The Perfect Desktop - Debian Squeeze - Page 4

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 Quick 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
  • flashplugin-nonfree
  • filezilla
  • icedove
  • amule
  • amule-utils-gui
  • vuze
  • xchat
  • xchat-gnome
  • gnucash
  • scribus
  • scribus-template
  • amarok
  • audacity
  • banshee
  • mplayer
  • gtkpod-aac
  • xmms2*
  • dvdrip
  • libdvdcss2
  • kino
  • mozilla-plugin-vlc
  • vlc*
  • gxine
  • gxineplugin
  • xine-plugin
  • k3b
  • gstreamer0.10*
  • bluefish
  • eclipse
  • ttf-mscorefonts-installer
  • openjdk-6*
  • icedtea6-plugin
  • acroread
  • opera
  • googleearth-package
  • google-chrome-stable
  • w64codecs/w32codecs
  • skype (i386 only)
  • kompozer
  • virtualbox-ose

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.


7 Flash Player

Debian Squeeze comes with the Gnash, the GNU Flash movie player, installed by default, but it does not support SWF v10, and you won't be able to watch videos on YoutTube, for example.

We've just installed the Adobe Flash Player 10 in the previous chapter (from Debian-Multimedia). If you type about:plugins in the Firefox/Iceweasel address bar, you should now see both plugins enabled, the Adobe Flash Player and Gnash.

Here's how we can disable Flash Player 9 and enable Flash Player 10 in Firefox/Iceweasel:

In Firefox/Iceweasel, go to Tools > Add-ons:

Go to Plugins; you should see two Shockwave Flash plugins listed. Find the one that mentions Gnash in the description, right-click it and select Disable:

Now, on the about:plugins page, Firefox/Iceweasel should only list the Adobe Flash Player (version 10.3 d162) as the only Shockwave Flash plugin:


8 TrueType Fonts

To check if the TrueType fonts have been installed correctly, open a word processor like OpenOffice. You should now find your new Windows fonts there:


9 Google Earth

In chapter 6, we have installed the package googleearth-packagewhich is a utility to automatically build a Debian package of Google Earth. This means, Google Earth is not yet installed; we have to first build a .deb package of it with the help of googleearth-package, and then install the .deb package.

Open a terminal (Applications > Accessories > Terminal) and become root:


Now you can build the Google Earth .deb package as follows:

make-googleearth-package --force

Package: googleearth
Section: non-free/science
Priority: optional
Maintainer: <root@debian>
Architecture: amd64
Depends: ttf-dejavu | ttf-bitstream-vera | msttcorefonts, lsb-core, libqtcore4, libgl1-mesa-glx, ia32-libs (>= 20110117), lib32gcc1 (>= 1:4.1.1), lib32stdc++6 (>= 4.1.1), lib32z1 (>= 1:1.1.4), libc6-i386 (>= 2.0), libc6-i386 (>= 2.1.3), libc6-i386 (>= 2.2), libc6-i386 (>= 2.3), libc6-i386 (>= 2.3.2), libc6-i386 (>= 2.4) , ia32-libs-gtk
Suggests: nvidia-glx-ia32
Description: Google Earth, a 3D map/planet viewer
Package built with googleearth-package.
dpkg-deb: building package `googleearth' in `./googleearth_6.0.1.2032+0.6.0-1_amd64.deb'.
You can now install the package with e.g. sudo dpkg -i <package>.deb

If you don't see any errors, then you should find the Google Earth .deb package in the current directory:

ls -l

root@debian:/home/falko# ls -l
total 34316
-rw-r--r-- 1 root  root     15094 Dec 26 15:02 debian-multimedia-keyring_2010.12.26_all.deb
drwxr-xr-x 2 falko falko     4096 Feb 11 14:07 Desktop
drwxr-xr-x 2 falko falko     4096 Feb 11 14:07 Documents
drwxr-xr-x 2 falko falko     4096 Feb 11 14:07 Downloads
-rw-r--r-- 1 root  root  35042136 Feb 11 16:19 googleearth_6.0.1.2032+0.6.0-1_amd64.deb
drwxr-xr-x 2 falko falko     4096 Feb 11 14:07 Music
drwxr-xr-x 2 falko falko     4096 Feb 11 14:07 Pictures
drwxr-xr-x 2 falko falko     4096 Feb 11 14:07 Public
-rw-r--r-- 1 falko falko     2897 Feb 11 16:12 setup.txt
drwxr-xr-x 2 falko falko     4096 Feb 11 14:07 Templates
drwxr-xr-x 2 falko falko     4096 Feb 11 14:07 Videos

Now you can install Google Earth as follows:

gdebi googleearth_6.0.1.2032+0.6.0-1_amd64.deb


10 Inventory (II)

Now let's check again what we have so far by browsing the menus again:

Our inventory should now look like this:

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

[x] Firefox/Iceweasel
[x] Opera
[x] Google Chrome
[x] Flash Player 10
[x] FileZilla
[x] Thunderbird/Icedove
[x] Evolution
[x] aMule
[x] Transmission BitTorrent Client
[x] Azureus/Vuze
[x] Empathy IM Client
[x] Skype
(i386 only)
[x] Google Earth
[x] Xchat IRC

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

Sound & Video:
[x] Amarok
[x] Audacity
[x] Banshee
[x] MPlayer
[x] Rhythmbox Music Player
[x] gtkPod
[x] XMMS
[x] dvd::rip
[x] Kino
[x] Sound Juicer CD Extractor
[x] VLC Media Player
[ ] Real Player
(i386 only)
[x] Totem
[x] Xine
[x] Brasero
[x] K3B
[x] Multimedia-Codecs

[x] KompoZer
[x] Bluefish
[x] Eclipse

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

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24 Comment(s)

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From: kurtdriver at: 2011-02-16 00:23:21

"a Debian Squeeze desktop that is a full-fledged replacement for a Windows desktop"

If I wanted to use Windows, I'd buy a CD of it. Linux is valid in it's own right and, correctly, different from Windows and Macs. Why not a guide showing how to do a certain thing, introducing a couple of programs for that purpose? Rather that a guide to replacing Windows.

From: Jan at: 2011-02-19 08:55:44

I think many people could profit from this. I suggested a Linux desktop for a business that still has Windows 2000 which needs replacement badly. Since they could do everything on Linux (and more) what they now do on Windows I think this is a good tutorial.

Granted, if one is comfortable with Linux, this tutorial doesn't reveal anything new, but if you need a Linux that behaves more or less like Windows it's good to know that there is something like a template. It makes the learning curve for the user less steep and if it looks and behaves "right", the user will adapt quicker.

Especially a rolling distro like Debian is useful for a relatively small business like I mentioned - more secure, still happy users, less administration tasks.

From: Ferre at: 2012-06-01 06:27:13

Debian a ROLLING distro ?

From: William M. Barr at: 2013-05-02 20:41:38

It is a rolling distribution if you use Debian testing, or sid.

If your repositories are set to "testing" and not a name like "wheezy" then the distribution will always be testing and never becomes stable.  Some prefer not to use stable since the applications they use the most are not the latest version, but there are also backports to make stable have applications that are more up to date without sacrificing the stability.

From: Anonymous at: 2011-02-19 11:05:40

This is silly man, stop wasting your time. This has been said zillion times. The software ecosystem around Windows is so vast that there is simply no chance for Linux to catch up on the desktop. Tell me, which large publishing house uses Scribus? Which large graphic design company uses Gimp, Xara, etc? Or a CAD company using FreeCad?

 NB. I'm not a Windows fanboy. I've been using Linux for more than a decade now full time on my desktop.

From: Alexius Diakogiannis at: 2011-05-12 13:06:32

If you dont like it, dont read it!

This is a very good tutorial along with all the other ones and keep in mind that you are referring to an industry solution. I will reverse your query, can you tell why a typical home pc or workstation would need for ex. photoshop instead of Gimp?

From: Anonymous at: 2011-04-06 20:48:59

Hey cool - can I play Rift or CoD4 on it?

From: Sam at: 2011-06-01 05:05:11

Why the hell would i like to downgrade a wonderful system like debian to the level of windows.. I switched from windows because i didn't want to go through hell for the sins of microsoft.

;) kidding.. nice stuff.. but please never compare linux with windows, it brings horrible memories to haunt you..



Thinkpad - debian squeeze. 

From: Talissa at: 2011-09-04 22:01:19

If it suits YOUR needs then its doing fine as your desktop, if not - find something else.  I find its perfect for my media/work/home useage, so i'm perfectly happy with linux.  If you play a crapload of games or use a certain program that only runs in windows - then what on earth were you thinking?

From: at: 2011-02-14 12:16:23


 Not yet tested in Squeeze, but in Lenny the Ubuntu 8.10+ 64-bit from Skype site works great.

Hopes helps somebody.

From: Kev at: 2011-02-19 17:02:12

What's the point of installing multiple packages that have the same purpose? How many web browsers and email clients do you need? There's pointless duplication, what are you going to do with 3 IDEs when Eclipse can do it all?

What's the point you're trying to make? There's too much choice available and you can't decide?

This looks more like a new Windows PC full of factory installed crapware.

From: Anonymous at: 2011-08-01 10:14:06

I am sure e.g. installing more browsers is very useful because some pages are difficult to load e.g. in FF but work fine in Chromium or for a quick "preview" I use Opera etc. ;-)

From: Anti-troll at: 2012-01-16 00:15:31

Kindly do not feed the troll. Same comment on every guide, if you don't like/need the others, don't install them. At least you have a choice, unlike ie.

From: Mark Sporr at: 2011-02-19 17:27:45

I am interested in your reasoning for adding Adobe Reader. What does it give you that an open source package like Evince does not?


From: Anonymous at: 2011-02-25 18:33:39

It runs in the same window, provides pdf print, save, zoom, rotate and the user's focus is retained in the current window. With AJAX apps, jumping the focus is an issue.

From: at: 2011-02-20 22:56:33

64bit.deb for ubuntu works with wrapper and 32bit-libs and 32bit headers 

From: Ariya at: 2011-02-24 06:32:02

Isn't Debian wasting our precious time?

After downloading the CD1 and waiting more than half an hour to install it, one has to go through the rigmarole of adding extra software, deleting practically useless software and waste about another 3-4 hours, while one can get all these by downloading Ubuntu Kubuntu or any of its derivatives, even by downloading Aptosid, Saline OS, Crunchbang, which are Debian derivatives and 'ready-to-work' within a minute?

Debian may have 29,000 packages, but it doesn't have good developers of an OS. It should go on making 'packages', but leave OS making for young and talented, or employ them to do the OS making. These young guys have enough brains to produce pleasing distributions, while Debian can't. 

Sorry to say that it was much easier to install Windows 7 than Debian 6 and Windows 7 is ready to go, bugs or not, bloated or not.

I believe that the old guys in the Debian would kill any love for Open Source, if they keep on doing the 'geek-only' OS. Maybe, the only solace for the Open Source community is Ubuntu and its derivatives, Debian's derivatives, and such lovely distros like Puppy Linux and its Pupplets, Austrumi from Slackware, Slitaz, etc.

Even Tiny Core, which is also a base-system, does the job magnificently. It can be installed and all necessary needed software can be installed too, and it comes with a GUI.

Why one needs such BLOATED Debian today in 2011 is a mystery...

From: Anonymous at: 2011-02-25 08:09:38

Not actually. If you install Windows on a fresh system, it takes around 3-4 hours to make it usable. You have to install Chrome(unless you are happy with IE), anti virus, huge service packs, office suite, development tools, drivers for your latest hardware. And while you are doing this, your machine will be restarted quite a few times. And once you are done with all this, you will have a slow system with average UI(which tries hard to copy most of the things from Mac) and which shows UAC for every mouse click even if your's is an admin account.

Now compare the above with Debian install. Isn't it better to spend the time once so that you can have a better performing, stable system - with proper security in place that doesn't ask for annoying confirmation once you have SUed? Choice is yours !!

From: bringmeuptospeed at: 2012-02-03 00:43:01

On Mint12, Debian6, Ubuntu11.10 I get a kernel panic on install.  It does not happen with the debian text installer but with all the gui & live disk boots.  The mint4win doesnt work correctly either.  This is odd because it used to install all these distros before the new Samsung sata hard drive

Kernel panic- not syncing: VFS: Unable to mount root fs on unknown-block (0,0)

Debian is junk on laptop wifi & because I don't know what the linux guts are, I'm that ?!*_ of luck with it.

The archlinux people say about the Toshiba Satellite L645 wifi broadcom brcm80211 bcm4313
but I don't want to use their distro.

I was hoping I could just have a computer with a well supported linux OS on it but it's not working out at all.  I'm 2 1/2 months into this linux thing but I still can't get an install with what I need with which to work.  I've run the compatibility mode, tried bios settings, HD jumpers fine but get a kernel panic on all three distros.  Now only win7 or debian6 "textmode" installs.

debian sux laptop wifi

From: Anonymous at: 2011-02-25 00:39:37

Of course debian is not wasting time... its the most stable of the linux distros its preferred by many linux admins for its servers capabilities and security features... but its not ubuntu studio with every package precharged... besides its faster than ubuntu and windows 7

maybe youd like to use windows seven because its all there already... 

this setup is just a custom for a linux user its all here and its free...

maybe debian its not for you if you wanted to be all plug n play.. use macOS for that

have a nice one, buddy

From: Townie at: 2011-02-26 23:55:13

The OP complains of wasting time, why?  Contrary to your belief, Debian does work out of the box. In your opinion it may not have what you want installed but to someone else it may be perfect. Either way you can choose the install what  you want rather than rely on the Developers choosing for you. It's not about being a geek either, Synaptic makes things as easy as they can be.

Also, the point of the tutorial seems to be missed by some. It's not about installing everything on the list, only what you want to. The instructions are there to choose from a broad base of applications and for the end user to filter out what suits their needs.

As for leaving things for Ubuntu, No thanks. I prefer things to work.

From: Aron Knifström at: 2011-04-22 13:33:32

I like the guide very much, it shows the install and how to add additional software. This is good for anyone who wants to tryout Debian.

It's worth to mention that you can find the latest netinstall iso image here (its like 6.0.1a now):

And there is also many flavors of Live CD's that can be useful. (can be used with CD, DVD and USB memory)

Best regards


From: MGM at: 2011-09-19 18:57:23

I`ve never managed to install new NVIDIA drivers (I have an GeForce GTX 570) in debian stable. Can someone help me?

From: Anonymous at: 2012-06-25 15:22:51

I'm completely new to Linux, and found the article very useful. I didn't install all the software you suggested, just what I needed; but you pointed me in the direction of how to do it very succinctly.

Thanks for taking the time :-)