PostgreSQL has extensive and good help that should be the first source of information regarding this database product. This page outlines main differences to generic PostgreSQL installation used by Debian.


Required packages: postgresql postgresql-client
# aptitude install postgresql postgresql-client

Recommended packages:

Please note that the procedural languages are installed separately (plpgsql comes by default). Perform search packaging database to find the list of possibilities:
# aptitude search postgresql

pg_ctl replacement

pg_ctl is a PostgreSQL command line control program that can be used to control the database. Debian has made a Perl-wrapper for the pg_ctl called /usr/bin/pg_ctlcluster. Use the pg_ctlcluster whenever you need the pg_ctl. To customize the behavior check the /etc/postgresql/[version]/[cluster]/pg_ctl.conf

Debian installs SysV-init compatible (standard) start-up script /etc/init.d/postgresql-[version]. It can be used to start and stop the system as well. It calls pg_ctlcluster internally.

File locations

Debian splits the database configuration from the database files, opposed to generic PostgreSQL installation that puts everything under same directory. Note that Debian allows multiple clusters and even different versions of PostgreSQL to co-exist in same host.

Configuration files: /etc/postgresql/[version]/[cluster]/
Binaries: /usr/lib/postgresql/[version]
Data files: /var/lib/postgresql/[version]/[cluster]

Log files: If you do not specifically change the log file options in 'postgresql.conf' configuration, the aforementioned pg_ctlcluster will set you up a log directory /var/log/posgresql/ and names the log file with version and cluster i.e. postgresql-[version]-[cluster].log.

Changing Debian default installation

Debian PostgreSQL installation automatically calls the initdb i.e. it initializes the cluster with default encoding and locale. Encoding can be changed later but the locale cannot. To change the locale the initdb must be run again. To change the locale (an possibly other options in initdb) do the following:

  1. Take root privileges.
  2. Move to data directory (/var/lib/postgresql/[version]/[cluster])

  3. Delete everything within the data-directory: # rm -fR *

  4. Take postgres identity: # su postgres

  5. Run the initdb with your options: # /usr/lib/postgresql/[version]/initdb -D /var/lib/postgresql/[version]/[cluster] [your other options]

  6. Exit back to root.
  7. Start the server.

Check the Locale page to see how to add more locales.