It can be a little intimidating to see a thick chapter on installation. But the truth is, if you have a little bit of experience with computers and a computer with common hardware, you can probably install Red Hat Linux pretty easily. The procedure in this section will get you going quickly if you have:
The Red Hat Linux installation CDs (Fedora Core) that come with this book.
A Pentium-class PC (at least 200 MHz for text mode; 400 MHz for GUI) with a built-in, bootable CD-ROM drive, at least 64MB of RAM (for text mode) or 128MB of RAM (for GUI mode). You need at least 510MB of free hard disk space for a Minimum custom install, at least 2.1GB of hard disk space for a personal desktop install, at least 2.6GB of free space for a workstation install, and at least 920MB for a server install. (The Minimum install is configured to be used as a Linux firewall and/or router.) A custom Everything install requires at least 5.8GB of disk space.
For this quick procedure, you must either be dedicating your entire hard disk to Linux, have a preconfigured Linux partition, or have sufficient free space on your hard disk outside any existing Windows partition.
If you are not dedicating your whole hard disk to Red Hat Linux and you don't understand partitioning, skip to the "Detailed Installation Instructions" section in this chapter. That section describes choices for having both Linux and Windows on the same computer.
Here's how you get started:
Insert Red Hat Linux (Fedora Core) installation CD #1 into your computer's CD-ROM drive.
Reboot your computer.
When you see the installation screen, press Enter to begin the installation.
During installation, you are asked questions about your computer hardware and the network connections. After you have completed each answer, click Next. The following list describes the information you will need to enter. (If you need help, all of these topics are explained later in this chapter.)
Media Check — Optionally check each CD to be sure it is not damaged or corrupted.
Language — Choose your language.
Keyboard — Choose your keyboard type.
Mouse — Identify the type of mouse you are using.
Monitor — Identify your monitor model or at least its horizontal and vertical sync.
Upgrade? — If you have an earlier version of Red Hat Linux installed, you can choose Upgrade to upgrade your system without losing data files. Otherwise, you can continue with a new installation.
Install type — Choose a configuration, such as Personal Desktop (for laptop, home, or desktop use), Workstation (desktop plus software development), Server (file, print, Web, and other server software), or Custom (adds selected Linux packages, Minimum, or Everything installs).
Partitions — Either have Red Hat automatically choose your partitions or manually partition yourself (with Disk Druid). With Automatic, you can choose to remove Linux partitions, all partitions, or no partitions (and use existing free space). Because repartitioning can result in lost data, I recommend that you refer to descriptions on repartitioning your hard disk later in this chapter.
Disk Druid — Whether you choose Automatic or Manual partitioning, Disk Druid appears onscreen to let you review or change the partitions.
Boot Loader — Add the GRUB boot manager to control the boot process. (GRUB is described later in this chapter.)
Network configuration — Set up your LAN connection (not dial-up). You can simply choose to get addresses using DHCP, or you can manually enter your computer's IP address, netmask, host name, default gateway, and DNS servers. You can also indicate whether to activate your network when Linux boots.
Firewall — Choose a default firewall configuration. Select High if you plan to connect to the Internet but don't plan to use Linux as a server. Select Medium to allow a select group of services. Choose Custom if you want to offer particular services to the network. Select No Firewall only if you are connected to a trusted network, with no connection to a public network
Language support — Choose to install support for additional languages.
Time zone — Identify the time zone in which you are located.
Root password — Add the root user account password.
Packages — Select to accept the current package list (for the install type you chose) or customize it. For custom installations, choose groups of software packages to install, choose Everything, or Mimimum. (You can also choose separate packages if you like.)
If your computer is connected to the Internet, you should be more selective about which server packages you install because they may pose potential security risks. A misconfigured server can be like an open window to your computer. In a safe environment, however, an Everything install (if you have enough disk space) allows you to follow the procedures in this book without continuously going back and installing new packages from the CD.
Installing packages — To this point, you can quit the install process without having written anything to disk. When you select Next, the disk is formatted (as you chose) and selected packages are installed.
After answering the questions, the actual installation of packages takes between 20 and 60 minutes, depending on the number of packages and the speed of the computer hardware. During this time, you will be asked to insert the other Red Hat installation CDs.
Boot disk — Create a boot disk (optional, but recommended).
When installation is done, remove the Red Hat Linux CD and click Exit to reboot your computer. When you see the boot screen, use up and down arrows to select a partition. Linux should boot by default. After Linux boots for the first time, the Red Hat Setup Agent runs to let you set system date and time, sign up for software updates, and install additional CDs. On subsequent reboots, you will see a login prompt. If you need more information than this procedure provides, go to the detailed installation instructions just ahead.
If you did a Server or Minimum install where no graphical interface is installed, the Red Hat Setup Agent does not run.