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3. Organization

The content of this guide is split into 6 distinct sections called "Chapters" as illustrated below for ease of searching and reading on behalf of the reader. The reader is expected to choose any one Microsoft Windows OS from the list mentioned in Chapter 2, thus the other sections regarding Microsoft Windows operating systems could be skipped "without" any risk at all. After the reader has chosen which Microsoft OS to install, he/she can proceed with the installation, then proceed with the FreeBSD/OpenBSD and Linux installations sequentially.

Chapter 1: The first Chapter, About the operating systems covers a brief discussion on Windows OS Family (I chose to speak a few words on Microsoft Windows XP Professional), Linux, FreeBSD and OpenBSD operating systems. General information on each operating system, legal stuff etc. is discussed. For more official and exhaustive information, refer to the official web-sites of the products and projects listed there.

Chapter 2: The second Chapter, Installing Microsoft Windows covers the installation of any one of the Microsoft Windows operating systems that the reader chooses to install on a new hard disk. The OS that the reader chooses to install here is the one that would co-exist finally with the FreeBSD/OpenBSD and Red Hat Linux OSes. Disk partitioning and labeling schemes under Windows is discussed in detail herein.

Chapter 3: The third Chapter, Installing FreeBSD 4.7-RELEASE covers topics required for installing and configuring FreeBSD 4.7-RELEASE with the already existing Microsoft Windows operating system. If the reader chooses to install OpenBSD 3.2-RELEASE instead of FreeBSD 4.7-RELEASE, he/she may skip this chapter and proceed to the next chapter.

WARNING: Since both FreeBSD and OpenBSD operating systems are POSIX compliant BSD-derivatives, both use the same BSD-style hard disk partitioning and labeling schemes, and both have the same set of commands when viewed from the user-level. Thus, partitioning and filesystems naming covered in FreeBSD section will not be repeated in the next chapter. If it so happens that you are a complete OpenBSD newbie or the term "OpenBSD" sounds like a Greek mythology character, it is best for you to go through all the information in this chapter and install and configure FreeBSD. OpenBSD installation, though simple and neat, is completely a text-based installation procedure and assumes a sound knowledge of hardware, BSD-style hard disk slicing and labeling schemes. Messing up at any one stage, messes up the entire installation and may even render the Microsoft Windows OS (installed initially) totally inaccessible. Experience has taught me to keep proper backup when doing such installations. Do not send problem reports later. You have been warned!  

Chapter 4: The fourth Chapter, Installing OpenBSD 3.2-RELEASE covers topics required for installing and configuring OpenBSD 3.2-RELEASE with the already existing Microsoft Windows operating system. If the reader chooses to install FreeBSD 4.7-RELEASE instead of OpenBSD 3.2-RELEASE, he/she may skip this chapter and take a peek into the earlier chapter. Partitioning and essential booting process details etc. is discussed herein.

Chapter 5: The fifth Chapter, Installing Red Hat Linux 7.3 (Valhalla) covers the topics required for installing and configuring Red Hat Linux 7.3 distribution release with the already pre-existing Microsoft Windows operating system and FreeBSD 4.7-RELEASE/OpenBSD 3.2-RELEASE.

Chapter 6: The sixth and the final Chapter, Mounting Filesystems contains a detailed discussion on topics required for mounting Linux filesystem (ext2fs) on FreeBSD systems and mounting UFS (or FFS) on Linux systems and other minute yet significant details. Readers interested in gathering working knowledge on Linux filesystems must browse through the contents of this Chapter.

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