14 October 2010

Workaround for installing desktops in Squeeze

I've done a couple new Debian Testing installations in the last couple days and have noticed something strange in the installer. At a point in the installation process, you will be offered a menu of choices for major package bundles to be installed. If you want a desktop environment, you're supposed to select "Desktop environment." In the past when I did this, the following screen would offer you a choice of DTEs including Gnome, KDE, Xfce, and LXDE. However, the last few installs I tried did not. And exactly what it installs I'm not sure because I wasn't willing to wait 3 hours (at my connection speeds) for the download and install process to complete. So here's the workaround:

First, using the installer, install the system you want but do not install a desktop environment. 

When the installation completes, login using the command line. Then become root
su

Next, make sure you have tasksel installed:
# apt-get install aptitude tasksel

Finally, use tasksel to install your desktop. To install Gnome:
# tasksel install gnome-desktop --new-install

Reboot:
# reboot

and when your computer restarts, you should be good to go.

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