Debian Wheezy 7 installation guidelines

The distribution GNU/Linux Debian Wheezy has been chosen for several reasons: long term support (until 2017), active community, stable packages. We consider an installation performed thanks to a Debian Live support.

During the installation process, the following partitioning is recommended:
  • primary SWAP, 1 GB;
  • primary ext4, /, 40 GB;
  • secondary ext4, /home, (remaining space).

Once the installation is performed, it is assumed to realize the following operations using a root shell. If necessary, a proxy will be set through appropriate environment variables:

export http_proxy=http://host:port
export https_proxy=http://host:port

Additional packages installation

Edit /etc/apt/source.list and add contrib and non-free targets in order to obtain the following.

deb wheezy main contrib non-free
deb-src wheezy main contrib non-free

deb wheezy/updates main contrib non-free
deb-src wheezy/updates main contrib non-free

# wheezy-updates, previously known as 'volatile'
deb wheezy-updates main contrib non-free
deb-src wheezy-updates main contrib non-free

Update the package list.

apt-get update

Install the following additional packages.

apt-get install texlive-full texstudio auctex wireshark filezilla \
openssh-server vlc octave-communications subversion git thunar-vcs-plugin \
xfce4-goodies arandr libreoffice-l10n-fr flashplugin-nonfree evince xournal \
eog python-matplotlib python-scipy ctags doxygen ntpdate libpam-ldap nscd screen \
htop inkscape filezilla gparted sudo

Services configuration

Sudo configuration

Any modification to the sudo configuration should be performed through the following command.


Append the following line in order to preserve environment variables http_proxy and https_proxy through sudo.

Defaults env_keep += "http_proxy https_proxy" 

Enable LDAP authentication

In order to authenticate through the network using LDAP, it is necessary to install the following package.

apt-get install libpam-ldap

At the end of the installation, an interactive configuration process is triggered. It can called back using the following instruction.
dpkg-reconfigure libpam-ldap

Add the ldap module to the first three instructions in /etc/nsswitch.conf in order to obtain something like this:

passwd:         ldap compat
group:          ldap compat
shadow:         ldap compat

In case of successful login, add the following line to /etc/pam.d/common-session in order to create automatically the home directory.

session required skel=/etc/skel umask=0022

Finally, restart the nscd service.

/etc/init.d/nscd restart

Enable NTP

In order to synchronize the real time clock through the network, install the following package.

apt-get install ntpdate

If applicable, add local NTP servers to /etc/default/ntpdate. Then trigger the first synchronization.


Notice that NTP synchronization is performed at each network interface bootup.