Commit f10701fd authored by Josip Rodin's avatar Josip Rodin

First commit of my version, 2.2.

# Makefile for a manual in the Debian Documentation Project manuals.sgml
# tree.
# The directory in which this makefile resides must also contain a file
# called <directoryname>.sgml, which is the top-level file for the manual
# in this directory.
# What is the current manual's name
#MANUAL := $(shell basename $(shell pwd))
MANUAL := debian-faq
# Where are we publishing to?
# (this can be overriden by a higher level makefile)
PUBLISHDIR := ../../../public_html/manuals.html
# What do we want by default?
all: publish
# This target installs the generated HTML in the published directory.
publish: $(MANUAL).html/index.html
# fail if there is no PUBLISHDIR
[ -d $(PUBLISHDIR) ] || exit 1
rm -f $(PUBLISHDIR)/$(MANUAL)/*.html
install -d -m 755 $(PUBLISHDIR)/$(MANUAL)
install -m 644 --preserve-timestamps $(MANUAL).html/*.html \
$(MANUAL).html/index.html: $(wildcard *.sgml)
debiandoc2html $(MANUAL).sgml
# ensure our SGML is valid
# (add this to $(MANUAL).html rule to prevent building if not)
nsgmls -gues $(MANUAL).sgml
rm -rf $(MANUAL).html
distclean: clean
.PHONY: all publish clean distclean validate
<chapt id="defs">Definitions and Overview
<sect id="whatisdebian">What is &debian;?
<P>&debian; is a particular <em>distribution</em> of the Linux
operating system, and numerous packages that run on it.
<p>In principle, users could obtain the Linux kernel via the Internet or from
elsewhere, and compile it themselves. They could then obtain source code
for many applications in the same way, compile the programs, then install
them into their systems. For complicated programs, this process can be not
only time-consuming but error-prone. To avoid it, users often choose to
obtain the operating system and the application packages from one of the
Linux distributors. What distinguishes the various Linux distributors are
the software, protocols, and practices they use for packaging, installing,
and tracking applications packages on users' systems, combined with
installation and maintenance tools, documentation, and other services.
<P>&debian; is the result of a volunteer effort to create a
free, high-quality Unix-compatible operating system, complete with
a suite of applications. The idea of a free Unix-like system
originates from the GNU project, and many of the applications that make
&debian; so useful were developed by the GNU project.
<p>For Debian, free has the GNUish meaning (see the <url name="Debian Free
Software Guidelines" id="">).
When we speak of free software, we are referring to freedom, not
price. Free software means that you have the freedom to distribute copies
of free software, that you receive source code or can get it
if you want it, that you can change the software or use pieces of it
in new free programs; and that you know you can do these things.
<p>The Debian Project was created by Ian Murdock in 1993, initially under
the sponsorship of the Free Software Foundation's GNU project. Today,
Debian's developers think of it as a direct descendent of the GNU project.
&debian; is
<item><strong>full featured</strong>: Debian includes more than 3900
software packages at present. Users can select which packages to install;
Debian provides a tool for this purpose. You can find a list and
descriptions of the packages currently available in Debian at any of the
Debian <url id="" name="mirror
<item><strong>free to use and redistribute</strong>: There is no consortium
membership or payment required to participate in its distribution and
development. All packages that are formally part of &debian; are
free to redistribute, usually under terms specified by the GNU General
Public License.
The Debian FTP archives also carry approximately &nonfree-contrib-pkgs;
software packages (in the <tt>non-free</tt> and <tt>contrib</tt> sections),
which are distributable under specific terms included with each package.
<item><strong>dynamic</strong>: With about &developers; volunteers
constantly contributing new and improved code, Debian is evolving rapidly.
New releases are planned to be made every several months, and the FTP
archives are updated daily.
<P>Though &debian; itself is free software, it is a base upon which
value-added Linux distributions can be built. By providing a reliable,
full-featured base system, Debian provides Linux users with increased
compatibility, and allows Linux distribution creators to eliminate
duplication of effort and focus on the things that make their distribution
<sect id="linux">OK, now I know what Debian is... what is Linux?!
<P>In short, Linux is the kernel of a Unix-like operating system. It was
originally designed for 386 (and better) PCs; now, ports to other systems,
including multi-processor systems, are under development. Linux is written
by Linus Torvalds and many computer scientists around the world.
<P>Besides its kernel, a "Linux" system usually has:
<item>a file system that follows the Linux Filesystem Hierarchy Standard
<url id="">.
<item>a wide range of Unix utilities, many of which have been
developed by the GNU project and the Free Software Foundation.
<P>The combination of the Linux kernel, the filesystem, the GNU and FSF
utilities, and the other utilities are designed to achieve compliance with
the POSIX (IEEE 1003.1) standard; see <ref id="otherunices">.
<P>For more information about Linux, see Michael K. Johnson's
<url id="" name="INFO-SHEET">
and <url id="" name="META-FAQ">.
<sect id="hurd">What is this new "Hurd" thing?
<p>Please see <url id=""> for more
information about the GNU/Hurd.
<sect id="difference">What is the difference between &debian; and other
Linux distributions?
<P>These key features distinguish Debian from other Linux distributions:
<tag/The Debian package maintenance system:/
The entire system, or any individual component of it, can be upgraded in
place without reformatting, without losing custom configuration files, and
(in most cases) without rebooting the system. Most Linux distributions
available today have some kind of package maintenance system; the
Debian package maintenance system is unique and particularly robust.
(see <ref id="pms">)
<!-- This is unsatisfactory without some anecdotal or analytical evidence.
SGK -->
<tag/Open development:/
Whereas other Linux distributions are developed by individuals, small,
closed groups, or commercial vendors, Debian is the only Linux
distribution that is being developed cooperatively by many individuals
through the Internet, in the same spirit as Linux and other free software.
More than &developers; volunteer package maintainers are working on over
&all-pkgs; packages and improving &debian;. The Debian developers contribute
to the project not by writing new applications (in most cases), but by
packaging existing software according to the standards of the project,
by communicating bug reports to upstream developers, and by providing user
support. See also additional information on how to become a contributor
in <ref id="contrib">.
<tag/The Bug Tracking System:/
The geographical dispersion of the Debian developers required sophisticated
tools and quick communication of bugs and bug-fixes to accelerate the
development of the system.
Users are encouraged to send bugs in a formal style, which are quickly
accessible by WWW archives or via e-mail.
See additional information in this FAQ on the management of the bug log in
<ref id="bugs">.
<!-- XXX develop a metric for bug-fixing
We ought to have some metric that tells us exactly how fast bugs are
fixed. This would provide a challenge to the rest of the software industry.
"Until year 2000, our bug tracking system had processed over fifty thousand
bug reports, one fifth of which are still open." -Joy -->
<tag/The Debian Policy:/
Only Debian has an extensive specification of our standards of
quality, the Debian Policy. This document defines the qualities and
standards to which we hold Debian packages.
<sect id="gnu">How does the Debian project fit in or compare with the
Free Software Foundation's GNU project?
<P>The Debian system builds on the ideals of free software first
championed by the Free Software Foundation <url id="">
and in particular by Richard Stallman. FSF's powerful system development
tools, utilities, and applications are also a key part of the Debian system.
<P>The Debian Project is a separate entity from the FSF, however we
communicate regularly and cooperate on various projects. The FSF
explicitly requested that we call our system "&debian;", and
we are happy to comply with that request.
<P>The FSF's long-standing objective is to develop a new operating system
called GNU based on HURD (<url id="">),
<sect id="pronunciation">How does one pronounce Debian and what does this
word mean?
<P>The project name is pronounced Deb'-ian, with a short e, and emphasis on
the first syllable. This word is a contraction of the names of Debra and
Ian Murdock, who founded the project. (Dictionaries seem to offer some
ambiguity in the pronunciation of Ian (!), but Ian prefers ee'-an.)
<chapt id="bugs">The Debian Bug Report System
<sect id="buglogs">Are there logs of known bugs?
<P>The &debian; distribution has a bug tracking system which files
details of bugs reported by users and developers. Each bug is given a
number, and is kept on file until it is marked as having been dealt with.
Copies of this information are available at <url id="">.
A mail server provides access to the bug tracking system database via
e-mail. In order to get the instructions send an e-mail to with "help" in the body.
<sect id="bugreport">How do I report a bug in Debian?
<P>If you have found a bug in Debian, please read the instructions for
reporting a bug in Debian. These instructions can be obtained in one of
several ways:
<item>By anonymous FTP. Debian mirror sites contain the instructions in
the file <tt>doc/bug-reporting.txt</tt>.
<item>From the WWW. A copy of the instructions is shown at
<url id="">.
<item>On any Debian system with the <tt>doc-debian</tt> package installed.
The instructions are in the file <tt><url id="file:/usr/doc/debian/bug-reporting.txt"
Use these mail addresses for bugs:
<item> for general bug reports. Expect to
get an automatic acknowledgement of your bug report. It will also be
automatically given a bug tracking number, entered into the bug log
and forwarded to the debian-bugs-dist mailing list.
<item> to send bug reports to the maintainer
only. It will not be forwarded to the debian-bugs-dist mailing list.
<!-- Now that Lintian exists and reporting several bugs is discouraged,
it is better to comment this out. SVD
For example, if one were to identify a bug that was common to many programs,
then rather than entering dozens of bug reports, one might prefer to
send individual bugs to maintonly, then send a summary report to
debian-bugs-dist. -->
<item> to submit bug reports to the bug log only,
without having them sent either to debian-bugs-dist or to the maintainer.
Please, note that there is a Debian package checker called
<url id="" name="Lintian">, which is
designed to mechanically check Debian packages for policy violations and
common packaging errors. Thus, if you detect a bug in a package which is
likely to appear in other packages too, it might be better to get in
contact with the Lintian maintainers at <email/
so that a new check is written for Lintian instead of reporting the bug
directly. This will prevent the bug to appear in future versions of the
package again, or in any other package of the distribution.
This diff is collapsed.
<chapt id="contributing">Contributing to the Debian project
<P>Donations of time (to develop new packages, maintain existing packages,
or provide user support), resources (to mirror the FTP and WWW archives),
and money (to pay for new testbeds as well as hardware for the archives)
can help the project.
<sect id="contrib">How can I become a Debian software developer?
<P>The development of Debian is open to all, and new users with the right
skills and/or the willingness to learn are needed to maintain existing
packages which have been "orphaned" by their previous maintainers, to
develop new packages, and to provide user support.
<P>All the details about becoming a Debian developer may now be found in the
<package/developers-reference/ package. You should therefore install this
package and read it carefully.
<P>An on-line version of developers-reference is available
<url id=""
<sect id="contribresources">How can I contribute resources to the Debian
<P>Since the project aims to make a substantial body of software rapidly
and easily accessible throughout the globe, mirrors are urgently needed.
It is desirable but not absolutely necessary to mirror all of the archive.
The current components amount to just over 12 GBytes, broken down roughly
as follows:
<!-- XXX keep numbers up-to-date -->
<!-- Note: These are figures for *all* the archs. -->
<!-- Note: slink has four archs: i386, m68k, alpha and sparc -->
<item>slink/main: 3190 MBytes.
<item>slink/contrib: 210 MBytes.
<item>slink/non-free: 570 MBytes.
<item>potato: 6370 MBytes (it will surely grow at release time).
<item>sid: 1760 MBytes.
Most of the mirroring is accomplished entirely automatically by scripts,
without any human intervention. However, the occasional glitch or system
change occurs which requires human intervention.
<P>If you have a high-speed connection to the Internet, the resources to
mirror all or part of the distribution, and are willing to take the time
(or find someone) who can provide regular maintenance of the system,
then please contact <tt></tt>.
<sect id="supportingorganizations">How can I contribute financially to the
Debian project?
<P>One can make individual donations to one of two organizations that
are critical to the development of the Debian project.
<sect1 id="SPI">Software in the Public Interest
<P>Software in the Public Interest (SPI) is an IRS 501(c)(3) non-profit
organization, formed when FSF withdrew their sponsorship of Debian.
The purpose of the organization is to develop and distribute free software.
<p>Our goals are very much like those of FSF, and we encourage programmers
to use the GNU General Public License on their programs. However, we have
a slightly different focus in that we are building and distributing
a Linux system that diverges in many technical details from the GNU system
planned by FSF. We still communicate with FSF, and we cooperate in sending
them changes to GNU software and in asking our users to donate to FSF and
the GNU project.
SPI can be reached at: <url id="">.
<sect1 id="FSF">Free Software Foundation
<P>At this time there is no formal connection between Debian and the Free
Software Foundation. However, the Free Software Foundation is
responsible for some of the most important software components in
Debian, including the GNU C compiler, GNU Emacs, and much of the C
run-time library that is used by all programs on the system. FSF pioneered
much of what free software is today: they wrote the General Public
License that is used on much of the Debian software, and they invented
the "GNU" project to create an entirely free Unix system. Debian should
be considered a descendent of the GNU system.
FSF can be reached at: <url id="">.
This diff is collapsed.
<!DOCTYPE debiandoc PUBLIC "-//DebianDoc//DTD DebianDoc//EN" [
<!entity % faqstaticdata SYSTEM "faqstatic.ent" > %faqstaticdata;
<!entity % faqdynamicdata SYSTEM "faqdynamic.ent" > %faqdynamicdata;
<title>The &debian; FAQ
<author><ref id="authors"></author>
<version>version &docversion;, &docdate;</version>
This document answers questions frequently asked about &debian;.
See <ref id="copyright">.
<toc detail="sect">
<!-- &debian; shorthand -->
<!entity debian "Debian GNU/Linux">
<!-- some variables -->
<!entity release "2.2">
<!entity developers "500">
<!entity main-pkgs "3750">
<!entity nonfree-contrib-pkgs "450">
<!entity all-pkgs "4200">
<!-- filenames -->
<!entity ToDoList SYSTEM "todo.sgml">
<!entity MetaQ SYSTEM "meta-questions.sgml">
<!entity Defs SYSTEM "basic_defs.sgml">
<!entity Compat SYSTEM "compat.sgml">
<!entity Software SYSTEM "software.sgml">
<!entity Ftpsite SYSTEM "ftpsite.sgml">
<!entity Pkgbas SYSTEM "pack_bas.sgml">
<!entity Pkgtools SYSTEM "pkgtools.sgml">
<!entity Getting SYSTEM "getting.sgml">
<!entity Uptodate SYSTEM "uptodate.sgml">
<!entity Kernel SYSTEM "kernel.sgml">
<!entity Customizing SYSTEM "customizing.sgml">
<!entity Support SYSTEM "support.sgml">
<!entity Bugs SYSTEM "bugs.sgml">
<!entity Contrib SYSTEM "contrib.sgml">
<!entity Redist SYSTEM "redist.sgml">
<!entity Nexttime SYSTEM "nexttime.sgml">
<!entity configS SYSTEM "config.standard">
<chapt id="ftparchives">The Debian FTP archives
<sect id="dirtree">What are all those directories at the Debian FTP archives?
<P>The software that has been packaged for &debian; is available in one
of several directory trees on each Debian mirror site.
<p>The directory <tt>dists</tt> contains the "distributions", and it is
the canonical way to access the currently available Debian releases.
<sect id="dists">How many Debian distributions are there in the
<tt>dists</tt> directory?
<P>Normally there are two distributions, the "stable" distribution and
the "unstable" distribution. Sometimes there is also a "frozen" distribution
(see <ref id="frozen">).
<sect id="codenames">What are all those names like slink, potato, etc.?
<P>They are just "codenames". When a Debian distribution is in the
development stage, it has no version number but a codename. The purpose
of these codenames is to make easier the mirroring of the Debian
distributions (if a real directory like <tt>unstable</tt> suddenly changed
its name to <tt>stable</tt>, a lot of stuff would have to be needlessly
downloaded again).
<P>Currently, <tt>stable</tt> is a symlink to <tt>slink</tt> (i.e. &debian;
2.1) and <tt>unstable</tt> is a symlink to <tt>potato</tt>, which means
that <tt>slink</tt> is the current stable distribution and <tt>potato</tt>
is the current unstable distribution.
<sect id="frozen">What about "frozen"?
<P>When the unstable distribution is mature enough, it becomes frozen,
meaning no new code is accepted anymore, just bugfixes, if necessary.
Also, a new unstable tree is created in the <tt>dists</tt> directory,
having a new codename. After a month or two of testing, the frozen
distribution becomes stable, it is released, and the previous stable
distribution becomes obsolete (and moves to the archive).
<sect id="oldcodenames">Which other codenames have been used in the past?
<P>Other codenames that have been already used are: <tt>buzz</tt> for
release 1.1, <tt>rex</tt> for release 1.2, <tt>bo</tt> for releases 1.3.x,
and <tt>hamm</tt> for release 2.0.
<sect id="sourceforcodenames">Where do these codenames come from?
<P>So far they have been characters taken from the movie "Toy Story" by Pixar.
<sect id="sid">What about "sid"?
<P>It is a special distribution for architectures which haven't yet been
released for the first time.
<P>When sid did not exist, the FTP site organization had one major flaw:
there was an assumption that when an architecture is created in the current
unstable, it will be released when that distribution becomes the new
stable. For many architectures that isn't the case, with the result that
those directories had to be moved at release time, chewing up lots of
<P>For those architectures not yet released, the first time they are
released there will be a link from the current stable to sid, and from
then on they will be created inside the unstable tree as normal. sid will
never be released nor even accessed directly - only through symlinks
in the current stable, frozen, or unstable trees. It is a mix of
released and unreleased architectures.
<sect id="sourceforsid">Where does the "sid" name come from?
<P>Sid was the boy next door who destroyed toys :-) Also from the "Toy
Story" animated motion picture.
<sect id="stable">What does the stable directory contain?
This directory contains the packages which formally constitute the most
recent release of the &debian; system.
<p>These packages all comply with the <url name="Debian Free Software
Guidelines" id="">,
and are all freely usable and distributable.
<item>stable/non-free/: This directory contains packages distribution of
which is restricted in a way that requires that distributors take careful
account of the specified copyright requirements.
<p>For example, some packages have licenses which prohibit commercial
distribution. Others can be redistributed but are in fact shareware
and not freeware. The licenses of each of these packages must be
studied, and possibly negotiated, before the packages are included in
any redistribution (e.g., in a CD-ROM).
<item>stable/contrib/: This directory contains packages which are
DFSG-free and <em>freely distributable</em> themselves, but somehow depend
on a package that is <em/not/ freely distributable and thus available only
in the non-free section.
<sect id="unstable">What does the unstable directory contain?
<P>Unstable contains a snapshot of the current development system. Users
are welcome to use and test these packages, but are warned about their state
of readiness. The advantage of using the unstable distribution is that you
are always up-to-date with the latest in GNU/Linux software industry, and
if it breaks: you get to keep both parts :-)
<p>There are also main, contrib and non-free subdirectories in unstable.
<sect id="archsections">What are all those directories inside
<P>Within each of the major directory trees (<tt>dists/stable/main</tt>,
<tt>dists/stable/contrib</tt>, <tt>dists/stable/non-free</tt>, and
<tt>dists/unstable/main/</tt>, etc. but not <tt>project/experimental/</tt>,
which is too small to subdivide), the binary packages reside in
sub-directories whose names indicate the chip architecture for which they
were compiled:
<item>binary-all/, for packages which are architecture-independent.
These include, for example, Perl scripts, or pure documentation.
<item>binary-i386/, for packages which execute on 80x86 PC machines.
<item>binary-m68k/, for packages which execute on machines based on one
of the Motorola 680x0 processors. Currently this is done mainly for
Atari and Amiga computers, and also for some VME based industry standard
There is no port of Linux to the old m68k based Macintoshes,
because Apple did not supply the needed hardware information.
still true?
<item>binary-sparc/, for packages which execute on Sun Sparcstations.
<item>binary-alpha/, for packages which execute on DEC Alpha machines.
<item>binary-powerpc/, for packages which execute on PowerPC machines.
<item>binary-arm/, for packages which execute on ARM machines.
<item>binary-hurd-i386/, for GNU/Hurd packages which execute on
80x86 machines. (see <ref id="hurd">)
<sect id="source">Where is the source code?
<P>Source code is included for everything in the Debian system. Moreover,
the license terms of most programs in the system <em>require</em> that
source code be distributed along with the programs, or that an offer to
provide the source code accompany the programs.
<P>Normally the source code is distributed in the "source" directories,
which are parallel to all the architecture-specific binary directories.
<P>Source code may or may not be available for packages in the "contrib"
and "non-free" directories, which are not formally part of the Debian system.
<sect id="otherdirs">Ok, what about the other directories, not inside
<P>There are the following supplementary directories:
<item>"tools/": DOS utilities for creating boot disks, partitioning
your disk drive, compressing/decompressing files, and booting Linux.
<item>"doc/": Documentation, instructions on how to submit
bug reports.
<item>"project/": mostly developer-only materials, such as:
<item>"project/experimental/": This directory contains packages
and tools which are still being developed, and are still in the
alpha testing stage. Users shouldn't be using packages from here,
because they can be dangerous and harmful even for most experienced
<item>"private/project/Incoming/": Packages that have been uploaded
by developers, and which are awaiting placement in the directory
hierarchy by the FTP distribution maintainer.
<item>"indices/": Various lists, including the <tt>Packages-Master</tt>
<chapt id="getdeb">Getting and Installing &debian;
<sect id="version">What is the latest version of Debian?
<P>Currently there are two versions of &debian;:
<!-- XXX this needs to be changed for potato! -->
<item>"2.1", a.k.a. "stable". This is stable software, but it may change
when major fixes are incorporated.
<item>the "unstable" version, future "2.2". This is the version currently
under development; it is updated continuously. You can retrieve packages
from the "unstable" archive on any Debian FTP site and use them to upgrade
your system at any time, but you may not expect the system to be as usable
or as stable as before - that's why it's called "unstable"!
<p>It is planned that this will become a new Debian release several months
after the last release.
<sect id="boot-floppies">Where/how can I get the Debian installation disks?
<P>You can get the installation disks by downloading the appropriate files
from the Debian FTP site: <url id="">
and its <url name="mirrors" id="">.
<sect id="cdrom">How do I get and install the Debian from CD-ROM?
<P>Linux supports the ISO 9660 (CD-ROM) file system with Rock Ridge
extensions (formerly known as "High Sierra"). Several <url name="vendors"
id=""> provide &debian; in this format.
<P>Warning: When installing from CD-ROM, it is usually not a good idea
to choose dselect's <tt>cdrom</tt> access method. This method is usually
very slow.
The <tt>mountable</tt> and <tt>apt</tt> methods, for example, are much
better for installing from CD-ROM.
<sect id="cdimages">I have my own CD-writer, are there CD images available
<P>Yes. To make it easier for CD vendors to provide high quality
disks we provide the <url id="" name="Official
CD images">.
<sect id="floppy">How can I get/install the Debian from a set of floppy disks?
<P>Copy the Debian packages onto formatted floppy disks. Either a DOS,
the native Linux "ext2", or the "minix" format will do; one just has to
use a mount command appropriate to the floppy being used.
<P>Using floppy disks has these complications:
<item>Short MS-DOS filenames: If you are trying to place Debian package
files onto MS-DOS formatted disks, you will find that their names
are generally too long, and do not conform to the MS-DOS 8.3 filename
limitation. To overcome this, Debian developers make all of their
packages available by 8.3 filenames in separate "msdos" subdirectories
(<tt>stable/msdos-i386/</tt>, <tt>contrib/msdos-i386/</tt> and
<tt>non-free/msdos-i386/</tt>). The files in these subdirectories are
merely symbolic links to the Debian archive files; the files do not
differ from the files in the <tt>binary-i386/</tt>, etc. directories.
<item>Large file sizes: Some packages are larger than 1.44 MBytes, and
will not fit onto a single floppy disk. To solve this problem, use the
dpkg-split tool (see <ref id="dpkg-split">), available in the
<tt>tools</tt> directory at <url id="">
and its <url name="mirrors" id="">.
<P>You must have support in the kernel for floppy disks in order to read and
write to floppy disk; most kernels come with floppy drive support included
in them.
<P>To mount a floppy disk under the mount point <tt>/floppy</tt>
(a directory which should have been created during installation), use:
<item><tt>mount -t msdos /dev/fd0 /floppy/</tt>
if the floppy disk is in drive A: and has an MS-DOS filesystem,
<item><tt>mount -t msdos /dev/fd1 /floppy/</tt>
if the floppy disk is in drive B: and has an MS-DOS filesystem,
<item><tt>mount -t ext2 /dev/fd0 /floppy/</tt>
if the floppy disk is in drive A: and has an ext2 (i.e., a normal Linux)
<sect id="anonftp">How can I get and install Debian directly from a remote
(anonymous) FTP site?
<!-- this must all be replaced by instructions for using APT -->
<P>Install the Debian package <package/dpkg-ftp/ (see <ref id="howtocurrent">).
For details on installing a package, see <ref id="dpkg">.
<P>Then invoke the program <tt>dselect</tt>, which will call <tt>dpkg-ftp</tt>
for you, guide you through the selection of packages, then install the
packages, without every downloading the packages themselves to your machine.
This method is designed to save the user both disk space and time.
Note that no special kernel configuration is needed to access and
install Debian packages by this method.
<P>To use this service of <tt>dselect</tt>, you will need to know:
<item>the fully qualified domain name of the anonymous ftp site you
plan to use.
<item>the directory which contains the files you want to install, or the
subdirectories which contain files you want to install. This directory
must contain a file called "Packages" (or its compressed equivalent,
<!-- XXX potential /var overflow -->
<sect id="atape">How can I get and install Debian from a tape?
<!-- obsolete? -->
<P>At present, installing packages directly from tape is not supported.
One can however, use <tt>tar</tt>, <tt>cpio</tt>, or <tt>afio</tt> to
copy Debian archive files onto a tape, then copy them onto your local
disk for installation. In the same vein, floppy disks containing "tar"
files would have to be copied onto a local disk before they could be
managed with the Debian package tools.
<chapt id="kernel">Debian and the kernel
<sect id="custker">What tools does Debian provide to build custom kernels?
<P>Users who wish to (or must) build a custom kernel are encouraged to
download the package <package/kernel-package/ (it is stored in section
<tt>misc</tt> at the Debian FTP archives). This package contains
the script to build the kernel package, and provides the capability to
create a Debian kernel-image package just by running the command
<tt>make-kpkg kernel_image</tt> in the top-level kernel source directory.