many users have/had macbooks.

what was/still is great: OSX can be reinstalled over internet! (no more searching for licence keys or setup sticks/DVDs/CDs/)

given the fact – that once installed – GNU Linux Debian can boot (almost) anywhere, the fastest and easiest way to “install” it is to simply 1:1 copy it on whatever the user wants to boot from (harddisk or usb stick (some sticks can not be made bootable, try at least 3 different vendors)).

So… this install script 1:1 copy installs Debian 11 (non-free) on any laptop/desktop/server (depending on internet speed) very fast & easy.

(only DISADVATAGE: no harddisk encrypted! maybe GNU Linux needs to start to use file based encryption (FBE) as Android?)

The process can be automated (on similar hardware or on hardware where /dev/sda is always the device the user wants to 1:1 overwrite).

This script install process is almost like OSX 🙂 but “semi-automatic” to double ask, not to overwrite the wrong (USB attached?) disk.

  • it comes with a full MATE Desktop and everything to get working (LibreOffice and Firefox and Thunderbird)
  • it has the “cosmos” slideshow (love it!) background enabled per default
  • the terminal comes with green on black for better readability
  • it does not have a swap partition enabled, so the user can easily with gparted 1) extend the harddisk to it’s full capacity 2) create a swap partition
  • English, Spanish, Chinese and German keyboard layout are active, should be possible to switch between them in the top right corner

todo: what is still missing


  • make sure to disconnect all devices (external harddisks, usb sticks, sdcards)
    • less devices = less trouble and less accidentally overwriting a external harddisk or usb stick
  • if the target device /dev/sdX contains important data, backup it up !first! (all data will be overwritten)


it’s based on the non-free version, because it is intended to allow new users that never tested GNU Linux Debian (with a MATE Desktop) a “it just works” turnkey experience.

Is the Free version better?

If the user has concerns about surveillance/spying and needs maximum privacy than it is probably better to start with the defautl GNU Linux Debian free version and usually all network-cards/NICs work out of the box (free drivers available 🙂 (but maybe not the wifi cards)

new users: workaround for this pitfall:

GNU Linux Debian 11.2 – network stops working networking stops during setup – “bad archive mirror” – how every OS setup should be

Problems might arise with the free version and wifi: (notebooks)

because then the user will probably have to install the appropriate closed source (#evil!) drivers from the the non-free repository with all the spying backdoors that a intel wifi driver might have (after all a network card, is like a small computer, inside a computer, ideal! but then if the BIOS is not LibreBooted… the Intel ME can not be disabled… (some OS allow to permanently disable Intel ME!!!).

… the fight for more privacy and security – seems never ending and goes on.


  • the laptop/desktop/server root harddisk/the target harddisk (/dev/sdX) should have at least 100GBytes of harddisk space
  • ideally boot from GNU Linux live usb stick with at least 3GBytes of free space
  • or alternatively: boot from read-only live DVD or image and when booted up, connect a ext4 or ext3 or fat32 or ntfs formatted USB stick or drive with at least 3GBytes of free space
    • when booted from live, cd into the external usb stick-drive
    • create the below script (copy content into a text file, name it
    • chmod +x; # mark it runnable
    • su - root; # become root
    • / /dev/sdX; # run it, passing the device Debian 11 should be installed on
    • will download ~2.5Gbytes image.gz to current directory (the usb-stick-drive and store it there permanently for later re-use)
      • curl can resume interrupted downloads


# sdX is the device the user wants to install Debian 11 on
/scripts/ /dev/sdX

process complete? reboot & “it just works”?

congratz! do 1min of wiggle dance!

post processing:

want to use the complete harddisk not just the 100GBytes? two possibilities:

what the script will do:

  • download a pre-installed Debian 11 image.gz and it’s sha512check-sum
  • sha512 check the image (check the image is unaltered and intact)
  • on the fly unpack and 1:1 write the image to /dev/sdX while showing a progress bar
vim /scripts/



# define colors
COLOR_OFF='\033[0m' # reset color to default

echo -e "${WHITE}=== download and 1:1 copy debian.img.gz to $1 ===${COLOR_OFF}\n"

if [ -z "$1" ]
    echo "please pass device like this: /dev/sdx
          NOT A PARTITION! (sdb1)"

echo -e "${RED}this script is meant to be run from an live-cd or usb stick (so $1 should be an OFFLINE filesystem (not currently running)"
    echo "please read carefully, a mistake could overwrite critical data!!!"
    echo -e "physically disconnect all critical data-drives before procedure!!!${COLOR_OFF}\n"
    echo ""

    echo "========== do you want to copy the $DEBIAN_IMAGE image on device $1 ?"

    echo -e "${YELLOW}~3GBytes of disk space is needed in the current directory${COLOR_OFF}\n"
    echo "=========== harddisk overview";
    echo "==== where is what";
    smartctl -i $1;
    echo ""

echo -e "${YELLOW}"
read -p "CONTINUE? (y/n)" choice
case "$choice" in 
  y|Y ) echo "yes";;
  n|N ) echo "no";;
  * ) echo "invalid";;

	echo "installing required software for fast multi threaded decompression of image (pigz)"
	echo "and showing progress during dd (pv)"

echo -e "${COLOR_OFF}\n"

	apt update
	apt install pv pigz curl

echo -e "${YELLOW}starting download of $DOWNLOAD... please stand by${COLOR_OFF}\n"
	curl -L -O -C - $DOWNLOAD;

echo -e "${YELLOW}starting download of checksum $DOWNLOAD.sha512sum.txt ... please stand by${COLOR_OFF}\n"

	curl -L -O -C - $DOWNLOAD.sha512sum.txt;

	echo "verify sha512sum..."

cat "./$DEBIAN_IMAGE.sha512sum.txt" | sha512sum -c

if [ $? != 0 ]; then
echo -e "${RED}Checksum failed. aborting script. maybe $DEBIAN_IMAGE corrupted during download. please try to re-run the script." >&2
echo -e "${COLOR_OFF}\n"
  exit 1

echo -e "${YELLOW}starting write process...${COLOR_OFF}\n"
    umount $1*;

    dd if=./$DEBIAN_IMAGE of=$1 status=progress; sync;

    pigz -dc $DEBIAN_IMAGE | pv | dd bs=1M of=$1; sync;
    ## single core
    ### gunzip -c /path/to/image.img.gz | pv | dd of=$1; # write image to usb stick

echo -e "${YELLOW}the image $DEBIAN_IMAGE was written to stick $1. process finished. try booting it now :)${COLOR_OFF}\n"

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