Debian Wheezy Install

I've been running Debian on my desktop for a while. Lenny was OK, but Squeeze has been a stable and reliable desktop environment for me. Enough so to switch back from Ubuntu for the desktop. But I've still run Ubuntu off and on for my laptop. Recently I re-installed the latest Debian Wheezy RC to test out the latest version.

Download Media

I usually install from USB nowadays. Early bug in the Wheezy installer was breaking that but fixed in the latest (beta3). Get it here and download the netinst. I use the amd64 version.

Burn to USB

I use a small 4GB stick.

# dd if=debian-wheezy-DI-b3-amd64-netinst.iso of=/dev/sdx

where /dev/sdx is your USB stick (e.g. /dev/sdb)

Wait, you need firmware

My laptop needs firmware to get it's wireless going. For reasons best left unstated, I'm installing over wireless and ethernet so I need these during install. Do accomplish this I downloaded the firmware file for the wireless card and installed it on a partition on the usb stick. Here's the basic procedure:

# fdisk /dev/sdb
p  # review partition table on USB stick
n  # create new partition
[ accept defaults ] will create primary partition on the end of your USB stick
w  # write changes
# mkfs.ext4 /dev/sdb3
# mount /dev/sdb3 /mnt/usb
# cp iwlwifi-3945-2.ucode /mnt/usb  # this is the missing firmware for my wireless card

At this point you can boot of the USB stick. When it comes to the network use ctrl-alt-f2 to swtch to a terminal and copy the firmware

# mkdir /lib/firmware
# cp /mnt/usb/iwlwifi-3945-2.ucode /lib/firmware

Note that /lib/firmware will get overwritten by the package manager as soon as you decide to install a non-free firmware package. So keep that file handy or know which package provides it so you can install it again if you need to later.

Finish the install

Wheezy is looking good. It's important to get 3D working for the best desktop experience with Gnome 3. Too bad Debian can't support most video cards out of the box. But with a little tweaking you should have a system up and running in no time.

Notes for Specific Models

Debian Wheezy's initial install on my [[HpDm1-4010us]] went pretty well. On reboot, however, the graphics were crushed by a frame buffer bug caused by the missing firmware. Debian doesn't install the non-free firmware by default. To resolve:

  1. On boot, add radeon.modeset=0 to the kernel parameter to disable the radeon framebuffer.
  2. After loading add non-free to your /etc/apt/sources.list
  3. For my model, I installed the following additional packages:
  4. firmware-linux-nonfree
  5. firmware-brcm80211
  6. firmware realtek
  7. reboot

You should now have working wireless and video with 3d acceleration.