a few debian questions

Kenny Hitt kenny at hittsjunk.net
Sun Nov 2 07:03:01 EST 2003

Hi.  See below for my answers.

On Sat, Nov 01, 2003 at 07:42:19PM -0600, Gregory Nowak wrote:
> Hi all.
> Well, I got that 8gb drive working in my old box that had its previous
> drive go bad.
> It's become my spair "play" box, and is currently running debian. When
> I get familiar enough with debian, I plan to play with redhat, and
> maybe with freebsd if I can install and use that over ssh or telnet or
> a serial console. That's all in the future though.
> I do have a few debian questions. I will admit that I didn't bother
> reading that long debian book on the debian site, and am just flying
> with my experience with slackware and some debian hints I picked up
> from this list here and there.
> My questions are as follows.
> 1. I want to build my own kernel. Can I just grab the standard sources
> from kernel.org, or do I need some dep package. If so, which one?
Yes, you can use the source from kernel.org.  If you install the
kernel-package Debian package, you can build your new kernel as a local
Debian package.  Building your kernel as a local Debian package isn't
required, but it makes keeping track of kernels easier.

> 2. Somebody had said here that there was a speakup source package for
> debian. If this is correct, and if I need to get a dep package from
> question 1 above, then do I also need to get this speakup source
> package, or can I just patch the kernel tree with the standard speakup
> 1.5 tarball? If I need to get this speakup source package, then again,
> what package name am I looking for?
There is a speakup kernel package for Debian, but it is only in
unstable.  It should eventually move to testing, but it won't ever get
into Woody.  The package is called kernel-image-2.4.22-1-speakup.  It is
an already compiled kernel patched with a recent speakup cvs.
> 3. I installed using the woody floppies on linux-speakup.org, and the
> internet for the rest. I understand that there are newer distros since
> woody. Is there a way for me to upgrade my current install to the
> newest stable distro? If so, then how?
Woody is the latest stable distribution for Debian.  If you are just
playing with this box, I would go ahead and upgrade it to unstable.
Unstable always has the latest software, but it is the most likely
Debian distro to have bugs.  Since most Debian developers use unstable,
the bugs get fixed quickly.

To upgrade: edit /etc/apt/sources.list and change woody to unstable.
Then run

apt-get update&&apt-get -u dist-upgrade
Be prepared to answer lots of questions and watch your computer appear
to break itself.  If it fails with errors, just run the apt-get -u
dist-upgrade command again.

> 4. Since the woody disks seemed to have no dhcp client, I had to
> install the module for my network card, and to assign it a static
> ip. These changes seemed to have carried over into the actual distro
> install on the hd.
> When I build my own kernel, I plan to build the network card support
> right into the kernel, and to use dhcpcd. I don't have a problem with
> looking around in /etc/init.d, and changing whatever I want
> manually. However, coming from slackware, which doesn't have such a
> strict package management system, I am afraid to do this, since I
> might break something in the package management system somewhere.
> How safe am I messing with things manually, and how do I know if/when
> it's time for the system to take care of things? I'm not asking this
> question in the way I'd like, but I'm hoping someone here who might
> have moved from slackware to debian will understand what I'm trying to
> ask.
the information on your network interfaces is in
/etc/network/interfaces.  After you install a dhcp package, you can edit
/etc/network/interfaces and remove the static information for your
interface and change it to something like

auto eth0
iface eth0 inet dhcp

Usually, you can edit all files in /etc with no problems.  If an upgrade
to a package will replace any file you have changed, it will ask you if
you want to replace the file or keep your version.  Since you are moving
the network card from a module to beeing built into the kernel, you will
probably need to edit /etc/modules and remove the entry for your network
card module.

> I would very much appreciate any answers/advise.
> Thanks in advance.
> Greg
I've only used Debian, so my answers might be clear.  If so, just ask
and I'll try to do better.


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