[ previous ] [ Contents ] [ 1 ] [ 2 ] [ 3 ] [ 4 ] [ 5 ] [ 6 ] [ 7 ] [ 8 ] [ 9 ] [ 10 ] [ 11 ] [ 12 ] [ 13 ] [ 14 ] [ 15 ] [ 16 ] [ next ]

The Debian GNU/Linux FAQ
Chapter 2 - Getting and installing Debian GNU/Linux

The official document giving installation instructions is the Debian GNU/Linux Installation Guide. We'll give some additional notes about getting and installing Debian GNU/Linux here.

2.1 What is the latest version of Debian?

Currently there are three versions of Debian GNU/Linux:

release 4.0, a.k.a. the `stable' distribution or etch

This is stable and well tested software, it changes if major security or usability fixes are incorporated.

the `testing' distribution, currently called lenny

This is where packages that will be released as the next `stable' are placed; they've had some testing in unstable but they may not be completely fit for release yet. This distribution is updated more often than `stable', but not more often than `unstable'.

the `unstable' distribution

This is the version currently under development; it is updated continuously. You can retrieve packages from the `unstable' archive on any Debian FTP site and use them to upgrade your system at any time, but you may not expect the system to be as usable or as stable as before - that's why it's called `unstable'!

Please see How many Debian distributions are there in the dists directory?, Section 6.2 for more information.

2.2 Are there package upgrades in `stable'?

No new functionality is added to the stable release. Once a Debian version is released and tagged `stable' it will only get security updates. That is, only packages for which a security vulnerability has been found after the release will be upgraded. All the security updates are served through security.debian.org.

Security updates serve one purpose: to supply a fix for a security vulnerability. They are not a method for sneaking additional changes into the stable release without going through normal point release procedure. Consequently, fixes for packages with security issues will not upgrade the software. The Debian Security Team will backport the necessary fixes to the version of the software distributed in `stable' instead.

For more information related to security support please read the Security FAQ or the Debian Security Manual.

2.3 Where/how can I get the Debian installation disks?

You can get the installation disks by downloading the appropriate files from one of the Debian mirrors.

The installation system files are separated in subdirectories of dists/stable/main directory, and the names of these subdirectories correspond to your architecture like this: disks-arch (arch is "i386", "sparc", etc, check the site for an exact list). In each of these architecture subdirectories there can be several directories, each for a version of the installation system, and the currently used one is in the `current' directory (that's a symbolic link).

See the README.txt file in that directory for further instructions.

2.4 How do I install the Debian from CD-ROMs?

Linux supports the ISO 9660 (CD-ROM) file system with Rock Ridge extensions (formerly known as "High Sierra"). Several vendors provide Debian GNU/Linux in this format.

Warning: When installing from CD-ROM, it is usually not a good idea to choose dselect's cdrom access method. This method is usually very slow. The mountable and apt methods, for example, are much better for installing from CD-ROM (see dpkg-mountable, Section 9.1.6 and apt-get, dselect and apt-cdrom, Section 9.1.2).

2.5 Why does the official stable released CD-ROM contain symlinks for `frozen' and `unstable'? I thought this CD contains just `stable'!

Official Debian CD images indeed contain symlinks like:

      /dists/frozen -> etch/
      /dists/stable -> etch/
      /dists/testing -> etch/
      /dists/unstable -> etch/

so that they work when your sources.list has an entry like

      deb cdrom:[<name as on cd label>]/ unstable main [...]


The fact these symlinks are present does not mean the image is `unstable' or `testing' or anything. Read the CD label in /.disk/info to find out which Debian version it contains. This information is also present in /README.txt on the CD.

Read http://www.debian.org/releases/ to find out what the current `stable' and `testing' releases are.

2.6 I have my own CD-writer, are there CD images available somewhere?

Yes. To make it easier for CD vendors to provide high quality disks, we provide the Official CD images.

2.7 Can I install it from a pile of floppy disks?

First of all, a warning: whole Debian GNU/Linux is way too large to be installed from media as small as a standard 1.44MB floppy disk - you may not find installing from floppies a very pleasant experience.

Copy the Debian packages onto formatted floppy disks. Either a DOS, the native Linux "ext2", or the "minix" format will do; one just has to use a mount command appropriate to the floppy being used.

Using floppy disks has these complications:

You must have support in the kernel for floppy disks in order to read and write to floppy disk; most kernels come with floppy drive support included in them.

To mount a floppy disk under the mount point /floppy (a directory which should have been created during installation), use:

2.8 Can I get and install Debian directly from a remote Internet site?

Yes. You can boot the Debian installation system from a set of files you can download from our FTP site and its mirrors.

You can download a small CD image file, create a bootable CD from it, install the basic system from it and the rest over the network. For more information please see http://www.debian.org/CD/netinst/.

You can also download even smaller floppy disk image files, create bootable diskettes from them, start the installation procedure and get the rest of Debian over the network. For more information, please see http://www.debian.org/distrib/floppyinst.

[ previous ] [ Contents ] [ 1 ] [ 2 ] [ 3 ] [ 4 ] [ 5 ] [ 6 ] [ 7 ] [ 8 ] [ 9 ] [ 10 ] [ 11 ] [ 12 ] [ 13 ] [ 14 ] [ 15 ] [ 16 ] [ next ]

The Debian GNU/Linux FAQ

version CVS, 17 June 2006

Authors are listed at Debian FAQ Authors