Where to find additional information

We recommend that you read or at least take a look at the release notes for Debian Lenny before you start installing a system for production use. If you just want to give Debian Edu/Skolelinux a try, you don't have to though, it should just work. :-)

Even more information about the Debian Lenny release is available in its installation manual.

Download the installation media for Debian Edu 5.0.6+edu1 Codename "Lenny"

DVDs for i386, amd64 and powerpc

The multiarch DVD ISO image is 4.4 GiB large and can be used for installation of amd64 and i386 machines. To download it, use any of these methods:

The netinstall CD, which can be used for installation of i386, amd64 and powerpc machines, is available via

The powerpc port has not been tested as much as the other architectures, though it should work just fine and has been reported to work. Still, we consider the port an experimental release of Debian Edu, which we might not be able to support as the other archs.

The Sources are available via

Request a CD/DVD by mail

For those without a fast internet connection, we offer to send you a CD or DVD for the cost of the CD or DVD and shipping. Just send an email to 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

The installation process

When you do a Debian Edu installation, you have a few options to choose. Don't be afraid; there aren't many. We have done a good job hiding the complexity of Debian during the installation and beyond. However, Debian Edu is Debian, and if you want there are more than 15000 packages to choose from and a billion configuration options. For the majority of our users, our defaults should be fine.

A note on manual partitioning

As a general advice: if you choose manual paritioning and your system fails to boot, try automatic partitioning first.

If you decide to do manual partitioning for the main-server, you should consider this:

A note on notebooks

In principal it makes sense either to install notebooks with the workstation or with the standalone profile. Keep in mind that the workstation profile uses LDAP for the user accounts and NFS for the home directories, so those workstations will only work while in the network where they can access the server. If you plan to use your laptop at home or on the road, then choose the standalone profile.

It is possible to reconfigure workstations to cache authentication information and sync the home directories to local disk (and resync to the server when in the network) with unison, but there is currently no howto available for this.

A note on DVD installs

If you install from a DVD, /etc/apt/sources.list it will only contain sources from the DVD afterwards. If you have an internet connection we strongly suggest adding the following lines to it so that available (security) updates can be installed:

deb lenny main 
deb lenny/updates main 
deb lenny local

A note on CD installs

The 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:

A note on some RAID controllers

When using a USB drive to add missing firmware during install, with some RAID-controllers GRUB is installed to the USB drive. So a reboot after installation results in a GRUB-error. A workaround for this problem is to remove the USB drive after the firmware is loaded, and preferably before partitioning starts.

More information is available in Debian-Edu bug #1395 and Debian bug 516280.

A note on thin-client-server installations

First of all, this profile name is confusing due to historic reasons: the profile actually installs a LTSP server environment for thin-clients and for workstations. So for the next release of Debian Edu the name of this profile will be changed.

By providing the kernel argument edu-skip-ltsp-make-client it is possible to skip the 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, e.g. if one wants 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 creating combined chroots always and this is why this is done by default.

Custom CD/DVDs

Creating custom CDs or DVDs is possibly 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.

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.

This is how the PXE menu looks like with the Main-Server profile only:


This is how the PXE menu looks like with the Main-Server and Thin-Client-Server profile:


This setup also allows to boot diskless workstations and thin clients on the main network. Diskless workstations must be added with LWAT just like normal workstations or thin client servers.

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

Modifying PXE installations

The PXE installation is using a debian-installer preseed file, and this file 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 the files /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, i.e. to avoid more questions when installing over the net. Another possibility to achieve the same 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 xhttp_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.

Screenshot tour

The text mode and the graphical installation are identical, only the appearance is different. The graphical mode offers you the opportunity to use a mouse. Of course the graphical mode 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 Main-Server + Thin-Client-Server installation: