CNT5605 - Fall 2015
Assignment 1
No journal due

Installation #1

Your assignment is to install Debian on the machine assigned to you in the networking lab. 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 three possible "gotchas" lurking: there are some potential impediments to PXE booting that may (or may not) affect you.

The first problem is hardware: I have assigned you the machines that I have less confidence in the lab, and some of this lack of confidence is due to possible hardware issues. If you have hardware issues (won't power up, disk seems to be flaky, no network connection), you will to resolve these issues.

The second 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 third 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 (if it's not, then you have (at least) an instance of case 1, hardware issues.)

After you install, please update the system ("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, after your installation is all complete, 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. Please reboot after you make these changes to verify that you everything works. Use the commands 'ifconfig eth0', 'netstat -rn', and 'cat /etc/resolv.conf' to verify that the results look reasonable:
% ifconfig eth0
eth0      Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr d4:3d:7e:98:ad:78  
          inet addr:  Bcast:  Mask:
          RX packets:734543 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:169551 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000 
          RX bytes:583246892 (583.2 MB)  TX bytes:20797887 (20.7 MB)
% netstat -rn
Kernel IP routing table
Destination     Gateway         Genmask         Flags   MSS Window  irtt Iface         UG        0 0          0 eth0   U         0 0          0 eth0
% cat /etc/resolv.conf

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.