Guide | How To Linux - Tips for a fresh Debian install (Debian 8 Jessie - Stable)

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Thread author
Staff Member
Jan 14, 2015
For the users who are not fully familiar with Debian or wish to try out Debian instead of other distributions, this guide will help you.

Below are some keypoints one should do to make Debian more usable, since unlike for example Ubuntu based distributions, not everything is ready to use out of the box.

Why would a new user use Debian over for example a user friendly Ubuntu based distribution? One reason: Stability and a rock solid system.

So for those who wish, let's dive in to the tweaks:

NOTE: Screenshots are taken from my Netbook with 1 GB Ram, running Debian 8 KDE just for testing purposes. Needless to say, after writing this guide, I am reinstalling it from scratch and opt again for XFCE 4.10.

Step 1:
Download Debian 8 Jessie: Download only DVD1 for your architecture (i386 for 32 bit, amd64 for 64 bits)

Step 2:
Burn Image into a DVD or use YUMI to create a bootable USB Image and fire up the system (make sure you configure your BIOS accordingly). I will not really go over the install guide but you can simply select Install or Graphic Install and follow the prompts. If you want to see screenshots of each step, just google Debian 8 Install guide.

NOTE: When prompted to select/use Mirrors, granted you have internet connection, please do so, otherwise you will have to manually add some repositories (repos).

System is installed, time to reboot.

Step 3:
Configure Repos

Launch your terminal (in KDE case is called Konsole) and type:

Then enter your password

nano /etc/apt/sources.list

You will be presented with a list of links.

# symbol just before the 2nd line of deb cdrom:xxxxx

This will uncomment the link, meaning it will disable, so that when you check for updates for the sources, it will not look at the dvd installer. Optionally, you can just remove both deb cdrom entries, but I prefer to uncomment it.

Next, you will need to add contrib non-free in every link just after main.
This will allow you to install other dependencies, software etc that is not by default shipped with Debian out of the box.

Finally add the following at the end of the file to allow multimedia codecs etc:
deb jessie main non-free


Now press CTRL X and then Y to save and Enter.

NOTE: Because Jessie just recently been release to Stable branch, I will leave Jessie there but for future proof, you can rename Jessie to Stable and it will always look at Stable source list regardless of the new version code name in a few years time.

Step 4:
Time to update the system but before that lets find the fastest mirror for our source lists.:

In the terminal, type the following commands:

su root
apt-get update
apt-get install netselect-apt

Now in the same terminal window once netselect has been installed, we will need to run it:


It will check all servers and in the end will give you the fastest servers. Screenshot below is the example for my location. Simly replace the links in the original source list or just disable it and add the new ones.


Now type: clear

Time to install some needed stuff and update the system via the terminal:

apt-get install sudo deb-multimedia-keyring
apt-get update
apt-get upgrade

Optional Step:
For VirtualBox users only (running Debian in VirtualBox).

You will need to install the following packages in order to install Guest Additions:

Run the following in the terminal:
su root
apt-get install build-essential module-assistant
m-a prepare
NOTE: Do not close the terminal

Once you have finished m-a prepare command, insert the Guest Additions via Device menu in VirtualBox window and then back in the terminal run:
sh /media/cdrom/

Now restart the system.

Step 5:
Add user to SUDO group
Unlike Ubuntu for example, in Debian you need to manually add your user account into the SUDO group. Example below is using my user account inkurax. Please replace inkurax with your username

In the terminal run:
su root
adduser inkurax sudo

A text file configuration will open and on the very end of the file add:

#Current User SUDO
inkurax ALL = (ALL) ALL

Press CTRL X, then Y then Enter to save the file.


Step 6:
Make your life easier:

Assuming you want to install Chromium, you will need to install the Flash plugin
sudo apt-get install pepperflashplugin-nonfree

If you prefer to use Iceweasel, which is the non branded Firefox, then you will need the flash plugin:
sudo apt-get install flashplugin-nonfree

Packages to install (some might already be installed):
synaptic package manager – graphical package management tool which enables you to install, upgrade and remove software packages.
apt-xapian-index – maintenance and search tools for a Xapian index of Debian packages
gdebi – simple tool to install deb packages
gksu – graphical front end for su
sudo apt-get install synaptic apt-xapian-index gdebi gksu

Additional stuff you might want to install: refer to my Linux Config in the signature.

Topics not covered:
Upgrading Kernel
Moving to Testing/Sid Branch instead of Stable
Apt Pinning methods: Link 1 Link 2

The above topics can be read in the relevant links.


Level 39
Honorary Member
Top Poster
Dec 4, 2013
Thank you @Inkurax.:) Even with my being in a groggy sleep deprived:confused: state, yours truly found this guide to be a clearly written confidence inspiring walk through, and I particularly liked the helpful links placed near the end. Well done.:cool:
Debian Jesse 8, here I come!:D


Thread author
Staff Member
Jan 14, 2015
does get sometime to get used to not using ppas or aur if you are coming from ubuntu/arch based systems, but that doesn't mean you won't find what you need. just takes some time and effort. you can unofficially add ppas to debian, just not fully recommended. i did run a few back when was using a mix of testing/sid branch.
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