4.2. Booting Linux Installation Program

To begin setting up your new Red Hat system, either boot from the installation CD, or insert the installation diskette in the system's A: drive, and reboot or power-on the system. After a few moments, the Red Hat installation program screen should appear.

In most cases, you can just press <Enter> to begin the installation process, but if you are a more experienced user who knows exactly how your hardware devices should be set up, you can enter ``expert'' for the additional information and prompts this feature provides. (If you do nothing, the default installation procedure will start in about 10 to 15 seconds after the installation screen first appears.)

You will then be asked to choose your language (usually "English") and your keyboard type (even in Canada I choose "US 101-key"), as well as where you are installing from (such as from your CD-ROM or over the network). Red Hat is very flexible in where it can be installed from.

Most likely you will choose ``Local CDROM'' to install from your Red Hat CD-ROM (which should be inserted into your CD-ROM device). However, if your system is not equipped with a CD-ROM device, there are a number of other installation methods you can choose.

If you have another Linux system (or any other operating system that supports NFS file mounting), you can use ``NFS'' to install from an NFS mount. To do this, you'll need to have your CD-ROM mounted in the other system (or otherwise have the Red Hat distribution tree somewhere on the other system -- it is possible to download everything via FTP and then install from your other system's hard drive), make sure you have an entry in your /etc/exports file allowing access by the new system to the appropriate directory (see Section 7.6 for details on how to set up and use NFS), and then enter the appropriate details. Here's an example walk-through:

  • Insert the Red Hat CD into the other system (eg. a system called ``spock'').

  • To mount the CD, type:

    mount /dev/cdrom /mnt/cdrom -t iso9660
  • Edit, as the superuser, your ``/etc/exports'' file and put an entry like:

    /mnt/cdrom newsys.mydomain.name(ro)

    (This says that the new system at newsys.mydomain.name is allowed read-only access to the directory ``/mnt/cdrom/'' and any subdirectories under it).

    If your new system does not yet have a domain name assigned to it, you can instead use its IP address:


    (Assuming your new system has as its IP address).

  • Again, as superuser, type:

    killall -HUP rpc.nfsd ; killall -HUP rpc.mountd

    This will restart your NFS and mountd daemons, which is necessary before your new NFS export will work.

  • Now, from your new system, you can choose ``NFS'' as your installation source. You'll be asked to provide information on your network card, as well as your IP settings. You'll likely use static IP settings if your system is sitting on a local LAN, or DHCP settings if, for example, your system is connected to a cable modem. Enter the settings as appropriate for your new system.

  • You'll then be asked to enter the NFS server name and Red Hat directory. For our example system, we would type in ``spock'' as the NFS server name, and ``/mnt/cdrom/'' as the Red Hat directory.

There are other ways of installing Red Hat, such as using a Samba (Windows-style networking) connection, from an existing partition (such as your DOS or Windows 95 partition) on your hard drive, or via FTP. Check the Red Hat users guide for more details on installing using these methods, or just try to struggle through them (the procedures are really not very difficult!)

Once you have chosen your installation source, Red Hat will ask you if you wish to "Install" or "Upgrade" your system. As you are installing a new system, you should choose "Install". (As an aside, I'm a fairly anal person who never upgrades new distribution releases over existing systems -- I guess having suffered through so many problems with Microsoft products I have developed a significant mistrust for upgrading systems as a whole. I prefer to install from scratch, and simply restore from backup my personal/user and local site files.)

The installation program will then ask you if you have a SCSI adapter. If you answer yes, you'll be asked to choose the appropriate driver. In some circumstances, Red Hat will be able to detect your adapter automatically.

Next, you'll be asked to set up your file systems (ie. partition one or more drives for Linux). There are two tools available for setting up these partitions, including the Red Hat-supplied "Disk Druid", and the standard Linux "/fdisk" utility.

Both tools are similar in function, allowing you to specify the partition types and sizes. However, Disk Druid seems to be a bit more "user friendly", and a bit more complete than fdisk. In fact, if you use fdisk to partition your drives, you'll then be presented with the Disk Druid screen for specifying your mount points anyway. That being said, as an ex-Slackware user, I personally always use fdisk -- force of habit, I guess! :-)

The next section will detail how and why you should set up your partition information.