With Ubuntu not supplying a kernel suitable for the CPU (a Geode GX2 by National Semiconductors, a 486 buzzing at 399MHz clock rate) of my Viglen MPC-L (the one Duncan documented the installation of Xubuntu in 2010), it was time to look for other alternatives. I wasn’t too keen on the idea of using some random repository to get the suitable kernel for newer version of Ubuntu, so Debian was the next best thing that came to mind.
Friday night, right before heading out to pub with friends, I sat on the couch, armed with a laptop, USB keyboard, RGB cable and a USB memory stick. Trial and error reminded me to
- use bittorrent to download the image since our flaky Belkin-powered Wifi cuts off the connection every few minutes and thus corrupts direct downloads, and
- do the boot script magic of
pnpbios=off noapic acpi=offlike with our earlier Xubuntu installation.
In contrast to the experience of installing Xubuntu on the Viglen MPC-L, the Debian installation was easy from here on. The installer seemed to not only detect the needed kernel and install the correct one (
Linux wizzle 2.6.32-5-486 #1 Mon Mar 26 04:36:28 UTC 2012 i586 GNU/Linux) but, judging from the success of the first reboot after the installation had finished and a quick look at
/boot/grub/grub.cfg, had also set the right boot options automatically. So the basic setup was a *lot* easier than it was with Xubuntu!
Some things that I’ve gotten used to being automatically installed with Ubuntu weren’t pre-installed with Debian and so I had to install them for my usage. Tasksel installed ssh server, but
ntfs-3g needed to be installed as well which I had gotten used to having in Ubuntu, but installing them wasn’t too much of a chore. As I use my Viglen MPC-L as my main irssi shell nowadays, I had to install of course irssi, but some other stuff needed by it and my other usage patterns… so… after installing
apt-file pastebinit zsh fail2ban for my pet peeves, and
tmux irssi irssi-scripts libcrypt-blowfish-perl libcrypt-dh-perl libcrypt-openssl-bignum-perl libdbi-perl sqlite3 libdbd-sqlite3-perl I finally have approximately the system I needed.
All in all, the experience was a lot easier than what I had with Xubuntu in September 2010. It definitely surprised me and I kind of hope that this process wasn’t as easy and automated 18 months ago…