GNU/Linux Desktop Survival Guide
by Graham Williams
Moving From Red Hat
When converting from to Debian all of the configuration files in /etc should be kept (e.g., burn them to CD-RW). Both distributions use many of the same configuration files, although sometimes they are in slightly different places.
Another approach is to create a parted boot disk (or use a Knoppix CD—knoppix has parted installed) and then create a new partition on your machine onto which you install Debian. This allows you to keep a functioning install while you set up Debian. Once you have the Debian installation up to scratch you can wipe the partition and reclaim it for use in Debian (perhaps as /var, /usr). Otherwise delete the partition with parted and enlarge your Debian partition.