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      Installation Guide

     

    These are all the steps and options we used for our installation. Please remember that every installation will be different due to the hardware and requirements of each individual user, this is a guide and any information contained was for our specific setups.

    These instructions only cover the main steps, you will also get screens such as Time Zone and ones asking for Input Devices and the likes, these screens should be straight forward and you can do them without us holding your hands.

    For the Official Installation Guide you can go to http://www.redhat.com/support/manuals/RHL-6.2-Manual/install-guide/ or to download the pdf version to view off-line and keep as a reference http://www.redhat.com/support/manuals/RHL-6.2-Manual/pdf/rh62ig.pdf.

     

      Downloading Your Preferred Distro

     

    The first thing you need to do when setting up a 'Linuxbox' is to choose your flavour (so to speak), that is which distribution of Linux you wish to run on your server (each distribution is unique in its own right, some are more for Workstations and others for Servers).

    To download the latest release of the distribution, we recommend that you visit the AARNET mirror in Australia, as it is fast and regularly updated. Aarnet Linux Mirror. These downloads are in the ISO format (CD Image) and will need to be burnt using the appropriate program, such as Easy CD Creator or any other program that supports ISO's (To write the CD in Easy CD Creator you want to go to File -> Create CD from CD Image, select *.iso and your filename - this will burn the image the correct way, DO NOT just burn the image as a file onto the CD or it wont work and you will just have a useless CD). Once you have created the CD's from the downloaded images then you may proceed. If you don't have a CD writer or don't wish to download the CD Images then we recommend that you purchase a magazine such as the Linux Pocketbook for around $16.95 which has CD's attached with Red Hat and sometimes other distributions as well as some useful utilities and applications.

     

      Installation Steps

     
    Booting From The CD

    Once you have your computer setup and working, and you have your chosen distribution on CD, then it is time to begin the installation process. This will take anywhere from about 20mins to approx. 1 Hour or more, depending on what type of computer you have. This installation assumes that you have a unpartitioned Hard Drive, if you don't then you need to use an appropriate program such as Microsoft fdisk and remove all existing partitions from the drive (this also assumes you are not doing a dual boot).

    Once you are ready with a blank drive then you must reboot your computer and enter BIOS, this is usually done by hitting the DEL key while the computer is loading and checking all the hardware. When you are in BIOS then you need to change the boot sequence of you system to CDROM, A, C this will allow you to boot from CD and install Linux without the use of a boot disk.

    Now it is time to exit BIOS and save the changes. This will then reboot your computer and then should bring up the Linux Install screen. Unless you know you need to do a special install then just hit the ENTER button and the installation will continue.

     

    Partitioning The Drives

    When given the option of Manual Partitioning or Disk Druid, select Disk Druid as it is the easiest way to partition your drive. Once you are in the Disk Druid partition section it will show the current hard disk usage and the available options you have. Firstly you want to create what is called a SWAP disk, which Linux uses as its 'Virtual Memory' drive. To do this click ADD and then select from the list "Linux Swap", generally you want this to be of size of about twice the amount of RAM you have in the box, for my system with 128MB RAM a 300MB SWAP drive was created. Then click OK. Now that you have created the swap disk you will need to create the main drive for the Linux file system and OS files. This is done by clicking ADD once again and by default it should have selected "Linux Native". You want to select a mounting point of "/" as this will created the drive starting from the lowest directory on the file system, now all you have to do is click the box that says uses the rest of the hard drive space available. Once you have clicked OK on that you should see 100% usage in the bottom window, if you don't, go back and fiddle with your options until you do. Now you can proceed with you installation.

     

    Selecting Packages (RPMS)

    Once you have created the partitions you will move onto what type of installation you want. There will be a list of typical setups like Workstation, Server, or Custom etc., you want to select Custom as server will not install things like X-Win and some things which may be required later.

    You will then proceed to what main groups of programs you wish to install, you can choose freely, but we recommend at least the following:
    - Emacs
    - WWW Server
    - FTP Server
    - Kernel Development
    - Development Tools
    - Utilities

    There is also an option to select individual packages, but unless you want to customize your installation even more we recommend going with what you already have, the main things will be installed from the above options and you can always install the others later (will give you some RPM installation practice).

     

    Setting Up Hardware Specifications

    You will be asked details on some specific hardware devices, such devices are Video Cards, Sound Cards and Network Cards. All of these device need to be correctly setup during the installation so that Linux can use them later. This is where it pays to have bought reputable brand hardware as Linux should support them, if they don't you will have a hard time getting them working with 3rd party device drivers and maybe having to code custom drivers (glad we don't need to do that).

    For most servers you will need a sound card, so we shall skip this section. The video card is quite easy to setup if you have a supported card, Linux should already have found what type and given you a the appropriate settings, but it is always a good idea to make sure that they are correct. Check to make sure the correct model is selected, also the correct memory size, e.g. for a 4MB card you should have the 4096 box enabled, you can then test this selection by clicking the appropriate buttons. Once you are happy with your video setup you can click next.

     

    Setting Up Network Details

    When you are prompted for your network card details you should have eth0 and eth1 these are your two network interface cards. With my setup I had the D-Link card as the top card (i.e. the highest on the PCI slots) and used this for the cable modem as it is known to be compatible with the Cable Modem 100 (Nortel Networks) that was supplied by Optus@Home. My second ethernet card, the Skymaster 2000, placed a couple of slots down (to reduce the possibility of heat seeing as the server would be on for months at a time) and this is used as the LAN card.

    In the network section you will need to enter your hostname, e.g. co3xxxxxx-a and also the Gateway and DNS of your node. For our Belrose node the details where obtained before we started by using ipconfig (or winipcfg on a Win9x machines) in a command prompt from a windows machine.

    Primary DNS: 203.164.20.10
    Secondary DNS: 203.164.20.11
    Gateway: 203.164.13.1
    IP Address: 203.164.xxx.xxx

    Now that you have setup your Optus@Home details, it is time to setup your Local Area Network details.

    On the eth0 card you want to leave all the details blank as this will be used for DHCP from Optus, you still want to leave this as manual as the Red Hat 6.2 DHCP client wont work with Optus@Home. For the LAN network card, eth1 you will need to enter an IP address, since this is the server it is usually best to give it the lowest IP. Most LAN addresses are in the form of 192.168.0.x and this is what I decided to use. So for example the server eth1 IP is 192.168.0.1. You will need to enter a base address of 255.255.255.0 for this range of IP addresses.

    Now you have setup for LAN and NET ethernet details it is time to continue, make sure that both network cards are set to manual as otherwise the system will have a fit when loading the interfaces during boot up.

     

    Setting Up Passwords & User Accounts

    With Linux you will need to setup a password for the super user account called ROOT, this is the main all powerful account with which great damage can be done. So when you are asked for a root password make sure you use a very secure password that no one knows or can easily guess (oh yeah, and something you can remember, nothing like be locked out of your own box because you forgot your password). It is also a good idea to create at least one user account, usually for yourself (you can add more later), that way you have an account you can fiddle with and not damage the Linux file system. To add a user account simply click the ADD button and fill in the details. Firstly a username e.g. your nickname, then you will need to enter a password twice just to verify that it is correct, last but not least the real name of the user i.e. you first name or full name will do.

    To add more user accounts simply do the same as before, otherwise its time to install the files and get Linux ready to serve.

     

    Wait For Files To Be Copied

    This is the best time for you to sit back and relax, take the time to watch your favourite TV show or play a game on your own PC. Depending on what packages you selected you could be waiting for a while for all these files to be copied.

     

    Running Linux For The First Time

    Now that the install is finished it is time to reboot your computer and remove the Linux CD from the drive. When your computer boots up it will prompt you for a LILO boot: this is where you can choose what OS you want to boot if you have installed Linux as a dual boot. To see a list of options hit the TAB button and a list of the bootable OS's, if you have installed Linux as the only OS you will just see Linux, if this is all you have then just hit ENTER and it shall boot Linux, otherwise you need to type Linux and hit ENTER (similarly you can type in any of the others in the list to boot that particular OS).

    You will now see pages and pages of text going across the screen, this is just Linux starting up and checking your hardware and making sure that everything loads. It will then start to run all the services that you have installed and it tells you if the have successfully started, If they have you should see [ OK ] next to there line otherwise [ FAILED ] will appear if they did not load properly. Hopefully if you have setup everything correctly during the installation you should see all OK's, but if for some reason you don't then make sure you note down what didn't start and you can fix them later on.

    Once all the initialization is out of the way it will come up with a screen that says "Red Hat Linux ... Kernel ... Login:" this is where you will need to login in to use your Linux box, if you want to take a break from setting up now you can login as your user account created before and play around. Otherwise log in as ROOT and your ready to setup the rest of your Linux server. Now it is time to get it on-line and working for you.

     

    Adjusting Linux For Large Memory (> 64MB)

    For some of you that have newer machines you want to run Linux on, it is likely that you will have greater than 64MB of RAM in your box, and if your machine doesn't pick that up properly from BIOS then once you have installed Linux you will be stuck with running 64MB.

    However this can be fixed quite easily, for some reason Linux doesn't always read the correct memory information from BIOS (it depends on your motherboard and a whole lot more), so you have to manually tell Linux how much memory you have in your machine. In order to do this you need to edit your lilo.conf file with your favourite editor, e.g. pico /etc/lilo.conf. And you need to go to the very bottom of the file and add append="mem=XXXM", where XXX is the size of you memory, e.g. 128 if you have 128MB of memory. After doing this your file should look something like this:

    boot=/dev/hda
    map=/boot/map
    install=/boot/boot.b
    prompt
    timeout=50
    linear
    default=linux
    image=/boot/vmlinuz-2.2.14-5.0
         label=linux
         root=/dev/hda1
         read-only
         append="mem=128M"

    Now that you have done that run /sbin/lilo and you should get a message like: Added linux *, once you done this and it works, then you must reboot your machine for the changes to take affect, this can be done by shutdown -r now. Once rebooted your machine should be using the full amount of memory available, your can check this by typing in free at the prompt.

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