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Installation and download options

Where to find additional information

We recommend that you read or at least take a look at the release notes for Debian Bookworm before you start installing a system for production use. There is more information about the Debian Bookworm release available in its installation manual.

Please give Debian Edu/Skolelinux a try, it should just work.
It is recommended, though, to read the chapters about hardware and network requirements and about the architecture before starting to install a main server.

Be sure to also read the getting started chapter of this manual, as it explains how to log in for the first time.

Download the installation media for Debian Edu 12 Codename bookworm

amd64 or i386

amd64 and i386 are the names of two Debian architectures for x86 CPUs, both are or have been build by AMD, Intel and other manufacturers. amd64 is a 64-bit architecture and i386 is a 32-bit architecture. New installations today should be done using amd64. i386 should only be used for very old hardware.

netinst iso images for amd64 or i386

The netinst iso image can be used for installation from CD/DVD and USB flash drives and is available for two Debian architectures: amd64 or i386. As the name implies, Internet access is required for the installation.

Once Bookworm has been released these images will be available for download from:

BD iso images for amd64 or i386

These ISO image are approximately 6 GB large and can be used for installation of amd64 or i386 machines, also without access to the Internet. Like the netinst image it can be used on USB flash drives or disk media of sufficient size.

Once Bookworm has been released these images will be available for download from:

Verification of downloaded image files

Detailed instructions for verifying an using these images are part of the Debian-CD FAQ.

Sources

Sources are available from the Debian archive at the usual locations, several media are linked on https://get.debian.org/cdimage/release/current/source/

Installing Debian Edu

When you do a Debian Edu installation, you have a few options to choose from. Don't be afraid; there aren't many. We have done a good job of hiding the complexity of Debian during the installation and beyond. However, Debian Edu is Debian, and if you want there are more than 59,000 packages to choose from and a billion configuration options. For the majority of our users, our defaults should be fine. Please note: if LTSP is intended to be used, choose a lightweight desktop environment.

Main server installation scenarios

  1. Typical school or home network with Internet access through a router providing DHCP:
    • Installation of a main server is possible, but after reboot there will be no Internet access (due to primary network interface IP 10.0.2.2/8).
    • See the Internet router chapter for details how to set up a gateway if it is not possible to configure an existing one as needed.

    • Connect all components like shown in the architecture chapter.

    • The main server should have Internet connection once bootet the first time in the correct environment.
  2. Typical school or institution network, similar to the one above, but with proxy use required.
    • Add 'debian-edu-expert' to the kernel command line; see further below for details how this is done.
    • Some additional questions must be answered, the proxy server related one included.
  3. Network with router/gateway IP 10.0.0.1/8 (which does not provide a DHCP server) and Internet access:
    • As soon as the automatic network configuration fails (due to missing DHCP), choose manual network configuration.
      • Enter 10.0.2.2/8 as host IP
      • Enter 10.0.0.1 as gateway IP
      • Enter 8.8.8.8 as nameserver IP unless you know better
    • The main server should just work after the first boot.
  4. Offline (no Internet connection):
    • Use the BD ISO image.
    • Make sure all (real/virtual) network cables are unplugged.
    • Choose 'Do not configure the network at this time' (after DHCP failed to configure the network and you pressed 'Continue').
    • Update the system once bootet the first time in the correct environment with Internet access.

Desktop environments

Several desktop environments are available:

  • Xfce has a slightly bigger footprint than LXDE but a very good language support (106 languages).
  • KDE and GNOME both have good language support, but too big a footprint for both older computers and for LTSP clients.
  • Cinnamon is a lighter alternative to GNOME.
  • MATE is lighter than the three above, but is missing good language support for several countries.
  • LXDE has the smallest footprint and supports 35 languages.
  • LXQt is a lightweight desktop environment (language support similar to LXDE) with a more modern look and feel (based on Qt just like KDE).

Debian Edu as an international project has chosen to use Xfce as the default desktop environment; see below how to set a different one.

Modular installation

  • When installing a system with profile Workstation included, a lot of education related programs are installed. To install only the basic profile, remove the desktop=xxxx kernel command line param before starting the installation; see further below for details how this is done. This allows one to install a site specific system and could be used to speed up test installations.

  • Please note: If you want to install a desktop environment afterwards, don't use the Debian Edu meta-packages like e.g. education-desktop-xfce because these would pull in all education related programs; rather install e.g. task-xfce-desktop instead. One or more of the new school level related meta-packages education-preschool, education-primaryschool, education-secondaryschool, education-highschool could be installed to match the use case.

  • For details about Debian Edu meta-packages, see the Debian Edu packages overview page.

Installation types and options

Installer boot menu on 64-bit Hardware - BIOS mode

64-bit Installer boot menu (BIOS mode)

Graphical install uses the GTK installer where you can use the mouse.
Install uses text mode.
Advanced options > gives a sub menu with more detailed options to choose.
Help gives some hints on using the installer; see screenshot below.

64-bit Installer advanced options screen 1

Back.. brings back to the main menu.
Graphical expert install gives access to all available questions, mouse usable.
Graphical rescue mode makes this install medium become a rescue disk for emergency tasks.
Graphical automated install needs a preseed file.
Expert install gives access to all available questions in text mode.
Rescue mode text mode; makes this install medium become a rescue disk for emergency tasks.
Automated install text mode; needs a preseed file.

Help screen

Installer help screen

This Help screen is self explaining and enables the <F>-keys on the keyboard for getting more detailed help on the topics described.

Installer boot menu on 64-bit Hardware - UEFI mode

64-bit Installer boot menu (UEFI mode)

Add or change boot parameters for installations

In both cases, boot options can be edited by pressing the TAB or E key in the boot menu; the screenshots show the command line for Graphical install.

Edit command line options (BIOS mode)


Edit command line options (UEFI mode)

  • You can use an existing HTTP proxy service on the network to speed up the installation of the Main Server profile from CD. Add e.g. mirror/http/proxy=http://10.0.2.2:3128 as an additional boot parameter.

  • If you have already installed the Main Server profile on a machine, further installations should be done via PXE, as this will automatically use the proxy of the main server.

  • To install the GNOME desktop environment instead of the default Xfce desktop environment, replace xfce with gnome in the desktop=xfce parameter.

  • To install the LXDE desktop environment instead, use desktop=lxde.

  • To install the LXQt desktop environment instead, use desktop=lxqt.

  • To install the KDE Plasma desktop environment instead, use desktop=kde.

  • To install the Cinnamon desktop environment instead, use desktop=cinnamon.

  • And to install the MATE desktop environment instead, use desktop=mate.

The installation process

Remember the system requirements and make sure you have at least two network cards (NICs) if you plan on setting up an LTSP server.

  • Choose a language (for the installation and the installed system).
  • Choose a location which normally should be the location where you live.
  • Choose a keyboard keymap (the country's default is usually fine).
  • Choose profile(s) from the following list:
    • Main Server

      • This is the main server (tjener) for your school providing all services pre-configured to work out of the box. You must install only one main server per school! This profile does not include a graphical user interface. If you want a graphical user interface, then select Workstation or LTSP Server in addition to this one.
    • Workstation

      • A computer booting from its local hard drive, and running all software and devices locally like an ordinary computer, except that user logins are authenticated by the main server, where the users' files and desktop profile are stored.
    • Roaming workstation

      • Same as workstation but capable of authentication using cached credentials, meaning it can be used outside the school network. The users' files and profiles are stored on the local disk. For single user notebooks and laptops this profile should be selected and not 'Workstation' or 'Standalone' as suggested in earlier releases.
    • LTSP Server

      • A thin client (and diskless workstation) server, is called an LTSP server. Clients without hard drives boot and run software from this server. This computer needs two network interfaces, a lot of memory, and ideally more than one processor or core. See the chapter about networked clients for more information on this subject. Choosing this profile also enables the workstation profile (even if it is not selected) - an LTSP server can always be used as a workstation, too.

    • Standalone

      • An ordinary computer that can function without a main server (that is, it doesn't need to be on the network). Includes laptops.
    • Minimal

      • This profile will install the base packages and configure the machine to integrate into the Debian Edu network, but without any services and applications. It is useful as a platform for single services manually moved out from the main server.

    The Main Server, Workstation and LTSP Server profiles are preselected. These profiles can be installed on one machine together if you want to install a so called combined main server. This means the main server will be an LTSP server and also be used as a workstation. This is the default choice, since we assume most people will want it. Please note that you must have 2 network cards installed in a machine which is going to be installed as a combined main server or as an LTSP server to become useful after the installation.

  • Say "yes" or "no" to automatic partitioning. Be aware that saying "yes" will destroy all data on the hard drives! Saying "no" on the other hand will require more work - you will need to make sure that the required partitions are created and are big enough.
  • Please say "yes" to submitting information to https://popcon.debian.org/ to allow us to know which packages are popular and should be kept for future releases. Although you don't have to, it is a simple way for you to help. :)

  • Wait. If the selected profiles include LTSP Server then the installer will spend quite some time at the end, "Finishing the installation - Running debian-edu-profile-udeb...".
  • After giving the root password, you will be asked to create a normal user account "for non-administrative tasks". For Debian Edu this account is very important: it is the account you will use to manage the Skolelinux network.

    /!\ The password for this user must have a length of at least 5 characters and must differ from the username - otherwise login will not be possible (even though a shorter password and also a password matching the username will be accepted by the installer).

  • Wait again in case of a combined main server after rebooting the system. It will spend quite some time generating the SquashFS image for diskless workstations.

  • In case of a separate LTSP server, the diskless workstation and/or thin client setup needs some manual steps. For details, see the Network clients HowTo chapter.

Notes on some characteristics

A note on notebooks

Most likely you will want to use the 'Roaming workstation' profile (see above). Be aware that all data is stored locally (so take some extra care over backups) and login credentials are cached (so after a password change, logins may require your old password if you have not connected your laptop to the network and logged in with the new password).

A note on USB flash drive / Blu-ray disc image installs

After you install from the USB flash drive / Blu-ray disc image, /etc/apt/sources.list will only contain sources from that image. If you have an Internet connection, we strongly suggest adding the following lines to it so that available security updates can be installed:

deb http://deb.debian.org/debian/ bookworm main 
deb http://security.debian.org bookworm-security main 

A note on CD installs

A netinst installation (which is the type of installation our CD provides) will fetch some packages from the CD and the rest from the net. The amount of packages fetched from the net varies from profile to profile but stays below a gigabyte (unless you choose to install all possible desktop environments). Once you have installed the main server (whether a pure main server or combi-server does not matter), further installation will use its proxy to avoid downloading the same package several times from the net.

Installation using USB flash drives instead of CD / Blu-ray discs

It is possible to directly copy a CD/BD ISO image to USB flash drives (also known as "USB sticks") and boot from them. Simply execute a command like this, just adapting the file and device name to your needs:

sudo cat debian-edu-amd64-XXX.iso > /dev/sdX

To determine the value of X, run this command before and after the USB device has been inserted:

lsblk -p

Please note that copying will take quite some time.

Depending on which image you choose, the USB flash drive will behave just like a CD or Blu-ray disc.

Installation and booting over the network via PXE

For this installation method it is required that you have a running main server. When clients boot via the network, an iPXE menu with installer and boot selection options is displayed. If PXE installation fails with an error message claiming a XXX.bin file is missing, then most probably the client's network card requires nonfree firmware. In this case the Debian Installer's initrd must be modified. This can be achieved by executing the command:

/usr/share/debian-edu-config/tools/pxe-addfirmware

on the server.

This is how the iPXE menu looks with the Main Server profile only:

The iPXE menu without LTSP entries

This is how the iPXE menu looks with the LTSP Server profile:

The iPXE menu with LTSP entries

To install a desktop environment of your choice instead of the default one, press TAB and edit the kernel boot options (like explained above).

This setup also allows diskless workstations and thin clients to be booted on the main network. Unlike workstations and separate LTSP servers, diskless workstations don't have to be added to LDAP with GOsa².

More information about network clients can be found in the Network clients HowTo chapter.

Modifying PXE installations

The PXE installation uses a debian-installer preseed file, which can be modified to ask for more packages to install.

A line like the following needs to be added to tjener:/etc/debian-edu/www/debian-edu-install.dat

d-i    pkgsel/include string my-extra-package(s)

The PXE installation uses /srv/tftp/debian-edu/install.cfg and the preseeding file in /etc/debian-edu/www/debian-edu-install.dat. These files can be changed to adjust the preseeding used during installation, to avoid more questions when installing over the net. Another way to achieve this is to provide extra settings in /etc/debian-edu/pxeinstall.conf and /etc/debian-edu/www/debian-edu-install.dat.local and to run /usr/sbin/debian-edu-pxeinstall to update the generated files.

Further information can be found in the manual of the Debian Installer.

To disable or change the use of the proxy when installing via PXE, the lines containing mirror/http/proxy, mirror/ftp/proxy and preseed/early_command in tjener:/etc/debian-edu/www/debian-edu-install.dat  need to be changed. To disable the use of a proxy when installing, put '#' in front of the first two lines, and remove the "export http_proxy="http://webcache:3128"; " part from the last one.

Some settings can not be preseeded because they are needed before the preseeding file is downloaded. These are configured in the PXELINUX-based boot arguments available from /srv/tftp/debian-edu/install.cfg. Language, keyboard layout and desktop environment are examples of such settings.

Custom images

Creating custom CDs, DVDs or Blu-ray discs can be quite easy since we use the Debian Installer, which has a modular design and other nice features. Preseeding allows you to define answers to the questions normally asked.

So all you need to do is to create a preseeding file with your answers (this is described in the appendix of the Debian Installer manual) and remaster the CD/DVD.

Screenshot tour

The text mode and the graphical installation are functionally identical - only the appearance is different. The graphical mode offers the opportunity to use a mouse, and of course looks much nicer and more modern. Unless the hardware has trouble with the graphical mode, there is no reason not to use it.

So here is a screenshot tour through a graphical 64-bit Main Server + Workstation + LTSP Server installation (in BIOS mode) and how it looks at the first boot of the main server and a PXE boot on the LTSP client network (thin client session screen - and login screen after the session on the right has been clicked).

64-bit Installer boot menu (BIOS mode)

Select a language

Select your location

Configure the keyboard

Detect network hardware

Choose Debian Edu profile

Use the automatic partitioning tool: no

Use the automatic partitioning tool: yes

Participate in the package usage survey: no

Participate in the package usage survey: yes

Set password for the root user

Set full name for the first user

Set user name for the first user

Set password for the first user

Installation complete

Lightdm Login screen

Xfce Desktop showing Browser window

Xfce Desktop screen

Thin-Client-Welcome screen

Thin-Client-Login screen

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