Installing Debian on low-memory machines

I was confronted with a box that only had 8 MB worth of RAM, so I could not install any recent version of Debian GNU/Linux on it (and about the only place where it's even mentioned that Woody needs at least 12 MB RAM is one of the help-pages on the rescue disk, grr)

But: Debian is installable on such machines though it's not very straight-forward. Go get the files for Debian "slink" from the Debian archive and install that as per instructions. (Point the installer, if you're using the "apt"-method, to "", distribution " slink") You can get away with just 4 MB RAM that way. (*grin*)

Be aware, though, that Slink doesn't seem to put the kernel into /boot as Potato and Woody do, so make damn sure that your root-partition is entirely within the first GB of disk.

Next step is upgrading your distribution one by one. Edit /etc/apt/sources.list to point to Potato, eg "deb potato main non-free contrib", and do the usual upgrade/dist-upgrade dance. Make sure to install some kernel-2.2 - image! Then point sour sources.list to Woody and lather-rinse-repeat.

Now you're there, running Debian Woody on an 8meg-box ;)

Last edited: 2003 Feb 20