Howto switch from Ubuntu to Debian - My Experience - Part I

Updated: Dec 01, 2009

After long time I’m posting this. In this time, I got a fantastic experience of switching myself from ubuntu to debian. Reasons? may be silly but here they are,

  1. From 8.10, I had a tough time with all the kernel’s ubuntu shipped and updated into my laptop, I was hit by a kernel acpi bug) which still exists(in i686, not in x86_64). It pauses boot process when my laptop runs in battery and I need to press until init starts.

  2. Nowadays, I hate the idea of linux for everyone. because nix systems are not for everyone. its for the one who like to learn computing.

  3. My laptop lost DVD drive.

    So I was in a mood to switch myself to something else. While surfing, I came to the debian website, their Installation guide explains howto install debian from a USB. Mine is Athlon64, so this time I went for x86_64. First I prepared my pendrive. For that we need to partition it using fdisk

    $ sudo fdisk /dev/sdb
    

    You can do this by running system->administration->partition-editor in Ubuntu. Once you created a new partition in your pendrive(/dev/sdb1), you need to format the partition as FAT32 using the following command

    $ sudo mkfs -t vfat /dev/sdb1
    

    Once you formatted, the next step is to install syslinux into it, If your Ubuntu don’t have syslinux command, install syslinux package

    $ sudo apt-get install syslinux
    $ sudo syslinux /dev/sdb1
    

    Now its time to download the installation files, I copied all the files from the following location and copied into /dev/sdb1. Finally the drive will look like this,

    $ find /media/disk
    .
    ./gtk
    ./gtk/vmlinuz
    ./gtk/initrd.gz
    ./syslinux.cfg
    ./vmlinuz
    ./initrd.gz
    ./ldlinux.sys
    ./MANIFEST
    ./boot.img.gz
    

    And it is capable of booting using syslinux bootloader. To use Graphical Installer, we need to modify syslinux.cfg to look like this

    default gtk/vmlinuz
    append initrd=gtk/initrd.gz video=vesa:ywrap,mtrr vga=788
    

    Once your pendrive is ready, unmount it and reboot the system, change the Boot order(In Compaq, press F9) and select the USB drive. The debian-installer will start asking questions, there on, its an easy ride. I didn’t install Gnome/Kde when the installer asked to choose one. I was interested in Xfce, so I postponed it.

In next post, I’ll tell you how I installed the 3rd layer(desktop).

will continue..