Trying Debian Lenny

Linux Open Source

Debian’s latest stable release Lenny arrived on Valentine’s day. Previously, I installed Debian using the net-install CD. This time Debian has made it easier, now you can download a single CD and install a fully functional Debian GNU linux with Gnome Desktop Environment. This CD or DVD is the first CD or DVD in the set. Debian Lenny is very easy to install in both text mode or a Graphical installer. The disk partition portion of the graphical installer was a little difficult for me to get familiar with but after a little difficulty I finally got it working. After that installation went smooth, it automatically detected all hardware and Internet settings and I logged into the same old Gnome desktop.

But the system you log on after the installation is very basic. It has two web browsers Epiphany and IceWeasel but it does not have Synaptic package manager. I am comfortable using apt but I prefer synaptic because I am lazy. This single CD install method does not install Open Office and Gimp. I decided to download the software I needed. But when I tried to install them from root terminal I got errors. After some troubleshooting I found that Lenny’s graphical installer installs packages not from the latest stable release but from debian-volatile. What is Volatile?

Some packages aim at fast moving targets, such as spam filtering and virus scanning, and even when using updated data patterns, they do not really work for the full time of a stable release. The main goal of volatile is allowing system administrators to update their systems in a nice, consistent way, without getting the drawbacks of using unstable, even without getting the drawbacks for the selected packages. So debian-volatile will only contain changes to stable programs that are necessary to keep them functional.

After changing the sources.list I installed Synaptic package manager and after that I will make a list of software I need to install. I will be downloading VLC media player, Urdu fonts, Pidgin, Gimp and Open Office. I am also thinking about installing Firefox but I am not too sure about it. I feel that Firefox is no more a lightweight web browser. It is heavy, slow and does not match the Desktop environment. I am forcing myself to like Epiphany web browser.

If you are an Ubuntu user trying Lenny, then remember that Debian uses a package called locales for dealing with National or native language support. If you did not add your language during the installation then you can run dpkg-reconfigure locales from root terminal to reconfigure locales.

If you are trying to write in Urdu language on Debian lenny and characters do not join correctly then you should replace the default Urdu keyboard layout ‘pk’ (found in /usr/share/X11/xkb/symbols/ ) with this one. I have filed a bug report for this error and hope it will get fixed.

I also tried LXDE on Debian and I am very excited about testing it on an old computer.

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