When you finished installation of your linux machine, what are the first packages that you install, and what are the tools that you get first ?

In my Debian box, I get pv, screen, ccze, ... like this

apt-get install pv screen ccze
Please send your feedback.

  • apt-get install pv screen ccze dstat iostat htop puppet iotop Jul 14, 2012 at 23:48

11 Answers 11


On every host I setup I install these.

apt-get install openssh-server sudo screen iproute resolvconf \
                build-essential tcpdump vlan mii-diag firehol \
                apticron atsar ethtool denyhosts rdist bzip2 xclip \
                etckeeper git-core less unzip mtr-tiny curl gdebi-core \
                xbase-clients rsync psmisc iperf lshw wget pastebinit
  • 1
    That pretty much covers it :)
    – user17642
    Oct 22, 2009 at 19:35
  • 2
    I got "iproute" and "wget" automatically when installing Debian 5.0/lenny. Also, I was under the impression that "mii-diag" had been superseded by "ethtool"? Furthermore, "build-essential" depends indirectly on "bzip2". I also think you could replace "xbase-clients" with some of its dependencies.
    – Teddy
    Oct 23, 2009 at 13:23

I like Zoredache's list, so I would add these to that list:


For non-packages:

vmware server 1.x

I don't use apt-get anymore!

aptitude -R install vim lsof htop bash-completion less ncftp ssh iostat debian-goodies

after that, some basic settings:

echo "source /etc/bash_completion" >> ~/.bashrc
echo "alias ..='cd ..' >> ~/.bashrc
echo '"\e[A": history-search-backward' >> inputrc
echo '"\e[B": history-search-forward' >> inputrc
update-alternatives --set editor /usr/bin/vim.basic

in most cases:

apt-get install screen fail2ban mtr-tiny less 


apt-get install tcpdump

and.. i just cannot help

apt-get install mc
  • yeah, vote for midnight commander ;)
    – buster
    Oct 22, 2009 at 21:40

Don't forget to add 'lsof' to the list. That command is so handy.

  • 1
    lsof doesn't come with a minimal install? And yes, it is one of the most handy commands available on any GNU/Linux distribution. Oct 22, 2009 at 21:30
  • Maybe on Debian, but I know I have to add it to my RedHat and CentOS kickstart files.
    – CosmicQ
    Oct 23, 2009 at 1:08

That depends entirely on what you need. If I do a minimal install it's for the purpose of keeping the installation as trim as practical. Therefore, only those tools required on that particular machine will get installed. Perhaps the only thing my machines have in common is Pico, because I just can't come to grips with vi and I do need some kind of text editor that I can use.

Remember that once you start adding some kind of standard list of tools, whether they are actually required on that specific machine or not, you no longer have a minimal installation.

  • I use nano not pico, but totally agree on staying away from vi and that my servers are just gentoo only what needs to get the thing booted, then from there I add what I need for that specific server.
    – ManiacZX
    Oct 22, 2009 at 23:59

lsof, bind9-host, moreutils and htop are first to go in on my newly set-up machines.

For extra points, one can make an empty debian package called "my-server-base" which depends on all the packages you want on each box, then just install that on each machine you set up.

  • +1 yep, thanks for idea, equivs do this job Oct 23, 2009 at 0:37
sudo apt-get install psmisc pwgen rsync file host dnsutils lsof

I normally try to get buy with only what I need. At a bare minimum: openssh, rsync, ntp, and screen. Everything else is "as needed".

Unfortunately, it seems that lately, quite a bit more is needed. So: build-essentials, postfix, lsof, clamav, tripwire, nrpe, and cfengine have also made the list.


dstat, Ksar, iostat, mytop, iotop, vmstat, sysstat, nmap, fail2ban, mtr, clamav, chrootkit, els


The first thing that I always install on a fresh box is hnb.

I use to document everything I do and hnb is my outliner of choice for computers that don't have X. I also use leo as GUI outliner, so if a computer has X, I also install it.

I also use a source code management tool for storing my configs there. My recent favourite is fossil, so I aim to have it installed on every computer as well.

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