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debian: what i'm been up to
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For past two years I have been testing out Debian system.  My goal was to install it and set it up and use it for every day task.  I started using Sarge.  Then switched to Edge.  I reached an important milestone this week.  I finally figured out how to connect it to the internet.  It was trivial but I has been my big project for so long.  After I installed Edge, I had this sleek system but don't know how to use it.  I used netinstall but since I didn't have internet six months ago I was the minimum install.  I have no clue what to do what this system.   The usual tools I read in the book wasn''t on the system.  I don't know how to use viewer.  There was no less command.  So it took me a long time to finally get something done.

What I found out this week was all the normal unix commands are condensed in this program call busybox.  I didn't use it but now I know I can.  I learned to get by with the "more" command.   I relearned how to use "ed".  Then I switched to using "nano".

Debian comes with ifupdown.  After doing some reading I learned how to edit /etc/network/interfaces to set up my network.

auto eth0
iface eth0 inet static
   address 192.168.1.2
   netmask 255.255.255.0
   gateway 192.168.1.1

I also brought some hardware.  I learned to do the wiring CAT5 cable.  Just need to follow the instruction.  Keep the coloring in a specific order (I don't remember the order: white, blue, green, brown, white-blue, white-green, white-brown).    Then I tested the wire make sure I put them together correct.  Then I connected the cable from the cable modem to the router.  Then from the router to the Debian system. 

Next I found out that I couldn't resolve domain correctly.  I couldn't ping to servers on the internet.  After some reading, I learned I have to edit teh /etc/resolv.conf

I added the line to point to my router.
nameserver 192.168.1.1


Then ping worked.


Next I learned to update my /etc/apt/sources.list

This is needed to update my programs on the system.
I added the line
deb http://http.us.debian.org/debian testing main contrib

I made a big leap here because instead of staying with Edge, the distribution to testing because I want some newer software.

I did the following in
apt-get dist-upgrade

Most of the command have to be done as administrator.  I used "su"

I pulled in xfce4.4 and firefox2.  I am very happy they all worked.

There are newer software not available in the testing yet.  Trac 0.11, and Firefox3.

I was trying to install Trac 0.11.  Task to do on the coming weeks:  Set up apache2 (It is a totally different world).  It is not that simple.  It has  their own syntax.  Set up a Subversion repository.  I don't expect this to be easy either.  Then set up postgresql database.  Set up a digital certificate (for http digest authentication or similar).  Generate a pgp key. Finally install Trac.

Lastly set up a mirroring on a second Debian system.

A bonus out of this is I may stumble upon how to package a Debian package.  If that happens I may package Trac 0.11 for Debian.  This depend if I can do it before other people.  Right now there is a Trac 0.11r2(?) on the experiment.  But I am not brave enough to try the Debian experiment.

Summary:  This stuff is not easy.  All the instructions are not in one place.  I have to search all over the place for instructions to do what I want to do.  Sometimes I forget what I read but only remember reading them somewhere.  So far I am just happy I am able to have gui on my system.  I can't stand the command line.  Yup I am a noob and I have been using Windows all my life.  I prefer to stay with point and click.

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