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    How to install Debian over another distro
    Contributed by Anonymous on Tuesday, October 30 @ 11:55:20 GMT

    Ask Debianplanet
    Now that I'm more comfortable running Debian potato on one of my shellboxes, I'd like to move my 'first' shellbox to Debian as well. Right now it's running RH6.2 which is not the most secure around, and the way of maintaining it is also different. The big problem is that I can't just ride over to do an install from disks at the console. Everything will have to be done from SSH and telnet.

    Some of you may suggest that it's possible to just plainly copy an installation over the wire to some device and reboot it from there, but this is not really an option. I'd like to know what it takes before a Linux installation can be called 'Debian'. For instance, how do I install apt-get, how do I update the base packages, remove everything RPM, that sort of thing.

    Every suggestion is welcome.

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  • "How to install Debian over another distro" | Login/Create Account | 13 comments

    The comments are owned by the poster. We aren't responsible for their content.

    Re: How to install Debian over another distro (Score: -1, Troll)
    by Anonymous on Tuesday, October 30 @ 16:19:26 GMT

    Format, your hard disk,

    Install Potato or Woody

    Enjoy !

    I'd like to know what it takes before a Linux installation can be called 'Debian'.

    It must be a Debian ...

    [ Reply ]

    Re: How to install Debian over another distro (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Tuesday, October 30 @ 16:59:47 GMT

    Get base tarball, extract in root directory. Presto.

    [ Reply ]

    Re: How to install Debian over another distro (Score: 2, Informative)
    by Anonymous on Tuesday, October 30 @ 19:53:52 GMT

    The best way is to create new filesystems (in the empty space you have left), unpack the base packages there (tarball + debs). Chroot to the filesystem, and install the other packages, configure the system and (when you are local, at the console) try booting from the new filesystem, so that if it doesn't work, you can go back to the old system.

    I remember that you have to make some changes to the startup files, normally this is done in the 'configure' step of the boot-floppies installation, and if you don't do this, your system will just reboot. The problem is, I don't remember the exact changes, but analize your /etc/init.d directory, as the changes are in some startup scripts.

    Chroot is your friend here... and maybe even use something like vmware to test your installation before proceding with rebooting.

    Especially since it would appear from your text that the box is remote, and cannot easily be accessed from the console.


    [ Reply ]

    Re: How to install Debian over another distro (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Wednesday, October 31 @ 18:25:58 GMT

    before chrooting you´d better cp /lib/modules/* to your chrooted /lib/modules/ directory, else you wouldn´t be able to run the new debian system with the actual linux version

    [ Reply ]

    Re: How to install Debian over another distro (Score: 2, Interesting)
    by ASleep on Tuesday, October 30 @ 20:01:11 GMT
    (User Info)

    About the secure comment "Right now it's running RH6.2 which is not the most secure around".

    Learning to secure your box rather then change distributions would be a much better idea.

    I understand that's not the only reason to switch and I'm a Debian Zelot but I don't want people to NOT learn something and assume if the change to a distribution the think is more secure it'll be all better.

    [ Reply ]

    Re: How to install Debian over another distro (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Tuesday, October 30 @ 20:02:20 GMT

    Silly Asleep.

    [ Reply ]

    Well, that's tricky;-) (Score: 1, Informative)
    by bartman77 on Tuesday, October 30 @ 20:53:37 GMT
    (User Info)

    as the one Above mentioned, if you don't have an

    additional partition to use as your future root-partition you're kinda Doomed...

    The way I would sugest is, to get a minimalisctical

    debian system running on a Local machine, insert it into a Tar-Bal and expand that on the remote-machine.

    Lilo wil do you some harm eventualy: You at first should configure the redhat kernel to accept you other (debian) root partition in another configuration. (be shure to copy the /lib/modules DIR for the kernel into the Debian stuff) if you have it all done you might want to reinstall the lilo-package. I think it's even a good Idea starting out building your own static lilo on the

    redhat stuff.

    For a remote machine I've experienced that it's always a good Idea to have a second box in reach wired up with a serial O-Modem you can even remotely use lilo! Fujitsu Siemens even has the enabilities to acces the bios-setup remotely via such a line!

    [ Reply ]

    Re: Well, that's tricky;-) (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Thursday, November 01 @ 17:16:14 GMT

    > you're kinda Doomed...

    not necessarily, I wanted to get rid of SuSE some years ago and did the following, extremly dangerous stuff:

    1. find / -exec touch -d "1980-1-1" {} ; so SuSE's files got that date

    2. installed Debian (slink) just over the running SuSE 5.1 -- I don't remember how I did that and I can't imagine a way at the moment... but I bet, I even was to stupid to change to runlevel 1...

    3. rebooted -- that failed 'cause there was something with the inittab and the runlevels

    4. changed runlevel-stuff at the inittab (needed tomsrtbt or SuSE's "Live"-CD)

    Swap 3 and 4 and it could work. But trying this at home is not recommended, definetly.

    Over the years, this "installation" apt-upgraded from slink to potato, woody and sid. No Files with SuSE's date left.

    [ Reply ]

    Re: How to install Debian over another distro (Score: 1, Informative)
    by Anonymous on Tuesday, October 30 @ 21:41:18 GMT

    As an added hint... use the GRUB bootloader, instead of the lilo loader... is something should go wrong (can't find kernel or root) you have more control from grub.


    [ Reply ]

    RedHat box rooted and converted to Debian, film at 11 (Score: 2, Informative)
    by Anonymous on Wednesday, October 31 @ 03:51:32 GMT

    Most of the posts ignore or gloss over the fact that the question was posed to include "I can't just ride over to do an install".

    The suggestions about unpacking base-files in the root dir are a good start, but the hardest part is the first reboot:

    How do you know the boot loader will find the kernel?

    How do you know the nic module will be loaded?

    How do you know the nic will be configured?

    How do you know sshd/telnetd will start?

    I'd recommend taking a lot better look at the big picture. Why don't you have physical access? Is there someone who can help you with emergency procedures?

    It even occurs to me that with all the vulnerable RH6.2 installs out there, this advice could turn into a "convert lots of RH6.2 installs to debian" attack. _I_ would find this incredibly amusing...

    In any case, to find the answer to your questions, browse and search Posts to debian-user may get you some helpful hints, or pointers.

    Keep good notes and write a HOWTO while you're at it. 🙂

    [ Reply ]

    Use VMWare (Score: 2, Informative)
    by Tor on Wednesday, October 31 @ 10:54:17 GMT
    (User Info)

    The simple way, if you use IDE disks (not SCSI):

    • Consolidate your existing partitions so that you have one primary partition (hda1 - hda4), at least 500MB or so, available.
    • Install VMWare.
    • Configure VMWare to use /dev/hda as its primary disk. (This is why SCSI disks won't work).
    • Using VMWare, install Debian on the available partition. Be sure to install LILO in such a way that you can still get back to your old OS. (Manually edit /etc/lilo.conf, and re-run "lilo").
    • Try booting the "virtual" VMWare PC into Debian. Do not boot into your existing (host) operating system!
    • Edit /etc/modules on the Debian partition to add a line reflecting the physical ethernet adapter in your system (such as "tulip" or "3c59x").

    [ Reply ]

    slow over net (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Friday, November 02 @ 20:45:10 GMT

    The original question asked how to perform the change with only ssh/telnet access. They can tunnel X over ssh, but vmware is slow already and adding that X tunnel will be even more annoying.

    Otherwise, good idea. I got VMWare in hopes of abandoning my dual-boot situation, and while I didn't actually do that, I did get to try out some *BSD distros.

    [ Reply ]

    Re: How to install Debian over another distro (Score: 1)
    by GreatJehovah on Thursday, November 01 @ 17:44:22 GMT
    (User Info)

    These don't address your full question but you may find them helpful.

    [ Reply ]

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