Einar's blog
18 nov. 2013

Things to do to get the most out of Debian Wheezy

I have recently installed Debian Wheezy with LXDE on my netbook. As anticipated, there were a number of things that needed to be done to get it to work as I like. Debian is a bit more work than Ubuntu, but also slightly lighter on resources, and I enjoy learning how to do this stuff. Having used some time to find out how to do things, I thought I might make a list to remember it all and share some Debian info with the interwebs.

(There are two ways of getting root, which you need to install software. Either you have no root account and you use «sudo» in an ordinary terminal, or you have a root account and do not use «sudo», but in stead use the root terminal. If you do the latter, you have to subtract «sudo» from all terminal commands mentioned here to get them to work.)

Adding software sources:

Debian’s package installer APT uses the file /etc/apt/sources.list to determine where to get its software from. By adding new lines to this file, new software repositories can be added. I like to add the following to my software sources:

  • Adding «contrib» and «non-free» software sources (for non GPL software like drivers, fonts, media codecs): How to and more on software sources at Debian sources.list
  • To get newer versions of software in Debian repos, add Debian Backports
  • To get newest Mozilla software, add Ubuntuzilla

Software from the Debian repos:

  • MSttcorefonts (TimesNewRoman, Aerial and so forth, «contrib» must be in your sources.list): open a terminal, write «sudo apt-get install msttcorefonts», hit enter and type your password and enter again.
  • How to add drivers for the Asus EeePC 1015PEM

Software installations from backports (to get newer versions):

To install programs from backports, open a terminal and write «sudo apt-get -t wheezy-backports install <Program name>». These are the programs I like to install from backports:

  • libreoffice, the free and open source office suite (if it is already installed, you must first deinstall the old version by opening a terminal and writing «sudo apt-get autoremove libreoffice», and then install the newer version from backports.)
  • gpodder, a podcatcher
  • vlc, a video/audio player that plays most formats
  • liferea, a RSS and Atom feedreader, to avoid having to visit lots of site to see new content
  • fbreader, an ebook reader that reads most DRM-free formats
  • gimp, the GNU Image Manipulation Program, great for editing photos or images
  • rhythmbox, an audio player and music organiser with live radio streams

Newest release of FireFox and Thunderbird (And Seamonkey if you like):

Debian Wheezy’s Icedove (Thunderbird) package doesn’t properly display my calendar and tasks with the matchning Iceowl-extension (Lightning), and the Debian Mozilla group’s slightly newer versions don’t work either, so I had to look elsewhere. The Ubuntuzilla project keeps up with Mozilla’s newest builds and the repos work on APT-based distros like Mint, Ubuntu and Debian.

  • To install FireFox: «sudo apt-get install firefox-mozilla-build» (the Ubuntuzilla sources must be in your sources.list.)
  • To install Thunderbird: «sudo apt-get install thunderbird-mozilla-build»(the Ubuntuzilla sources must be in your sources.list.)

Other software installations:

Some software is not available through the above mentioned repos, and must be installed from other sources. Here is a list of a few of those that I like, and how/where to get them:

  • LibreOffice dictionaries: LibreOffice Extensions
  • BitTorrent Sync user package, a brilliant way to sync files between computers: BTSync User
  • Skype, the instant messanger, VOIP and video call program: Installing Skype on Debian (As Skype comes as a 32 bit «multiarch», you need to read the section for amd64 on this page to get it to install properly on a 64-bit Debian install)
  • Flashplayer, to be able to play some contents online: Debian Wiki


Adding radio streams’ URLs:

Unfortunately, my favorite radio streams are not available by default in Rhythmbox, so I have to add them manually. (Find your European favorites on listenlive.eu.):

Other stuff:

  • to browse the Debian repos, check out Packages for Debian Wheezy
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