Debian 10 Buster

Hey, they moved my cheese! Oh there it is.


Debian 10 “Buster” is available.

Actually, it’s been available for ages. But I was very slack publishing this article.

Differences from Debian 9

Here are my notes compared to Debian 9.


As in Debian 9, sudo isn’t installed by default. However, the group to be a “sudoer” is now sudo instead of sudoers.

$ su
$ apt install sudo
$ adduser myuser sudo

Screen Blanking

The biggest challenge was the laptop I installed Debian 10 on wasn’t blanking the screen any more.

It used to do that in Debian 9 automagically. And I was a bit disappointed Debian 10 wasn’t co-operating.

My first attempt was to use setterm. It lets you configure a timeout to blank the laptop screen.

$ su
$ setterm --blank 5 --term linux > /dev/tty1

This worked OK when I had used su to become root. It didn’t work via sudo (which was rather surprising), and I couldn’t make it work as a systemd service either (despite running as root).

A solution that involves me manually running a command isn’t going to work. So I looked for other options.

The other approach is to tell the kernel to blank the screen. There is a Linux kernel option called consoleblank, which does what I want. It blanks the console after N seconds (default = 600, or 10 minutes).

Seems the out-of-the-box Debian kernel sets this to 0, which disables console blanking.

I’ve never set a kernel option. Heck, I never knew you could pass options to the kernel - although I should have known better, the kernel at least needs to know what device to boot from. So, StackOverflow, how do you set a kernel boot parameter?

Apparently, you need to modify the grub configuration, update the bootloader and then reboot.

$ cat /etc/default/grub
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet consoleblank=600"
$ grub-update
$ shutdown -r now

After the reboot, you can verify the kernel parameters via /proc/cmdline:

$ cat /proc/cmdline
BOOT_IMAGE=/boot/vmlinuz-4.19.0-8-amd64 root=UUID=71c98b73-cd73-492a-8874-8723756a919d ro quiet consoleblank=600

And lo! There’s consoleblank, configured for 10 minutes.

Finally, wait for 10 minutes and the screen does indeed go blank. Success!


There’s not much difference between Debian 9 and 10. I consider that a feature.

Thanks for not moving much of my cheese, Debian developers :-)