The Perfect Desktop - Debian Etch (Debian 4.0) - Page 5

7 Install Automatix

Automatix2 comes with a graphical interface, but in order to install Automatix2 there are a few steps we have to do on the command line. Go to Applications > Accessories > Terminal to open a command line window:

In the command line window, type


to become root.

Now we have to open /etc/apt/sources.list and make sure that the non-free and contrib repositories are enabled. Run

gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

to open /etc/apt/sources.list in a text editor. You will find a line similar to this one in it:

deb etch main

Add the non-free and contrib repositories to it so that the line looks like this:

deb etch main non-free contrib

Then update your packages database:

apt-get update

To install Automatix, we proceed as follows:

echo "deb etch main" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list

Afterwards, run


gpg --import automatix2.key

gpg --export --armor E23C5FC3 | sudo apt-key add -

and update the packages database again:

apt-get update

Finally, install Automatix:

apt-get install automatix2

Then close the command line window. After Automatix has been installed, you can find it under Applications -> System Tools -> Automatix:


8 Install Further Packages With Automatix

Now start Automatix. It comes up with a warning that you must not install the package AUD-DVD if you are from the USA because it is illegal there (so if you are from the USA, don't install that package).

After you've accepted the warning, Automatix starts:

and adds some repositories to /etc/apt/sources.list:

In the left window you see all available package groups (File Sharing, Web Browsers, etc.), and in the right window there are all packages that belong to the package group and that can be installed by Automatix. Select the following packages for installation:

  • Skype
  • AUD-DVD Codecs
  • Flash Player
  • MPlayer and FF Plugin
  • Multimedia Codecs
  • Sun Java 1.5 JRE
  • DVD Ripper
  • RealPlayer
  • Automatix read/write NTFS and FAT32 Mounter
  • Extra Fonts
  • Acrobat Reader
  • Google Earth
  • Google Picasa
  • Opera Browser

After you've made your selection, click on Start. The package installation begins, and it can take some time.

In order to install Sun Java 1.5 JRE, we need to accept its license:

When Mplayer gets installed, the installer will ask you if you want to replace the existing file /etc/mplayer/mplayer.conf with a new one. Choose no here (hit ENTER or type in N):

To install NTFS read/write support (ntfs-3g), click on Yes when the following message comes up:

Then hit Ok:

Hit OK again. If you are currently using NTFS partitions, you might have to reboot the system after Automatix has finished to get read/write support on the NTFS partitions.

Google Earth will ask you to accept its license, so click on I Agree:

Google Earth's default settings are ok, so click on Begin Install:

After the Google Earth installation, you can either select to start it immediately or to quit. I select Quit here (although it doesn't matter what you select):

After the installation of all selected packages, we can leave Automatix by clicking on the cross in the upper right corner of the Automatix window. A new window pops up where we select Yes:

Share this page:

11 Comment(s)

Add comment


From: at: 2007-05-03 04:55:14

finally...a great walkthrough to get the Deb OS up and running..not being familiar with apt-get and options this proved invaluable in getting an system up and running.. ..thx again.

From: at: 2007-05-19 18:39:27

Do you really need 9 seperate media players, 2 mail clients, 3 cd-burning apps, 4 web browsers, and 4 bittorrent clients (including opera and gtorrent)? No.

From: admin at: 2007-05-20 09:16:14

This is just for demonstration purposes. Of course, you can install all the software, but you can also pick only the software that you need. The tutorial just shows how to install all software, but it's up to you which software you install.

From: at: 2007-05-20 19:42:22

I came to that conclusion. Kind of made me snicker though. It is a great write up, dont get me wrong! But it just seemed like it could have been summed up with "Install Debian then get Automatix."

From: at: 2007-08-13 11:03:00

Personally, I feel you should have added a third partition of /home. It's one of the good qualities of Linux that should not be left out for simplicity sake... It takes a little more work during the installation process but the end result is an easier to upgrade system.

No windows nor gates, yet complete freedom! 

From: at: 2007-11-21 11:47:57

I didn't know about automagix before reading your howto. It looks promising. Unfortunately I found out that this tutorial only works for i386, not amd64, since automagix2 is not supporting amd64 on debian etch (yet). Perhaps it's good to mention this in the howto.
I assume that it's not a good idea to point to the gutsy sources for automagix2 (which do support amd64), or do you think there is no harm in trying that, i.e. mixing distributions?

From: fonok at: 2008-10-14 12:24:16

Usefull things at boot prompt:

DO NOT press Enter !

say: install tasks="kde-desktop" - if you want KDE instead of Gnome

sometimes acpi makes problems (I had with netinstall CD on a 'barebone' type PC):

say: install acpi=off

From: fonok at: 2008-10-14 12:27:09

and of course:

say: install tasks="no-desktop"

if you do not want to have any desktop - e.g. server setup

From: at: 2008-01-20 00:41:27

I found this link helpful when Debian 4.0 r2 caused Automatix to quit.


From: at: 2007-05-02 18:05:45

It depends on what you DL. I downloaded a ISO of Debian 4, which also - by default - installs KDE. Just look for the filename that has 'KDE' in it. I prefer it over Gnome myself. - Kc

From: Anonymous at: 2008-11-24 19:21:16

The automatix2 program seems to have been abandoned, so at least pages 5 and 6 of this howto need to be reconstructed with other means of installing the software, since automatix is now gone.