Setting Up Yet Another Debian Etch Server


A teacher e-mailed me the other day wondering if I could setup a server with Moodle on it for him to test. I was overjoyed at the request because the teacher had discovered Moodle, MySQL, PHP, and Linux (as well as their freeness) all by himself!

I used the Debian Etch Net Install Daily Image for today (1/25/2007), and everything went pretty smoothly.


I thought I had entered “installgui” at the boot prompt, but I still got the old text based setup. Everything went smoothly, so I have no complaints. Perhaps the net installation doesn’t have the GUI installer?

One scary thing did happen during installation: after the initial reboot Linux ran fsck on the new installation and found a number of errors! After another reboot everything appears to be working normally. This is an old PIII computer, so I’m immediately installing smartmontools.


GDM came up with a few colored vertical lines. One Google search later I discovered that the i810 Intel driver might do that at higher resolutions. I lowered my resolution to 1024 x 768 and everything works beautifully.

Upon updating my package lists in Synaptic, I got some strange errors from gpg, so Debian can’t validate a number of packages. A bit strange, but it doesn’t hurt anything.


Thanks to apt-zeroconf I downloaded the 40+ megs of extra packages I needed mostly off of my other 2 local Debian boxes. Now if only I could configure the net install CD to use apt-zeroconf… hm… Sounds like a job for lazyweb!

I do get periodic 404 errors when using apt-zeroconf, but just trying again fixes it every time.


All things considered I didn’t see any reason not to release Etch immediately!

I still recommend Ubuntu or openSUSE for normal users or people new to Linux as Debian just doesn’t do enough hand holding for people not willing to spend some time learning Linux.