Archive for May, 2010

Debian Server Installation

20 May

I’m sure I will take some heat by saying Debian is the best distribution for a newbie who wants to build a Linux server. Linux distributions are plentiful, and once you find one you like it’s hard to use something else, and that’s exactly what happened to me.

It has been over ten years now since I built my first Linux server, and it wasn’t exactly Debian or a server. My first Linux creation was a MythTV PVR.  A buddy from work was building his MythTV PVR project using Fedora Linux and suggested I build one too. I purchased the hardware, downloaded the manual, and then my project came to a screaching halt. The instructions and commands were way beyond my comprehension and ability. I attempted to make a go of the project but ended up moving on to another solution.

Enter KnoppMyth, based on Debian Linux, the KnoppMyth project did most of the work. I was able to follow their instructions and run a few of the Debian commands from the terminal and walla, I had my first Linux creation a MythTV PVR.  Why am I telling you all of this? Because that project gave me the experience I needed to learn several more things that Linux and OpenSource software has to offer.

You can do the same thing and it’s not as complicated as it seems. If you are a newbie in the Linux world, I think you just might find that Debian will work for you too. Debian, as I have been told, is really the grand daddy of all Linux distributions. While Debian might not be the most popular distribution now, it’s still the backbone of many other distros including Ubuntu. So if you learn how to install and configure software, (better known as packages) in Debian you will be able to work with Ubuntu and many other distros.

How can you get started? Well, the first thing you need to do is download the Debian Server software. This isn’t too tough, I reccommend downloading the Debian Server Net Install ISO found here.

I use the I386 ISO and that should be good for most PC based computers. After you download the ISO file you will need to burn the ISO file to a CD.  A good free CD burning software is CDBurnerXP which can be found here.

CDBurnerXP requires Dotnet framework in order to run. If you run the .exe file that you downloaded it will force you to install Dotnet first. It has a link built right into the installer and it’s pretty easy to follow. If you want to just download and intall it seperately you can find dotnet 3.5 here.

Now that you have your CD with Debian Server net install you will need to prepare a PC based computer to be your server. Debian will run on old hardware and run pretty well. I have a Debian sever running on a Dell Optiplex GX150 with 512mb of ram and a 4gb Compaq Flash card as the hard drive. If you want to do something similar swing on over to Amazon and pickup a IDE to CF adapter and 4gb Compaq Flash card, both for about $20 including shipping.

Below is a very good installation guide  for Debian Etch you can follow. If you are lazy like me just follow the screenshots.



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