The Perfect Desktop - Debian Lenny - Page 2

3 Update The System

Now it's time to check for updates and install them. This is done using the Update Manager. If you see a notification in the taskbar that new updates are available, you can start the Update Manager by clicking on the update icon; otherwise you can start the Update Manager by going to System > Administration > Update Manager:

If new updates are available, the Update Manager will tell you so (you can click on the Check button to refresh the list), and you can click on the Install Updates button to install them. In my case, no updates were available:


4 Inventory Of What We Have So Far

Now let's browse all menus to see which of our needed applications are already installed:

You should find the following situation ([x] marks an application that is already installed, where [ ] is an application that is missing):

[x] The GIMP
[ ] F-Spot
[ ] Picasa

[x] Firefox/Iceweasel
[ ] Opera
[ ] Flash Player
[ ] FileZilla
[ ] Thunderbird/Icedove
[x] Evolution
[ ] aMule
[x] Transmission BitTorrent Client
[ ] Azureus/Vuze
[x] Pidgin
[ ] Skype
[ ] Google Earth
[ ] Xchat IRC

[x] OpenOffice Writer
[x] OpenOffice Calc
[ ] Adobe Reader
[ ] GnuCash
[ ] Scribus

Sound & Video:
[ ] Amarok
[ ] Audacity
[ ] Banshee
[ ] MPlayer
[x] Rhythmbox Music Player
[ ] gtkPod
[ ] XMMS
[ ] dvd::rip
[ ] Kino
[x] Sound Juicer CD Extractor
[ ] VLC Media Player
[ ] Real Player
[x] Totem
[ ] Xine
[ ] Brasero
[ ] K3B
[ ] Multimedia-Codecs

[ ] KompoZer
[ ] Bluefish
[ ] Quanta Plus

[ ] VMware Server
[ ] TrueType fonts
[ ] Java
[x] Read/Write support for NTFS partitions

So some applications are already on the system. NTFS read-/write support is enabled by default on Debian Lenny.


5 Configure Additional Repositories

Some packages like the Adobe Reader are not available in the standard Debian repositories. The easiest way to make such packages available to your system is to add the Debian-Multimedia repository.

First we open a terminal (Applications > Accessories > Terminal):

Become root...


... and edit /etc/apt/sources.list:

gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

Add contrib and non-free to the official Lenny repositories that are already in the file, e.g. as follows...

deb lenny main contrib non-free
deb-src lenny main contrib non-free

deb lenny/updates main contrib non-free
deb-src lenny/updates main contrib non-free

... and add the Debian-Multimedia repository (you can find a mirror close to you here), e.g. like this:

deb stable main
deb-src stable main

Then download the debian-multimedia-keyring package and install it:

dpkg -i debian-multimedia-keyring_2008.10.16_all.deb

Finally update your package-list:

apt-get update


6 Install Additional Software

To install additional applications, open the Synaptic Package Manager (Applications > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager):

In the Synaptic Package Manager, we can install additional software. You can use the Search field to find packages:

Select the following packages for installation (* is a wildcard; e.g. gstreamer0.10* means all packages that start with gstreamer0.10):

  • f-spot
  • flashplayer-mozilla
  • filezilla
  • icedove
  • icedove-beagle
  • icedove-gnome-support
  • nautilus-sendto
  • amule
  • amule-utils-gui
  • vuze
  • xchat
  • xchat-gnome
  • acroread*
  • mozilla-acroread
  • gnucash
  • scribus
  • scribus-template
  • amarok
  • audacity
  • banshee
  • mplayer
  • mozilla-mplayer
  • w32codecs
  • gtkpod-aac
  • xmms2*
  • dvdrip
  • libdvdcss2
  • kino
  • mozilla-plugin-vlc
  • vlc*
  • realplayer
  • gxine
  • gxineplugin
  • xineplugin
  • brasero
  • k3b
  • gstreamer0.10*
  • bluefish
  • quanta
  • msttcorefonts
  • gdeb
  • gdebi
  • libasound2
  • libc6
  • libgcc1
  • libqt4-core
  • libqt4-gui
  • libsigc++-2.0-0c2a
  • libstdc++6 libx11-6
  • libqtcore4
  • libqt4-network
  • libqt4-script
  • libqt4-xml
  • libqt4-dbus
  • libqt4-test
  • libqtgui4
  • libqt4-svg
  • libqt4-opengl
  • libqt4-designer
  • libqt4-assistant
  • openjdk-6*
  • icedtea-gcjwebplugin

There are also lots of other applications available that you can install as well if you like.

To select a package for installation, click on the checkbox in front of it and select Mark for Installation from the menu that comes up:

If a package has a dependency that needs to be satisfied, a window will pop up. Accept the dependencies by clicking on Mark:

After you've selected the desired packages, click on the Apply button:

Confirm your selection by clicking on Apply:

The packages are now being downloaded from the repositories and installed. This can take a few minutes, so please be patient:

After all packages have been installed, click on Close:

You can leave the Synaptic Package Manager afterwards.

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18 Comment(s)

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From: Anonymous at: 2009-03-28 21:29:03

Hi falko,

I have a problem how to install Debian Lenny on laptop with SCSI disk? thanks for answer!

From: dave at: 2009-02-22 04:42:56

Great article & very helpful!  Thanks for the time to put it together.

My preference is for KDE, but not sure how to do this with netinstall.  I have read that we have to use the Advanced install options, but that may lead to a messed up system as it is for advanced Debian users (I'm not -- Puppy user).  I have also read that users are having problems with adding the KDE packages and making it the default environemnt.  Anyone know how to use the netinstall and end up with a reliable KDE enviroment? 



From: craigevil at: 2009-02-23 01:56:40

To install KDE using the netinstall

feeding the following command at the boot prompt:

install tasks="-desktop, standard"

As for the article why install a ton of media players? I can see installing mplayer, and maybe amarok, rythmbox or exaile no need for a ton of media apps.

From: sylware at: 2009-02-24 10:37:13

Avoid like hell .net based technologies (since it will screw GNU/Linux one day, and it's bloatware): use gthumb (or other C language based non-bloated programs) instead of f-spot and stick to rhythmbox (or other C language non-bloated programs) instead of banshee.

Do not promote bloatware, especially the ones from companies who sweared to destroy GNU/Linux, because that will make the community take very high risks.

That's my advise

From: Todd at: 2009-02-25 18:19:02

Another way to go about it.

We had a customer request a Live Debian disc like the ones available for Ubuntu. We were able to create one using remastersys, which is installable using the remastersys installer. See:

From: mo at: 2009-05-21 23:24:37

AS long it doesn't and open other partitions it will be 20 years behind..mood: furious

From: Anonymous at: 2009-07-05 23:16:31

I just make a clean install on my hp nx9420 and after reboot doesn´t start the desktop.

Why if I exactly follow this tutorial ?


Thanks in advance.

From: Narcarsiss at: 2009-02-23 22:13:54

I would highly recomend to install aptoncd "apt on cd" which will provide a easy and simply way of having a backup of all the files installed and downloaded...

and look for some themes as well to make the desktop look pretty

From: Pax at: 2009-03-15 18:45:44

This is my frist debian instal, i am a ubuntu user, now i like change to tray debia, i download debian lenny 5.0, in oficcial mirror, i install all u recomend bud i cant instal mplayer and others...


this is my source.list

# deb cdrom:[Debian GNU/Linux 5.0.0 _Lenny_ - Official i386 CD Binary-1 20090214-16:29]/ lenny main

# deb cdrom:[Debian GNU/Linux 5.0.0 _Lenny_ - Official i386 CD Binary-1 20090214-16:29]/ lenny main

deb lenny main contrib non-free
deb-src lenny main contrib non-free

deb lenny/updates main contrib non-free
deb-src lenny/updates main contrib non-free

deb stable main
deb-src stable main


u can telme what is worng? why i cant instal mplayer to down... 

From: at: 2009-07-27 00:33:53

The following issues (some of which occurred because I believe this HowTo is actually for the 32-bit version of Debian, but that's ok, virtually all of the HowTo still works!) were encountered while trying to install Debian 5.02 (AMD-64) on a real world (Intel WG965DH moboard, 8GB mem, 4x500GB HDD, CD-RW, and DVD-RW):

** Warning on duplicate entries in the source list when doing apt-get as above (didn't seem to matter--pressed on)
** w32codecs not available in Synaptic, presuming for AMD-64 need w64codecs, installed instead
** realplayer was not available in Synaptic (likely because it is a 32-bit app) -- see below
** Presumed xine-plugin was correct, vice xineplugin
** Do not select acroread-fonts-jpn--will be installed with acroread-fonts-kor

To install RealPlayer (fair warning - you're on your own, I haven't yet tested whether RealPlayer actually works, only that it installs!)

** Retrive RealPlayer from
** Click Download RealPlayer (downloads a bin file).
** Close the browser when the download completes.
** The download is in your home folder -- it MUST be executed from there.
** Open a terminal as root.
** Execute chmod +x RealPlayer11GOLD.bin
** Execute ./RealPlayer11GOLD.bin (the installer runs--accepting the defaults at all prompts works).
** When the installer finishes close the terminal (RealPlayer 11 is now on the Sound and Video menu).

After finishing Step 6 is where I installed the nVidia drivers - the Debian way. Worked like a charm. Detailed instructions are at Follow the directions explicitly and precisely and you will enjoy.

Enabling TwinView after that is easy (I have two monitors). In a console, execute apt-get install nvidia-settings. Then run nvidia-settings. I ran as root (as I was in that state from installing the drivers)--not sure whether that is really needed or not (suspect it is, though). The nVidia configuration window appears. Configure the monitor(s) as you desire, apply, and save the new xorg.conf file. What could be easier? Enjoy TwinView!

From: Andre Felipe Machado at: 2009-02-25 23:49:02


You could use the "debian-way" of configuring system, using the "update-alternatives" root command to inform what flash program, java, pdf reader, etc, when installing from outside repositories.

Official packages with alternative implementations from debian repositories always have this command built in at their internal packaging scripts to ease things and most users will never know about this command.

But unofficial packages not always honor this "debian-way" of configuration.

For example, (as root):

# update-alternatives --config

# update-java-alternatives --auto


Andre Felipe Machado

From: at: 2009-07-27 01:49:34

Flashplayer, at least in an AMD64 install, is not at the location specified in step 7. Instead, in the console, execute:

cp /usr/lib/flashplayer/ /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins/

From: Arjan at: 2009-05-21 14:11:06

An easier way to install Opera and keeping it up-to-date is by using their apt repository.


From: at: 2009-03-01 03:51:53


Your instructions indicate to install Google Earth as root.  And to use Google Earth 5.0 (beta) for PC, Mac or Linux.  When I installed it as root it failed with:
# ./googleearth-linux-plus-4.3.7284.3916.bin
Verifying archive integrity... All good.
Uncompressing Google Earth for GNU/Linux 4.3.7284.3916..............................................................
No protocol specified

Then when I installed it as a regular user it failed with:
Installing desktop icon...
./googleearth-bin: relocation error: /usr/lib/i686/cmov/ symbol BIO_test_flags, version OPENSSL_0.9.8 not defined in file with link time reference

So, I installed the older version, Linux: Google Earth 4.3.  And I didn't install it as root.  Installing as a regular user just worked.

From: at: 2009-07-27 13:24:44

If one is trying to install Skype on an AMD64 system, it will have to be forced (the ia32 libraries are already installed if this tutorial has been followed and adapted for a 64-bit system). In a console as root:

dpkg -i –force-all skype-debian_2.0.0.72-1_i386.deb

Also, Kompozer will not install on AMD64 Lenny as described above. There is a procedure at that seems to work quite nicely and is easy to follow. Modify it to suit your needs. Of course, YMMV.

From: Grant at: 2009-02-25 15:54:38

I have found that the official Debian repository for Scribus is out of date, and slow to fix bugs.   I add the Scribus repository to my list, and things are much nicer, especially with scribus-ng.

deb stable main non-free contrib

From: Naeem at: 2009-03-04 09:57:54

First of all Bravo on this wonderful post, i was more than impressed with it. on the other note... debian have came along way, brushed up quite good. i will give it a go now.


From: at: 2009-07-27 18:20:01

When accessing VMware Server, only port 8222 worked. 8333 never accessed the server. YMMV.