Debian 8, Codenamed Jessie, Is Out – Installation Instructions

Debian development team gave a pleasant surprise yesterday. Yes! After a two long years of consistent development, Debian 8 has been released with much more improvements and new packages. As you may know, Debian is the foundation for many Linux distributions, including Ubuntu. Since Ubuntu 15.04 came with no big improvements, Debian 8 hits the market with a lot more software than its predecessor wheezy. Debian 8 includes over 12253 new packages, for a total of over 43512 packages. Most of the software in the distribution has been updated over 24573 software packages (this is 66% of all packages in wheezy). Also, a significant number of packages (over 5441, 14% of the packages in wheezy) have for various reasons been removed from the distribution.

The other big surprise is even the Microsoft, the big competitor of Linux, is celebrating Debian’s new release. It is obvious that the Microsoft is doing this for popularity and advertisement for their Azure’s cloud computing platform, but it’s good to hear that Microsoft is celebrating the release of Debian 8.

Debian 8 supports many architectures, including:

  • 32-bit and 64-bit PC ;
  • 64-bit ARM ;
  • ARM EABI ;
  • ARMv7 ;
  • MIPS ;
  • PowerPC ;
  • 64-bit little-endian PowerPC ;
  • IBM System z.

Also, it introduces two more new architectures, namely:

  • arm64, 64-bit port for ARM machines ;
  • ppc64el, 64-bit little-endian port for POWER machines.

What’s new?

Debian again ships with several desktop applications and environments. Among others it now includes the following packages.

  • Kernel 3.16 ;
  • GNOME 3.14 ;
  • KDE 4.11 ;
  • Xfce 4.10 ;
  • LXDE ;
  • LibreOffice 4.3 ;
  • Calligra 2.8 ;
  • GNUcash 2.6 ;
  • GNUmeric 1.12 ;
  • Abiword 3.0 ;
  • Evolution 3.12 ;
  • Apache 2.4.10 ;
  • Bind 9.9 ;
  • Exim 4.84 ;
  • OpenLDAP 2.4.40 ;
  • OpenSSH 6.7p1 ;
  • Perl 5.20 ;
  • PHP 5.6 ;
  • MySQL 5.5 ;
  • MariaDB 10.0 ;
  • PostgreSQL 9.4 ;
  • OpenJDK 7 is the default Java run time ;
  • OpenJDK 8 will be available from jessie-backports ;
  • Tomcat 7 and Tomcat 8 are supported and Tomcat 6 was removed ;
  • Python 3.4 ;
  • Samba 4.1 ;
  • And many.

Debian 8 switches back to GNOME as it’s default Desktop environment. You may know in Debian 7 Wheezy, XFCE was the default DE. The new GNOME desktop brings many new features and usability improvements. The design of the GNOME shell has been updated. The bottom message tray is larger, easier to use and less prone to appear accidentally. A new system status area in the upper right corner puts all useful settings in the same place. Also, GNOME now supports high resolution devices, and support for touch screens has been fully integrated.

Also, Systemd is the default init system in Debian 8. The older versions had SysV as default init system. The Ubuntu 15.04 and RHEL 7 and its cloning distributions has just switched to Systemd as their default init system. The legacy secure sockets layer protocol SSLv3 has been disabled in this release. Many system cryptography libraries as well as servers and client applications have been compiled or configured without support for this protocol.

For more details, refer the Official Debian 8 release notes.

Install Debian 8

Download Debian 8 from here. Also, for cloud users Debian also offers pre-built OpenStack images ready to use. If you want a Debian ISO with proprietary drivers, you can download them from the following links.

After downloading the Debian 8 ISO, create a bootable CD/DVD or USB drive. Boot your system with the Debian 8 installation medium.

The boot menu will show the list of possible installation methods. Some menu has additional installation options. The Advanced options, for example, in the boot menu will give specific installation options.

Here, We will do basic graphical installation. Click on the Graphical install button to continue.

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Next, select the language to be used for the installation process. English will be selected by default. You can choose any language of your choice. The selected language will be the default language for the installed system.

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Select the country you live in.

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Now, let’s configure the keyboard. Select the keymap to use.

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Enter the hostname for your system.

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Note: I have a DHCP server enabled in my local network. If you don’t have one, you’ll be asked to configure your network interfaces.

Next, we need to set the ‘root’ user password for our Debian server. I recommend you to use any strong that contains combination of letters, numbers, special characters.

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Next, we have to create a non-administrative user account. Enter the real name of the user.

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Enter the user name for your account.

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Enter the password for the user account. As I told before, a good password is the combination of special characters, numbers, and letters etc.

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Here comes the important part. Now, we need to partition our hard drive to install Debian.

Now, you must select any of the following option.

  1. Guided – Use entire disk: This is the default partitioning method. The installer will automatically create the required partitions for you. This is the ideal choice for newbies.
  2. Guided – Use entire disk and set up LVM: In this method the entire disk will be used, and you can additionally setup LVM. If you want snapshots and partition resizing features, you can select this option.
  3. Guided – Use entire disk and set up encrypted LVM: This also same as above method. The only difference is the LVM partitions will be encrypted.
  4. Manual: This is the manual method to create or resize partitions. Also, this method allows to create multiple partitions with different sizes.

Here, I go with default choice, which is Guided – use entire disk.

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If you have more than one hard drive, select the correct drive that you want to partition and install Debian.

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Select the Partition scheme. If you are a newbie, It is best to go with default choices.

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Next, the installer will give the overview of your currently configured partitions and mount points. If you want to modify them, click on the Go Back button and do the changes. Else, Click Continue.

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Select Yes to write the changes of partitions.

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Let the installer to complete the base system installation. This won’t take too long.

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This is another important section of the installation process. Now, We have to configure the package manager to scan another CD or DVD.

As you may know, Debian distribution now ships on 9 to 10 binary DVDs or 75 to 85 binary CDs (depending on the architecture) and 10 source DVDs or 59 source CDs. Additionally, there is a multi-arch DVD, with a subset of the release for the amd64 and i386 architectures, along with the source code.

If you have another CD or DVD insert it and select Yes, or else click No to continue. In my case, I do have only the installation media, so I skipped this step by clicking on the No button.

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Next, the installer will ask you to select the nearest mirror to install additional packages in future. If you all set of Debian binary images, you can skip this step.

As I only have installation media, I want to use Network mirror for additional package installation.

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Select the nearest Debian mirror archive country.

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Select Debian archive mirror.

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If you use any proxy server to connect to Internet, enter the proxy server URL. Else, leave it a blank and click Continue.

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Now, the installer will configure your Debian mirror. If the mirror doesn’t work, click the Go Back button and choose the different mirror.

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After few minutes later, popularity-contest wizard will be displayed. if you want to notify the statistics about the most used packages, select Yes. This will help the Debian developers to make some decisions such as which packages should go on the first distribution CD/DVD.

If you don’t want to notify, simply Select No, and click Continue.

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We have reached the end of the installation process. At this stage, only the core system will be installed. If you want to install additional components, select them from the following list.

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Be patient for while. The installer will pull and install all required packages that you have selected in previous steps.

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Select Yes to install Grub boot loader.

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Select the Device for boot loader installation.

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Finally, remove your installation medium, and hit the Continue button to finish the installation.

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That’s it. Here we’re. Log in to your newly installed Debian system.

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That’s it. Start using your newly installed Debian 8 system.

Cheers!