Thursday, August 28, 2008

Installers for Debian Lenny (Debian Testing) (Aug 29 08)

The current release of the Debian distribution of Linux is version 4.0r4 and is codenamed "Debian Etch". This was released on July 26, 2008, and comes with kernel version 2.6.18. If you want a kernel and packages that are very well tested and works reliably, this is the Debian version to use.

If you are one of the Debian developers, you have to use the unstable release of Debian called Debian SID (still in development). This is the version in which packages are initially tested and if any of the packages breaks, the developers normally know what to do to fix the bugs.

Somewhere between the stable "Etch" and the unstable "SID" is the almost-stable "Lenny". Packages that have been tested in SID (don't break easily) are submitted to Lenny for further testing. After a package is tested in Lenny and found to be stable, it is promoted to Etch.

One nice feature of Lenny is that packages are almost bleeding-edge, and yet reasonably stable. For example, it uses kernel version 2.6.25, iceape (firefox) 3.0.1, and openoffice 2.4.1. That is why I love to use Lenny.

There are three different "versions" of the Lenny installers that you can use. These are (from most stable installer to least stable installer) Lenny Beta2, Lenny Weekly-Build, and Lenny Daily-Build. I recommend the use of Lenny Beta2 and Lenny Weekly-Build, but not the Lenny Daily-Build installer. On more than one occasion, I get install errors, and the installation could not proceed when using Lenny Daily-Build, and the behavior of the resulting partial installation on the hard disk is unpredictable.

Also, for Lenny Beta2 and Lenny Weekly-Build, you have the option of installing a 150MB netinstall iso image, or one or more 650MB CDs, or one or more 4.4GB DVDs. If you use the 150MB netinstall iso image, only the core os components are installed, and the rest of the installation is done by downloading from the Debian mirrors during the installation. If you have a 384KB SmartBro connection like the one I have at home, netinstall will require 12 to 18 hours to complete downloading, depending on the Debian mirror used, and on the packages that you selected to install. I like using the first CD or the first DVD to install Debian Lenny, so that only a few hundred more packages need be downloaded from the Debian mirrors during the actual installation.

You know that you are installing Debian Lenny, if you get the following initial installation screen:
The actual installers themselves can be downloaded from If you are having problems locating the installation images, you can use the following links. The Gnome, KDE, and Xfce CD installers for Lenny Beta2 are available from the following links:

The Gnome, KDE, and Xfce CD installers for Lenny Weekly-Build are available from the following links:

The 150MB-180MB Gnome netinstaller for Lenny Daily build, if you are bold enough to face possible installation breakage, is available from the follwoing link:

Whatever installation method that you use, you would not regret installing the greatest and the best Linux distribution: Debian Lenny.

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