The perfect light Debian with Fluxbox

The base system

Start with the base system of Debian Squeeze, but be sure to install only the base system not the Desktop environment.
Once this is done, we start making the real work, first, I prefer to have Lenny instead of Etch so upgrade to Lenny

Adding me to sudoers

I do not like to switch to root, each time I need to perform administrative tasks, so I like to use sudo instead, to do this install sudo first:
aptitude install sudo
then add the following line to your /etc/sudoers file using the command visudo
ggarron ALL=(ALL) ALL
change ggarron for your user, if you want to read more about sudoers click here

Installing X

I decided to use fluxbox, because it is light, and has all I need to work on my laptop, it the window manager that DSL uses, and I like DSL :).
sudo aptitude install fluxbox
Now install the X-server
sudo aptitude install xserver-xorg
OK now we should have Fluxbox up and running, lets go for the basing menus, copy the default menu example to be your first menu
sudo cp /etc/X11/fluxbox/system.fluxbox-menu /etc/X11/fluxbox/fluxbox-menu
And copy the default user menu to your own Home directory to be your first fluxbox menu
cp /etc/X11/fluxbox/ $HOME/.fluxbox/menu

Add X-term

I know you want to start fluxbox, but we need two more things to be able to start working in a GUI environment, the first thing is to install Xterm
sudo aptitude install xterm
Then add it to the Fluxbox menu, read how to add programs to Fluxbox menu to know how to do it.
Note that we have not installed KDM, GDM or XDM so we will have to start GUI in the old way
If you do not want this, you can install gdm, or xdm, or kdm as you prefer, I want to keep this installation really light.

Beautifying the Desktop

Before installing the applications, lets make our Desktop a little bit more "eyecandy" if this word can be used, we will install conky which is one of my favorite applications in DSL, be sure to have own_window option to "no", for it to appear directly on your Desktop, as it do on DSL
To make Conky start each time you log into Fluxbox, add this line to $HOME/.fluxbox/startup
conky &
be sure it to appear before this other line
exec /usr/bin/fluxbox
which needs to be the last one

Configuring the necessary Laptop software

If yours is not a Laptop jump to the next section
sudo aptitude install wifi-radar
Read manage your Wifi networks with wifi-radar to learn more.
Your own DNS server
As some WiFi routers do now work as they should when they act as DNS server, I prefer to have my own on my laptop, so lets install pdnsd
sudo aptitude install pdnsd
And configure it to work with root server, when it asks you about that, after that, edit your /etc/dhcp3/dhclient.conf and be sure this line is uncommented
prepend domain-name-servers;
CPU frequency
You may want to install this, to save battery power, and avoid overheating, for both your laptop and battery.
sudo aptitude install cpufreqd
Now start it:
sudo /etc/init.d/cpufreqd start
If it can not start (as in my case) you may need to load the right module, read here to know how to do it, according to your processor, but basically you need to choose between these lines
for AMD Sempron/Athlon/MP ( K7 )
sudo modprobe powernow-k7
for AMD Duron/Sempron/Athlon/Opteron 64 ( K8 )
sudo modprobe powernow-k8
for Intel Core Duo and Intel Pentium M
sudo modprobe speedstep-centrino
for Others (Unknown) - This one worked for me with a Pentium IV -
sudo modprobe acpi-cpufreq

The applications software

Now we are ready to install the application software
sudo aptitude install firefox thunderbird centericq htop vim gftp
CenterICQ is a text based MSN, Yahoo, ICQ client.
After installing all these stuff, remember to create the necessary menus to access the software from FluxBox, or you will have to start them using the command line.

Installing the rest of the software

Office applications
You should now decide between OpenOffice or other alternatives, like gnumeric and abiword, I do not consider Koffice as it will install a kdebase, and kdelibs, which is like having KDE in your system.
If you want to install openoffice run:
sudo aptitude install
and if abiword and gnumeric
sudo aptitude install abiword gnumeric
MP3 player
You can try installing mpg123
To install skype, you can download the .deb from its page, or install skype from repositories
Here you will find a How to install vwmare on Debian
You should now have a very light, fast and optimized computer with Debian, Fluxbox, and all the necessary software.
Note: If you want to have this but with Fedora or CentOS or Ubuntu, install their server versions (With no servers at all) and then proceed like here.
update: Following the advice of one of our readers, I am adding here the link to the guide to add sound control to these configuration
Adding sound to Fluxbox




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