[Tue May 23 17:09:20 CDT 2017]

Here is a little tip for Debian users on a topic that I see discussed in forums here and there. If you need to manually install a single DEB package that you downloaded from somewhere (i.e., that was not available in the repos), you can proceed as follows:

# dpkg -i 

# apt-get install -f
The first command will install the package, while the second will install additional dependencies and clear things up. Or, alternatively, you could just install the package with the following command, which will also install dependencies in one single swoop:
# gdebi 
{link to this entry}

[Fri May 19 15:04:04 CDT 2017]

I recently got a new HP ZBook 15 laptop from work and, to be honest, installing Debian on it has been quite an experience. To be fair, part of the problem is that I prefer to run the stable branch of Debian on those computers that I use for work. Why? Well, it's... stable! As a matter of fact, over the years I've found that Debian is solid as a rock. It's by far the most stable of all the Linux distributions I ever ran, which is precisely what I want for my work systems. I don't want to waste time dealing with issues when I have work to do. So, since the kernel and the drivers from the stable release are quite old, I ran into some issues getting things to work with the hybrid graphics card and the Intel 8260 graphics card. However, in the end, after much struggling with it, I got hings working. Here is what I did.

First of all, I followed the directions from here to install Debian 8 (jessie) on an encrypted disk. I added an EFI partition to the configuration. Other than that, the tutorial worked as expected (it's a great tutorial, by the way).

Second, I had to install the NVIDIA proprietary drivers. After the installation, the laptop booted just fine, but with a low resolution that made it really annoying to use. So, I went into the BIOS, configured it to use Discreet mode, rebooted, and followed those directions to install the NVIDIA drivers. Notice that, in order to do that, you need to configure the backports repository for this particular laptop model. However, that is already in the NVIDIA tutorial linked above.

Next, I had to deal with the Intel 8260 wireless card. It didn't work by default either. It uses the iwlwifi drivers from the non-free repo. Yet, adding that repo and installing the software, it still did not work. The reason is that the version of the driver included with jessie does not support the Intel 8260, which is the card installed on this laptop. So, once again I had to install them from the backports repo. Yet, it still didn't work. So, I had to finally install the actual kernel (version 4.9.0-0.bpo.2-amd64) from the backports repo. I rebooted the system and, lo and behold, both the NVIDIA and the iwlwifi drivers worked fine.

Like I said, it looks as if installing stretch (instead of jessie) on this laptop would have been a better choice. After all, it's already in testing, and it should be officially released as the new Debian stable pretty soon. Nevertheless, it was a nice learning experience anyways. {link to this entry}

[Thu May 18 16:03:54 CDT 2017]

Ever needed to know on a Debian-based system which repository a particular package came from? Here is how to do it:

# apt-cache policy firmware-iwlwifi
firmware-iwlwifi:
  Installed: 0.43
  Candidate: 0.43
  Version table:
     20161130-2~bpo8+1 0
        100 http://httpredir.debian.org/debian/ jessie-backports/non-free amd64 Packages
 *** 0.43 0
        500 http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/ jessie/non-free amd64 Packages
        100 /var/lib/dpkg/status
{link to this entry}