One common installation problem is that the Red Hat installer may not detect some key hardware such as the SCSI controller and network interface card on your system. The installer takes you through a sequence of installation steps that depends on what hardware the installer detects. For example, if the installer cannot detect the network card, it skips the network configuration step.
Another common installation problem crops up when you restart the PC and, instead of a graphical login screen, you get a text terminal or worse, the system seems to be hung. This means that there is something wrong with the X Window System (or X) configuration.
There is an alternate way to install Red Hat Linux so that you can force it to configure the network card and the SCSI controller (if you have one). You can also troubleshoot any problems with X by reconfiguring X.
If you have problems with X Window System, printer, sound, or network, consult Chapters 3 through 6 for more information. In particular, Chapter 3 shows you how to configure X, and Chapter 4 shows you how to set up printers.
The Red Hat installation program attempts to use a minimal X server to display the GUI mode installation screens. If the program fails to detect a video card, X does not start. If—for this reason or any other reason—it fails to start X, you can always fall back on the text mode installation program.
To use text mode installation, type linux text at the boot: prompt after you start the PC from the Red Hat Linux boot floppy. From then on, the basic sequence is similar to that of the graphical installation described previously in this chapter. However, many small details are different. You should be able to respond to the prompts and perform the installation.
In text mode, when the installation program fails to detect the video card, it displays a list of video cards from which you can select one. By selecting the video card, X may work when you install in text mode. If it does not, you can configure X using the information in Chapter 3.
If the Red Hat installation program does not detect your SCSI controller or network card, you can specify these devices manually by typing the linux noprobe command at the boot prompt.
Look for any indication of SCSI or network devices in the messages the Linux kernel displays as it boots. To view these boot messages during installation, press Ctrl-Alt-F4. This switches to a text-mode virtual console on which the messages appear. (A virtual console is a screen of text or graphical information stored in memory that you can view on the physical screen by pressing the appropriate key sequence.)
Another sign of undetected hardware is when the installation program skips a step. For example, if the Linux kernel does not detect the network card, the installation program skips the network configuration step.
To manually install devices, type linux noprobe at the boot: prompt in the initial text screen. The installation program then displays a dialog box that gives you the opportunity to add devices. Press Tab to highlight the Add Device button, then press Enter. The installation program then displays a dialog box that prompts you to select a driver from a list. You can then select the driver and press Enter. Repeat the process for as many drivers as you want to load.
After you finish adding any SCSI controllers and network cards, the installation program switches to graphics mode and guides you through the rest of the installation, as described previously in this chapter.
Sometimes you may run into a curious installation problem. During installation, the X configuration step works fine. But when you reboot the PC for the first time after installation, the graphical login screen does not appear. Instead, the boot process seems to hang just as it starts something called firstboot. If this happens to you, here’s how you can troubleshoot the problem.
The XF86Config file created by using the -configure option of the X server is not displayed at the best resolution possible. To fine-tune the configuration file, you should turn to Chapter 3, where you can learn more about configuring the X Window System and editing the /etc/X11/XF86Config file further.
I am sure I have not covered all the installation problems that at least someone out there may encounter. There are so many different combinations of components in Intel x86 PCs that there is bound to be some combination of hardware that the installation program cannot handle. This section lists a few known problems. For others, I would advise you to go to Google Groups (groups.google.com) and type in some of the symptoms of the trouble. Assuming that others are running into similar problems, you should get some indication of how to troubleshoot out of your particular predicament.
Sometimes the PC does not seem to boot with the Red Hat installation boot disk. If this happens to you, try creating another boot disk using a fresh floppy disk and see if that takes care of the problem. Otherwise, you may need updated boot images. New boot images, if any, should be available at Red Hat’s support website (http://www.redhat.com/apps/support/errata/). After you download the image file, save it on your Windows system, give it a short name such as new.img. Then, create a new boot disk by following the steps explained in the “Creating the Red Hat Boot Disk” section. Remember to specify the new boot image file in response to the question that asks for the image source filename.
Some people get a fatal signal 11 error during installation. This usually happens past the initial boot screen as the anaconda installer is starting its GUI or text interface. The most likely cause of a signal 11 error during installation is a hardware error related to memory or the cache associated with the CPU (microprocessor).