Installation and download options
Installation and download options
- Where to find additional information
- Download the installation media for Debian Edu 10+edu0 Codename Buster
- Request a CD / DVD by mail
Installing Debian Edu
- Main server installation scenarios
- Desktop choice
- Modular installation
- Installation types and options
- The installation process
- Notes on some characteristics
- Installation using USB flash drives instead of CD / Blu-ray discs
- Installation over the network (PXE) and booting diskless clients
- Custom images
- Screenshot tour
Where to find additional information
We recommend that you read or at least take a look at the release notes for Debian Buster before you start installing a system for production use. There is more information about the Debian Buster 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 10+edu0 Codename Buster
netinstall CD image for i386, amd64
The netinstall CD, which also can be used for installation from USB flash drives, is suitable to install i386 and amd64 machines. As the name implies, internet access is required for the installation. It's available via
rsync -v --progress ftp.skolelinux.org::skolelinux-cd/debian-edu-10+edu0-CD.iso ./debian-edu-10+edu0-CD.iso
USB drive ISO image for i386 and amd64
The multi-architecture ISO image is 5.5 GiB large and can be used for installation of amd64 and i386 machines, also without access to the Internet. Like the netinstall image it can be installed on USB flash drives or disk media of sufficient size. Like the others it can be downloaded over HTTP or rsync via:
rsync -v --progress ftp.skolelinux.org::skolelinux-cd/debian-edu-10+edu0-USB.iso ./debian-edu-10+edu0-USB.iso
Sources are available from the Debian archive at the usual locations.
Request a CD / DVD by mail
For those without a fast Internet connection, we can offer a CD or DVD sent for the cost of the CD or DVD and shipping. Just send an email to email@example.com and we will discuss the payment details (for shipping and media). Remember to include the address you want the CD or DVD to be sent to in the email.
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 52,000 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 22.214.171.124 as nameserver IP unless you know better
- The main server should just work after the first boot.
- As soon as the automatic network configuration fails (due to missing DHCP), choose manual network configuration.
- Offline (no Internet connection):
- Use the USB 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.
- KDE and GNOME both have good language support, but too big a footprint for both older computers and for LTSP clients.
- MATE is lighter than the two above, but is missing good language support for several countries.
- LXDE has the smallest footprint and supports 35 languages.
- Xfce has a slightly bigger footprint than LXDE but a very good language support (106 languages).
Debian Edu as an international project has chosen to use Xfce as the default desktop; see below how to set a different one.
When installing a system with profile Desktop 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 afterwards, don't use the Debian Edu meta-packages like e.g. education-desktop-mate because these would pull in all education related programs; rather install e.g. Mate-desktop-environment instead.
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
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.
32-bit install options > allows a 32-bit installation on 64-bit hardware.
Help gives some hints on using the installer; see screenshot below.
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.
Installer boot menu on 32-bit Hardware
Add or change boot parameters for installations
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 instead of the default Xfce desktop, replace xfce with gnome in the desktop=xfce parameter.
To install the LXDE desktop instead, use desktop=lxde.
To install the KDE Plasma desktop instead, use desktop=kde.
And to install the MATE desktop 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- An ordinary computer that can function without a main server (that is, it doesn't need to be on the network). Includes laptops.
- 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 install via PXE afterwards. 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 http://popcon.skolelinux.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 - otherwise login will not be possible (even though a shorter password will be accepted by the installer).
- Be happy
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 multi-arch USB flash drive / Blu-ray disc image installs
After you install from the multi-arch 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://ftp.debian.org/debian/ buster main deb http://security.debian.org/ buster/updates 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 desktops). 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.
Notes on LTSP Server installations using only Thin-Clients
Providing the kernel boot parameter edu-skip-ltsp-make-client makes it possible to skip one step which converts the LTSP chroot from a thin-client chroot into a combined thin-client/diskless workstation chroot.
This is useful in certain situations, such as if you want a pure thin client chroot or if there is already a diskless chroot on another server, which can be rsynced. For these situations skipping this step will cut down the installation time considerably.
Except for the longer installation time there is no harm in always creating combined chroots, which is why this is done by default.
Installation using USB flash drives instead of CD / Blu-ray discs
Since the Squeeze release it is possible to directly copy the CD/DVD/BD .iso images to a USB flash drive (also known as "USB sticks") and boot from them. Simply execute a command like this, just adapting the file and device names to your needs:
sudo dd if=debian-edu-amd64-i386-XXX.iso of=/dev/sdX bs=1024
Depending on which image you choose, the USB flash drive will behave just like a CD or Blu-ray disc.
Installation over the network (PXE) and booting diskless clients
For this installation method it is required that you have a running main server. When clients boot via the main network, a new PXE 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 PXE menu looks with the Main-Server profile only:
This is how the PXE menu looks with the Main Server and LTSP Server profiles:
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, diskless workstations don't have to be added to LDAP with GOsa², but can be, for example if you want to force the hostname.
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 /var/lib/tftpboot/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 /var/lib/tftproot/debian-edu/install.cfg. Language, keyboard layout and desktop are examples of such settings.
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.
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 and how it looks at the first boot of the main server, a PXE boot on the workstation network and on the LTSP client network: