Beginners Level Course: Reboot and basic configuration
Your new Debian GNU/Linux system is now rebooting. When that's finished, you'll have to answer a few questions about configuration.
You'll now be asked if you want to use Md5 passwords. Without getting into a lot of technical jargon, Md5 passwords are protected with an extra layer of security. You should choose this if you think you'll be needing extra security. You'll have to evaluate this on your own. If you don't choose this, you'll be asked if you want a 'shadow' password system. Once again, without going into any technical jargon, this is another Unix scheme for extra security. You should always answer 'yes' to this one because without it, your password, especially if it's some dictionary word, would become very easy to crack. By the way, you should never use a dictionary word as a password.
As we're on the subject of passwords, now it's time to enter the password for the famous 'root' account. 'root' is the administrator of the system. It's also known as the superuser account. We'll get into more detail on the duties and privileges of root later on. Suffice it to say, you should now type in a password for the 'root' account. Please choose one that's easy for you to remember but would be difficult to guess or "crack". For example, if I were a Star Trek fan, I might be tempted to use Spock as a password. Spock probably isn't in the dictionary, but it might be so well known now that it would be found in any program that crackers use to get into systems. Therefore, I would choose something a little less well-known in Trek lore and modify it somewhat. Trek fans will remember that mutant brat who once tried to take over the Enterprise, Charlie X. Well, 'ch4rl13X' might be a good password. Taking some letters and replacing them with similar looking numbers is an acceptable password procedure. The most secure method is, of course, creating a random string of lower case and capital letters and numbers and just remembering it. 'C2jl7y2B' is an excellent password. It is, however, difficult to remember. In the end, everybody comes up with his/her own own scheme that works.
Now you should create an account to work with normally. What I mean by "normally" is that Linux is a true multi-user system, so one machine can be used by hundreds of users. When each logs in, he/she is restricted to modifying only the files owned by him/her. This insures a lot of security and removes a lot of headaches. You should never do routine work as root. This account should be only used to perform important administrative tasks. Feel free to use your first name or the first letter of your name and your last name as the login for this account. Follow the password convention you're comfortable with.
Now, you'll be asked to remove PCMCIA from the system if yours doesn't use it. Feel free to do so.
You will now be asked if you want to configure your system to use your ISP. If you have a dial-up connection, this is a good time to use it. If you connect by way of broadband or better, you can skip this part.
At this point, we're ready to choose the rest of the packages that will make up our Debian system.