Debian netinst in a VM

Tolkem

Member
Hi everyone! Hope you're all having a nice life! :) One of my computing hobbies is creating VMs (virtual machines) with virtualbox and/or qemu, this time I created one and installed Debian Stretch using the netinst .iso, which I have before, only this time decided to use awesome window manager instead of any other DE. My goal with this VM is to build a system with very few GUI programs, i.e. I installed Links instead of Firefox or Chromium, ranger instead of thunar or nautilus. This is the first time I do this and I'm really not sure what other packages I need. I use Arch with xfce and awesome-wm as my main drive but realized have never been without a DE. I've created VMs with CentOS core, Slackware and of course Arch and built the system up from the ground but always installed some DE, for a few years now xfce has become my DE of choice, so what I'm asking is, besides basic tools, what other command line tools would you recommend for this set up? For example, I wanted to install guess addtions but when cliked on "insert guess additions iso" nothing happens; it doesn't show up in run, media or mnt. Any help/advice is really appreciated. Thanks in advance for your answers! :)

Note: I edited the post so it be a little less messy, cause I realized it kind of looked like that :p Hope I made it more readable this time.
 
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wizardfromoz

Super Moderator
Staff member
Gold Supporter
G'day @Tolkem - I have barely scratched the surface with VMs, myself - I have one of Arch running under Arch-based Distro SwagArch but have only got as far as installing the MATE DE and a couple of apps.

One of our Members Jas (@JasKinasis ) works a lot with Debian Sid Testing, he may have a few ideas, and with my mentioning him, I have "pinged" him, so if he is free he may swing by.

Friend Capta (@CptCharis ) also runs a few VMs, not sure if he has gone to the level of base packages.

I'll watch this Thread with interest, and good luck in your mission! :D

Chris ... love that GH avatar.
 

Tolkem

Member
G'day @Tolkem - I have barely scratched the surface with VMs, myself - I have one of Arch running under Arch-based Distro SwagArch but have only got as far as installing the MATE DE and a couple of apps.

One of our Members Jas (@JasKinasis ) works a lot with Debian Sid Testing, he may have a few ideas, and with my mentioning him, I have "pinged" him, so if he is free he may swing by.

Friend Capta (@CptCharis ) also runs a few VMs, not sure if he has gone to the level of base packages.

I'll watch this Thread with interest, and good luck in your mission! :D

Chris ... love that GH avatar.

Hi @wizardfromoz thanks for the kind feedback :) Well, so far I installed a few more tools: mutt for mail, cmus for playing music, taskwarrior for manage todo lists, links2 which is pretty cool for a cli web browser since it supports images. Check it out

 

CptCharis

Well-Known Member
For example, I wanted to install guess addtions but when cliked on "insert guess additions iso" nothing happens; it doesn't show up in run, media or mnt. .
Hello @Tolkem
I'm facing same issues with guess additions and really I can't find a solution till today, even I have tryed many tutos & videos. In best case scenario guess additions are downloaded but never running !!! (some times my little laptop is freezing) . Anyway ....As command line tools I'm recommending you, a small but very nice script " bootiso "
Is a command line tool that making bootable thumb drives.
I had made an older thead about this back in the past.
https://www.linux.org/threads/bootable-usb-script.17611/#post-53479
 

Tolkem

Member
Hello @Tolkem
I'm facing same issues with guess additions and really I can't find a solution till today, even I have tryed many tutos & videos. In best case scenario guess additions are downloaded but never running !!! (some times my little laptop is freezing) . Anyway ....As command line tools I'm recommending you, a small but very nice script " bootiso "
Is a command line tool that making bootable thumb drives.
I had made an older thead about this back in the past.
https://www.linux.org/threads/bootable-usb-script.17611/#post-53479
Hi @CptCharis I managed to install guest additions and I'll tell you how:

1. - Boot up your VM, open a web browser and go to https://www.linux.org/ login to your account and visit this thread so you can copy/paste the commands. Go here
https://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/ once in that site look for your virtualbox's version and click on it, the parent directory for that version's now open and you'll see a lot of files like virtualbox versions for different distros, extension pack files and of course, right down below the file UserManual.pdf our beloved and wanted VBoxGuestAdditions_version_number.iso click on it to start downloading it.

2. - While our file's being downloaded, open a terminal and type
Code:
sudo apt-get install build-essential module-assistant dkms
press enter, type your password when asked and wait till those pàckages are installed. Don't close the terminal, you still need it.

3. - Once guest additions are downloaded type in the terminal
Code:
sudo mkdir /mnt/VBoxAdditions
followed by
Code:
sudo mount -o loop /path-to-VBoxGuestAdditions_version_number.iso /mnt/VBoxAdditions
press enter and type your password if needed. Nope, don't close your terminal just yet :)

4. - Type in the terminal
Code:
cd /mnt/VboxAdditions
press enter. Let's make sure everything's in there, type
Code:
ls
you should see among some other files one that's called "VBoxLinuxAdditions.run" if that's correct then type
Code:
sudo sh ./VBoxLinuxAdditions.run
press enter and if asked, type your password. Wait till the install process finishes, once it does type
Code:
cd
to go back the home directory, otherwise umount will give an error, now you can umount VBoxAdditions.iso
Code:
sudo umount /mnt/VBoxAdditions
press enter and finally type
Code:
sudo shutdown -h now
press enter, your VM will now turn off.

5. - Boot up your VM again, guest additions should've been succesfully installed and now you're able to change/adjust screen resolution, shared a folder with the host machine and so on. :)



NOTE: I edited the post cause while performing this same procedure in another VM I realized I missed to mention a couple steps, one really important which is installing the necessary modules and cding before attempting to umount the .iso image. Sorry for the inconvenience :p :)
 
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JasKinasis

Well-Known Member
One of our Members Jas (@JasKinasis ) works a lot with Debian Sid Testing, he may have a few ideas, and with my mentioning him, I have "pinged" him, so if he is free he may swing by.
Hello! What's going on? {Reads rest of thread}
@wizardfromoz - when I was going through my rough-patch a while back, I disabled all notifications in the settings. So I don't currently get any notifications from linux.org at all. On or off the site.

I suppose I aught to go into my settings at some point and turn some of them back on! :/

Getting back on topic. The OP seems to have things well in hand WRT terminal-based programs. And I know next to nothing about virtualisation - I've never had a need for it, so it's not something I've ever used.

@Tolkem :
I use Debian Testing (installed via the minimal net install). I install the minimal base and then incrementally built my system up from there by installing additional software as and when I need it.

I use lightdm as a login manager, dwm is my WM of choice.
stterm is my default terminal application.
I use the suckless-tools package, which includes dmenu, lsw, slock, sprop, sselp, ssid, swarp, tabbed, wmname and xssstate.

dmenu provides a text-based menu and launcher for my install. No graphical menu with fancy icons.

vim is my terminal based editor of choice.
I also have vifm - a terminal based file-manager that uses vim-like key-binds.
I use w3m for browsing from the terminal. I'll have to take a look at links2.

I also have my own note-management application called note (a simple shell-script based system that uses the users default editor and pager and saves all notes to a centralised location).
Plus tons of development tools compilers, debuggers, scripting languages/interpreters and development libraries etc.

And that forms the basis of my setup, but I do also have a lot of typical graphical applications too - e.g. Gimp, Blender, Inkscape, Libreoffice, Scribus, Manuskript etc etc..

If you're going for mainly terminal based applications, then your list so far looks pretty good.

cmus is a particularly good choice - I love that program. I have no need for any of the other GUI based music/media player applications now. I only keep VLC for DVD playback on my laptop and that's it. But for music - cmus all the way. It's a really nice, lightweight way of managing your music library and listening to it!

Mutt is great for email too. Another good choice!

You may also want to consider installing some kind of terminal based volume/mixer application like Alsamixer, so you can control the system volume from the terminal.

I would also recommend installing tmux - a terminal multiplexer. tmux allows you to create entire layouts using multiple terminals running different terminal based applications. And all in a single terminal window.
So you can have the main window split into several panes vertically and/or horizontally. You can also set up individual tabs (or windows in tmux speak), with even more terminals laid out however you want in each window/tab.

Another popular alternative to tmux is screen. Personally, I prefer tmux!

Another great tool to install is ag (AKA the silver searcher). ag is a drop-in replacement for ack. It can also be used instead of grep. ag is multi-threaded and optimised. So it is typically a lot faster than ack or grep (depending on how many processor cores you have available. The more cores - the faster ag will be!).

Now, I don't know how much you use the terminal. But another great tool for power-users is GNU parallel - which will allow you to simultaneously execute terminal commands in parallel. Which can speed up the execution of certain types of scripts. Parallel can leverage additional processor cores to run tasks, or even delegate tasks to cores on other machines.

So if you have a repetetive task that needs to be performed on a lot of files - e.g. you need to move, remove, or rename a large amount of files, or directories. Or if you need to extract a lot of zip files, or convert a bunch of .jpg's to .png's etc. etc.

These kinds of tasks can be sped up by using parallel. And again, as with ag - the amount of speed-up would depend on the amount of processor cores that are available.

Likewise with any scripts that do something in a loop, or which use xargs or tee. These are good candidates for using parallel.

Learning to use parallel in your scripts does have a bit of a learning curve. I haven't used it for a while myself. Looking back at the man pages - things are still a bit fuzzy. It was only after mentioning the parallelism used by ag that I suddenly thought of parallel!

NOTE: I've only ever used parallel locally and not recently - so don't ask me how to get it to work with a remote PC! XD
 
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Tolkem

Member
Hi @JasKinasis Thanks for the long yet very informative and instructional post/reply; lots of tips I'm sure will be really useful. I read about tmux but wasn't really sure how it worked, now that you explained it, I got a better idea what it is about.
Now, I don't know how much you use the terminal. But another great tool for power-users is GNU parallel - which will allow you to simultaneously execute terminal commands in parallel. Which can speed up the execution of certain types of scripts. Parallel can leverage additional processor cores to run tasks, or even delegate tasks to cores on other machines.
Well, I do use the terminal quite often since I have awesome-wm in my real pc cause I love it being keyboard oriented but I'm fond of a few yet useful graphical tools; gparted, I don't think I could ever get used to parted, it's a scary tool, any mistake can screw your partition table, just like dd, I really fear that thing lol But with gparted I know exactly what I'm doing. Torrent clients are another graphical tool I don't think I can live without, and now that I think of it, is there any cli torrent client tool? (just googled for it and there are actually quite a few https://askubuntu.com/questions/65387/is-there-bittorrent-software-that-runs-in-a-terminal )
I use frostwire and think downloads are faster than any other TC I tried, and I tried a few many. Regarding mutt and cmus, to be completely honest I'm still learning how to use them, I managed to play a song in cmus but there was no sound, haven't checked on that yet, but I'm sure it's not a big deal. Mutt, I have to read about it cause so far I've no idea how to set it up. Take a look

A few programs: ranger, links, cmus and mutt.



Links2, you launch it with
Code:
xlinks2


The desktop

 

Tolkem

Member
Just wanted to share my progress:

I checked and fixed sound problems, now I can play and listen music in cmus, thing was I needed to configure the output device, had to install pavucontrol to do that, haven't figured out how to add music to the library though; I can navigate to the folder, select a file I want to play but that's as far as I got till now. After reading a bit about mutt finally learnt how to configure it which to be honest was easier that I thought it'd be. Upgrade kernel to 4.19 from default 4.9. quite an improvement must say. Today, I plan on trying to get compton to work to get some basic and nice compositing effects :)
 
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Tolkem

Member
https://www.increasinglyadequate.com/cmus.html

Scroll down to "Getting cmus up and running in 90 seconds".
Thanks a lot for that link! It was really useful! I just added music to cmus library. Funny thing's I did try the same command but was doing it wrong; to add music to the library you open cmus, press enter and type
Code:
:add /home/user/Music
pretty easy, well I've read somewhere and tried that, but I did from the terminal like
Code:
cmus :add /home/user/Music
which now I see was clearly wrong and course it was, cmus uses vi-like keybindings, so I should've known better :D Thanks again!
 

Tolkem

Member
Update: I think I've mastered cmus :D well it isn't really that hard, I even installed in my real pc and now I wonder how is it that I'd never used it before, highly recommended; really lightweight and keyboard oriented which is what really hooked me onto it :) plus the fact that it is a great music player. I'm still struggling with mutt, I mean, I can read my emails but haven't figured out how to configure it so I can acces all my mailboxes; sent, junk. Only my inbox is available which frankly is quite enough but still. Links2 is an easy to use browser, it doesn't need much hacking if any, can be also handle via keyboard which is something I really like - I don't use my mouse that much but when strictly neccesary. I've grown fond on ranger, great file manager, also manageable with the keyboard, which again is a plus for me. Haven't got compton to work yet :( I don't know what it is, I think I need to install another terminal emulator which I tried but got some errors with adwaita icons package, install got stuck and had to load a snapshot of the Vm since everytime I tried to install anything the issue came back. Changed awesome appeareance; wallpaper, fonts, theme. I'll post some screenshots when possible :)
 

Tolkem

Member
I don't want to end your use of Mutt but there are other text-based emails to look at
Pine https://www.washington.edu/pine/
Alpine https://www.washington.edu/alpine/
Notmuch https://notmuchmail.org/
Sup https://sup-heliotrope.github.io/
Thanks for the suggestions! I'll take a look at each one of those and let you know how it went. :)

EDIT:
Pine and Alpine haven't had an update for over 10 years; pine since 2005 and alpine since 2008.
https://www.washington.edu/pine/changes.html
http://www.washington.edu/alpine/changes.html
So those ones are not a desirable choice. On the other hand, sup seems to be mainteined so I might try that one. Notmuch not sure since I didn't find any info regarding last version.
 
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