Installation of the system

Next you will be prompted for:

* Root password

Root is the system administrator. Even if only one person uses the computer, you still need a separate password for this user.

* Main user name, and password

Choose your password sensibly; make sure it is something you will remember, and be aware that all passwords are case sensitive under Linux. Short passwords or dictionary words aren't very secure.

With all that out of the way, the installer will begin actually installing the Base System; this can take up to ten minutes or so. Next the installer will select and install all the rest of the software you will need. The length of time this takes depends on your system. It took me about 45 minutes on a 1GHz Celeron. Now may well be a good time to make a hot beverage and grab a bite to eat. The process of unpacking and configuring the rest of the software doesn't require any user intervention.

If you get especially bored while this is happening, it may amuse you to know that you can access two other screens during the installation process:

CTRL+ALT+F2 will give you a command line, which hopefully you'll never need at this stage
CTRL+ALT+F4 will show you a blow-by-blow account of what is happening during the install process

These messages can also be found in the file /var/log/messages. After installation, this log is copied to /var/log/debian-installer/messages on your new system. Other installation messages may be found in /var/log/ during the installation, and /var/log/debian-installer/ after the computer has been booted into the installed system.

Installing a boot loader

In order to let you choose whether to start up 64 Studio or any other system next time the computer boots, GNU/Linux takes control of loading the operating system, using a bootloader known as GRUB - the GRand Unified Bootloader. Check that the following operating systems have been discovered on your computer: includes any other operating systems you have installed. In which case, it is safe to say yes to overwriting the Master Boot Record. Next time you boot, GRUB will take over the boot process and offer you the choice of booting into 64 Studio or your other systems.

The installer will complete the installation once this is done, and eject the CD. Remove the CD from the drive and reboot. Assuming all has gone well, you have now completed the installation and are ready to use the system. Well Done!

If all hasn't gone so brilliantly, then you will need to get down and dirty, and do a crash course in GNU/Linux troubleshooting. GNU/Linux will often refuse to do anything meaningful unless it is configured correctly. While this can provide a bit of a headbanger for the new student, the payoff in system stability means it is well worth persevering with. Crashes and failures can often provide us with useful clues, and it is a good habit to copy or write down the error messages you get, verbatim, in case you need to search for further help on the Internet.

The Appendix pages provide trouble-shooting advice if your system refuses to boot the installer, and some guidance on what to do if you can't get a login screen immediately once you have completed the installation. We have also provided some links to various useful HOWTO guides and other resources mentioned in this text. Follow the instructions carefully and precisely, authors usually mean exactly what they say - trying to futz it from the bash prompt when you don't know what you're doing can often equal another few days of scorched frontal lobes. The good news is that you are far from alone, and there is a wealth of help and advice available - that said, it can be very useful to have access to another working computer that can access the Internet, especially if this is your first time installing GNU/Linux.