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Upgrading from Fedora to Debian

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How smooth would that be? With no formats or anything. Would I have any problems? I could probably format it but I will have to save my data first.. Thanks

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If you keep your /home directory on its own partition, it isn''t that hard to switch distributions even with a reformatting of your HDD in the process (excluding /home, of course). The biggest advantages of "package managed" distributions are pretty hard to achieve without a "real" installation at some point though.

If you''ve never installed Debian before, you may find it difficult (depending, of course, on how much you''ve managed to pick up from your other *nix/Linux experiences). I didn''t find it really difficult to install my first time, but it seems most people do (I actually advise doing as little as possible "installation" during the installation and making up with it with apt-get afterward). The new "easier" installer is still a bit distant in the future, but you can use something like Knoppix as a replacement installer if you want.

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K, thanks. How is debian on hardware support because if I switch I don't want to lose any support because all of my hardware is supported right now with Fedora. I am assuming it should be fine since it's still linux...but just making sure.

And what about the unstable sid and testing version of sarge? Are any of those worth getting to get the easier installer? I don't want the computer to crash though. I think sarge might be a bit too buggy for me. I heard the terminal doesn't work under gnome in it.

Also, do I have to have /home on it's own partition? I am planning to do this soon. But I was wondering, since I don't have this done now if it was ok to just copy it over to another hd and copy it back when I am done.

Would you be able to give me a list of the other partitions I should make for debian? I know there are more. So far all I have is /,swap, and a boot partition.. I think there are others like making /ect a partition or something like that.

And is there a list of all the apt-gets I can do on debian like there is on gentoo?

EDIT: Oh and can you apt-get the latest kernels? Or do you have to do it the long way like most other distros.

Thanks.

[edited by - HTML on November 30, 2003 12:52:22 PM]

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Guest Anonymous Poster
I use sid personally, because the stable version is very old. My computer runs perfectly, and has all the latest packages that I need.

Yes you can see all the list of packages, it''s not with apt-get though but with an application sitting on top of it. The name is escaping me right now but I guess you could read over the text file where all the package names are stored.

I have a /boot, /, and swap partitions for debian and everything runs fine.

I believe I have seen the kernels with apt-get but I haven''t tried to update since I have all the latest packages with sid.

I really recommend you either get sarge or sid. If you take sarge you might want to upgrade to sid. I find sid to be very reliable and after all it has all the latest packages which is a definite plus for me.

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Thanks, and how about networking and printers? What about servers? Do all those work ok too?

Oh and have you tried the latest installer, and what version of debian is the new installer on? Hoping its going to be on sid...

Happen to know where I can get the latest version of sid and sarge?
I didn''t see it at linuxiso.org or the downloads section of linuxcompatible.org.

Thanks.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
quote:
Original post by HTML
K, thanks. How is debian on hardware support because if I switch I don''t want to lose any support because all of my hardware is supported right now with Fedora. I am assuming it should be fine since it''s still linux...but just making sure.



Pretty good, like on other Linux distros. It might not detected everything automatically for you, but you can install kudzu or discover if you need that sort of thing.

quote:

And what about the unstable sid and testing version of sarge? Are any of those worth getting to get the easier installer? I don''t want the computer to crash though. I think sarge might be a bit too buggy for me. I heard the terminal doesn''t work under gnome in it.



AFAIK, the new installer is not due in a long time. I''ve been using Debian for a long while now (both stable and unstable), and my computers never crashed (at least never because of the OS, just faulty hardware).

quote:

Also, do I have to have /home on it''s own partition? I am planning to do this soon. But I was wondering, since I don''t have this done now if it was ok to just copy it over to another hd and copy it back when I am done.



Having /home on its own partition is usually a good idea (for upgrading, and also if you need to mount it, for example, read/write/no-exec). Copying /home to another hd and then overwriting shouldn''t cause any problem (other than possibly replacing a few skel files provided by Debian).

quote:

Would you be able to give me a list of the other partitions I should make for debian? I know there are more. So far all I have is /,swap, and a boot partition.. I think there are others like making /ect a partition or something like that.



You don''t need more partitions for Debian. Partitioning is often quite task specific: workstations will have different needs from servers, and desktop PC are also different.

Typically, I use the following partitions on a desktop system:

/boot
/
/usr
/usr/local
/home

On my own systems, however, I also have a partition for /tmp and another for /var (and of course a swap, on all systems), and /home is a network share, as well as /usr.

Servers are another thing. You''ll often need to enforce some rules on such systems, and might end with more partitions, in order to mount them with the appropriate flags (read-only, no-exec, etc).

quote:

And is there a list of all the apt-gets I can do on debian like there is on gentoo?



apt-cache search '''' | less

But you''re probably better off using some graphical tool, or to limit the search with keywords (apt-cache search your_keywords).

quote:

EDIT: Oh and can you apt-get the latest kernels? Or do you have to do it the long way like most other distros.



Assuming that you''re using a x86 system...

Unstable: 2.4.22 in various version (i686, Athlon, SMP, etc). No 2.4.23 yet, but it shouldn''t take long (it would be in real soon if it weren''t for the compromised Debian machines). There are also 2.6test kernels.

Stable: 2.4.22 in one version (I''m assuming i386 but don''t quote me on that).

Making a deb package of your kernel is quite easy with the provided tools though.


Hope this helps.

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Yup that helps, thanks.

Happen to know where I can get sid and sarge at? Or do I just upgrade it with apt-get from 3.0?

And how is it with networking? In fedora, my network works, so I am hoping it will work in debian too.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
quote:
Original post by HTML
Yup that helps, thanks.

Happen to know where I can get sid and sarge at? Or do I just upgrade it with apt-get from 3.0?



Just install Debian stable, then edit /etc/apt/sources.list and replace all occurences of ''stable'' with ''testing'' or ''unstable'', depending on your choice. Then, as root, type ''apt-get update'' and then ''apt-get upgrade'' (or ''apt-get dist-upgrade'' if you aren''t afraid of messing up a few things, though it very rarely happens to me).

There are also unofficial ISO on the net, though I never bothered with them (but it could be a good idea).


quote:

And how is it with networking? In fedora, my network works, so I am hoping it will work in debian too.


The installer will normally load the correct kernel module for your NIC(s). In case it doesn''t, you can load it manually (''configure kernel modules'', IIRC). It will then ask you if it should use DHCP or a static address for any given nick, and let you enter a name server, a gateway, a network mask, etc.

I''ve personally never had any problem with Debian, but I''m sure there are people who''ve had a difference experience.


Hope this helps.

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Thanks, and one more quick question that is kind of off topic though: Where are your bookmarks located for the mozilla browser? I am trying to back them up but I cannot find them.

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quote:
Original post by HTML
Thanks, and one more quick question that is kind of off topic though: Where are your bookmarks located for the mozilla browser? I am trying to back them up but I cannot find them.

You can just back up your whole .mozilla directory if you want, but actual bookmarks file is .mozilla/user/random.slt/bookmarks.html (user is your username by default, random is there to prevent webpages from pretending to get access to your preferences with a local path). See the Mozilla 1.5 FAQ for more backup information.

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quote:
Yes you can see all the list of packages, it''s not with apt-get though but with an application sitting on top of it. The name is escaping me right now but I guess you could read over the text file where all the package names are stored.


Something like this:
Run this (as root): "apt-get install aptitude"
Then run "aptitude" (as root if you want to install stuff) in console. Nice and neat nested list of packages, it''s a good package management system. Give it a go, read the docs, etc.


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Thanks, I am trying to install debian right now, but have 2 questions.

1) If I make a partition for /home, /usr, /var, and /tmp, how does linux know how to install all that stuff where. And how big should each of those partitions be? I am also thinking I could make all those partitions and just copy paste them to other the partitions but I am not sure if that would cause problems or not...

Basically...
How do I go about making these extra partitions? And how big should I make them?

2) After I install linux I get some errors about it not being unmounted or mounted correctly, so it fixes that. Not a big problem but it does it every time the computer boots so it is very annoying.

Secondly, after I installed debian, and tried startx. It gave me the error, "no screens found" even though I did installed window maker...

Thanks.

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quote:
Original post by HTML
1) If I make a partition for /home, /usr, /var, and /tmp, how does linux know how to install all that stuff where. And how big should each of those partitions be? I am also thinking I could make all those partitions and just copy paste them to other the partitions but I am not sure if that would cause problems or not...

Basically...
How do I go about making these extra partitions? And how big should I make them?


For a desktop I''d break it up into just /boot (25-50 MB), /home (about 50%), and / partitions (about 50%). Not to mention the swap partition, of course. Adjust the sizes as you need to.

For a server, it''s advisable to at least place /var, /tmp, and /etc on their own partitions. Often, you''ll want to use different file systems and/or mounting options more adapted to the task each root directory would play and allow you to more directly have set quotas for disk usage in each directory (e.g., /tmp would never need a journaling file system since it''s discarded anyway in any event that''d use journal data; /var normally needs to do small and quick reads and writes; /etc, among others, might be better off read-only by default). The rest are kind-of optional, depending upon your preference.

If your /home partition is first, you can more easily resize the following partitions without risking the data on /home. Depending upon what you change, you may need to reinstall or backup the other partitions in the process, however.

quote:
Original post by HTML
2) After I install linux I get some errors about it not being unmounted or mounted correctly, so it fixes that. Not a big problem but it does it every time the computer boots so it is very annoying.

Don''t know exactly what you mean.

quote:
Original post by HTML
Secondly, after I installed debian, and tried startx. It gave me the error, "no screens found" even though I did installed window maker...

There are a lot of reasons that could happen. I advise installing a desktop manager (xdm, gdm, or kdm) and letting it worry about it. The desktop manager should be started automatically after installation but if it''s not, then run (as root) /etc/init.d/gdm start and hit Alt+F7. Of course, try not to use X as root (you can run GUI applications as root while logged in as another user, if you need to).

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I installed gdm, kdm, and the other one (cant remember the name). Then I installed kde and that didnt work. I still get the same error.

For the partitioning problem, it happens before I install kde I think. I know I did it right though... I followed the guide from osnews.com on debian.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
i have the same problem too with the mount stuff but it works perfectly so don''t worry about it. plus it scrolls so fast that you barely have time to read it.

Just type kdm other than startx. If it doesn''t work you will need to reconfigure your xserver since you must have done something wrong while configuring it. I am somewhat a linux newbie and really don''t remember what you have to type to be able to reconfigure it, but I know I had to do it a few times. Maybe somebody in these forums know...

Good Luck,

and remember, you did the hardest which is to have debian installed. Now the problems you are going to get can be easily fixed with a bit of dedication. Installing debian is always an adventure

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Partitioning the drives so that / and /home are on different partitions doesn''t change anything as far as the system is concerned.

If you had everything on one partition, multiple partitions, or even multiple computers, /usr/bin is still where binaries go, /tmp is still the temp directory for applications to use, /home is still where user''s directories go, etc.

http://www.pathname.com/fhs/
Check it out. It is informative and basically tells you what the different directories are for.

So when you install your applications, libraries go in a specific directory, binaries go in another, etc. All the install knows is that stuff goes in certain directories. It just so happens that certain directories are mapped onto specific hard drive partitions in your case. That is one of the nice things about Unix/Linux. You don''t have a C: drive with all of the folders under it. You have logical directories. Instead of trying to remember if you installed a program on drive C: or D:, or if you have a CDROM on drive G: or I:, you generally know that all applications are under /usr/bin or some other ./bin/ or that /cdrom will have a link to your CDROM device. I know that if I want to check out my friend''s MP3 collection, I can go to /home/[username of friend] and probably find his MP3 folder.

I myself installed a newer, faster, bigger hard drive. I could simply copy files to it, and then make sure my system understands that hdb1 would be /usr and hdb2 would be /home. I could even have /usr/var on a different partition than /usr if I wanted to. The applications don''t care or know the difference. I can''t say the same on Windows for instance, since Program Files is on C:, and it is either impossible or difficult to tell Windows to treat Drogram Files as the proper default program install directory. If I wanted to have C:\Program Files be the general install directory, but have Program Files\Adobe be on a different drive, it isn''t possible in the same way. I can''t open Program Files on the C: drive and then open Adobe and access it on the D: drive without having setup my own shortcuts. If I decide to have it on the E: drive later, now my shortcut has to change. Heck, the registry would probably have to be edited.

On Unix/Linux, I can simply mount the partition as /usr/local/bin/Adobe and if I go to /usr/local/bin, I will see Adobe sitting next to all of the other installed applications. The system makes it transparent that there are two separate hard drives or even a hundred computers providing the filesystem.

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