10 Things to Do After Installing Debian 12 Bookworm

3 min

A few important things to do after installing Debian 12 Bookworm.

I am sure you have already installed Debian 12 Bookworm or planning to upgrade. Debian 12 was released on June 10, 2023, after more than a year of development. It brings the latest packages, upgrades and replaces some key modules as well. Do check out the Debian 12 feature guide here.

If you use Debian on your laptops or desktops, here are a few steps you might want to do after installing or upgrading to Debian 12.

A few things to do after installing Debian 12

Enable sudo

If you have installed Debian 12 as a new installation, likely, your user account doesn’t have super user access. For security reasons, Debian doesn’t allow any option to give user accounts sudo access while installation. Here’s how you can add the user to the superuser group.

Open a terminal and get into the root account by entering the root password.


Then run the following command to add your user account to the sudo group. Do change the user name to the account.

/sbin/addgroup arindam sudo

If the above command doesn’t work, you can try the below to add username to sudo group.

usermod -aG sudo arindam

You can now log out and log back in using the user account.

Make sure Debian is up to date

It’s important that you make sure that Debian 12 is up to date before starting your work or any configurations. From the terminal, run the below commands in sequence to refresh the Debian installation.

sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade

Non-free software in Debian 12

A fundamental change arrived in Debian 12 on handling “non-free” firmware packages. A new repository has been created for easy access to those proprietary packages. So, if you want to add the non-free packages, you need to make sure to add the following lines in the APT sources file – /etc/apt/sources.list:

sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list
deb http://deb.debian.org/debian bookworm non-free non-free-firmware
deb-src http://deb.debian.org/debian bookworm non-free non-free-firmware

deb http://deb.debian.org/debian-security bookworm-security non-free non-free-firmware
deb-src http://deb.debian.org/debian-security bookworm-security non-free non-free-firmware

deb http://deb.debian.org/debian bookworm-updates non-free non-free-firmware
deb-src http://deb.debian.org/debian bookworm-updates non-free non-free-firmware

Save and close the file. Then refresh your Debian installation. Once done, you can now install the “non-free” packages.

sudo apt update

Install additional desktop environments

Debian Linux provides all the major desktop environment packages. If you have installed using the Debian “netinst” ISO file (minimal ISO image), then you may have got the default Xfce desktop environment. During the Debian 12 installation, you have the option to choose the Desktop environment.

If you want to install any additional desktop environments, you can either install them using any package manager. Or, grab the dedicated ISO files. From Debian 12 onwards, the team is providing separate ISO files for each desktop. You can grab them in the below links.

Set up Flatpak and Flathub

You should set up Flatpak in Debian to get access to hundreds of the latest applications from Flathub. To set it up, you can run the below command from the terminal.

sudo apt install flatpak

The below installation is optional if you want to install Flatpak apps via the browser.

sudo apt install gnome-software-plugin-flatpak

Add the Flathub repository where all the Flatpak apps reside. Run the below commands from the terminal.

flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo

Reboot your Debian system and enjoy Flatpak apps.

Install latest Firefox

Debian Linux comes with the Firefox ESR version, which is a little older in terms of features. However, it is stable and very secure. That said, if you want to install the latest Firefox, you can download the pre-compiled binary from the official website below. And execute “firefox”.

Install additional software – GUI

The default Debian installation comes with very minimal GUI applications. To configure your workstation, you may consider installing the below set of applications. However, the below list is very basic and should be sufficient for all basic use cases.

They include partition software, torrent client, media player and graphics utilities.

sudo apt install gparted transmission-gtk vlc pavucontrol geany gimp inkscape audacity filezilla leafpad

Install additional software – CLI

While the above GUI applications are necessary, you should always install some super-important command line utilities. Here’s a list I have prepared for you.

sudo apt install ffmpeg default-jdk git wget nano vim htop locate p7zip p7zip-full unzip

Replacement packages in Debian 12

If you are running Debian server or desktop, you should note that some key packages have been replaced in this release. Here are some of them:

  • The default system clock is now managed by systemd-timesyncd and ntp is replaced by ntpsec.
  • The DNS option dnssec-enable is now obsolete. If you encounter an invalid option error, comment out the line in named.conf file (should be in /etc or /etc/bind9).
  • The systemd-resolved package will not be installed automatically. You need to install and start it manually.
  • The rsyslog package is not installed by default since it is becoming obsolete as journalctl takes over.

Configure Debian Multimedia Repo

The popular Debian multimedia repo (created by the community) is updated for the Bookworm release. You can add the following lines in APT sources file and take advantage of hundreds of multimedia packages for your projects.

deb https://www.deb-multimedia.org bookworm main non-free

You can visit the official page to learn more about this repo.

Wrapping up

There you have it. A list of tips that every user can take advantage of. Although, these are just guidelines and may not apply to you. But they can be a starting point for your Debian 12 post-install journey.

Let me know in the comment box what is your favourite post-install tip for Debian.


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