3.5 Getting Help

If your system fails to boot or if you're unable to complete the Linux installation process, don't despair: this section will help you troubleshoot your installation.

3.5.1 Failed Graphical Startup or Login

Sometimes, the graphical startup or login fails. This is more likely if your system wasn't manufactured recently or if it's a laptop rather than a desktop.

If you don't see either display manager's screen, it's likely that your X configuration isn't appropriate for your system's video hardware. It could be that your X configuration requires revision. In the worst case, your system's video hardware may not be compatible with X; in that event, you'll nevertheless be able to run nongraphical Linux applications.

If you see a scrambled image rather than text or images on your monitor, immediately switch off the monitor. If your monitor is an older model, it can be damaged by the incorrect configuration. Using the resources described in the following section, seek help in configuring X to work with your system's video adapter and monitor.

3.5.2 Additional Resources

As much as I'd like to help you solve your problems in installing Linux, I get too much email to be able to respond personally. But don't fret: the help you need is probably close by, in one of these sources (roughly ordered by importance and value):

The Red Hat Enterprise Linux Installation Guide


This guide is distributed with boxed copies of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. It's also available online. It provides a step-by-step guide to installing Red Hat Enterprise Linux that includes a few details not given in this chapter. Unfortunately, no similar guide has yet been developed for Fedora Core 1.

RedHat Enterprise Linux General Advisories


The Red Hat Enterprise Linux General Advisories web page describes problems with, and enhancements to, Red Hat Enterprise Linux and provides links to updated packages. Sometimes, the installation media themselves are found to contain bugs or security problems. In that case, you may be able to find and download fixes from this web page. Chapter 8 explains Red Hat Network, which enables you to configure your system to automatically notify you of available software updates.

Fedora Updates


The Fedora project has not yet established a web page for publishing advisories. However, their updates web page will likely link to such information in the future.

Red Hat Global Support Services


This web page provides hyperlinks to a variety of information sources and resources for Red Hat Enterprise Linux users. Because Red Hat does not support Fedora Core, this resource applies only to Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Red Hat Linux Product Activation Page


Red Hat Enterprise Linux users can access this page to register their product. Users who purchased Red Hat Linux on-line do not need to separately register their product, because it was automatically registered during purchase.

The Linux on Laptops Page


Installing Linux on a laptop presents special difficulties, because laptops regularly contain peculiar hardware. Worse, two laptops that have identical model numbers may contain different hardware. The Linux on Laptops web page is an essential resource for those who want to install Linux on a laptop.



This searchable database covers problems reported by users of Linux. You can use Bugzilla to determine if someone else has had the same problem you're experiencing. Often, the Bugzilla record will include a workaround or fix for your problem. The same bugzilla web site is used for Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Fedora Core.

Mailing Lists



Red Hat hosts several mailing lists to which you can post questions and expect to receive replies from other list members. In addition, you can view archives of past postings. The Redhat-install-list is dedicated to issues related to the installation of Linux. The Taroon-list is dedicated to Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Version 3.

Running Linux

The book Running Linux (O'Reilly), by Matt Walsh, Matthias Kalle Dalheimer, Terry Dawson, and Lar Kaufman, takes a more advanced look at Linux generally, rather than only at the Red Hat Enterprise Linux or Fedora Core distributions. It's full of insights and techniques that will help you master Linux. You'll find it especially useful for continuing study after completing this book. You may also find it useful in troubleshooting and resolving installation and configuration problems.