Q : What does a play work assistant do on his day off ? ; A install debian Jessie on an old computer.
This is what I spent most of today doing.
My Old Duron 1600 has been sitting under my desk for ages, not doing much. It had a few technical issues which today I decided to tackle.
Firstly it wasn’t booting from the hard disk. I was using a ubuntu cd to boot off that, then select an OS installed on the hard disk to boot. Opening it up I looked at some of the cables and tried different configurations, I eventually swapped out one of the cables for a different one and it then booted up properly from the hard disk.
I tried to install ubuntu server 14.04 from a cdrom, but this started off fine then it was displaying errors which suggested a problem with the cd media.
Not wanting to investigate further, I knew that debian offered a very basic install, so I found the ISO and burnt this to a cd-r. and then installed, selecting ssh server and desktop environment (so I at least have a gui if needed)
Once all this was installed I booted in to the system. As I intend to use this has a headless server I decided to try and set it so that it booted to the console, easier said than done, Jessie uses SystemD, whcih if you are upto date on GNU / Linux is the new replacement for the way init works.
In the old sysv days doing this was as simple as editing /etc/inittab and finding the line for initdefault:5 and replacing with initdefault:3
this is no longer the case. I was asking on IRC and was given some help from melodie and phillw
So as per instructions at http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=122175 entering
systemctl set-default multi-user.target
fixes this and boots directly in to the console.
Stage 1 + 2 complete
The next step was to check that my normal user was actually part of the sudo-ers group as it is a really bad idea to ssh over root or even allow root login.
so some more google searches revealed the following http://askubuntu.com/questions/7477/how-can-i-add-a-new-user-as-sudoer-using-the-command-line
sudo adduser <username> sudo
Adds my normal user to the sudo-ers list
I could then check I could ssh in properly, disconnect the monitor etc and set up the computer so it can be accessed over ssh.
I would argue that most of this was pretty straight forward, other than the over complex way you now have to tell a system to boot in to the console.
I have added a new post with some update and more information on installation.