Things to Do After Installing Debian 7 Wheezy Netinst | Minimal Debian 7 Base With i3 Window Manager

You’ve installed Debian 7 codenamed Wheezy NetInst; now what? Well, your base Debian is ready. Now you’re free to install whatever you want according to your choice. Now onward, everything you’ll install would depend on what you want or how you want your system to be. In my case, I want a minimal system with Debian base (of course!) with i3the i3 window manager. Other necessary applications would find their way in.

  • After Debian NetInst installation is done, boot up your Debian. Log in with your username and password.
  • You’ll see nothing except terminal like shell there. Now the first thing you do is connect to the Internet. This is the prerequisite for the next steps. If you’re using DSL connection or dial-up networking, then you can follow this post.
  • Assuming you’ve configured your Internet, and have established a working Internet connection, we’d move on. You’ve to edit the sources.list to the latest stable version, aka Wheezy repository. Execute the following:

nano /etc/apt/sources.list

  • Now select everything there and delete them. Now copy-paste the following in sources.list file and save the file.

deb http://http.debian.net/debian wheezy main
debsrc http://http.debian.net/debian wheezy main

deb http://http.debian.net/debian wheezy-updates main
debsrc http://http.debian.net/debian wheezy-updates main

deb http://security.debian.org/ wheezy/updates main
debsrc http://security.debian.org/ wheezy/updates main

  • If you want to use non-free and proprietary software in Debian, add contrib and non-free after main in all of the aforementioned repo sources. Now save the sources.list file and close it.
  • Now execute the following command to update your system.

sudo apt-get update

  • Install xorg and i3 window manager. NB. Here I’ve chosen i3wm as my window manager. You can install other WMs e.g. awesome, xmonad, dwm etc. Or other DEs e.g. GNOME, KDE, Xfce etc.

apt-get install xorg i3

  • Install any terminal emulator your want. I prefer rxvt-unicode.

apt-get install rxvt-unicode

  • I use Mobile broadband Internet frequently. That’s why I’ve to use Network Manager. A great alternative’s there named wicd. But I heard it doesn’t support mobile broadband. So I’ve to stick with network-manager-gnome. It works great, but the problem is it has lots of GNOME dependencies.

apt-get install network-manager-gnome

  • After the installation is done, execute the following to log into i3wm.

startx

  • This command would open the i3wm right away. You might want to use a display manager. That way you don’t have to use startx everytime i3wm boots up. I prefer LightDM. It’s lightweight, and doesn’t have lots of dependencies like GDM.
apt-get install lightdm
  • If you’ve never used i3 or for that matter, any other window manager before, then it might seem awkward. You’ll only see a bare panel, named i3bar. But you’ll get the basics of using i3wm eventually and with no time. i3 has a great user guide which would make your work easier.
  • Now install alsa to get sound working.

apt-get install alsa-base alsa-utils

  • Now execute the following command to see if everything is working as they supposed to for alsa.
alsamixer
  • See whether everything there is up to 100%. Another thing is, if anything there is MM, make them to 00 to make the sound work. MM denoted mute. You can toggle them using m key from the keyboard.
  • You can use any GUI based file manager e.g. Nautilus, Thunar, PcManFM etc. Nautilus is great, but has lots of GNOME dependencies as well. So you may want to go with Thunar or PcManFM. Both are great. If you want, you can use terminal based file manager e.g. Midnight commander (MC), ranger etc. Or the beach itself. I’m installing PcManFM here, because it’s like Thunar and it has the tab feature.
apt-get install pcmanfm
  • I prefer Firefox for day to day web browsing. Of course you can install other browsers. For Firefox, it’s re-branded here as Iceweasel. Iceweasel is basically Firefox without branding.
apt-get install iceweasel
  • I use nano mostly as the text editor. It’s terminal based and installed by default. You might want to install a GUI based text editor. I’m installing here geany, which is comparatively lightweight and has lots of features and plugins.
apt-get install geany
  • I use VLC media player for multimedia purposes. You can also use minimalistic terminal based media player e.g. mpv.

apt-get install vlc

  • I use feh image viewer. It’s terminal based and very powerful. You can also use any GUI based image viewer. GPicView is a great one. It’s simple, has basic feature, but the one feature that stands out it from the crowd is it’s image viewing capacity. No matter how large the image file is, it would open it instantly.

apt-get install feh

  • I use Evince document reader for PDF reading purposes. There’s other lightweight alternatives are here.

apt-get install evince

  • Almost everything is there to get your system working fully. You can install others according to your need. And tweak your system like editing the default configuration file of i3wm. But that’s up to you.Now upgrade your system.
apt-get update
apt-get upgrade
apt-get dist-upgrade
That’s it. You can tweak your system and play with it afterwards. The basic playground is set up.
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