Howto switch from Ubuntu to Debian – My Experience – Part II


Once I get the base system installed, I tried to hang around pure commandline for sometime, I installed the following package to hang around,

$ su -c'apt-get install elinks'

Before going into aptitude for the final phase of my installation, I configured ‘contrib’ ‘nonfree’ and ‘multimedia’ repos by creating two more files in ‘/etc/apt/sources.list.d’ directory as below,

$ cat /etc/apt/sources.list.d/nonfree.sources.list 
deb lenny contrib non-free
deb-src lenny contrib non-free

deb lenny/updates contrib non-free
deb-src lenny/updates contrib non-free

deb lenny/volatile contrib non-free
deb-src lenny/volatile contrib non-free


$ cat /etc/apt/sources.list.d/multimedia.sources.list 
deb stable main
deb-src stable main

To use multimedia repo, we also need to install the gpg-key package using the following command,

$ wget
$ su -c'dpkg -i debian-multimedia-keyring_2008.10.16_all.deb'

Debian multimedia website provides more details, check this link

At the end, I started aptitude and installed all my must needed packages(Xfce,built-essential, gcc, vim-full, nvidia-glx, flash-10, mplayer, ffmpeg, w64codecs etc).

I don’t want to run any services in my laptop, so I disabled all the default services in lenny(like exim4, avahi, gdm etc.,). The base system run with just ~34MB, Once I ‘startx’, it goes to ~140MB, If I start ‘icewesel’, it goes to ~314MB. I never thought I can run a full fledged system with this kind of less memory. No pause on Boot(just taking 10-12 sec to print login prompt)

Now, I’m really happy. I never expected the switch is this much smooth. Thanks to Debian.

Howto switch from Ubuntu to Debian – My Experience – Part I


After long time I’m posting this. In this time, I got a fantastic experience of switching myself from ubuntu to debian. Reasons? may be silly but here they are,

1. From 8.10, I had a tough time with all the kernel’s ubuntu shipped and updated into my laptop, I was hit by a kernel acpi bug ( which still exists(in i686, not in x86_64). It pauses boot process when my laptop runs in battery and I need to press until init starts.

2. Nowadays, I hate the idea of ‘linux for everyone’. because ‘*nix’ systems are not for everyone. its for the one who like to learn computing.

3. My laptop lost DVD drive.

So I was in a mood to switch myself to something else. While surfing, I came to the debian website, their Installation guide explains howto install debian from a USB drive. Mine is Athlon64, so this time I went for x86_64. First I prepared my pendrive. For that we need to partition it using ‘fdisk’

$ sudo fdisk /dev/sdb

You can do this by running system->administration->partition-editor in Ubuntu. Once you created a new partition in your pendrive(/dev/sdb1), you need to format the partition as FAT32 using the following command

$ sudo mkfs -t vfat /dev/sdb1

Once you formatted, the next step is to install ‘syslinux’ into it, If your Ubuntu don’t have ‘syslinux’ command, install ‘syslinux’ package

$ sudo apt-get install syslinux
$ sudo syslinux /dev/sdb1

Now its time to download the installation files, I copied all the files from the following location and copied into /dev/sdb1. Finally the drive will look like this,

$ find /media/disk

And it is capable of booting using ‘syslinux’ bootloader. To use Graphical Installer, we need to modify ‘syslinux.cfg’ to look like this

default gtk/vmlinuz
append initrd=gtk/initrd.gz video=vesa:ywrap,mtrr vga=788

Once your pendrive is ready, unmount it and reboot the system, change the Boot order(In Compaq, press F9) and select the USB drive. The debian-installer will start asking questions, there on, its an easy ride. I didn’t install Gnome/Kde when the installer asked to choose one. I was interested in Xfce, so I postponed it.

In next post, I’ll tell you how I installed the 3rd layer(desktop).

will continue..