Mastering Debian 6 – One

GNU/Linux Desktop Survival Guide
(I owe my learning to many, presently insomuch feel free to contribute to the book in any way, by sending corrections, comments, updates, suggestions, or even whole new chapters, to him

Welcome to the world of GNU/Linux, liberating the computing desktop from the shackles of proprietary interests.

What’s In A Name

The phrase Microsoft Windows (and less informatively just Windows) usually refers to the whole of the popular operating systems, irrespective of which version of Microsoft Windows is being run, unless the version is important. But Microsoft Windows is just one of many windowing systems available, and indeed, Microsoft Windows came on to the screen rather later than the pioneering Apple Macintosh windowing system and the Unix windowing systems. We will simply refer to all varieties of Microsoft’s windowing systems (Windows 95/98/NT/2000/XP) as MS/Windows. If the particular version is important it will be referred to as MS/Windows/XP, for example.

We use the phrase GNU/Linux to refer to the GNU environment and the GNU and other applications running in that environment on top of the Linux operating system kernel. Similarly, GNU/Hurd refers to the GNU environment and the GNU and other applications running in that environment on top of the GNU Hurd operating system kernel.

Debian is a complete distribution which includes many applications based around a particular choice of operating system kernel (usually either GNU/Linux or GNU/Hurd). Where the particular kernel is not important we will refer to whole system as Debian.

The common windowing system used in Debian is a separate, but integral, component that we will refer to as the X Window System.

How to Download the CD Image ?
You may be wondering why you should go through a process of building a CD image yourself rather than simply downloading the appropriate images from a Debian CD image mirror somewhere. The answer has been that there are many Debian mirrors world-wide that store the complete collection of Debian packages. If these mirrors were to also store the CD images the extra space required is essentially wasted space and so many of the Debian mirrors do not keep the CD images.

There are a smaller number of Debian hosts on the Internet that do maintain CD images. These hosts are often not local and the amount of bandwidth required to download the images from these smaller number of mirrors is quite significant.

According to the Debian GNU/Linux CD Images Frequently Asked Questions page ( by using a distributed approach based on the network of Debian package mirrors the required bandwidth to the CD image mirrors is reduced by over 99%!

Nonetheless, today you may find local Debian hosts mirroring the CD images also. If that is the case then it is easier to simply download the actual images rather than building the images as described in the rest of this chapter. In Australia, for example, the primary Debian mirror also mirrors the CD images (from So for those in .au and .nz it is perhaps easiest to simply download one of the following:
$ wget
$ wget
Then burn the image to CD using whatever tools you have at your disposal. For release 3 there are 7 CDs. The NONUS alternative (which contains items that can not be exported directly from the US) is only relevant to the first CD.
[[[[ Mastering Debian 6 to be continued, it’s a series of learning]]]