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Installing Debian Etch Using The Etch-KDE Single CD Edit


This article is intended for beginners and those looking for tips and tricks to install Debian Etch in their systems.

Debian is one of the popular and free ( Libre ) distributions of GNU/Linux. Etch is the latest stable release and comes in multiple CD or DVD installations. There are also separate CD images available that install the KDE (or Xfce desktop) environment by default at or other Debian morrors at and there is a debian-40r1-i386-kde-CD-1.iso that can be downloaded from the Debian mirrors. However, users wishing to install alternate desktop environments can easily do so by adding boot parameters: tasks="standard, kde-desktop" for KDE and tasks="standard, xfce-desktop" for Xfce. Note that this will not work when installing from a full CD image without using a network mirror as an additional package source; it will work when using a DVD image or any other installation method.

For the purpose of this installation, debian-40r1-i386-kde-CD-1.iso was downloaded in Mumbai, India from a Taiwanese mirror using the following command.

wget -c url

The -c option allows you to continue broken downloads. The hardware used for installation was Pentium4 2.4 GHz., Intel original 845 GEBV2 motherboard, 256 MB DDR2 RAM, 80 GB IDE HDD.

This article deals with installation of this Etch-KDE single CD.


After the iso is downloaded, burn it into a CD and boot your system with it. At the boot prompt, simply hit the enter key to select the default installation method.

Every stage in the installation process is accompanied by text details to help you make the right entries wherever required. When you come to the package installation part, it will ask you if you want to install packages from the CD or mirrors. If you have internet problems or have low download limits, choose the CD install. It will still look for security mirrors and download about 50 to 60 MB of security updates.

Post Install SetupEdit

The distro is packed with KDE utilities but does not have Open Office or KOffice and no CUPS. It comes with Iceweasel which is a fork of Firefox.

During package installation, the CD option was selected, so there were no internet package repositories in the /etc/apt/sources.lst file. Use Alt+F2 to open the Run Command dialog box and type konsole and hit enter. From now on the remaining installation will be done in this terminal window.

The sudo and vim packages are added using

apt-get install sudo vim 

The packages are installed from the CD itself. Apt is the default package manager for Debian based GNU/Linux distributions. Vim is necessary for those who want to use the vi editor. To use the sudo command, first open a terminal and su - to open a root shell. Edit the /etc/sudoers file using nano /etc/sudoers. If you are comfortable with vim then use vi in place of nano.

Under the section:

              User privilege specification
              root    ALL=(ALL) ALL

Add a similar line as the root one and replace root with your user_name. Save the file and exit. Please read documentation on sudo to understand its security requirements. Exit from the root shell and you can use the sudo command for further setup.

Now add Etch repositories to the sources.lst file of Apt using sudo vi /etc/apt/sources.lst

A sample of these entries can be found at

Or you can use following repositories

deb etch/updates main contrib non-free

deb etch main

deb etch-backports main contrib non-free

deb stable main contrib non-free

deb etch main

After you have saved the file, do a

sudo apt-get update 

to download the available package lists from those internet repositories.

Installing Other PackagesEdit

After an apt-get update, it is time to download other required packages. They are listed below.

  1. knemo - for network monitoring.
  2. adept - A lovely gui for apt. It helps in searching related packages other than the main namesake.
  3. CUPS For CUPS printing support.
  4. Icedove - a fork of Thunderbird.

sudo apt-get install knemo adept icedove

For installing CUPS printing support, run

sudo apt-get install cupsys cups-pdf cupsys-client cupsys-common cupsys-driver-gimpprint cupsys-driver-gutenprint cupsys-pt printconf

Iceweasel and Icedove use default .mozilla and .mozilla-thunderbird folders in the user directory, so restoring backups from Firefox and Thunderbird is simply a copy and paste of the entire folders.

For starting knemo, go to KMenu -> Control Center -> Internet & Network -> Network Monitor. Check the box that says 'Use knemo to monitor your interfaces'.

Cups-pdf is a utility to add a system wide pdf printer. To setup printers, enter localhost:631 as the url in a browser. The pdf printer is added by selecting 'Virtual Printer PDF' from the initial list. In the drivers list, select 'Raw Printer' and go ahead. By default, cups-pdf creates a folder called PDF in the home directory. It can be changed by editing the file /etc/cups/cups-pdf.conf.

Installing OpenOfficeEdit

Old (Read as Stable) version of Open Office is available in etch. Also there is a separate repository available at which is an unofficial repository of backports for the current stable distribution, prepared by Debian developers. You can find more information here [1].

A sample line for your sources.list is:

deb etch-backports main contrib non-free

Once you've added that line, aptitude update && aptitude install debian-backports-keyring. And you can now install openoffice from backports using following command

aptitude -t etch-backports install

Or You can also download the latest version OOo_2.3.0_LinuxIntel_install_en-US_deb.tar.gz.

Then untar it and inside its directories you will get a DEBS directory full of .deb packages and its subdirectory called Desktop Integration. Get into the DEBS directory and use

sudo dpkg -i *.deb 

to install all the deb packages. Then get into the Desktop Integration subdirectory and install the last package using

sudo dpkg -i 

This is a smooth installation of Open Office in GNU/Linux. The last package adds the menu items to the KDE menu.

Adding Multimedia SupportEdit

For this section, all the commands are taken from

However it has a lot more stuff that may not be necessary so simply follow the steps below.

Add the Debian multimedia repository to your /etc/apt/sources.list as given below, if not added earlier.

deb etch main

Then run the following 2 commands one after another.

gpg --keyserver hkp:// --recv-keys 1F41B907
gpg --armor --export 1F41B907 | sudo apt-key add -

After this do a sudo apt-get update to add the new packages to the apt list.

Then, install the multimedia packages using this command. Please note that these packages are non-free in nature and in some countries it may be illegal to use them.

sudo apt-get install w32codecs libdvdcss2 liblame0 flashplugin-nonfree streamtuner xmms msttcorefonts banshee realplayer

This is a long installation. Note that from the site's page, the totem-mozilla entry was removed as we don't use Gnome.

After this install the media player kaffeine using sudo apt-get install kaffeine. If apt returns errors then follow its instructions to run sudo apt-get -f install to correct broken package lists. Then run the kaffeine installation again.

Once Kaffeine is installed, you system is now ready for multimedia playback. You can now play VCDS, DVDs and other media formats to your hearts content. Kaffeine will automatically detect a VCD or DVD and offer to play it.

There is no volume control in the desktop so right click on the task bar and select Add applet to panel.... From the list select Sound Mixer. After it is installed, right click on its icon and select Channels. Remove the unwanted ones to keep the icon slim. The necessary ones are Headphone and PCM as they actively control your sound level.

Now your system is ready as a desktop pc. Depending on the need, you can add extra packages from the site

Setting Up K3BEdit

K3B is a CD/DVD burning software and in this Etch-KDE single CD, it needs a few extra packages to be installed for proper functionality.

First add packages cdrdao and mkisofs using

sudo apt-get install cdrdao mkisofs.

Then download the package dvd+rw-tools_7.0-4_i386 from the Debian mirrors.

Run this command to install that package.

sudo dpkg -i dvd+rw-tools_7.0-4_i386.deb

Now your K3B is ready and you can run it from the KMenu.

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