The Debian System: Concepts and Techniques

Front Cover
No Starch Press, 2005 - Computers - 605 pages
3 Reviews

The Debian GNU/Linux operating system approaches Linux system administration differently than other popular Linux distributions, favoring text-based configuration mechanisms over graphical user interfaces (GUIs). Debian may appear simplistic and even slightly outdated, but it is actually very robust, scalable, and secure. Debian's open development cycle and strict quality control by the developers help Debian to constantly gain popularity, despite its reputation as an operating system just for professionals and hardcore computer hobbyists.

The Debian System introduces the concepts and techniques of the Debian operating system, explaining their usage and pitfalls, and illustrating the thinking behind each of the approaches. The book's goal is to give the reader enough insight into the workings of the Debian project and operating system so that they will understand the solutions that have evolved as part of the Debian system over the past decade. While targeted at the well-versed UNIX/Linux administrator, the book can also serve as an excellent resource alongside a standard Linux reference to quickly orient the reader to Debian's unique philosophy and structure. Co-published with Open Source Press, an independent publisher based in Munich that specializes in the field of free and open source software.

  

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The Debian System

User Review  - cutterx - Overstock.com

This is a great book for people already familiar with linux and the Debian interface. If youre a newbie to linux look elsewhere because this book will just leave you confused. however, this book is an ... Read full review

Review: The Debian System: Concepts and Techniques

User Review  - Mark Azevedo - Goodreads

This is a great book for getting to know Debian. I've been using the OS for 2 years now and have known enough to keep Debian running (which is to say, almost nothing.) While I'm being modest, this ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Introduction
17
11 About this book
19
12 Target audience
20
123 The Debian user
21
124 The Linux apprentice
22
14 Final notes
24
143 An urgent plea for feedback
25
16 Acknowledgements
26
631 The system initialisation process
292
632 Regular maintenance processes
305
64 Backups
307
65 Device management
309
652 kmodthe kernel autoloader
315
653 Loading modules during startup
316
67 Log file management
317
671 Monitoring logs with logcheck
321

The Debian project in a nutshell
29
21 A history lesson
30
22 The Debian philosophy
34
221 Debianand its users
37
222Freebeer and free speech
39
223 Debianand the market
43
23 Licencing issues
44
24 The Debian community
46
24 2Social aspects of the community
50
243 Social aspects of the group of developers
52
25 Helping the Debian project
57
251 Contributing to the project
58
252 Becoming a Debian developer
62
26 The Debian swirl
65
Installing Debian the right way
67
31 The Debian installer
68
311 Features of the new installer
69
312 System requirements
70
32 The minimalistic approach to installation
71
321 Installing the base system
72
322 Configuring the base system
94
33 Configuring the X server
96
331 An overview of X in Debian
97
332 Integrating automatic hardware detection
98
333 Dealing with unsupported hardware
99
334 Customising the X session
100
Debian releases and archives
103
41 Structure of the Debian archive
105
411 The package pool
106
412 Package indices
107
413 The Release files
108
43 The official releases
110
432 The testing release
111
433 The stable release
113
44 Unofficial APT archives
114
442 The volatile archive
115
443 The amd64 archive
116
446 The aptgetorg directory
118
45 Architecture support
119
451 80386 the processor
121
452 The amd64 architecture
122
453 Multiarch
123
The Debian package management system
125
52 Introducing Debian packages
128
522 Package priorities
130
523 Anatomy of binary packages
131
524 The controlfiles
134
dpkg
135
531 Handling binary packages
137
532 Installing packages
139
533 Configuration file handling
141
534 Interacting with the package database
144
535 Deinstalling packages
151
536 Overriding dpkgs sanity and policy checks
153
537 Dealing with errors in packages
156
538 dpkg configuration
159
APT
163
541 Specifying repositories
164
542 APT configuration
168
543 Installing packages
170
544 Searching the APT database
175
545 Inquiring about package dependencies
177
546 Deinstalling and purging packages
179
547 Seamless upgrades
181
548 Enacting requests with APT
184
549 APT housekeeping
186
5411 aptitude
188
5412 synaptic
197
55 Debian tasks
198
56 Package management compared
199
the Debian policy
202
571 The sacred configuration files
205
572 Mediating between packages
207
573 Package relations
209
574 The File system Hierarchy Standard FHS
214
575 Version numbers
217
576 Upgrading packages
219
configuration of Debian packages
220
581 An overview of debconf
221
582 Priority levels
222
583 debconf frontends
223
584Reconfiguringpackages
224
585 debconf in action
225
586 Using a remote database backend
227
587 Problems and shortcomings
230
59 Modifying packages
232
592 Repacking packages
238
510 Integrating nonDebian software
239
5101 alien
240
5102 checkinstall
241
5103 equivs
242
511 Miscellaneous package tools
243
5112 aptlistchanges
244
5113 aptlistbugs
246
5115 deborphan
247
debfoster
248
5117 Caching APT archives
249
debmirror
253
5119 Enhanced queries of the package database
254
51110 Package popularity contest
256
51111 Purposely omitted tools
257
5121 Kernel support
258
5122 Anatomy of the kernel packages
259
5123 Sourcesheadersand documentation
266
5124 Kernel modules and patches
267
Debian system administration
271
61 Fundamentals
272
612 Overriding permissions
274
613 Overriding files
275
614 The alternatives system
276
615 The Debian menu system
278
62 Users and authentication
281
622 User and group management
284
623 PAM Pluggable Authentication Modules
290
63 System initialisation and automatic processes
291
68 Network configuration management
323
682 Using DHCP to obtain a network address
338
683 Managingetcresolvconf
339
684 Connectivity via PPP
342
685 Integrating PCMCIA network cards
349
686 Integrating wireless network interfaces
350
687 Miscellaneous network options
351
69 Administering inetd the Internet superserver
352
610 Integrated management tools
354
6102 feta
355
611 System administration resources
356
Security of the Debian system
357
71 Handling security problems
359
72 Security updates
363
73 Security out of the box
366
74 Package quality
368
75 Package integrity
369
75 1Manual verification of package integrity
371
752 Secure APT
373
753 debsigs and dpkgsig
377
Advanced concepts
381
81 Building kernel packages with makekpkg
382
811 Using initial ram disks
385
812 Patching the kernel
386
813 Compiling modules
388
814 Crosscompiling for other architectures
391
815 Symlink farming
393
82 Mixing releases
394
821 Pinning releases with APT
395
822 Selecting target releases
401
823 Extending APTs internal cache
403
824 Mixing releases and security updates
404
825 aptitude and multiple releases
406
831 Bootstrapping an installation
407
832 Booting the installation from the network PXE
421
833 Customising the installer
423
834 Preseeding the installer
424
Fully automatic installations
426
Creating Debian packages
431
91 Manual packaging
432
92 Debianising with the package maintainer tools
436
921 A closer look at source packages
437
922 Investigating the upstream source tree
439
923 dh_make
441
924 Building source packages
444
925 Jumpstarting with dh_make
445
926 Writing debianrules
449
927 Modifying the debian files
451
928 Creating the DEB file
455
929 Cleaning the source tree
458
9210 Splitting and updating a package
460
9211 The debhelper suite
465
9212 The changes file
473
9213 Verifying new packages
475
9214 Signing the package files
477
9215 Checking packages
478
9216 Automating the package build
479
93 Local APT repositories
482
932 Upload tools
484
933 Automated repository management
486
94 Advanced package concepts
489
942 Using debconf
490
943 Library packages
498
95 Alternative build tools
501
96 Automating clean builds with pbuilder
504
961 Setting up a base tarball
505
962 Building packages with pbuilder
506
963 Using pbuilder to set up test systems
508
964 Mounting host directories inside the chroot
510
Documentation and resources
513
101 Local documentation
514
1021 Official documentation and manuals
515
1022 Semiofficial resources
517
103 Printed resources
520
104 Discussion forums
521
1042 Web forums
527
1043 IRC Internet Relay Chat
528
105 Contacting people
530
106 The bug tracking system
532
1061 Querying the BTS
533
1062 Querying bugs from the command line
534
1063 Bug severities
536
1064 Bug tags
538
1065 Reporting bugs
539
1066 Mail traffic following a bug report
544
1067 Interacting with the BTS
545
1068 Bugs against pseudopackages
548
1069 Subscribing to a packages bug reports
552
10610 Fixing bugs
553
Appendix
557
Debian flavours and other Debianbased operating systems
559
A1 CDDs Custom Debian Distributions
560
A2 Debian derivatives
561
A21 Knoppix
562
A22 Ubuntu
563
A23 Gnoppix
564
A25 MNIS
565
A28 Adamantix
566
When is Debian the right choice?
569
B2 You should probably choose something else if
571
Miscellaneous
573
C11 Official Debian archive signing keys
574
C12 Other relevant signing keys
575
C2 Setting up the file systems
577
C22 Supported file systems
578
C3 Extra packages
579
C4 Configuringa local packet filter
580
C5 Dualbooting with other operating systems
582
C51 Chainloading other bootloaders
583
The Debian Linux Manifesto
587
Debian Social Contract
591
E1 The current Social Contract
592
E2 The future Social Contract
593
The Debian Free Software Guidelines
595
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2005)

Martin Krafft has been a faithful supporter of Debian since 1997, working as a developer and a PR person, and fielding user questions on mailing lists. He has experience administering mid-sized networks and providing user support, and is responsible for numerous university servers and a 40-node cluster of Debian machines. Krafft is currently working on his Ph.D. at the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory of the University of Zurich.

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