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Chapter 1: Installing LinuxLinux is a major operating system and requires a little planning to install. Many people think Linux is hard to install, but the installation procedure has been greatly improved since Linux was first introduced. Now, Linux is easier to install than Microsoft Windows 98. (Unfortunately, most people buy computers with Microsoft Windows preinstalled and have no idea how hard it is to install.)
Part of Linux's "hard-to-install" reputation is a result of Linux's providing a lot of choices when it comes to installation methods. Like Microsoft Windows, you can install Linux from a local CD-ROM. But you can also install it over a network. In other words, one system running Linux with a CD-ROM can be used to install another. Linux can even be installed when the remote system is running MS Windows. For large installations, you can create a standard installation image and use the network to install it on all the machines at a single location.
But for now, let's limit ourselves to a simple, initial installation. In this chapter, I take you through the steps needed to make your Linux installation run smoothy. I start with planning, and lead you step-by-step through a simple install process that ends in your booting a fully functional Linux system.
The key to a smooth installation process is to plan and keep things simple. This chapter begins with the key planning steps. By taking a little time to plan before starting the install process, potential problems can be eliminated. Doing things right the first time avoids having to reinstall the system over and over again.
Once initial planning is complete, we can begin the installation. Theprocess is quite simple. You only have to answer a few questions to get it underway.
Linux is not only an operating system, but hundreds of applications as well. One of the secrets to a good install is to not load the applications during the initial installation. Red Hat Linux comes with a great package system that can be used to install them later, after the core system is running. Deferring the installation of the applications gives you a safer and quicker install. Remember, keep things simple.
Once the installation is complete, you can proceed to the next chapter and begin the initial configuration and setup of your Linux system.
Installing Linux is a major operation. Let's look at the major installation steps. First, you need to .I. decide whether you want a Linux-only computer or a computer that can be booted with either Microsoft Windows or Linux. If you want to be able to still use Microsoft Windows, then you will want to create a startup Microsoft Windows disk. This disk is insurance against installation problems. This disk is also used in running the Linux installation tool FIPS (First Interactive Partition Splitter) and booting the Linux installation CD-ROM.
Linux requires its own disk space. It can be installed on it's own drive, or you can split the Microsoft Windows disk drive in two. This is done using your startup disk and the Linux FIPS utility, which is discussed later in this chapter.
Once disk space is created, you can start the Linux installation program. The easiest way to do this is to boot from your CD-ROM. Unfortunately, some computers won't let you do that. In that case, you can boot from the Microsoft Windows startup disk and then start the Linux installation program.
In some cases, you may not want to use Microsoft Windows at all. (If you never use it, you can return it for a refund. See the following Take Note section.) In that case, you must NEVER use Microsoft Windows. Not even to boot Linux. If you can boot directly from the CD-ROM, you can just insert the CD-ROM and start the installation.
If you can't boot from the CD-ROM, you'll have to boot from floppy disk. The CD-ROM contains utilities that can be used to create the boot disk you'll need to start the installation process. You'll have to find a working system (either Linux or Microsoft Windows) and use it to create the boot floppy. After that just boot and install...