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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • If you install Debian often, like I do, it's worth the trouble of learning to do things manually. Eventually, that makes installing Debian easier, especially with weird hardware, because you can use just about any live CD (I use Knoppix, because it supports almost all hardware I have encountered so far).

    You end up with an even cleaner system. Unless you install one yourself, not even a boot loader is installed by default. Or a kernel, for that matter. Of course, installing these things is just a matter of apt-get installing the right packages. I prefer to compile the kernel myself.

    You can even debootstrap into a normal directory on a non-Debian box, and then chroot to it to install and use Debian packages. I've even converted a Red Hat box to a Debian once, 100 km removed from the datacentre. (Disabled swap, installed Debian there, rebooted, cleaned the RH partition, copied everything over, rebooted, enabled swap again.)

    To get a feeling of how this works, read my short guide for installing Debian with RAID 1 on new boxes:
    • I tried an install this weekend, with experienced help, and the Intall CD on strange hardware (Alpha). Somehow wound up with Debian 3.0 and kernel 2.2.20, not quite the configuration I wanted. Your suggestion of doing it manually is beginning to make sense -- I hope something makes it get easier ;-)

      Thanks for the description of the RAID1 instructions. I was thinking that should be possible, was wondering how. Since the weekend install was due to a dead boot disk, I was interested. When I grok in fullness,

      # I had a sig when sigs were cool
      use Sig;
      • have to make sure it will reboot accessibly, I guess?

        Yea, this is something you have to deal with. Especially since debootstrap (as it installs a minimal set of packages) does not install ssh for you. And you should of course be prepared to go to the data centre in case anything goes wrong.

        This said, it's hard to get it wrong after you've debootstrapped dozens of boxes locally. Doing it remotely really isn't any different, except you have to double check everything (especially the kernel!).