These steps work well on a Debian Lenny 5.0 container.
After logging into the container for the first time:
1. Type passwd
and enter your new UNIX password.
2. Configure locales: dpkg-reconfigure locales
Select your language from the long list. NOTE: Should be in utf8 format and the default for the container.
Clear out your locales cache: apt-get install localepurge
Then run localepurge
3. Configure local time. VERY IMPORTANT if you want to avoid problems with syncing timestamped files later (yikes!). Do this: dpkg-reconfigure tzdata
and select correct timezone. Then run this diff -s /etc/localtime /usr/share/zoneinfo/`cat /etc/timezone`
.. these should be the same and when you "poweroff" from the console you should see local time being correctly reported.
4. apt-get install vim-nox
5. Get a decent set of sources from here: http://debgen.simplylinux.ch/
-include "main", "security" and "volatile" repos.
Paste your new sources in and save.
6. vi /etc/network/interfaces
and set up a static ip for the container as you normally would.
check the output of ifconfig
- your network should reflect your changes.
7. vi /etc/hosts
- write out the hosts file as you normally would - note that this will be a new file since the default container doesn't have a hosts file.
echo hostname.example.tld > /etc/hostname
The output of hostname and hostname -f should now be hostname.example.tld
You should be good to go now with installing a base system for use in a multiserver setup although the master server (with quota installed) will still have to reside on the host server/physical machine unless you customize your fstab in the container.