The Perfect Desktop - Debian Squeeze

This tutorial shows how you can set up a Debian Squeeze desktop that is a full-fledged replacement for a Windows desktop, i.e. that has all the software that people need to do the things they do on their Windows desktops. The advantages are clear: you get a secure system without DRM restrictions that works even on old hardware, and the best thing is: all software comes free of charge.

I want to say first that this is not the only way of setting up such a system. There are many ways of achieving this goal but this is the way I take. I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!


1 Preliminary Note

To fully replace a Windows desktop, I want the Debian Squeeze desktop to have the following software installed:




Sound & Video:



Lots of our desired applications are available in the Debian repositories.

As you might have noticed, a few applications are redundant, for example there are two CD/DVD burning applications in my list (Brasero, K3B). If you know which one you like best, you obviously don't need to install the other applications, however if you like choice, then of course you can install both. The same goes for music players like Amarok, Banshee, Rhythmbox, XMMS or browsers (Firefox/Iceweasel, Opera, Google Chrome).

I will use the username falko in this tutorial, and I will download all necessary files to falko's Downloads directory which is equivalent to the directory /home/falko/Downloads. If you use another username (which you most probably do ;-)), please replace falko with your own username. So when I use a command like

cd /home/falko/Downloads

you must replace falko.


2 Installing The Base System

Download the Debian Squeeze netinstall iso image (available here: (i386) or (x86_64)) , burn it onto a CD, and boot your computer from it. Select Graphical install:

Choose your language:

Then select your location:

If you've selected an uncommon combination of language and location (like English as the language and Germany as the location, as in my case), the installer might tell you that there is no locale defined for this combination; in this case you have to select the locale manually. I select en_US.UTF-8 here:

Choose a keyboard layout:

The installer checks the installation CD, your hardware, and configures the network with DHCP if there is a DHCP server in the network:

Since this is a desktop, you can accept the default hostname...

... and domain:

Afterwards, give the root user a password:

Create a normal user account:

The Perfect Desktop - Debian Squeeze