Results 1 to 4 of 4

Thread: Tutorial: Linux Installation -- RedHat 7.x -- i386 Arch.

  1. #1
    Just a Virtualized Geek MrLinus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Redondo Beach, CA

    Tutorial: Linux Installation -- RedHat 7.x -- i386 Arch.

    I was asked a while ago that a tutorial on installing linux be posted. One of the biggest issues relates to the fact there are so many distributions with a variety of ways to install. For now I will deal with the text install of RH. I will also (eventually) put up a post on installing Yellow Dog Linux on Mac OS systems for those with old PPC machines collecting dust. I will probably also start putting up tutorials on common commands and programs that can be used. Remember if you want to find out info on a command type man <command> to get info about that command.

    Now a bit of a caveat, do the installation at your own risk. This won't solve the install for everyone but should be a good guide to start from. Troubleshooting is always something helps your learning and patience is a great virtue. It may not work the first time. Try, try, try again. I've also listed some links below that should help. Also, never be afraid to ask. There are quite a few linux "gurus" here at AO. All the errors are my own and I apologize in advance. Read through this first before you begin your installation. Plan everything out and back up your existing data. Have fun.

    For this you will need your RH install disks and at least 3 blank floppy diskettes. You can download the ISOs from a variety of places (I picked one out for a link for those that want a quick and easy link: Download the disc1 and disc2 ISOs and burn them to CDs.

    To start with one has to consider what is presently installed. While Linux in general will work with pretty much any other OS, other OSes may not be "thrilled" about working with Linux. First, let's deal with the straightforward issue of the OSes themselves. On the whole any of the general desktop OSes (DOS, Win 3.1, Win 95, Win98) are happy to let LILO (linux loader) control how things boot. The workstation/server (NT/2000) family, however, may not be thrilled at giving up the MBR (Master Boot Record) to LILO. For those situations we will look at another alternative to allowing dual/multi-booting the OSes. So keep in mind that depending on existing configurations you have have used the slight variation (which will be included at the bottom of this tutorial).

    The other item to consider is how your partitions are setout. The Intel restriction still affects Linux as it would others. You can only have either 4 primary partitions or 3 primaries with 1 extended. So if you have a DOS primary partition, a Win98 primary and a Win NT/2000 primary partition you will not be able to install without using a third-party tool like System Commander ( If you're partitions are using all your space you need to use a tool like Partition Magic ( to resize your partitions and free up some non-partitioned space. For a minimum RH 7.0 install you'd need about 750MB (without the GUI interface); 995MB (with GUI interface);2.5GB for everything (and when they say everything, they mean EVERYTHING!) =)

    Now, one last thing to check is your hardware. Like any other OS, Linux can be picky sometimes about hardware. Unlike Windows, which has a central location to find its HCL (Hardware Compatibility List), there really isn't a central list. There are, however, two good references: Red Hat's ( and SUSE's
    ( Both of these are probably the best organized of all the Linux distros. (Note: distro is the often used abbreviation for distribution in the Linux world). Being able to find your components will help determine whether appropriate device drivers exist for a variety of technologies.

    Does this mean that it will go flawlessly? Unfortunately no. In Red Hat's case they have at least put a central location under their Support for each version of their distro and any files needed during install. Red Hat uses anaconda as its install "daemon" as it were. It has a few bugs since its initial release with 7.0. If you are install 7.0 you can find the anaconda patch here (; 7.2 ( Apparently 7.1 was stable. (Editor's note: 7.2 is showing lots of bugs so use it with caution).

    Depending on whether you can boot from your CD or not will determine the next step. Assuming you cannot you will need to either launch a DOS prompt or boot into DOS with CDRom support. Once at the command prompt switch to your CD Drive by typing in the drive letter (e.g., if the CDRom was D: drive then you'd type D. Switch to the DOSUtils directory by typing CD DOSUTILS. Do a dir to see a listing of the file there. One in particular is RAWRITE.EXE. Rawrite is a DOS utility that allows us to copy a raw disk image (.img or .bin in some cases) to a floppy disk. In this case, we can use it for both the update disk (Anaconda fix) as well as an install disk. To create the install disk simply type rawrite -f \images\boot.img -d A. This tells rawrite that you want to create a floppy disk from the image boot.img. Label this disk Red Hat Installation Disk and write protect it (move that little tab thing up).

    Now create the update disk. Use the absolute path for where you saved the update image. For example, if I downloaded the file to a folder on C: called RHUpdates I would type rawrite -f c:\rhupdates\update~1.img -d A (don't forget that DOS abbreviates things down to the 8-dot-3 convention). Once this is complete insert the Red Hat Installation Disk and reboot your machine to start the actual installation.

    The boot diskette has a small version of the linux kernel (in this case version 2.2.x -- the full size of this is 5MB). When the system boots you will see a text based install window. To avoid problems with graphic cards (often a problem) we'll do this installation via text.You should see a prompt at the bottom of the screen -- boot: . Type text updates to beging the text interface installation. It will ask for the update disk, simply pop it in and tab to the OK. It will read the disk and continue the installation.

    The next screen that will appear is the language selection option for the language you wish to install in. Many of the distros support a variety of language types. For the purposes of this tutorial we will assume English as the main language. It should be selected by default. Press Tab to OK and then Enter to continue. The next screen should be for the Keyboard Configuration. The default selection, US, is usually the best option to choose unless you have a special keyboard like a French Canadian one. Tab to OK and press Enter.

    You will now get the Red Hat Linux screen that talks about Red Hat. Read if you will but definately tab to the OK and proceed. You will now get the Installation Type screen. You can be lazy and simply choose Server or Workstation options but, as we all know good admins choose Custom, so that we can play and choose what we want. Also, the other choices WILL ERASE your windows partition. (And we're not doing an upgrade). So select Custom and tab to Enter. You will now get a choice on how to do the installation of linux: either with Disk Druid or fdisk. Both are very good (the fdisk in Linux is not the same as the one in DOS). Select Disk Druid and press Enter.

    You will need at least two partitions for linux: swap and / (a.k.a., root). If you have a DOS or Windows partition (excluding NT and especially excluding 2000) you can mount that partition so that you have access to it when in Linux. To do this select the DOS drive by tabbing over to it and select the EDIT. It will open a simple window and in the area labelled Mount Point you can enter /mnt/c or /mnt/windows (which ever you prefer). Tab to OK and press Enter.

    Now we will create the swap and / mount points. We'll stick with the two by themselves. If you don't have an existing extended partition you can separate out your mount points (Linux will create it's own extended partition for you -- I've listed below the minimum size requirements for each mount point and it's usage). For the swap you should stick by the adage of double the physical RAM. For my installs that means a swap of 256MB. So first we select the ADD button by tabbing to it. Tab to the options on the right and select linux swap from the list (hit the space bar). Tab to the Size(Megs) textbox and enter 256. Tab to OK and we'll then add /.

    Again, hit the ADD button and this time in the Mount Point text box enter /. In the Size(Megs) box enter 2500 (this would be a nice minimum size to enter). If you are using the full amount of free space left you can select the Fill Disk option. Tab to the OK. You can add separate mount points for others partitions (provided you haven't chosen the Fill Disk option). The other paritions could be:

    /boot (about 20MB) - your kernel is found here.

    /usr (about 2500MB) - programs are often found in here

    /home (about 100MB) - user directories. You should have at least one other account besides root even on home systems.

    /var (about 200MB) - system logs are found here. It's an abbreviation of the word variable, referring to the fact that log files are often variable in size.

    /tmp (about 200MB) - temporary directory used by programs and system commands (like man)

    / (about 300MB) - where things begin. Everything is found here like /etc (configuration files are here), /bin (basic unix commands) and a few others.

    <swap> (double your ram)

    Now write down all the information that appears on the disk druid environment. You will notice that things will be listed
    something like this:

    /mnt/windows /dev/hda1
    / /dev/hda2
    <swap> /dev/hda3

    The dev partition refers to devices. hd is a linux convention for naming IDE drives. hda refers to the first hard drive while the number refers to the partition number. Tab to Yes and press Enter. This will write the information to the partition table. You will now be shown the linux native partitions that will be formatted and have an option to check for bad blocks while formatting. Even on new disks its a recommendation to check for bad blocks and isolate them. This will extend the time it takes to install but that's ok. Tab to OK and press Enter to proceed. You'll get an option for linear mode (used by modern drives). Leave this as is and press OK to continue.

    We now get to choose where LILO will reside and what OS to default boot into. For the most installs the default is a good option. However, if you have NT or 2000 you should change the option from MBR to first sector of the / partition.

    Tab to OK and continue. You will now be asked to name your machine. Obviously naming it RHLinux7.0 isn't a good thing. Give it a unique name of its own. There are some rules such as no spaces or special characters. It is also convention to name the machine using lowercase. Enter in the options for the network configuration, depending on your setup. Tab to OK and continue.

    You will now be given the option to choose your mouse. Choose the one best for you. For most users it will usually be "Generic - 2 Button MOUSE (PS/2)" or "Generic - 2 Button MOUSE (Serial)". Tab to OK and continue. You will now have Time Zone selection options. Find the one closest for your region. Proceed by hitting OK.

    Now comes an important decision: root password. If you need help on creating a good password for root check out this
    thread ( Remember that root is all powerful god on a *nix system. You want to ensure that it has a strong password. For security reasons we do not log into a *nix system generally with root. So we create a regular user and we will use the su command to manage and maintain the system.

    Create a regular user by choosing Add User. Create a regular user and a different password for it. Generally, one account will do fine for now. Once complete, hit OK and procede.

    To ensure that our passwords are secure we are going to ensure that our Authentication Confinguration is setup with the minimum settings. These should be Use Shadow Passwords and Enable MD5 Passwords. Shadow Passwords means that the passwords are stored in a separate file that can only be read by the system or root. MD5 passwords includes an encryption scheme that goes beyond a standard 8 characters up to 256 characters. The other options can be left for now. Tab to OK and proceed.

    We now get to pick and choose the Packages to install. Choose the items you wish. You can leave the default settings
    but I would suggest that you choose Kernel Development and Development options as they will allow for programming
    options and kernel updates. Ensure you do not chose "Select individual packages" as you will be asked about 3 to 4 hundred Yes/No questions. Once you've selected your options proceed onwards.

    You will now see X-Probe results. Hopefully you will see the correct option. Proceed to the next window.

    You will now get the Installation to Begin. It will list a location to where the installation log will be kept. Record that in case of problems. The installation will now begin. Depending on the number of Packages, size of partitions, formatting options and CPU speed will determine how long it will take to install. I've had them go from 10 min to 2 hours. Grab a coffee. When finished, Linux will ask if you want to create a bootdisk (for those who are Windows NT or 2000 users this is a definate YES). It should always be yes for everyone anyways. This helps get you out of trouble. So label your 3rd disk as RH 7.0 Boot Disk, insert and procede. If you re-install or do an installation on another machine, create a new disk.

    Now Linux will do a monitor probe. Generally, most monitors are picked up. If it is unable to do so make sure you have your monitor documentation handy so that you can find as close as a match as possible. Proceed when you have a match. At this point you will get the option to set the Video Memory. I have found that sometimes choosing half the memory can work for trickier cards. Start with what it detects and if you need to change knock it down by half. Continue onwards!

    Clockchip Configuration is generally something that can be left alone, unless its auto-detected. Proceed from here. Now you get the choice of the Video Mode you want. Select one mode (ideally 24-bit colour at a minimum of 800X600 -- don't make it too big as the desktop will scroll if its too big for the monitor). Once you've selected the one you want press OK. It will bring up a sample of what you have selected. If you can see it press Yes. If not, then you will have to select a new option. You will now get the Starting X option to boot into X-Windows. You can select to have the system boot directly into the GUI interface or into command mode. If Linux is having trouble detecting your OS, have it boot into text option instead of GUI so that you can troubleshoot it after installation. Remove the Emergency boot diskette and reboot.

    You should now be able to boot directly into X-Windows. Choose the Desktop Manager you want or that you've installed (GNOME or KDE) and enjoy. If however you want to boot into the text option, when you see the Lilo screen (with the Red Hatted Shadow Man) press Ctrl + X. You will get the text boot screen. Type Linux 3 to get the text login. Once logged into the text, if you need to reconfigure your video settings type Xconfigurator (remember that *nix is case sensitive).

    Log in once as your user, launch a terminal window and type su -. Enter your root password and type updatedb. This will limit the amount of disk activity when you use the man pages.

    Now for those that are dual booting with NT or 2000 the following instructions will help you.

    Log into the graphical system interface or text interface as root. Press ok to the warning about using root at the console. Close the windows that open up. Looking at the bottom you will see a picture that looks like a monitor. Hit that to open a console window.

    Type cd /

    Type dd if=/dev/hdax of=/bootsect.lnx bs=512 count=1 where /dev/hdax is the harddrive info you got during the installation of the Linux setup. Insert the other blank diskette labelled bootsect.lnx (that is BOOTSECT.LNX in lower case) for the machine in question.

    Type mcopy /bootsect.lnx a:

    Close the console window. Hit the “footprint” on the bottom right of the screen and choose logout. You will then get a closing window. Choose save settings and reboot. Remove the boot disk and reboot.

    When the system reboots, choose MS-DOS or Windows 2000. Get to a DOS prompt (cmd in Win2K). Get to your root partition of where Win2K is installed or DOS (usually C: )

    Type attrib –s –r boot.ini

    Type edit boot.ini and at the end enter the following:


    Note the partition numbers. These may have to be changed if NT doesn’t boot properly. Initial lab tests showed that

    the partition numbering changes. The lab partitions went from partition(2)/partition(3) to partition(4)/ partition(5).

    save and exit out. Type attrib +s +r boot.ini

    type copy a:\bootsect.lnx c:\bootsect.lnx

    Remove the disk out of the drive and reboot. Ensure that the system can boot into Linux and NT/2000 to ensure that the dual-boot works.


    Resources: (excellent site for FREE programs to install and download)

    Also, don't forget about Linux Magazine and Linux Journal.
    Goodbye, Mittens (1992-2008). My pillow will be cold without your purring beside my head
    Extra! Extra! Get your FREE copy of Insight Newsletter||MsMittens' HomePage

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Looks Good MsMittens, Ive been lucky when I install linux, as the graphical setups have all seemed to like my systems, so I have never done the text install... yeck..


  3. #3
    OK I am noting that it is likely I'm gonna become very unpopular if I keep picking on linux users, It is my quest to istall linux this night. Some people may here poor undee complaining, I just went and woke him up for the disks soon I shall be linux geek extradinair and I will have vantage point for my inconsiderate posts

  4. #4
    The Doctor Und3ertak3r's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Yawn... Yeah thanks "Odour of an Onion".....
    oh sry.. ghostofanonion


    Smellie Undies..
    "Consumer technology now exceeds the average persons ability to comprehend how to use it..give up hope of them being able to understand how it works." - Me

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts