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Installing Debian Sarge

I connected the power, video, keyboard, network and phone cables and inserted the Debian "sarge" CD I had burned eariler. Once the Debian boot screen came up I entered:

linux26

at the prompt as I wanted to use the 2.6 kernel over the default 2.4 kernel. The new sarge installer is quite slick and it doesn't take a lot of Linux knowledge to get Debian running. I accepted all of the default options the installer presented. Although an IP address was picked up automatically from my router through DHCP, if you're not using a DHCP server or need to configure a static address, the installer will prompt you for a few extra steps. You can always type:

man interfaces

after the installation for documentation on configuring your network.

When it came to drive partitioning, I chose to erase the entire disk and install all files onto one partition and instaled the Grub boot loader to the master boot record. After the install finishes, the CD will be ejected and the system will then reboot from the hard drive.

Once the reboot finishes, you will arrive at the base system configuration menu, where you'll need to complete the following steps:

  • Select your time zone
  • Assign the root password
  • Cancel creating a normal user
  • Configure apt which is debian's package management tool. I chose HTTP for the method and accepted the default mirror.

If you'd like to receive email notifications for new voicemails, you can choose: Configure the Mail Transfer Agent. Configuring Debian as a mail server is beyond the scope of this article, however, if you accept all defaults and choose Internet site, there is a good chance it might work. Note that you can always skip this step and come back to it later by typing:

base-config

Finally, choose Finish configuring the base system and congratulations, Debian is installed.

Since I didn't create any users, I logged in as root to determine the IP address that DHCP had given out. At the command line type:

ifconfig eth0 | grep 'inet addr'

I made note that my IP address was 10.1.0.103, as I find it easier to use remote management through SSH (secure shell) from my workstation where I can have my web browser and multiple SSH sessions open at the same time. Of course, remote management is optional and you can continue to work directly on the Asterisk PC if you prefer.

To prepare the PC for remote management, you'll need to download and install SSH, which you can do via apt:

aptitude install ssh

Once again, I accepted all suggested defaults and the install went without a hitch.

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