2.3 Installation Types

Red Hat Linux defines four installation types: Personal Desktop, Workstation, Server, and Custom. In addition, it is possible to upgrade an existing Red Hat Linux installation by selecting the Upgrade option.[2]

[2] Upgrading an existing Red Hat system is beyond the scope of this book, so we will not be covering the "Upgrade" installation option in Chapter 3.

2.3.1 Personal Desktop Installation

If you're new to Linux, the Personal Desktop installation type is the easiest to perform, especially if you currently run Windows. In that case, the procedure will automatically configure your system to dual boot?in other words, whenever you start your system, a Linux utility known as GRUB will give you the choice of starting Windows or Linux. Both operating systems can reside on a single system as long as you have a large enough hard drive. A typical Personal Desktop installation requires at least 2 GB of free disk space. However, 4 GB or more is a better working figure, as optional applications and extra packages can consume significant space beyond the minimum.

Even though the Personal Desktop installation type is generally the easiest, I recommend that you choose the Custom installation type, which is explained later. The Custom installation type is more flexible and therefore better able to help you cope with problems that may arise during installation.

2.3.2 Workstation Installation

The Workstation Installation type is based on the Personal Desktop installation type, to which it adds tools useful to software developers and system administrators. Like the Personal Desktop installation type, the Workstation Installation type requires 2-4 GB of free disk space.

2.3.3 Server Installation

The Server installation type is appropriate for systems that will host a web server or other services. It does not include a GUI, so it's not suitable for desktop use. You shouldn't set up a system using the Server installation type until you've had significant experience with Red Hat Linux. A typical Server installation requires from 1.3 to 2.3 GB or more of free disk space.

The Server installation type destroys all data on your hard drive, including any existing Windows and non-Windows partitions. Do not perform a Server installation if you want to preserve any data on your system.

2.3.4 Custom Installation

The Custom installation type gives you complete control over the installation process. You can specify whether to configure your system for dual booting, which software packages to install, and so on. The Custom install is covered in detail in Chapter 3.

To perform a Custom installation, you should have from 400 MB to 4.5 GB of free disk space available. However, 400 MB is an absolute minimum, and 4.5 GB is needed only if you're planning to install everything (including the kitchen sink). More realistically, you should have at least 2 GB of free space available. If you have the expertise and patience, you can omit certain packages that would otherwise be installed during a Custom installation so that your Linux system occupies less disk space. The Select Individual Packages option will be covered in Chapter 3.