Chapter 7. The Second Stage of Skolelinux/Debian-edu Installation

7.1. Second Stage

The installation of Skolelinux/Debian-edu is divided into two stages, referred to as firststage and secondstage. The first stage starts when the machine boots from the Skolelinux/Debian-edu CD, and ends at the first reboot. The second stage starts when the machine boots from GRUB, and ends when the installation is finished and the machine reboots for all services to properly restart. It's in the second stage that you type the root password.

firststage usually takes about 10 minutes on a relatively fast machine, while secondstage takes a bit more time, about 15-45 minutes.


The second stage of the Skolelinux/Debian-edu installation starts now.

Notice the countdown in the last line in this screenshot. GRUB is configured to automatically boot Skolelinux/Debian-edu after 5 seconds (in this concrete screenshot the counter has reached 3 seconds). The countdown can be stopped by pressing one of the Arrow keys. The arrow keys are also used to choose which of the available Linux kernels you want to boot. The automatic boot is very handy for booting the system unattended.

In the GRUB configuration file /boot/grub/menu.lst you can choose to change the default value for the countdown, the appearance of the GRUB menu, the name of the different kernels to boot, set a password, etc.

In this screenshot you have two boot choices.

Debian GNU/Linux, kernel 2.6.8-2-386 
Debian GNU/Linux, kernel 2.6.8-2-386 (recovery mode)


All this about GRUB should be moved to a later chapter, probably "finetuning"


Notice here that the system is using 2.6-kernels, that is because this installation was done with the boot-option linux26, see linux26

You choose by highlighting the kernel you want to boot, move between the different kernels with the Arrow UP/DOWN keys, and boot the chosen kernel by pressing ENTER.

Usually you would just boot the default kernel without making any active choices, that is the line that does not contain (recovery mode). The line containing (recovery mode) is used when you need to either do some repair or maintenance on the system, like when you need to resize the lv-partition /usr. When booting with the option (recovery mode) only a few basic services is started, no GUI. Booting with (recovery mode) is the same as Runlevel 1, which also can be reached from the command line by typing init 1 See man init.

WarningPassword Protecting your BIOS

Remember to also put a password on your BIOS, so that it's not possible to change the boot order and boot from floppy, CD-ROM, or only from the hard drive.

While booting Skolelinux/Debian-edu you will see a lot of seemingly cryptic messages scrolling by on your screen. These are useful messages from the Linux kernel.[2]

It is perfectly possible to "hide" these seemingly cryptic messages behind a nice image, that is accomplished with the application splashy, see splashy

Naturally such a fancy bootup screen is not something you want to use on a server, but maybe on a laptop, or a normal workstation.


Remember to insert the CD.

If the machine managed to boot, then you should now be greeted by base-config, which in Skolelinux/Debian-edu only is a matter of deciding the root-password.

The password you are about to create, is the famous root password. With this password you will be able to do anything. Please read carefully the information provided on-screen.

You must type it twice, the same way both times. If you do it wrong, you get another chance.

After you have created the root password, the installation of packages in the second stage starts. Remember to insert the CD in the CD-ROM drive- you will be prompted to do so if you have forgotten. The rest of the installation takes about 15-45 minutes, depending on how fast your machine is.


You may now leave the machine, and take a well-deserved break. Have a refreshing drink. The installation will be completed without any further input from you.

After the installation is complete, a reboot is necessary in order to restart all services such as LDAP, DHCP, etc. See services for a list of services that works out-of-the-box with Skolelinux/Debian-edu.

WarningUpgrade your machine!

First thing you should to now, is upgrading your machine, have a look at howto update and upgrade your machine.

If you have chosen to install only the profile mainserver, (which has no GUI) then you will also have no KDM, just a text-based login.You actually have 6 such text-based loginscreens, available through ALT-F1 upto ALT-F6

If you have chosen to install a machine that includes one of the profiles: workstation or thinclientserver, then you will be met by kdm

Here you login with

Username: root

You can use TAB to move between the fields Username and Password, and then press ENTER to login, instead of using the mouse.

7.1.1. Something Went Wrong... Videocard not working

Sometimes something goes wrong during installation. The most frequent error is the failure to automatically configure the video card when you have chosen to install a machine that includes one of the profiles workstation or thinclientserver


It is not necessary for the thinclients that the videocard in the thinclientserver works.

Everything that happens during installation is logged in the file /var/log/installer.log. There is also plenty of useful information logged in the files in /var/log/debian-installer. When you need help with a problem that has occurred during installation, these files are very handy to have ready for diagnosing the problem. Always include instaler.log in your bug reports. See Chapter 1 to get help.

If you use a different monitor during installation than the machine normally will use, you might have to reconfigure the xserver, one fast way of doing that is with the commands xdebconfigurator and dexconf. Like this:

tjener:~# xdebconfigurator
/usr/sbin/ddcprobe NOT found!
/usr/sbin/detect NOT found!
VIDEO CARD: Cirrus Logic GD 5446
XSERVER 4: xfree86
DEBIAN PACKAGE: xserver-xfree86
MOUSE DEVICE: /dev/psaux
MONITOR: Xdebc Monitor
MONITOR SIZE: 15 inches (380 mm)
MONITOR MODES: 1024x768, 800x600, 640x480
MONITOR MODE: 1024x768 @ 70Hz
tjener:~# dexconf
tjener:~# dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xfree86

If this didn't help, then use the output from lspci and write a bugreport. You might also need to include the output from

xdebconfigurator -d
xdebconfigurator -i

You might also have some success editing the file /etc/X11/XF86Config-4 Networkcards not found

Sometimes the installer doesn't recognise your networkcard, you will then see such a message:

If you are missing some of your networkcards, then it might just be that it's so new that Linux doesn't know about it yet, and are at loss when it comes to knowing which driver to use, sometimes it then helps to manually load the driver, but first you must find out what kind of networkcard you have, and what driver you need.

A useful command is lspci and lspci -vn, the later is much more verbose, once you know what driver you need, then load it manually with the command modprobe driver_name, to have it permanently loaded every time you boot, have a look at the file /etc/modules, it might also be that you just need to add the PCIID that you got from lspci to the file /usr/share/discover/pci.lst or maybe /usr/share/discover/pci-26.lst

The output of lspci might look like this:

tjener:~# lspci
0000:00:00.0 Host bridge: ServerWorks GCNB-LE Host Bridge (rev 32)
0000:00:00.1 Host bridge: ServerWorks GCNB-LE Host Bridge
0000:00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: ATI Technologies Inc Rage XL (rev 27)
0000:00:03.0 Ethernet controller: Intel Corp. 82540EM Gigabit Ethernet Controller (rev 02)
Have a look at the line mentioning " Ethernet controller", if I want more info about it, I use lspci -vn and pick out the stanza involving the pciid "0000:00:03.0"

tjener:~# lspc -vn
0000:00:03.0 0200: 8086:100e (rev 02)
        Subsystem: 1734:1107
        Flags: bus master, 66MHz, medium devsel, latency 32, IRQ 177
        Memory at fcde0000 (32-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=128K]
        I/O ports at 4400 [size=64]
        Capabilities: [dc] Power Management version 2
        Capabilities: [e4] PCI-X non-bridge device.
        Capabilities: [f0] Message Signalled Interrupts: 64bit+ Queue=0/0 Enable-

With this info, which might seem pointless to you, a search on Google or any of the Skolelinux/Debian-edu related helpchannels, see
Chapter 1, will surely be able to help you.

7.1.2. Turning off, or Rebooting the Machine

If your video card was correctly, automatically configured, and you have a nice, blue KDM login screen, then you can reboot and shutdown your machine by choosing menu-shutdown and there choose either shutdown or reboot.


Luckily, this is not an option in the KDM for thin clients, otherwise anybody could reboot/shutdown the server.

If you have a machine installed only with the profile mainserver, then you have to login to reboot/shutdown the machine, as in Figure 7-9, then you login as user root. Then you can shutdown your machine with either of the commands halt,init 0 or shutdown -h now and reboot with reboot, shutdown -r now or init 6

If your machine stops with the message "Power Down" on the screen when you want to turn it off, you can try to see if loading the module apm helps. Be warned that not all servers like the module apm, especially machines with several processors. Run the command modprobe apm; if the machine doesn't complain, and the machine turns itself completely off, then you can permanently add the module by running the program modconf from the command line.


Then find the line towards the bottom kernel/arch/i386/kernel and there choose apm
Just press ENTER when asked any questions. You know that the machine accepts apm when you see this:

Installation succeeded.

Please press ENTER when you are ready to continue.
Now it should turn itself off completely.


Just remember that not all machines like apm. Why do you want to turn off your server anyway?


You could also just have used nano /etc/modules and there added apm



GRUB is the bootloader used in Skolelinux/Debian-edu. Another often-used bootloader is LILO, which you can choose to install if you have chosen the expert installation method, or later after the installation of Skolelinux/Debian-edu is finished.


You can find the contents of these messages with the command dmesg, and by looking in the files /var/log/dmesg and /var/log/daemon.log.