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Content:: Desktop Netinstall

Installing Debian for a desktop from a netinst CD
Last Modified: 2013-03-14
First run the netinst CD and do not install any extra packages. This will take us to the command prompt where we can log in to a console. (need screenshot of install)

This will cover Debian 6.0.4 64 bit version (amd64)

Table of Contents
Installing the Basics
At this point we shouldn't have much installed. You'll want to log in as the root user. We will be running as root for the installation processes, however we will not run as root for the desktop interface configurations.

update our sources # apt-get update
ensure we have the updated packages # apt-get upgrade
install less # apt-get install less
install secure shell # apt-get install ssh
install nslookup # apt-get install dnsutils
lynx (Text based web browser) # apt-get install lynx
ncurses hexeditor (# hexeditor) # apt-get install ncurses-hexedit
zip/unzip util # apt-get install zip
bzip # apt-get install bzip2
32 bit libraries # apt-get install ia32-libs ia32-libs-gtk
C compilers # apt-get install gcc
# apt-get install g++
Install Simple GUI - Xorg, Blackbox and GDM
*Still running as root*

blackbox windows manager # apt-get install xorg
# apt-get install blackbox
(xwindows environment should be working at this point) # apt-get install blackbox-themes
# apt-get install bbkeys
Installing GDM (Gnome Display manager) for graphical logins # apt-get install gdm
Themes are stored in
At this point we can either restart the system # shutdown -h now and we will be prompted to log into through the Gnome Display Manager. Or you can log in as the user you created and start the xwindows system by running $ startx
After you are in the gui, right click on the desktop to open the menu. You should see three options. Select xterm and switch to the root user with the su command. $ su -
General Applications
epdfview - PDF viewer
# apt-get install epdfview
epdfview is my primary choice for simplicity and clean look.

Other PDF viewers you may want to try out
gPDFText -
Xpdf -
Evince -

Gedit - Text Editor
With all the choices of text editors available it's quite hard to tie yourself down to just one. Gedit is highly configurable, doesn't have annoying features that can't be turned off and is highly customizable. The core features I use it for are line numbers, syntax highlighting, word wrap, displaying white spaces and showing line breaks. The only feature I haven't seen a plugin for yet is a feature displaying the time of line break (carriage return [cr], or line feed [lf]). # apt-get install gedit
# apt-get install gedit-plugins

Other Text Editors
You may want to look at.
Scribes -
Cream -
Multimedia Applications
Audacious - Audio player
Audacious is a simple audio player that can play a variety of music formats. If you're looking for a program more similar to iTunes you may want to try songbird. # apt-get install audacious
The plugins, I believe, will be installed as a dependency, just in case here is the command to install audacious plugins. # apt-get install audacious-plugins

Audacity - Audio editor
Audacity is a simple to use audio editor that can edit many audio formats. The interface is easy to use and intuitive. However it is good to know that many of the features are grayed out if you are playing the audio or have paused the audio sample. Simply stoping the playback of the audio sample will enable the editing features. # apt-get install audacity

GIMP - Image Editing
Gnu Image Manipulation Program (GIMP), is an image editing program. It can handle a variety of formats, layers, rendering, brushes and a variety of other features. # apt-get install gimp

GQView - Basic Image Viewer
GQView has an easy to use interface and allows you to quickly sort through your images.
# apt-get install gqview

VLC - Video player
# apt-get install vlc
For VLC to read DVD's properly we will need the decss decoder. Debian does not include this in its core packages as it is not "legal" in all countries do to encryption laws.
We can obtain the dvdcss package from
libdvdcss2_1.2.10-0.3_amd64.deb # dpkg -i libdvdcss2_1.2.10-0.3_amd64.deb
now VLC will work with DVD's

scrot - Command line screenshot utility

Scrot is a command line tool which will allow us to configure bbkeys to take screenshots at the press of a key. # apt-get install scrot running "scrot" itself will take a screenshot of the entire desktop, running "scrot -u -b" will take a screenshot of the currently selected window along with the windows manager border.

Shutter - GUI screenshot utility
Shutter is a screenshot utility that allows you to grab selections of the screen, active windows, etc. It's interface is simple to use and files are automatically saved to the home directory. # apt-get install shutter

Network Applications
Filezilla - scp gui client

# apt-get install filezilla

Wireshark - network packet sniffer

# apt-get install wireshark

Samba allows us to make file and print sharing through SMB and CIFS protocols. This will allow us to share files between Windows, Linux and Macintosh systems.
# apt-get install smbfs
The install of smbfs will ask us for a default workgroup or domain name, if you do not have one use the default of "WORKGROUP".
"Workgroup/Domain Name" = "WORKGROUP" # apt-get install smbclient
We can use smbclient to check available file server shares. # smbclient -U <user> -L <remote server>
# mkdir /mnt/pallen
The smbmount command will need to be ran as the root user, however we want to be able to manipulate the files as our current user so we'll need to grab the user id and group id.

You can check the passwd file (# less /etc/passwd) to find the uid for your user, or use the following commands to get the user id aand group id.

To get the user id $ id -u To get the group id $ id -g
# smbmount //<remote server>/<share name> <local directory mount path> -o user=<user>%,uid=1000,gid=1000
For a fancy script view the samba mount script here.
System Applications
PCManFM - File Manager
PCManFM is a simple lightweight filemanager. The interface feels much cleaner than XFE and doesn't require or force you into a specific desktop environment like nautilus. # apt-get install pcmanfm
If you run PCManFM and don't see icons, you'll need to install some. The gnome-icon-theme pack seemed to work for me. # apt-get install gnome-icon-theme

After installing gqview you can open an image with a "custom command" "gqview."

Gnome Specimen - font viewer
# apt-get install gnome-specimen

Taskmanager like things
# apt-get install htop
# apt-get install gnome-system-monitor

Installing Apps not in the main distro
Any downloads we'll save into /opt/dnld # mkdir /opt/dnld

Debian does not include Firefox due to certain licenses that are not completely free (including the image). The primary distro has an application similar to firefox called iceweasel. We will use Lynx, a text based browser, to download firefox. # lynx
	g - go to website
	find "Download Firefox" "Linux"
	d - for download
	Save to disk
	q - quit
# mv firefox-11.0.tar.bz2 /opt/dnld
# cd /opt/dnld
untar the files # tar -xjf firefox-11.0.tar.bz2
# mkdir /opt/programs
# mv firefox /opt/programs
You can now start firefox with # /opt/programs/firefox/firefox
If you get the error
returns "No such file or directory"
it may be because you do not have the 32 bit libraries on your system.
Adobe Flash Player
Keep in mind the version of firefox we installed is the 32 bit version, we must also obtain the 32 bit version of flash. We can download a version of the client from the adobe website at It will automatically tell us that we want the 64 bit version, change the version and select the linux (32bit) tar.gz version.

Create a new folder to extract the tar.gz file we downloaded, note that the tar.gz file does not create a folder to put all the info in. # mkdir flash
# cd flash
# tar -xzf ../install_flash_player_11_linux.i386.tar.gz
We can copy the file into two locations. The users mozilla plugin folder ~/.mozilla/plugins or the system plugin location of /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins. # mkdir /usr/lib/mozilla
# mkdir /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins
# cp /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins/
Restarting firefox should show the shockwave plugin in the Add-ons manager under plugins.
Libre Office
Download from The default may point you into an RPM package, search for the linux x86 or linux x86_64 debian package. # tar -xzf LibO_3.5.2_Linux_x86-64_install-deb_en-US.tar.gz
# cd LibO_3.5.2rc2_Linux_x86-64_install-deb_en-US/DEBS/
# dpkg -i *.deb
*will complain about java validation if you do not install a Java Runtime Environment. # apt-get install default-jre
run libreoffice writer with # /opt/libreoffice3.5/program/swriter
Configure Simple GUI - Xorg, Blackbox and GDM
Video Drivers
Depending on your video card you may need to install drivers. If you have an older ATI card you can use # apt-get install xserver-xorg-video-radeonhd
Newer video cards require the ATI proprietary packages. These will require the linux kernel headers and I believe the C compilers (which we installed in the basic installation section # apt-get install linux-headers-2.6-amd64
If you do not install the above package you will get the following error message
Uninstalling any previously installed drivers.
[Message] Kernel Module : Trying to install a precompiled kernel module.
[Message] Kernel Module : Precompiled kernel module version mismatched.
[Error] Kernel Module : Kernel module build environment not found - please consult readme.
[Reboot] Kernel Module : update-initramfs
For my video card I downloaded the The installation can be run in a GUI or console. I ran the GUI without the Catalyst Control Center being installed. ./
With xrandr we can set the dual monitors up with little difficulty. This example uses one CRT that can run at 1600x1200 and an LED flat screen that can run at 1920x1080. xrandr --output DFP7 --mode 1920x1080 --pos 0x0
xrandr --output CRT1 --mode 1600x1200 --pos 1920x0
However these options do not stick when restarting blackbox. We can use the "aticonfig" utility to set the monitor resolutions # aticonfig --initial=dual-head --screen-layout=left --xinerama=on
# aticonfig --resolution=0,1920x1080 --resolution=1,1600x1200
X Windows Configurations
We will configure the X Windows system to load BBKeys and Blackbox. Every application in here can be triggered by the name of the command to run it via a command line followed by an ampersand (&) making the program run in the background. Followed by an exec of the window manager. # nano .xsession
bbkeys &
exec blackbox
Blackbox Configurations
Our blackbox configurations can be done on a per user basis by editing the ".blackboxrc" file in the users home directory. ~# nano .blackboxrc
We can set our style with
session.styleFile: /usr/share/blackbox/styles/Gray
and we can declare our menu file which we will put in ~/.blackbox/menu
session.menuFile: ~/.blackbox/menu
With a single display I would normally change the toolbar placement to the top and center it.
session.screen0.toolbar.placement: TopCenter
With dual monitors this would set the toolbar in the middle of both monitors. I want it to display on the right monitor so we'll configure the placement to be on the top right, and set the width down so it only spans acrossed the top of the right monitor.
session.screen0.toolbar.placement: TopRight
session.screen0.toolbar.widthPercent: 45
By default the toolbar displays the current time in AM/PM format. To make it display the current day, month, date and time we can change the strftimeFormat variable. For more information on the variables view the time display information at
session.screen0.strftimeFormat: %a %d %b  %I:%M %p
We'll finish it off with the root command option to trigger a background wall paper.
*Note* Everytime you select restart from the blackbox menu you will start all the applications again. Previously this document stated to run the bbkeys application through this, doing so created a new instance of bbkeys every restart
rootCommand: bsetbg -full 

We'll create the menu file from our current home directory. ~# mkdir .blackbox
~# nano .blackbox/menu
[begin] (Blackbox)
	[exec] (xterm) {xterm -fg white -bg black}
	[submenu] (Editors)
		[exec] (LibreOffice Writer) {/opt/libreoffice3.5/program/swriter}
		[exec] (gEdit) {gedit}
#		[exec] (sudo gEdit) {xterm -e 'sudo gedit'}
	[submenu] (File Managers)
		[exec] (PCManFM) {pcmanfm}
	[submenu] (Multimedia)
		[exec] (audacious - mp3/audo player) {audacious}
		[exec] (epdfview - view pdf files) {epdfview}
		[exec] (GIMP - image editor) {gimp}
		[exec] (Gnome Specimen - font viewer) {gnome-specimen}
		[exec] (gqview - image viewer) {gqview}
		[exec] (Shutter - screenshot tool) {shutter}
		[exec] (vlc - dvd/media player) {vlc}
	[submenu] (Network)
		[exec] (FireFox - Web Browser) {/opt/programs/firefox/firefox}
		[exec] (FileZilla - SCP Client) {filezilla}
		[exec] (Wireshark - Sniffer) {wireshark}
		[exec] (sudo Wireshark) {xterm -e 'sudo wireshark'}
#	[nop] (------------)
	[submenu] (Tools)
		[exec] (Map Drives) {xterm -e 'sudo /opt/scripts/ mount'}
		[exec] (Top) {xterm -e top}
		[exec] (hTop) {xterm -e htop}
		[exec] (Gnome System Monitor) {gnome-system-monitor}
	[submenu] (Configurations)
		[exec] (Edit Menu) {xterm -e nano ~/.blackbox/menu}
		[exec] (gEdit Menu) {gedit ~/.blackbox/menu}
		[config] (Blackbox)
		[submenu] (Styles)
			[stylesdir] (/usr/share/blackbox/styles)
	[restart] (Restart)
	[exit] (Exit)

We can configure BBKeys to match our style and trigger some of the applications we have setup.

We can get an example of the default BBKeys file in "/etc/bbkeys/bbkeysrc".

We will edit the local configuration for the user. Assuming your are in your home directory # nano .bbkeysrc
[begin] (bbkeys configuration file)
                [option] (stylefile) {/usr/share/blackbox/styles/Gray}
                [option] (honorModifiers) {false}
                [option] (raiseWhileCycling) {false}
                [option] (showCycleMenu)  {true}
                [option] (menuTextJustify) {right}
#               [option] (menuTitleJustify) {right}
                [option] (autoConfig)   {true}
                [option] (autoConfigCheckTimeout) {2}
                [option] (workspaceColumns) {4}
                [option] (cycleMenuX) {1940}
                [option] (cycleMenuY) {30}
        [keybindings] (begin keybindings)
                [chain] (Control-Mod1-W)
                        [sendToWorkspace] (1) {1}
                        [sendToWorkspace] (2) {2}
                        [sendToWorkspace] (3) {3}
                        [sendToWorkspace] (4) {4}
                        [sendToWorkspace] (5) {5}
                        [sendToWorkspace] (6) {6}
                        [sendToWorkspace] (7) {7}
                        [sendToWorkspace] (8) {8}
                [Lower]  (Mod1-Up)
                [Raise]  (Mod1-Down)
                [toggleShade]  (Mod1-end)
                [Close]  (Mod1-F4)
                [moveWindowUp]  (Mod1-Control-Up) {1}
                [moveWindowDown]  (Mod1-Control-Down) {1}
                [moveWindowLeft]  (Mod1-Control-Left) {1}
                [moveWindowRight]  (Mod1-Control-Right) {1}

                [NextWindowOnAllWorkspaces]  (Mod1-Control-Tab)
                [changeWorkspace]  (Mod1-1) {1}
                [changeWorkspace]  (Mod1-2) {2}
                [changeWorkspace]  (Mod1-3) {3}
                [changeWorkspace]  (Mod1-4) {4}
                [Execute]  (Mod1-F5) {xrefresh}

                [Execute] (Print) {scrot}
                [Execute] (Mod1-Print) {scrot -u -b}
                [Execute] (Control-Shift-Escape) {gnome-system-monitor}
                [Execute] (Mod4-L) {xscreensaver-command -lock}
                [Execute]  (Mod1-F1) {xterm}

                [NextWindow]  (Mod1-Tab)
                [PrevWindow]  (Mod1-Shift-Tab)
                [toggleMaximizeVertical]  (Mod1-space)
                [toggleMaximizeFull]  (Mod1-Control-space)
                [toggleOmnipresent]  (Mod1-Control-S)
                [toggleShade]  (Control-space)
        [end] (end keybindings)
[end] (end bbkeys configuration)
Sudo Configurations
Sudo should already be installed, but none of our users will be able to use it without being added to the sudoers file. # nano /etc/sudoers
<user> ALL=(ALL) ALL
Gedit Configurations
The draw spaces plugin, which was installed from the deb package pluggins), allows us to see spaces, tabs, and new lines in the file. We can enable it by going into Edit > Preferences > Plugins And locate the plugin for draw spaces We'll also need to configure the plugin which can be done in the plugins interface you added the plugin. In the configuration window check the box for "draw new lines"

Line numbers can be added in Edit > Preferences > View
and checking Display Line Numbers

Word wrap is now part of the main package, however I can't stand the default of lines without spaces not breaking with the size of the window. We can change this by going into Edit > Preferences > View
And unchecking do not split words over two lines

Last but not least, we'll remove the Toolbar with all of the fancy Icons. View
Uncheck Toolbar
Firefox Configurations
For firefox we're going to change a handul of the default settings regarding caching, history and passwords. Followed up by a couple of addons and display customization.
Edit > Preferences
General -
   Home Page - ""
Privacy -
   History - "Remember History" change to "Never remember history"
   Location Bar - "History and Bookmarks" change to "Nothing"
Security -
   Passwords - Uncheck "Remember passwords for sites"


A must have add-on is the "Web Developer" addon.

Another add-on "unplug" is great for pulling flash video's to save at a later time.

View configurations.
Right click the menu bar and uncheck "Web Developer Toolbar"
Right click the menu bar and select "Customize"
   Drag BookMarks and Webdeveloper Icon near location bar
   Remove "Home" icon
   Change Show: "Icons" to "Icons and Text" (keeping it as just icons will save space)
   check "use small icons"
Right click the menu bard and select "Customize"
   Drag "Unplug" Icon next to web developer
Grub Configurations
This system is a dual boot windows/linux. (We installed Windows before Linux)
# cp /etc/default/grub /etc/default/grub.orig
# nano /etc/default/grub
change grub default to 2 for windows

# update-grub
Completed Desktop