From the Debian site:
Debian is a free operating system (OS) for your computer. An operating system is the set of basic programs and utilities that make your computer run. Debian uses the Linux kernel (the core of an operating system), but most of the basic OS tools come from the GNU project; hence the name GNU/Linux.
Start off with a minimal installation.
The Debian version data can be found in:
Debian uses dpkg and apt as it's package managers. More on this comes when you get familiar with the system, but for now it is important to know where to change it's configuration:
Use within this configuration file the actual version name. Not stable/testing/unstable, but potato or woody. This way when e.g. woody hits stable nothing changes for your setup. Which makes life easier. Except for security.debian.org which only accepts stable.
An example configuration (this is for Dutch people only!) lookup your own servers, which are closest to you:
deb ftp://ftp.nl.uu.net/pub/linux/debian/ woody main non-free contrib deb http://non-us.debian.org/debian-non-US woody/non-US main contrib non-free deb-src ftp://ftp.nl.uu.net/pub/linux/debian/ woody main non-free contrib deb-src http://non-us.debian.org/debian-non-US woody/non-US main contrib non-free deb http://security.debian.org/ stable/updates main contrib non-free
Test the configuration with when your Internet is up:
apt-get install kernel-image-<em><version>-<em><arch>
As an example for the 2.4 kernel serie, use kernel-image-2.4.18-686.
Module options can be adjusted in the /etc/modutils/aliases file. When you are finished run:
apt-get update apt-get dist-upgrade