CNT4603 - Fall 2015
Assignment 1
No journal due

Installation #1

Your assignment is to install Debian on the machine assigned to you. You will find a piece of paper in front of each machine, indicating who is assigned to which machine; the order should be alphabetical.

We will use PXE booting for this assignment. This means that you will be booting from a server located in the back of the room. To request a network boot, hit F12 during the system POST so that you will be presented a number of methods to boot your machine. Choose the network boot option (usually the last one on the list of possible boot options.)

While this assignment is quite straightforward for the most part, there are two major "gotchas" lurking: the install assumes that you can indeed PXE boot, but there are two potential impediments to PXE booting that may (or may not) affect you.

The first potential problem is far less likely, but possible: your machine may not yet be configured to boot from the network. If that is the case, you will have to go into the BIOS configuration and enable PXE in the system configuration submenu.

The second potential problem is due to a recent network reconfiguration of the lab. While we think that all of the ports in the lab are working, we are not certain of this. If you experience problems installing, I would suggest verifying that the network device on your computer is showing network activity by looking at its leds.

Also, please (1) update the system after you install ("apt-get update && apt-get upgrade") and (2) verify that you can reboot the system (it's possible, though very unlikely, that your machine has a network boot as its default boot method — if that proves to be the case, then you will need to go into the BIOS configuration and change the order of boot methods.)

As to disk partitioning issues, please use the "remove all partitions" option and don't bother to save any of the old information on the machine. I would also suggest creating a separate /home partition rather than just putting everything together on one partition (if you have to reinstall, this can be very useful indeed.)

As to software, I would strongly encourage you to choose a minimal install. You can always add packages later, as they are needed. The less that you choose to install initially, the less time that it will take to do the initial install. Indeed, if you choose no packages, then installation finishes very quickly indeed; however, most students will probably prefer to at least install a graphical environment.

Finally, change your networking from DHCP to a static network configuration. Use the IP number given to you on the sheet of paper you received last Thursday; the gateway is "", the netmask is "", and the broadcast address is "".

The easiest way to do this is to simply edit the file "/etc/network/interfaces" following the guidelines at; what it boils down to is adding lines like:

auto eth0
iface eth0 inet static
to the end of the file, and then verifying that "/etc/resolv.conf" has as your DNS server.

Passwords and other installation concerns are left up to you. I would suggest choosing strong root and user passwords, and if you do decide to install software that provides network services that you do so in a safe and secure fashion.

Please remember that the networking lab is not a safe or secure environment; indeed, over the semester it will develop into an actively hostile environment. You should never use lab computers to do anything that you care about in the real world: banking, Blackboard, and participating in social media are not wise or appropriate ways to use these computers.

A journal is not due for this assignment.