Installing Debian Using A GUI


November 2005: After much hard work, the d-i team announced that the upcoming Debian release, Etch, boasts a new graphical (GTK+) frontend which allows installing Debian in many new, previously unsupported, languages.

The graphical installer has been widely tested and is available for i386, AMD64 and PowerPC. The regular CD images for i386 and amd64 include an option to boot the graphical installer by booting with installgui.

Also available is a small (~10MB) miniiso image, which allows you to boot the graphical installer by just pressing ENTER at the boot prompt and is very useful for testing/debugging purposes. This image can be found under "other images"; look for netboot/gtk/mini.iso. For the powerpc architecture, look for powerpc64/netboot/gtk/mini.iso (64-bit processor: G5 or POWER3/4/5/6/7) or powerpc/netboot/gtk/mini.iso (32-bit processor: G4 or earlier).

For an overview of open issues and things we'd like to see done after Etch is released, see DebianInstaller/GUIToDo.

If you're interested in building yourself a debian-installer with GUI or just want to dive into its internals, please have a look at the DebianInstaller/GUIBuild page.

If you want to build your own udebs, have a look at BuildingUDebs.


Here is a list of articles/review about the graphical installer which appeared around the web:

Partitioning tool

As part of a university (?) graduation project, Xavier Oswald has started work on a partitioning tool (based on gparted) that could replace partman in the graphical installer. This work is currently unfinished. Last known status is given in this mail.


For common work, see DebianDesktop.


Since the Debian 6.0 "Squeeze" release, the graphical installer is X11 based. It was previously based on DirectFB.


How to retrieve the screenshot

Read ScreenShots' Debian-installer section.


If there's anything wrong with X, feel free to contact the XStrikeForce.

If X doesn't react at start-up: input might be broken. To debug this under Qemu, move to the control window: ctrl-alt-2. Then type that there: sendkey alt-sysrq-r[enter] then sendkey ctrl-alt-f2[enter], then back to the main window: ctrl-alt-1. Grepping for input and/or evdev in /var/log/Xorg.0.log should give some hits. If nothing shows up, try udevadm info --export-db|grep ID_INPUT.