Install Debian Lenny on HP DV2000t

I experienced a slump over the past two days, and it appears nothing could better /dev/zero my grudge than tinkering with Lenny on my HP laptop. Here are the notes I summarize for the installation and tweaking.


I don’t like to burn an iso image to install Linux, because there is an easier way.
If have a fast LAN connection on eth0 so I always use net-install method. Here is what I did:

  • Get an mini.iso file from Debian site. It is only about 7MB in size. That’s all I need
  • Get unetbootin from and run it under Windows
  • Tell unetbtin.exe what distribution to install, choose hard-disk mode, and indicate the location of mini.iso

Reboot and install Debian under Text mode as usual.

Nvidia Driver

No, the debian way of installing Nvidia drivers is NOT good. One just need too many packages to build the nvidia kernel module. Using Nvidia binaries is much easier and space-efficient. Download the binary driver from Nvidia site. Do not blindly follow tutorials. Find the right binary driver yourself.

Then run these commands as root:

aptitude install build-essential linux-headers-$(uname -r)
/etc/init.d/gdm stop

It will complain about GCC version, just ignore it and proceed to compile the kernel module. Also let it modify your xorg.conf file.

Reference: One and Two

Compiz 3D

I basically follow Debian wiki’s instructions. The interface of Debian wiki looks better and they now gives clear instructions on compiz installation. For Gnome:

apt-get install compiz-gnome compizconfig-settings-manager compiz-fusion-plugins-main
echo "export WINDOW_MANAGER=/usr/bin/compiz" >> ~/.gnomerc

Then modify xorg.conf and back it up to a safe place for future use. Installing extra plugins for compiz is also a good idea. I set the close window effects to random and the result is pretty cool.

Install Chinese Fonts

I must confess that I use Windows YaHei fonts to display Chinese. It regular and bold fonts are suffice for Chinese display under Linux and the quality is good. I just copied them to /usr/share/fonts/truetype/YaHei, then ran: mkfontdir && mkfontscale in that directory, then cache them using fc-cache -f -v

Sharpen the Fonts

Admit it. Linux font display needs improvement. Create .fonts.conf under your home directory and use the following lines to turn on autohinting and change other options:

<?xml version="1.0"?><!DOCTYPE fontconfig SYSTEM "fonts.dtd">
<match target="font" >
<edit mode="assign" name="rgba" >
<match target="font" >
<edit mode="assign" name="hinting" >
<edit name="autohint">
<match target="font" >
<edit mode="assign" name="hintstyle" >
<match target="font" >
<edit mode="assign" name="antialias" >

Chinese Input Method

I used SCIM pinyin to input Chinese. Just install scim-pinyin package and unselect the recommended Chinese fonts since I have my own fonts.

Then use im-switch to make it auto start:

im-switch -s scim

Then modify /etc/X11/xinit/xinput.d/scim and change xim into scim in the following two lines. This will make input panel follow the cursor. This should be the default value the maintainers set.


Other Housekeeping jobs

1) Install ntfs-3g and modify /etc/fstab to add NTFS partition. Should also be able to use noatime option.

/dev/sda3       /mnt/sda3       ntfs-3g users,locale=en_US.utf8,force,umask=000        0       0

2) CHANGE /etc/inputrc file for easier use

set show-all-if-ambiguous on
set bell-style none
set prefer-visible-bell
set visible-stats on

3) Turn on Sounds.  For HDA Intel sound device, I need to unmute PCM2 to play sound. Maybe PCM is for pcspkr?

4) If system suspends and immediately wake up, then create a file under

/etc/pm/config.d and put the following line into that file. My first installation does not have this problem. It only occurred on the second installation. That’s for e1000 network interface:


5) Network Manger seems to work OK, so I don’t need other connection application for now.

6) Install keepassx (password-gorilla is outdate) to keep all my passwords. password-gorilla is a bit ugly.

7) Install bum to change run levels. It is better than rcconf and other run-level tools.

8)  Make iceweasel default browser:

cd /etc/alternatives
list the config names
update-alternatives --config x-www-browser

9) Change keyboard speed. For some reason, the keyboard under Linux feels heavy and slow. I changed the repeat keys speed to ‘fastest’.

10) Use VlC instead of Totem. VLC handles subtitles better.

11) Store the packages under /var/cache/apt/archives to a separate partition in case of a reinstallation for a perfect desktop. Also use debfoster to generate a keep file of all installed packages to reinstall them in the future.

12) Somehow the wireless driver for Intel 3945 wireless card is not installed, use the following command to install it

apt-get install firmware-iwlwifi