Torsten Curdt’s weblog

Debian – Resistance is Futile

148793487 5f3a7cf845 t Debian Resistance is Futile
Together with a few peeps (Marcus, Michael and Tim) I got us a dedicated server. A little playground for all the geeky things we are interested in. Once we got the root credentials the fun part started.
It was a SuSE 9.0 system with a single partition plus swap. (what a great disk layout …tz) So the first task was to install Debain onto that machine – remotely! Unfortunately the hosting company wasn’t very helpful at all. So we were on our own. Marcus and I took on the challenge.
We turned off swap, formatted the swap partition and used it to bootstrap the new Debian system. After the base system was successfully installed in the former swap partition, we saved some settings from /etc, then changerooted into the new system and configured the base packages. After that we setup /dev and the network interfaces. Of course we also had to install some more packages – most important ssh. Once we configured lilo we were ready for the first reboot. …booting a into a Debian system we only expected to come up. After a few minutes full of hoping ssh gave us a prompt *phew*!
Now since we had this tiny Debian system up and running inside the swap partition we finally were able to repartition the disk. We removed the one huge partition and setup LVM to manage our partitions. Almost done. Once the all partitions were mounted correctly we copied the running system across onto the new root partition. Of course fstab and lilo had to be adjusted. Time for the next critical reboot. Will the copied system come up just like the system in the swap partition? The change from LVM1 to LVM2 was also a critical factor
…but it did work out :-D I hope the move from the 2.4 to the 2.6 kernel was the last reboot we had to do. It has always felt like a bet against Murphy’s law.

Anyway… it was really great fun …and also amazing to experience the strengths of Debian. I never expected turning a SuSE system into a Debian system would be such a piece of cake. The debootstrap package is just great stuff! For more details also have a look into this excellent HOWTO.

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