Debian GNU/Linux 5 installation options

DebianThe Debian GNU/Linux installer has always been one of the best installers you’ll find on any free operating system. My one gripe with it is that it involves far too may steps. That is still true with updated installer that comes with Debian 5, the latest release of the distro. However, this new installer has made selecting the initial options a bit more “fun.”

Take the first screen shot, for example. The first options you are presented with are:

  • Install – choose this if you want an ncurses-based installation.
  • Graphical install – this is what you would select if you want a point-and-click installation. Since it’s much better than the ncurses-based option, this should have been the default.
  • Advanced options – want to install like a pro or to access more – not necessarily advanced options – highlight this option and hit Enter on your keyboard.

Lots more to choose under advanced options:

  • Expert install and Graphical expert install – these two options are the expert equivalents of the Install and Graphical install options you encountered on the first screen. Under the expert options, you are in full control of your choices. Even if you are not a pro, do not be intimidated by these two. Try either one. It’s a good way to learn more about the Debian installer and all the options available to you. Having a good knowledge of how a distro is installed puts you in a better position to manage it once it’s up and running.
  • Rescue mode and Graphical rescue mode – These are the ones you do not ever want to use, but when trouble strikes and you need to fix the system, you’ll be glad they are available.
  • Automated install and Graphical automated install – these two options are designed to reduce your input during the installation process. However, for the iso image I used for testing (x86 iso image), both failed to “load components from the DVD …,” and I had to abort the installation. Because this error occured using the same DVD I used for a graphical insatallation, I doubt if the error had anything to do with the media. Must be a problem with the script.
  • Alternative desktop environments – if Gnome is not your kind of desktop environment, the installer gives you three more to choose from.


Aside from Gnome, which is the default desktop environment on a Debian system, these are the three alternative desktop environment the installer presents if you select the last option in the screenshot above.

  • K Desktop Environment
  • LXDE – Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment
  • XFCE Desktop Environment

Selecting any of the alternative desktop environments gives you the same installation options you encountered in the first and second screenshots above. Most distros, like Sabayon and Mandriva, allow you to configure most aspects of the system and then present the supported desktop environments towards the end. There is nothing wrong with the Debian way, it is just different.

KDE advanced options. Same options available under the default install process.

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One Comment

  1. Have to correct myself on the automated install options: although it failed using a DVD burned from a full iso image, it worked using a netinst image. Keep in mind that “automated” install does not mean that you boot up, one mouse click, and the installer does all the rest for you. No, that’s not how it works. It still requires a lot of input from you.

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