I installed Debian today with Gnome environment. Since I wanted to build as personal computer as I could, I wanted to get rid of Gnome and replace it with something simpler. First I downloaded i3 with APT and switched to it, then I deleted every Gnome related package with "purge gnome-*" and after that I got LightDM. Before rebooting I also used autoremove command to delete useless packages. After reboot everything launched fine as expected, but when I launched firefox I realized that there is no internet connection. Maybe other things are missing too. Can I fix it or should reinstall Debian? Tell me if I there is an option to make fresh Debian as basic as possible but ready to work and to download new packages.

closed as too broad by Rui F Ribeiro, HalosGhost, techraf, roaima, GAD3R Oct 17 '16 at 9:13

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  • As basic as possible? Install with the netinst image and don't install any extended options until after the set-up has completed. – roaima Oct 16 '16 at 23:42

It's likely that you relied on NetworkManager for the network configuration. NetworkManager is the normal way to manage network connections on machines where it changes, i.e. laptops. It can also be used on machines with fixed network connectivity, but for that it's overkill. Since many machines don't need it, it has the priority optional and isn't part of the most basic installation, but the installation of a desktop environment such as Gnome pulls it as a dependency via the network configuration widget (network-manager-gnome — there's also a command line interface in the network-manager package).

Networking in itself doesn't need any packages (it's built into the kernel), but bringing network interfaces requires some packages that can be uninstalled (but shouldn't be, unless you've done more than autoremove). The bare minimum you need is net-tools (ifconfig and route) or iproute2 (ip). These are low-level tools, and the normal way to configure the network on Debian if you aren't using NetworkManager is via ifupdown, by editing /etc/network/interfaces then running ifup. For example, if you have a fixed IPv4 address and your Ethernet interface is eth0, you would put something like this in /etc/network/interfaces:

iface eth0 inet static
auto eth0

If your network uses DHCP then you need a DHCP client (Debian includes several, the default one is isc-dhcp-client and /etc/network/interfaces should contain

iface eth0 inet dhcp
auto eth0

If you have a laptop, reinstall NetworkManager or its alternative wicd.

In the future, watch out what you uninstall. If you use some functionality, mark the package that provides it as manually installed.

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