Debian 6 review

Debian Debian 6.0, aka Debian “Squeeze”, is the latest stable release of Debian. It was made available for download earlier this month. In Debian country, a major release of this sort is a once-in-a-very-long-time event, unlike other distributions where it happens at least twice a year. This article provides a detailed review of Debian Squeeze, and it marks the second review of a major Debian release published on this website.

Installation: The Debian Installer is one of the most versatile you are ever going to find on any Linux distribution. It has an ncurses mode, a text-based mode, and a fully graphical installation mode. And there are Live media installation images, regular installation images, and netinst images. A netinst image offers the opportunity to install a system over the network. If you are going to install from a Live ISO image, the boot menu methods available to you are show in the image below.

When I chose the “Live 686” option, I encountered the error shown in the image below at some point during installation.

The available boot menu methods when using a full DVD ISO image. “Install” is the default.

And this is what the installation steps will look like if your stick with the default. It is ncurses based. Navigating the installer will be via a keyboard.

The “Graphical install” option offers a point-and-click interface. Instead of the ncurses mode, I think this should be the default.

If you want complete control over every aspect of the installation, expert options are available under “Advanced options.” This is where you will also find options to install other desktop environments, like KDE, Xfce, and LXDE.

Whatever installation method you choose, you will find support for LVM, the Linux Logical Volume Manager, RAID, and disk encryption (full disk and partition-level). The default disk partitioning scheme is not based on LVM. The default file system type is ext3. Other journaling file systems supported are ext4, xfs, jfs and btrfs. The boot loader is GRUB 2.

You might also want to read the following articles about Debian 6:

The installer offers three disk partitioning schemes. The default, which I do not recommend, installs the system on a single partition. If you are new to Debian, and are installing it for the first time, I recommend that you opt for the second method, which create a separate partition for your home directory.

You have the option to install any type of system – desktop, server, or a combination of both. The default is a pure desktop system.

When specifying the root and user account passwords, the installer does not enforce a minimum password length. That means, for example, that you are allowed to specify a 1-character password. The installer will not even complain about it.

This image shows a warning message that was generated during a test installation. I could not figure out why the repo could not be reached, but I should point out that the installation completed successfully.

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