Debian, World’s Easiest GNU/Linux Distro You Can Install

It may have been true years ago that Debian GNU/Linux took some time and trouble to install. That’s not true today. A basic installation is pretty trivial. “Assume the default” works in most cases where user-input is required. There is an even better option for newbies. If the newbie doesn’t mind the whole hard drive being taken over by Debian GNU/Linux (you don’t want to preserver the current OS/data) then there is a trivial method, FAI (Fully Automated installation). FAI is meant to be used by system administrators who want a scripted means of installing on random PCs. By providing reasonable defaults, such a system can be put on a CD. The newbie boots from the CD and chooses the installation and they are off. One reboot later they are running GNU/Linux from the hard drive. What could be easier? It took me 8 minutes in a virtual machine for a minimal installation. It’s 5 minutes more for a full GUI with XFCE4. The root password is “fai” and there will be a user, “demo” also with password “fai”. Enjoy.


Here’s how to do it and here’s where to find the CD or USB drive image. These links point to the squeeze/stable branch of Debian GNU/Linux so there could be a few less bugs than you expect with Ubuntu.

You cannot get much easier and more flexible an installation of an OS than that except the OEM does it for you. I recommend Debian GNU/Linux because it works for you and not some corporation.

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4 Responses to Debian, World’s Easiest GNU/Linux Distro You Can Install

  1. pogson says:

    Ray wrote, “as the necessary drivers, codecs, and software would be included”.

    Necessary for what? Worshipping M$? A lot of the old “patents” have expired and many standards are open. I doubt M$ would launch a $50 million lawsuit to pursue one user or even a non-profit distro. They cannot even intimidate a book-seller.

  2. Ray says:

    I still say Mint’s easier, as the necessary drivers, codecs, and software would be included.

  3. pogson says:

    Debian GNU/Linux is flexible enough for me. I can install apps from the “testing” branch if I want to experiment with the latest. Lately, Wheezy is looking wonderful. I can do apt-get dist-upgrades that seem perfect to me and on Squeeze I run several Wheezy apps quite well.

    APT sort of allows rolling releases because we can mix “testing” with “stable” brances. Of course the whole idea of “stable” is to use only the most well tested stuff for people who just want to get on with the job but I do love the smell of new software sometimes. I find the “testing” branch of Debian GNU/Linux to be of similar quality as Ubuntu, which is OK for many people.

    With the bandwidth of the Internet these days and the ability to roll out single packages or whole disc images over a LAN, the rolling release may not actually be useful. The idea of a release cadence that Shuttleworth promoted does have a lot of merit so that the many thousands of projects can synchronize to really pump out great releases of distros. In practice, however, a large distro like Debian is just not that nimble. They can set a freeze date but not a release date. It’s all good. I am enjoying Debian more than ever.

  4. Matias says:

    I’ve always wanted to ask Robert your opinion about rolling release distros and the functionality of them. I’ve never tried Debian perhaps coz it has reputation with out of date software (maybe just fail assumptions). I’m using mostly Mint and Open SUSE in my computer. The latter has enabled rolling release option and so far i’ve (mostly) enjoyed it much. I’m not keen on new installations, that’s the reason why i’m interesting in RR-distros.

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