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Is there a way to reconfigure Debian so that it could install the essential packages and configuration files? The files/packages that are missing includes the sudoer file, tcpdump, nano and a lot more. Can someone recommend a list of essential packages for Debian so I can install it manually? I am pretty sure the Linux I have is the bare minimum.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

The bare minimum you describe is exactly that... A bare minimum install. It is impossible to predict what you want to use your system for and therefore impossible to suggest a list of packages.

You need to install additional software on your Debian system just like you would any other platform. Look at the APT Documentation and get familiar with it.

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An important metapackage you may want to install if you plan on compiling things on that server is build-essential. Apart from that, you just need to install what you need.

In case you find it useful this is my own incomplete list of essential packages that I tend to install in every server:

apt-get install tcpdump nmap strace mtr screen sudo vim-nox
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