Debian minimal install of a base system (Lenny aka 5.0).

In this post I’m going to describe how to do a very basic no-frills Debian install that I quite often use for the basis or foundation of my other installs. Begining with a Net Install image (available from I install the bare (ish) minimum without much fuss and little fluff.

Disclaimer:- This install should be considered a destructive process. If you follow these directions you will completely and irretrievably erase any data you have on the hard drive your select to install Debian onto. Do not come crying to me if you lost information from following this procedure. To be safe backup all data prior to starting (verify the backup ;O ) or install to a new hard drive.
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Open a magnet URI from Google Chrome in Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic

It took more searching than it warranted but to open a magnet URI in Google Chrome/Chromium browser and have it open in Transmission you need to run the following so xdg-open can ask GNome how to handle the magnet link.

Open a terminal and for the current user:-

$ gconftool-2 -t string -s /desktop/gnome/url-handlers/magnet/command "transmission %s"
$ gconftool-2 -s /desktop/gnome/url-handlers/magnet/needs_terminal false -t bool
$ gconftool-2 -t bool -s /desktop/gnome/url-handlers/magnet/enabled true

Musing: A Linux based wireless access point

I currently run a Belkin Wireless N+ ADSL modem/switch/wireless AP. It works well enough but given my nature to want to try things I’ve found the capability of the Belkin box to be limited. If it were a book it would have a yellow and black cover (Home network for dummies). It’s great for it’s designated audience but I want the ability to play.

I’ve also been toying with the idea of a home server for various things and am wondering if I can combine the two. So a NAS/Wireless router.


At the moment I’m leaning towards hacking an old laptop, putting in a 500Gb drive and a D-Link DWA-642. Gives me all sorts of options I can play with till my heart is content.

I’ll need to pair it up with a good ADSL 2+ Modem (Billion 7300RA perhaps, seems they are Linux based too😀 ).
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Make it look nice, aka fonts in Linux

Now that I have the Toshiba setup with SliTaz it’s time for tweaks.  Since this machine is mainly for surfing the web I want web pages to render nicely.  A lot of Linux distributions don’t tend to address this well and it can make a big difference without much effort.

Installing the Microsoft core web fonts (Verdana, Tahoma, Times New Roman, Arial, Trebuchet, Comic Sans, Impact etc.). See if you can track down a .tar.gz of all the Web Core fonts.  Google to the rescue also while you are there grab the Droid font from Google’s Android SDK.

Now unzip the fonts into /usr/share/fonts/truetype
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SliTaz Desktop, 33Mb at idle, nice

SliTaz at idle

SliTaz at idle

Keep in mind this is on a Intel Pentium III 500MHz / 192Mb RAM.

  • Boots from BIOS to login in 20 seconds
  • The system consumes about 30Mb of RAM at idle
  • Running Google Chrome browser and we’re still under 100Mb
  • It runs fast and responsive.

Very happy😀

Fix locale complaints in SliTaz

seems the locale is not defined correctly in SliTaz 3.0

As root
First we check
root@toshiba:/home/ross# locale -a
If things are undefined we can do this
root@toshiba:/home/ross# localedef -i en_US -f UTF-8 en_US

Fix users that don’t login in SliTaz

I run a separate /home partition on the Toshiba (on all my installs) so I retain my data if/when I blow away the root / partitions. So in this case I installed SliTaz and added back my users with adduser but they couldn’t login with Slim with Slim reporting various errors in /var/log/slim.log

Fix as follows:-

You’ll need bash for this to handle the .config files etc.

$ su -
# cp /root/.xinitrc /home/<user>
# shopt -s dotglob
# cp -r /etc/skel/* /home/<user>
# chown -R <user>:<user> /home/<user>

That should allow the login to work. If not then check back with the log file in /var/log/slim.log looking for stuff around .xinitrc not working etc. (ie you can probably ignore the EE errors of X)


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