DOWNLOAD REDHAT 7.3 AND CREATE CD-ROMS
I elected to install the RedHat Linux distribution because of it's
reputation for smooth installation and configuration and because it is widely used and well supported.
I downloaded the 3 Valhalla Redhat 7.3 ISO images from
site. I created installation CDs from these images using Nero CD writing software.
I had to repeat the ISO image downloads for disk 1 and 2 images when CD verification routine
found errors in burning the original copies. Also, the CD Burner software needs be explicitly set to
burn an ISO image to result in usable disks.
ADJUST BIOS TO ENABLE CD-ROM BOOT
I edited my computer's BIOS settings to set the CD-ROM drive
as the first bootable drive so that RedHat would successfully boot from CD. BIOS settings are
accessed by hitting the DELETE key when the system presents the setup options menu during the
powering on process. The RedHat CD had previously failed to
boot when CD was set as the 2nd bootable drive. Alternatively, I could have used the boot floppy I
had created using the RAWRATE DOS utiliy.
INITIATE AND CONFIGURE INSTALLATION
After consulting key portions of the RedHat 7.3
Installation Guide and recording my system hardware and network settings, I began the installation
by rebooting my computer with the 1st RedHat CD in the CD drive. After some initial messages, the boot:
prompt came up along with a menu that offered boot options including text mode install, expert mode
install (for use when HW not detected properly) and the option to conduct a
media check on the CD-ROMs before installation.
Unfortunately, when the system booted the Linux install menu
(and later the Linux - Windows OS selection menu), my keyboard (old Lexmark Model A built for
IBM circa 1984) locked up and prevented me from typing in the media check command.
I ran the media check on a separate laptop computer by booting into the install menu, typing in "linux mediacheck" at the boot:
prompt and following the prompts to test the 3 RedHat 7.3 CDs. This keyboard problem also prevented me
from selecting the Linux OS over the Windows XP default from the GRUB bootloader menu after
installation. I checked the ibm.com, lexmark.com and Linux
Documentation Project (ibiblo) sites for docmentation on this problem without much luck. I did find an old document on the ibm.com site
about this brand of keyboard locking up with Windows for Workgroups. It referenced a
"fix file" to install which I did not install given it's age and the lack of explicit correlation with
the XP OS. I will purchase and substitute a new keyboard to see if that fixes the problem (see findings
After confirming the integrity of the RedHat CD-ROMs via mediacheck on the laptop, I reinitiated the
installation on my INTREX computer, this time just allowing the boot menu to time out and proceed to the
installation configuration screens. Once I reached the first installation screen, the keyboard was
functioning properly again. In this CD-ROM boot of the installation, the screens can be navitated with either
TAB/Arrow/Enter Keys or with mouse clicks. The server class installation we did in class using the boot
disk and the network installation was more like a text interface and we had to naviagate solely with TAB/Arrow/Enter
keys. Also, the order of configuration screens was slightly different. I made the following
- Install Type: Server (I want to set up my home machine (in Linux mode) to serve web content)
- Selected Disk Druid and created the following partitions on my second harddrive (/dev/hdb/). My
first harddrive (/dev/hda/) with its NTFS partition was visible and available for partitioning and
had to be intentionally deselected as each linux partition was added.
- dev/hdb1= /boot ext3 47MB
- dev/hdb2= / (root) ext3 6997MB
- /dev/hdb3 swap 1028 MB - my computer has 512MB RAM
When I created the 4th partition the system created an extended partition on which it set up the
/home partition and the remaining free space:
- /dev/hdb4 extended 30090MB
/dev/hdb5= /home 5993MB
free space 24,098MB
- Boot Loader: I selected the GRUB Boot Loader and set it to install in the Master Boot Record on disk
drive 1 (/dev/hda where Win XP is
installed). I also re-labelled /dev/hda NTFS drive as /mnt/windows and set the Windows XP boot image as
the default (what the system boots into if I don't choose Linux from the selection menu provided.)
I provided a GRUB password; recommended by ITS Security's Securing a Linux Workstation document.
- Network Configuration: I selected "configure using DHCP" since I use DHCP via RoadRunner (RR)
as my Internet Service Provider. I had previously obtained and recorded the IP, subnet mask, gateway,
DHCP server and DNS server addresses for my RR setup by running ipconfig /all from the CMD prompt. I
also selected a hostname and domain. However, these settings were not available to fill in when
"configure using DHCP" was selected. I also left the default "activate on Boot". Since my RR DHCP provided IP
address seems to be constant, I'm not sure if DHCP is the best selection here, but can change this later
by installing and using the Linuxconf GUI configuration tool. If it was correct (ie it works), I'll need
to set my computer's $HOSTNAME manually (in /etc/sysconfig/network on RedHat 7.3).
- Firewall - For maximum security without disabling this machine as a server, I selected HIGH SECURITY
option and NO TRUSTED DEVICES (eth0 was only device). Also selected CUSTOMIZE to allow incoming DHCP (to
get on internet), SSH (secure/encryped remote access)
and WWW. I also allowed the same port set we allowed on our class servers. I don't anticipate running
Mail or FTP servers on this computer except for class work purposes and can change these settings as
needed in IPCHAINS configuration.
- Language: English
- Time Zone UTC-O5 US Eastern with Daylight Savings time - recommmended (by text) for cross
platform time synchronization.
- Root Password: provided password and also setup additional user account for myself.
- Package Selection - selected complete packages rather than to see individual package items.
- Classic X Window System
- X Windows
- X Configuration - the utility's preselected choice acurately matched my video card (NVIDIA
GEForce2 MX generic)
COMPLETING THE INSTALLATION
The installation took about 45 minutes. See the install.log. I created a boot disk (overwrote the one I prepared
beforehand) and accepted the default "unprobed generic" monitor selection and lowered the resolution to
800 X 600 so visibility is better on my old 14" monitor. I selected "text login" to
avoid access problems when X Windows won't load and selected GNOME (start with the older desktop first)
as my default desktop GUI. I ejected the boot disk and rebooted the system. I was
presented with a menu that offered the choice of loading Windows XP or RedHat Linux. Due to the
keyboard locking problem described earlier, I was not initially able to select/arrow to the Linux option
so the system auto loads Windows XP which I had selected as the default in the Boot Loader configuration
screen. I purchased a new keyboard, attached it in place of the old one and this successfully
resolved the problem; I am now able to arrow to/select Linux 7.3 for my OS on the boot loader menu.
I selected and successfully booted into Linux and proceeded to test functionality.