Debian Etch with xfce4

Debian Etch with xfce4 desktop

I’ve installed a light Linux system on my Asus Pundit P1 PC based on the Debian Etch distribution – the stable branch. The Pundit uses Geoforce 6150 integrated graphics and I am using the open source nv driver – no bling or 3d effects. I have OpenOffice, Thunderbird, Firefox, a pdf viewer, and a simple mp3 file player. The desktop can recognise USB storage devices and puts an icon on the desktop when you plug one in. The minimal (or at least light) installations works as follows…

  • Download the netinstall ISO from and burn it to a CD (only 180Mb)
  • Ensure that you can connect your target computer to a broadband internet connection via a lan cable (plugged it into my ADSL modem/router)
  • Boot into the installer cd and type ‘enter’ to use the text based install script
  • Follow the screens – I have my home drive on a separate large partition so I always use manual partitioning and set the small 25 Gb partition as root and the large partition as home
  • Choose a root password and a default user name and password
  • Accept a net repository (mine is an ftp site in the UK)
  • When you reach the screen that asks you to choose typical packages, you uncheck all the options. By default the ‘desktop’ and ‘standard’ options are pre-selected – I unselected those
  • Only 6 files are downloaded, I accepted the option to install GRUB to the MBR
  • I rebooted into a text only screen and logged in as root

Then I installed the following collection of packages using apt-get install...

apt-get install xorg gdm xfce4 xfce4-terminal xscreensaver alsa-base alsa-utils xfce4-mount-plugin gnome-volume-manager thunderbird firefox gnomebaker gftp xfmedia gimp evince

That is around 200Mb of download (hence the need to have a DHCP detectable broadband internet connection) and takes about 10 minutes to load up. Xorg asked about my no-name LCD monitor, so I selected the native resolution and unselected all the others. I rebooted the computer and ran alsaconf from the Terminal to detect my sound card. Everything was working OK.

The following Web sites helped…

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