CNT5605 - Summer 2017
Assignment 3
No journal due


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. Don't pay any attention to any labels found on the machines.

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 rather than a local mass storage device.

If you are using an old Optiplex machine

Since these machine have been in the lab for years, these are very likely to correctly configured for PXE booting.

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.)

If you are using a new Dell Tower 5810 machine

If you are using one of the new Dell Tower 5810s, first check the Ethernet cable. If it is attached to a PCI NIC, move the cable from the PCI Ethernet port to the motherboard one. (The motherboard versoin should be beside some USB ports.)

Next, you will have to check the boot-time configuration. This is rather tricky. First, while the machine is booting, hit the F2 key repeatedly until you see the system configuration menu (it's on a white background.)

First, choose the menu item "Secure Boot" and disable it.

Then choose "System Configuration/Integrated NIC" and enable PXE booting (it's the 3rd option).

Finally, choose "Advanced Boot Options" and enable "Legacy boot ROMs".

Apply and exit. The machine will reboot. While it is reboot, hit F12 until you see the boot menu. Under the Legacy Boot menu, choose "Onboard NIC".

When you are asked which Ethernet port to use, choose eth1.

If, when you reboot, you see a message to the effect that nothing bootable was found, hit the F2 key, re-enter the system configuration menu, and enable legacy booting, then try F12 again.

Further installation instructions for all lab machines

When partitioning the disk, 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.) I don't recommend using LVM.

After you install, please update the system ("apt-get update && apt-get upgrade") and (2) verify that you can reboot the system.

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 additional packages, then the basic 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', '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 unwise and inappropriate ways to use these computers.

A journal is not due for this assignment.