeeze.
Unstable is always Sid.
See: http://wooledge.org/~greg/sidfaq.html

You can use "stable" in your sources.list and when the current version of testing becomes stable your system will upgrade. If you want to run newer versions of certain applications on a stable system you can, via the unofficial but respected "backports" repository. This combination, stable plus backports, is a good recommendation for new users.
http://www.backports.org/

That said "squeeze," the testing branch, is more stable than many other distributions' full releases, but you will occasionally have breakages or bugs that take time to be fixed. With care and a little understanding, it can be a solid, up-to-date desktop system.

To update biotube's great post:
viewtopic.php?f=10&t=32860&start=0


Biotube wrote: Unstable (permanently Sid): When a new version of a package(or a new package all together) gets uploaded, it usually goes here. Sid machines can be highly volatile, (giving birth to the saying "If it breaks, you get to keep both halves"), although it's calmed down in recent years thanks to experimental.

Testing (currently "Squeeze"): After a while, a package in Sid with no really bad bugs gets moved here(the exact time depends on the urgency of the update). For this reason, it's much more stable than Sid. Since packages are updately fairly quickly, it's recommended for desktop users(don't let the name fool you - testing can be more stable than some distros' (especially the-one-that-cannot-be-named) releases).

Stable, (currently "Lenny", soon to be "Squeeze"): Every once in a blue moon, the Debian release team puts testing in what's know as "The Big Freeze". During this time, nothing but bugfixes may be moved to testing. Once all release-critical(RC) bugs are gone, testing becomes stable and a new testing branch is opened. Since only bugfixes are allowed in stable, the packages tend to get dated rapidly.

A new and really nice overview
http://pthree.org/2009/11/17/debian-the ... ng-system/

table of content
Last edited by nadir on July 9th, 2011, 2:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
"It's warm in the crowd, but it stinks" -- Miroslav Krleža
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Getting started

Postby kelsoo » July 9th, 2011, 1:46 am

4)Getting Started

4.1) Preliminaries:

As a new user your first task is to make sure you gather as much detail as you can about your system. If you are still using another OS, use that to learn as much as you can.

You'll want to know information like processor type, graphics card, motherboard or laptop make and model, hard disk type (ide, SCSI, etc.), network card, and wifi. Identify your monitor and find out what screen resolutions and refresh rates it supports. In short gather as much info as you can on your hardware and write it down or print it out.


table of content
Last edited by nadir on July 9th, 2011, 2:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
"It's warm in the crowd, but it stinks" -- Miroslav Krleža
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Posts: 65
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live-CD's

Postby kelsoo » July 9th, 2011, 1:46 am

4.2) Debian live-CD`s: trying Debian with a live CD.

One aid may be a "live CD". This is a version of Debian running off a CD without installing onto your computer. This can be a great aid in gathering information about your computer hardware, prior to any "real" installation. They can be used to look at, run tests on and repair a broken system. Running a live CD is much slower and changes are not retained.

http://debian-live.alioth.debian.org/
http://cdimage.debian.org/cdimage/relea ... 86/iso-cd/


table of content
Last edited by nadir on July 9th, 2011, 2:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
"It's warm in the crowd, but it stinks" -- Miroslav Krleža
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Installation media

Postby kelsoo » July 9th, 2011, 1:47 am

4.3) Debian installation media: Getting Debian.

You will usually be downloading a Debian image, burning it to CD or DVD, and using that to install Debian on your hardware. Select a mirror site to download from that is closest to your geographical area. You only need the first CD with the desktop of your choice to get up and running, The other disks provide additional programs, chosen by popularity, from disk 2 onwards, partly through data collected from users that opt in to the "popularity contest" when installing Debian.
http://popcon.debian.org/

Start here:
http://www.debian.org/distrib/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_architecture

You will need to choose which architecture you need. Many people will have i386 computers, but not all! Debian supports all the common architectures and processor chips, plus a number of older, more specialized, or uncommon systems.
http://www.debian.org/ports/

If you want to be able to install offline or have a slow internet connection, you'll need to download and burn (or buy from a vendor) a set of one or more CD's or DVD's that should have almost everything you need to install Debian with the features that you want.


table of content
Last edited by nadir on July 9th, 2011, 2:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
"It's warm in the crowd, but it stinks" -- Miroslav Krleža
kelsoo
 
Posts: 65
Joined: February 13th, 2011, 1:21 pm
Location: Scotland

Installing Debian

Postby kelsoo » July 9th, 2011, 1:48 am

4.4) Installing Debian:

There are many great “how-to's” on installing Debian, but you need to consider some questions before installation. Do I want or need to dual boot with another OS? Have I backed up my data in a suitable format? Will my hardware work with Debian? Can I revert if it all goes awry? Prepare first and ask for help if you need to.
The official installation manual:
http://www.debian.org/releases/stable/installmanual

Nadirs illustrated install:
http://docs.google.com/View?id=ddq4dz3q_25gj7n7dcr
Last edited by nadir on July 9th, 2011, 2:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
"It's warm in the crowd, but it stinks" -- Miroslav Krleža
kelsoo
 
Posts: 65
Joined: February 13th, 2011, 1:21 pm
Location: Scotland

The command line

Postby kelsoo » July 9th, 2011, 1:48 am

5) Running Debian:

5.1)The command line:

You may never want to use the command line interface (CLI). If that's the case, fine, but there will be times when you need to, and have to. It's a fundamental part of running a GNU/Linux system, so it's worth getting used to the basics at least...
http://linuxcommand.org/
http://www.tuxfiles.org/linuxhelp/cli.html
http://www.linfo.org/command_index.html
http://www.linfo.org/command_line_lesson_1.html

http://unixhelp.ed.ac.uk/commanz/index.html


table of content
Last edited by nadir on July 9th, 2011, 2:38 am, edited 2 times in total.
"It's warm in the crowd, but it stinks" -- Miroslav Krleža
kelsoo
 
Posts: 65
Joined: February 13th, 2011, 1:21 pm
Location: Scotland

Installing software

Postby kelsoo » July 9th, 2011, 1:49 am

5.2) Installing software :

A default desktop installation will already be set up to let you update, install, and uninstall software from the internet.

Getting software from the Debian repositories or CD's and DVD's if you have no internet or a poor connection, can be done with the command line tools, dpkg, apt, and aptitude. You can also install a GUI (Graphical user interface) application manager like synaptic.

Dpkg:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dpkg
http://www.debian.org/doc/FAQ/ch-pkgtools.en.html
Apt:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Packaging_Tool
Aptitude:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aptitude
Synaptic The graphical package installer remover and updater
http://www.nongnu.org/synaptic/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synaptic_Package_Manager

Adding repositories and CD's or DVD's to your system:
In order for your system to know where to get new applications, libraries, plugins, and security updates, it needs to know where to get them from. This is done by adding details of the repositories and CD's to your sources.list file. This is a text file that resides in

/etc/apt/sources.list

By editing this file you can completely change the software available to your system. On a normal desktop PC you can expect to have over 20,000 “packages,” depending on the exact version you installed, and if you chose to include the “contrib” and “non-free” sections of the repositories.

Debian is a Free system and as you saw from the “social contract” only includes, and depends upon free software in the core system. All software in the “main” section of the repositories in your sources.list is Free-software.

For the convenience of it users Debian also links to “contrib” and “non-free” repositories. The “contrib” section is free software that links to or depends on some non-free software. The “non-free” section is non-free software as in proprietary, rather than cost.

This is what my current squeeze/testing sources.list looks like with comments. You will notice a hash "#" sign in front of some lines. This "comments out" or disables it and is common practice when wanting to retain information but disable it's action, or to add comments to any configuration file.

#####sources.list-start######
#deb cdrom:[Debian GNU/Linux testing _Squeeze_ - Official Snapshot powerpc xfce+lxde-CD Binary-1 20091123-11:38]/ squeeze main

deb http://ftp.uk.debian.org/debian/ squeeze main
#A short explanation: the deb part refers to the native Debian pre-compiled binary file, a deb. It's similar to a Microsoft .exe file or Mac OSX .dmg. Cdrom can point to any cdrom(s) from the package list that you may have downloaded. Then we have the mirror URL address. I'm in the UK so that's my closest. Next we have "squeeze" the version of Debian I'm running, followed by main the official free repository. If you need or choose to add contrib or non-free these would be added after main. e.g. deb http://ftp.uk.debian.org/debian/ squeeze main contrib non-free

deb-src http://ftp.uk.debian.org/debian/ squeeze main
#comment: deb-src indicates that this is linking to a source file repository. You can download the source code for any program on the system, modify it, and even build and package your own software with other tools in the repository.

deb http://security.debian.org/ squeeze/updates main
deb-src http://security.debian.org/ squeeze/updates main
#comment: Security updates are automatic by default.

deb http://www.debian-multimedia.org/ squeeze main
deb-src http://www.debian-multimedia.org/ squeeze main
#comment: This is a third party repository. It contains possibly patent encumbered code that is not included in Debian by default. Even though if may be free-software. (Were talking patents here not copyright.) You will also note that like many third party repositories, it does not respect the main, contrib, non-free protocol (even though I've not included them above, I could have). With all third party repositories it is up to you to check their status as to free-software vs. non-free, (There is an application in the repositories called "vrms" that can aid you in this.) It's up to you to check the license, security, and quality etc., of third party packages. The "Backports" repository falls under third party repository also.

#####sources.list-end######


Take care to only add Debian specific repositories. Never ones for Ubuntu or other Debian based distributions. Installing a .deb package from such sources or downloaded from the internet does not mean it will run on any Debian system. The deb may have been compiled with different setting not compatible with a real Debian system.


table of content
Last edited by nadir on July 9th, 2011, 2:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
"It's warm in the crowd, but it stinks" -- Miroslav Krleža
kelsoo
 
Posts: 65
Joined: February 13th, 2011, 1:21 pm
Location: Scotland

The graphical display

Postby kelsoo » July 9th, 2011, 1:50 am

5.3) The graphical display: (referred to as "X" or as "X Windows")

The X Window System is a Free (Mit licensed), cross-platform system for managing a windowed GUI (graphical user interface). If you don't want to be looking at a blank screen with a flashing cursor you will need this. Sometimes, now rarely, “X” can fail to be configured correctly on installation. It may fail completely (blank screen and said cursor) or, for example, not use the highest resolution that your monitor supports. This is why it's so useful to gather information on your graphics card and monitor first. Debian has tools to help you configure X from the command line interface (CLI).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X_Window_System
http://www.x.org/wiki/
http://wiki.debian.org/XStrikeForce
http://wiki.debian.org/XStrikeForce/HowToRandR12


table of content
Last edited by nadir on July 9th, 2011, 2:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
"It's warm in the crowd, but it stinks" -- Miroslav Krleža
kelsoo
 
Posts: 65
Joined: February 13th, 2011, 1:21 pm
Location: Scotland

File System Structure

Postby kelsoo » July 9th, 2011, 1:50 am

5.4)The basic system file structure:

If you come from Microsoft Windows you may well be wondering where the C, D, or E drive is! It's gone. If you come from Mac OSX, being based on BSD, the file structure may be more familiar. In Debian there is a single / root directory (folder) with everything placed in it. You can see a general view of how the subsequent directories are organised in the links below.
http://www.tuxfiles.org/linuxhelp/linuxdir.html
http://www.freeos.com/articles/3102/
http://www.comptechdoc.org/os/linux/use ... truct.html
http://www.comptechdoc.org/os/linux/com ... ilest.html
Last edited by nadir on July 9th, 2011, 2:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
"It's warm in the crowd, but it stinks" -- Miroslav Krleža
kelsoo
 
Posts: 65
Joined: February 13th, 2011, 1:21 pm
Location: Scotland

Root

Postby kelsoo » July 9th, 2011, 1:51 am

5.5) The concept of Root and user:

"root is the user name or account that by default has access to all commands and files on a Linux or other Unix-like operating system. It is also referred to as the root account, root user and the superuser. "
Ref: http://www.linfo.org/root.html
An ordinary user only has control over files in his/her own "home" directory, though they may be "allowed" access to other files and applications.


table of content
Last edited by nadir on July 9th, 2011, 2:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
"It's warm in the crowd, but it stinks" -- Miroslav Krleža
kelsoo
 
Posts: 65
Joined: February 13th, 2011, 1:21 pm
Location: Scotland

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