ZDV Linux

We provide modified Linux versions. On these versions you may use your JGU account to log in and work directly on your home folder at the Data Center ('ZDV'). This way, all data gets saved on a Data Center server and you can access it from any computer.
The Data Center administrates these installations remotely and supplies them with automatic updates.

Automated Linux Installation

The Data Center provides an automated network Linux installation. With this installation, you may log in with your JGU account and access to your home and group folder will already be set up.
This installation is maintained remotely by the Data Center via cfengine.

The following distributions are available at the moment:

  • Debian 11 Bullseye
  • Debian 12 Bookworm


  • To run an automated installation, your computer needs an IP address inside the university network. If your computer doesn't have one, you may request an IP here (German only). Please enter pxelinux at "Anmerkung".
  • If the computer already has an IP address, pxelinux must have a DNS entry. Please ask your network administrator for your workgroup.
    If this option doesn't exist, your network administrator may request an activation of this option from the Data Centers's networkgroup.
  • If Windows was installed before on this host, any existing AD objects need to be deleted beforehand.
    You can request this from your OU-Admin.
  • To boot your computer via network, you need to enable networkboot or PXE boot in your BIOS.

⚠ Attention: It's recommended not to dual boot Windows and Linux. We recommend to install the operating system you use the most, other systems may be installed inside a virtual machine.


To boot via network you need to chose network boot as the primary boot option. You may set up this option in your BIOS or press a key during start up. This key varies depending on manufacturer and model. The most common keys are ESC or F12.

After a successful network boot you should see the "PXE Server ZDV" menu.
The installer will guide you through the installation process. Select the option you want and confirm with Enter.

First, you can choose your distribution of choice. We recommend using Debian.

You will be presented with different installation options.

It's recommended to install Debian Bookworm, the latest Debian release.

⚠ Warning: If you choose an installation option without manual partitioning, the entire drive will be used. This will format the drive and delete all locally stored data.
Data stored with your JGU account (data you can access if you log in on a different computer using your JGU account) is not affected.

  • 64 Bit Desktop
    This is the simplest installation. You will be asked for your e-Mail address and to set a local administrator password.
  • 64 Bit Desktop - (de)
    German installation of 64 Bit Desktop.
  • 64 Bit Desktop - (vga=aks)

    ? Hint: If you only see a black screen after you selected an option, you need this install option.

    In some cases, the graphics card doesn't recognize the monitor correctly and the resolution needs to be set manually.
    To do so, press Enter if asked. You will see a list with available resolutions. Enter the three symbols before the resolution you want to choose (e.g. 31B for resolution 1024x768x24) and press Enter.
    The installation is the same as "Desktop 64 Bit".

  • 64 Bit Desktop - Manual Partitioning
    In addition to the other options, you can manually partition the hard drive.
  • 64 Bit Desktop - Expert Install
    You will be asked to set all options manually during install.
  • 32 Bit Desktop
    An automatic installation of Debian 32 Bit version. This version is needed for older hardware.

After you choose the installation option, you will be asked for your e-Mail address. You will receive an e-Mail if something changes on the system, e.g if updates are installed.

Next, you will be asked for a local administrator password. Choose a password on your own. You need this password to perform administrative tasks on your computer (e.g. installing software).

You need to confirm the new disk layout. Navigate with <- and confirm Yes with Enter.

⚠ Warning: Pressing Yes will format the disk and delete all local data.

The installation will take 15-60 minutes depending on your hardware.

After reboot, you can log in with your JGU account. To do so, select not listed on your login screen and enter your university username. You will be asked for your university password.