Debian Gnome Minimal Install

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Aminimal install of Debian with Gnome for the desktop.

First, download a copy of latest Debian testing Net Install ISO for AMD64.

Burn the image to disk using Brasero, K3B or similar burning application.

Reboot your machine using the CD. If your machine won't boot off CD you'll need to go into your BIOS and change the boot settings to make the CD/DVD the first boot device.

After booting, hit enter to load Debian and start the install.

1.   Select your language
2.   Select country
3.   Select keyboard
4.   Enter machine hostname
5.   Enter domain name
6.   Partition disk/s
7.   Enter root password
8.   Create user account
9.   Enter user password
10. Select base install. Deselect desktop option. We don't want it
11. Select country mirror
12. Say yes to participate in popularity contest
13. Select GRUB boot loader
14. Install finished. Remove CD and reboot

You now have a minimal install of Debian without Gnome.

Lets go graphical and add X.

# aptitude install xorg

After Xorg completes we run

Xorg -configure

To generate our xorg.conf file

Using Debian, I tend to run the testing release. I find its more up-to-date than stable. Although stable is well... stable, the apps are a little out-of-date. Running testing, you get software more in-line with current releases.

I use emacs for most editing work, but as its not installed yet use 'vi'.

Now edit /etc/apt/sources.list and add following:

# emacs /etc/apt/sources.list

# Debian Repository Sources List

# Debian Main Repository
deb testing main contrib non-free
deb-src testing main contrib non-free

# Debian Security Repository
deb testing/updates main
deb-src testing/updates main

# Google Chrome Repository
deb stable main non-free
deb testing main non-free

# Christian Marillats Unofficial Debian Repository
deb testing main non-free

Save amended sources.list file, and run update.

Time to update

# aptitude update

After aptitude finishes, lets install Gnome. We don't want the full-blown Gnome and all it entails, so lets have Gnome-Core, a cut-down version.

# aptitude install gnome-core

Add christian merrilats gpg-key to our keyring

# aptitude install debian-archive-keyring
# gpg --keyserver hkp:// --recv-keys 07DC563D1F41B907

We have Xorg and a desktop. We need some apps and things to play with:

  • Emacs
  • Screen
  • Copy across dot.emacs config file
  • Copy dot.bashrc
  • Copy dot.xmodmap
  • Copy dot.bash_profile
  • Copy dot.Xresources
  • Copy dot.xinitrc
  • Chrome-Stable
  • Install Adblock-Plus
  • Install Flashbock
  • MS-TT-Corefonts
  • Copy extra fonts to ~/.fonts dir
  • Install evince - pdf reader
  • Transmission - Bit Torrent Client
  • Xmms - Audio Player
  • Gimp - Graphic Editor

If you have any fancy fonts you can easily add them to the hidden ./fonts directory in your home dir. By doing so, they will be detected automatically.

Time to tidy and smarten things up a little.

Change Desktop Background

Black solid colour

Customise Theme

Controls: Clearlooks
Colours: Default
Window Border: Clearlooks2-squared
Icons: Gion
Pointer: DMZ Black

Change gnome fonts settings

Application font; Tahoma 10
Document font: Tahoma 10
Desktop font: Tahoma 10
Window title font: Trebuchet MS Bold 10
Fixed width font: Courier New 10

Google Chrome Flash Plugin

Google Chrome now comes with in-built Flash Player, so you don't need to install a plug-in. Previously you had to do a manual install, which included the following steps.

Download Flash Player 10 64-bit Plugin from Adobe
Unzip tar file. Extract
Make Chrome Plugins directory
# mkdir /opt/google/chrome/plugins
cp /opt/google/chrome/plugins

Restart Chrome

Visit to test Flash Player is working

But you shouldn't need to do anything if you use Chrome. Flash Player should just work out-of-the-box!

Time to install more toys:

- Screen
# aptitude install screen

- SBCL lisp
# aptitude install cl-clx-sbcl sbcl sbcl-doc sbcl-fasl-loader-78

- Gnu Clisp
# aptitude install clisp

- fortune
# aptitude install fortune

- mplayer media player
# aptitude install mplayer

- Irssi chat client
# aptitude install irssi

- Install gedit
# aptitude install gedit

- Install StumpWM
# apt-get install sbcl sbcl-doc cl-clx-sbcl cl-ppcre autoconf

- Install Conkeror
# aptitude install conkeror conkeror-spawn-process-helper

- Brasero
# aptitude install brasero

If you want a mail client or Open Office, for word processor, spreadsheet, etc, install as needed. There's enough here to get you going.

Installing software in Debian is childs play, as you can see.

If there's anything else you need, use aptitude.

First go search the package name, then use aptitude install. Its that easy.

If you don't find the app your looking for or don't know the package-name, try:

# aptitude search package-name

You can search for packages on Debian's website or try:

google package-name debian

See what you get.