installing debian lenny

after using almost ~14 months, i left my laptop aside. to dust and dirt to build in. i hardly use it for any important work for i couldn’t get a good linux distribution to run on it. but my linux friends insisted, that i should use a good linux distribution. the internet connectivity isn’t all that good at my place at kegalle. i had to spend couple of days at the office, downloading debian at the speed of 40kbps 😀

i tried fedora, mandriva, ubuntu, knoppix and fall back to fedora for it was the less problematic one off the given three. but sadly, i couldn’t enjoy the ride on fedora as the system started to hang every now and then, with providing lesser information to diagnose what’s the problem is. my friend asked me, not to use ubuntu, claiming it doesn’t adhere the ethics of real open source culture. . i installed fedora once and it was ok. but unfortunately, i didn’t find it stable on my laptop.

i picked debian lenny (5.0.2 64bit), since my processor : intel P8700 supports 64bit. the installer is really awesome. it won’t kick you off when there’s an issue. it gives you the optionality to go back to any point, during the installation process.

the installer has improved quite a lot. you can perform the installation with one cd/dvd or switching to the network installation; although there are many other ways to perform the same. i was doing my installation using a single debian dvd image. the wifi drivers for intel 3945/4965 cards weren’t pre-built in the kernel, though it’s supposed to be.

initial wifi/network configuration
in case if the installer fails to load the correct wifi firmware for your wireless card, it lets you to provide the wifi firmware using a flash stick (usb flash memory). even though the wifi driver gets picked off the usb flash, by the installer, it may not configure your wireless device, during the installation. when this happens, don’t try to configure your wireless connection manually.  if you do, you have more problems with the network manager, it may not pick your wireless configuration, if you do it manually. hence, if the installer fails to configure wireless connection even though you have given it with the correct firmware, you have to safely ignore the wireless connection configuration at this point. you can do this by telling the installer that you would carry out wireless configuration at a later time.

package selection:
just install the base system. the debian package managemer is so powerful that you could install what you want at anytime. in case if you have downloaded all debian dvd’s, don’t try to offer them to be scanned at this stage, for it’s time consuming. you can add all the dvd’s you have to the repository, to  /etc/apt/sources.list , using the following command

apt-cdrom add

removing the crappy java-gcj-compat
the gij is a part of java-gcj-compat library, you can safely remove this and its dependents (which includes openoffice, for it uses this crappy library). once you remove java-gcj-compat, call apt-get autoremove to get rid of all the stale libraries, which are in limbo.

when you remove java-gcj-compat, it will also remove its dependents: openoffice impress and calc. however, you can reclaim them once you install sun’s jdk :

apt-get remove java-gcj-compat
apt-get autoremove

apt-get install sun-java6-jdk
apt-get install
apt-get install

configuring network:
once the installation is done, you can install network-manager and other bits and pieces you would like to have on your system. but before installing the network manager, it’s better to configure your network. if you’re using a wireless modem, you have to install wvdial and configure it to your liking. the default wvdial.conf looks bit dodgy and it points to /dev/modem when the device is mounted on /dev/ttyUSB0. i’m using e-220 modem, to add mobility.
apt-get install network-manager
apt-get install wvdial

installing the nvidia driver (the debian way)
the nvidia driver installation went pretty well. the debian wiki will guide you on each step, there are missing bits and pieces:  the dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg won’t create /etc/X11/xorg.conf , it seems bit buggy. so you have to run nvidia-xconfig :

apt-get install nvidia-xconfig

configuring bluetooth service
adding a bluetooth mouse isn’t that hard either, once you install bluetooth support via “apt-get install bluetooth“. you may have to set HIDD_ENABLED=1 at /etc/default/bluetooth, else you might start receiving an error message when trying to add a bluetooth mouse to the system.

by calling hidd –search command, it would show you the number of listed bluetooth compatible devices, if you had already attempted to add any device(s), it’s/they are added at this point. but make sure to restart bluetooth service prior to this step. now you’re ready to roll.

/etc/init.d/bluetooth restart

web cam worked, just out of the box. so no configuration needed 🙂

upgrading to the latest testing branch, squeeze:
just three commands to get this done 😉 edit /etc/apt/sources.list and have the following repo info :

deb squeeze main contrib non-free
deb-src squeeze main

aptitude update
aptitude install apt dpkg aptitude
aptitude full-upgrade

now you’re using debian squeeze 🙂

Explore posts in the same categories: computers, debian, debian lenny, how to upgrade from debian lenny to squeeze, installing debian, java, laptops, technology

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9 Comments on “installing debian lenny”

  1. änthräX Says:

    nice article dude. impressive work. keep it up…

  2. tricqster Says:

    Thank you, I found some interesting info in your article.
    BTW why did you install Lenny, and then upgraded to Squeeze? Why not install Squeeze directly?

  3. rain king Says:

    “BTW why did you install Lenny, and then upgraded to Squeeze? Why not install Squeeze directly?”

    Thanks for your comment. Actually, I wanted to have a very stable distribution to do my day to day work. Initially, I didn’t want to jump into squeeze without checking Lenny… without convincing myself..

    Perhaps, I did that because of the bad memories I had with fedora.. maybe.. 🙂


  4. gadgetboi Says:

    Dear friend, can you help me? I have just install lenny in my laptop, hp compaq, i have no clue to install wvdial offline since i dont have internet connection exept this wireless modem

  5. gadgetboi Says:

    is there a way i could install wvdial offline firt? because i use mobile internet and i could not install with apt-get ….

  6. gadgetboi Says:

    is there a way i could install wvdial offline first? because i use mobile internet and i could not install with apt-get …. :mrgreen: please help me …

  7. ymhuang Says:

    hey, may i know the cd image you choose is amd64?

  8. rain king Says:

    @gadgetboi you can download wvdial library from the debian repository and install it using :

    dpkg -i [package name]

    apologies for the delayed response.

  9. rain king Says:


    I installed it from the following dvd at first :

    That was the latest stable release then upgraded to the unstable branch.

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