Tasksel package provides a simple interface for users who want to configure their system to perform a specific task. This program is used during the installation process, but users can also use tasksel at any time.
After installing a Debian core system, you can install the DesktopEnvironment using tasksel. The command tasksel (logged as root) shows you some (high level abstraction) options to install packages. You could simply mark the Desktop environment option. It will install the packages for Gnome and some packages that are considered "standard" for a Debian desktop (openoffice.org, cups, etc).
tasksel (Start the User-interface screenshot)
tasksel --list-tasks (List the tasks available on a system.)
i desktop Desktop environment i web-server Web server i print-server Print server u dns-server DNS server u file-server File server i mail-server Mail server u database-server SQL database i ssh-server SSH server i laptop Laptop u manual manual package selection
tasksel --task-packages web-server (List the packages that would be installed by that task)
libapache2-mod-python apache2-doc libapache2-mod-php5 libapache2-mod-perl2 apache2-mpm-prefork analog
Note that in DebianWheezy and beyond tasksel provides and uses dummy packages (known as meta packages) to pull required dependencies. for example:
## Let's retrieve the meta package name for that task $ tasksel --task-packages web-server task-web-server ## Let's see the packages that would be installed by that meta-package $ aptitude show task-web-server Package: task-web-server State: not installed Version: 3.05 Priority: optional Section: tasks Maintainer: Debian Install System Team <firstname.lastname@example.org> Uncompressed Size: 20.5 k Depends: tasksel, apache2-mpm-prefork Recommends: apache2-doc, libapache2-mod-php5, libapache2-mod-perl2, libapache2-mod-python, analog Description: Web server This task selects packages useful for a general purpose web server system.
The standard task is a special task used by Debian Installer. It actually relies on the packages's priority.
What does the "standard system" task include?
tasksel --task-packages standard
~pstandard ~prequired ~pimportant
which is an aptitude search string that equates to aptitude search ~pstandard ~prequired ~pimportant -F%p
The laptop task is a special task use by Debian Installer, to pull the packages useful on a laptop:
tasksel --task-packages laptop
wireless-tools acpi-support cpufrequtils acpi wpasupplicant powertop acpid apmd pcmciautils pm-utils anacron avahi-autoipd bluetooth