The Perfect GNU Distribution

The Perfect GNU Distribution

After years of using GNU/Linux, distro-hopping and texting many WMs i know what I need and what not. I manage to create an private instruction what to do after the clean install to have fully working distribution. Now I decided to make a bash script from it. This will automate things and can help someone.

I called it Perfect GNU Distribution - The Script.

You should not run unknown scripts from internet. That's why I will first explain what I do manually.  You can follow those steps and have the same outcome.

This setup is made strictly for old hardware. For my main working computer I just use POP!_OS. But for my small devices I always using Debian minimal install and then build on top of that.

The Setup

  • Base OS: Debian minimal install (w/ only console productivity and ssh selected at the installation).
  • Desktop: Xorg + xdm
  • Window Manager: IceWM / i3
  • File Manager: PCManFM / Midnight Commander
  • Web Browser: Firefox
  • Image Browser: Mirage
  • Music: qmmp
  • Video: VLC
  • FTP: gFTP
  • Word processing: vim / nano / WordGrinder


First download Debian 9.6 stable.


Burn to USB memory/CD and boot installation (text mode) on the target PC.

This is a standard setup and just follow the instructions. The only thing that is important is to deselect desktop environment and select SSH server at software selection.

Installation - Software select

We don't want it right now. After installation is done, reboot the system and login as new user. Switch to sudo user.


To make thinks easier connect the internet via Ethernet cable. It will work just like that.

Add non-free to the /etc/apt/sources.list. This is needed for hardware drivers. If your lucky to have a hardware that is supported by free drives you don't need non-free. I needed them for all computers so far.

For laptop/netbook usage add also stretch-backports. For TLP.

Now it's time for upgrade to the latest version. This could take a while. Right now Debian 9.6 is the latest release so no updates available. but check it.

apt update
apt upgrade

You can use The Script from now (scroll down) or continue manual installation.


Now it's time for essential stuff.

apt install --no-install-recommends \
    wicd wicd-daemon wicd-curses \
    mc htop git acpi wget sudo \
    wordgrinder vim nano dialog \
    woof vrms neofetch ncdu links2 \
    figlet make cowsay \
    alsa-utils linuxlogo tlp


And X11 if we want to have graphics environment.

apt install --no-install-recommends xserver-xorg-core \
    xserver-xorg-input-all xserver-xorg-video-fbdev \
    xserver-xorg-video-intel xinit xdm \
    pcmanfm mirage redshift gftp qmmp firefox-esr vlc

Install Window Manager. IceWM (recommend), i3 or both.

apt install --no-install-recommends icewm
apt install --no-install-recommends i3wm


Make terminal nicer. Edit MOTD and make font bigger.

linux_logo > /etc/motd
sudo dpkg-reconfigure console-setup

Command prompt upgrade. Use or just take my setup. Do this for root and user bashrc.

echo 'export PS1="> \A [\u] \w\n\\$ \[$(tput sgr0)\]"' >> ~.bashrc
echo 'export PS1="> \A [\u] \w\n\\$ \[$(tput sgr0)\]"' >> /home/USERNAME/.bashrc

It looks like this:

> 13:27 [kj] ~/projects


Terminal only Debian 9.6

The Script

Download the script. Give it a execute permission. Run it.

chmod +x

You will be asked to install base system or X Window and extras for it. IceWM is right now the only option.

It will take some time..



PGD with IceWM

Full variant:

  • 1.6GB of disk space,
  • 63MB memory used.
PGD Light

Light variant (terminal only):

  • 993MB of disk space,
  • 35MB memory used.


I tried to make it fully working in VM but failed. At last in VirtualBox. But there is a problem with graphics driver / monitor. For non-graphics aka terminal environment it will work perfectly fine!

VirtualBox with PGD Light