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Previous: 2.3 Preparing Your Hard Disk Chapter 3 Next: 3.2 Getting Help
 

3. Installing Linux

In this chapter, you'll learn how to install Linux by following a simple, step-by-step procedure. Most users will be able to complete the installation procedure without difficulty; however, the chapter includes a section that describes how you can obtain help if you encounter installation problems. Once you successfully complete the installation procedure, you'll have your own working Linux system.

3.1 Installing the Operating System and Applications

To install Linux, you follow a simple, step-by-step procedure that has three main phases:

  • Installing the operating system kernel and base system

  • Configuring the new Linux system

  • Installing applications

WARNING: Although the Linux installation procedure is generally troublefree, errors or malfunctions that occur during the installation of an operating system can result in loss of data. You should not begin the installation procedure until you have backed up all data on your system and determined that your backup is error-free.

3.1.1 The Installation Program User Interface

Like other modern Linux distributions, Debian GNU/Linux includes a screen-based install program that simplifies the installation and initial configuration of Linux. However, the install program works somewhat differently than a typical Microsoft Windows application. For instance, it does not support use of a mouse or other pointing device; all input is via the keyboard. So that you can make effective use of the install program, the next three subsections describe the user-interface controls used by the install program, present the special keystrokes recognized by the install program, and explain the use of Linux's virtual consoles.

3.1.1.1 User-interface controls

Figure 3.1 shows a typical screen displayed by the install program. This screen includes the following controls:

A main window

The install program runs in a full screen window. The top line of the window displays the name of the current installation step. In Figure 3.1, the current step is "Select CD Interface Type." You cannot minimize or change the size of the install program's main window.

The cursor

Like Windows programs, the installation program has a cursor on screen. Unlike Windows, the cursor movement and cursor actions are controlled by the keyboard, rather than by the mouse. The location of the cursor is called the input focus. At any time, exactly one control has the input focus, which lets it respond to keyboard input. The install program displays a rectangular blue cursor that identifies the field having the input focus. In Figure 3.1, the list item named /dev/hdc has the input focus.

A scrollable list

Scrollable lists let you page through a list of items that may be too long to display all at once. At any time, one line in the scrollable list is active, as indicated by blue highlighting. When a scrollable list has the input focus the Up and Down arrow keys let you choose a different active item. Some scrollable lists associate actions with items; you can initiate the action associated with the active item by pressing Enter.

Buttons

Many install program windows include one or more buttons. You can make a button active by pressing the Tab key to move the cursor to the button. When a button is active, pressing Enter initiates the action associated with it.

Figure 3.1: A typical screen displayed by the install program

Figure 3.1

Although Figure 3.1 does not show a text box, some install program windows include one. Text boxes let you type text that is sent to the install program when you press the Ok button. You can recognize a text box by the underscores that define its input area.

3.1.1.2 Common keystrokes

Several keystrokes let you direct the operation of the install program. For example, you can use the Tab key to move the input focus from one control to the next. Table 3.1 summarizes the keystrokes that the install program recognizes. You may want to keep this table handy as you work with the install program.


Table 3.1: Keystrokes Recognized by the Install Program

Keystroke

Meaning

Enter

Send a button press to the install program.

Tab

Move the input focus to the next field.

Down

Move the cursor down.

Up

Move the cursor up.

Left

Move the cursor left.

Right

Move the cursor right.

WARNING: You should press keys only when an installation program dialog box is active. Pressing keys at other times can send keystrokes to programs invoked by the install program, which may interpret your input in an unpredictable fashion.

3.1.1.3 Using virtual consoles

A console is a combination of a keyboard and a display device, such as a video monitor. A console provides a basic user interface adequate to communicate with a computer: you can type characters on the keyboard and view text on the display device.

Although a home computer system seldom has more than one console, Linux systems provide several virtual consoles. By pressing a special combination of keys, you can control which console your system's keyboard and monitor are connected to. Table 3.2 describes the virtual consoles used by the install program. The main installation dialog appears in virtual console 1. The contents of other virtual consoles can be useful in troubleshooting; however, you will not usually need to switch from one virtual console to another. Nevertheless, you may find it interesting to view the contents of the virtual consoles.


Table 3.2: Virtual Consoles Used by the Install Program

Console

Keystroke

Contents

1

ALT-F1

The installation dialog.

2

ALT-F2

A shell prompt, which lets you enter commands to be processed by Linux.

3

ALT-F3

The installation status log, containing termination messages of launched programs.

4

ALT-F4

The installation log, containing messages from the install program.

3.1.2 Installing the Kernel and Base System

If your system can boot from a CD-ROM, you can boot Linux directly from the CD that accompanies this book, which is by far the simplest way to boot Linux. If your system supports booting from a CD-ROM, configure your system to do so and boot Linux now.

3.1.2.1 Booting from MS-DOS or Windows 9x

If your system can't boot from a CD-ROM, you can boot Linux by first booting MS-DOS or Windows 9x. To do so, use File Manager to copy the following files from the install directory of the CD-ROM that accompanies this book, to your Windows desktop:

boot.bat
linux
loadlin.exe
root.bin

Next, right click on the boot.bat file on your desktop - not the one on the CD-ROM - and select the Create Shortcut menu item. Windows creates a desktop icon named Shortcut to boot.bat. Right click on this icon and select the Properties menu item. A Properties dialog appears. Click on the Program tab and then click on the Advanced button. Click on the check box marked "MS-DOS mode" and then click on OK. Finally, click on OK to exit the Properties dialog.

To boot Linux, double click on the Shortcut to boot.bat desktop icon. A dialog box asks if you want to close all other programs and continue. Close any important applications and then click on Yes to boot Linux.

3.1.2.2 Booting from floppy diskettes

If your system can't boot from a CD-ROM diskette and you have difficulty booting Linux from MS-DOS or Windows 9x, you can boot Linux from floppy diskettes. Before beginning the installation, obtain two floppy disks. You'll use one to create the Linux installation disk and another from which to boot your Linux system.

To begin installing Linux, you must boot your system from a floppy diskette containing the boot kernel. Creating the boot disk requires some special measures; you can't simply copy files onto a disk and then boot it.

To create the boot disk, perform the following steps:

  1. Insert the Linux CD-ROM in your CD-ROM drive.

  2. Start an MS-DOS Prompt window by clicking on Start, selecting Programs, and clicking on MS-DOS Prompt.

  3. In the MS-DOS window, change to the drive letter that corresponds to your CD-ROM drive, for example, m: (see Figure 3.2).

    Figure 3.2: Using rawrite2 to make a boot disk

    Figure 3.2
  4. In the MS-DOS window, type the command cd tools\rawrite2\rawrite2and press Enter.

  5. When prompted, specify the file name of the disk image source as boot\resc1440.bin and press Enter.

  6. When prompted, specify the drive letter of your floppy drive, for example, a:.

  7. As instructed by the program, place a formatted floppy diskette in your floppy drive and press Enter.

It takes perhaps a minute or so for the rawrite2 utility to create the floppy diskette. Wait for the utility to complete and then restart your system using the floppy diskette.

3.1.2.3 Starting the installation procedure

When Linux boots, you should see the boot: prompt shown in Figure 3.3. Press Enter to begin the installation process.

Figure 3.3: The boot prompt

Figure 3.3

The boot: prompt lets you enter various kernel options. Most systems can be started without using any kernel options. However, if you cannot successfully boot your system from a CD-ROM or floppy diskette, you should suspect that a kernel option is needed. Pressing F1 in response to the boot prompt will access some help pages. If the information in the help pages is not sufficient to resolve your problem, seek help as described in the section titled Section 3.2, "Getting Help, near the end of this chapter.

3.1.2.4 Choosing color versus monochrome

Once the install program starts, it first displays the Select Color or Monochrome Display screen, shown in Figure 3.4, which asks whether subsequent install program screens should appear in color or monochrome (black and white). Use the Up and Down keys to move to the type of monitor attached to your system and press Enter to select it. If you selected Color, the screen reappears in color. To move forward to the next screen, highlight Next and press Enter.

Figure 3.4: The Select Color or Monochrome Display screen

Figure 3.4

3.1.2.5 Release notes

The install program displays the current release notes. These identify the diskette used to boot the system, point you to the Debian web site, and explain the Debian mission. Use the Up and Down arrow keys to read text beyond the first page. When you've read the release notes, highlight Continue and press Enter.

3.1.2.6 The Installation Main Menu

The install program now displays the Installation Main Menu, shown in Figure 3.5. This menu guides you through the installation process; it reappears in slightly different form after each installation step is completed.

Figure 3.5: The Installation Main Menu

Figure 3.5

The only control on the menu is a scrollable list. The first few items of the list present the installation steps that you should most likely perform next. The most likely step is labeled Next.

The remaining items of the list present other installation steps. If an installation goes awry, you can manually select the proper sequence of steps to quickly get things back on track.

However, you'll seldom, if ever, need this capability; choosing Next is almost always the appropriate action. To continue by configuring your system's keyboard, highlight Next and press Enter.

3.1.2.7 Selecting a keyboard

The install program displays the Select a Keyboard screen, shown in Figure 3.6. Use the Up and Down arrow keys to select the appropriate keyboard. Most U.S. users will prefer the pre-selected choice, U.S. English (QWERTY). When you've selected the proper keyboard, press ENTER to continue.

Figure 3.6: The Select a Keyboard screen

Figure 3.6

The installation main menu re-appears, with the Next choice designated Partition a Hard Disk. Press Enter to continue.

3.1.2.8 Selecting the hard drive

The Select Disk Drive screen, shown in Figure 3.7, appears. The screen contains a scrollable list that lets you choose the drive to be partitioned. Drives are named by using the standard Linux method. IDE hard drives are named hd x, where x is a letter from a to z. Drive hda is your system's first IDE hard drive, drive hdb is your system's second IDE hard drive, and so on. SCSI drives are named scd x, where x is a letter from a to z that corresponds to the SCSI drive's disk ID number. As explained on the screen, the install program may mistakenly identify a CD-ROM drive as a hard drive.

Figure 3.7: The Select Disk Drive screen

Figure 3.7

Choose the drive that you want to partition and press Enter.

3.1.2.9 Partitioning a hard drive

The install program launches cfdisk, a Linux program for partitioning hard drives. Figure 3.8 shows the initial cfdisk screen. The screen shows the partitions and free space residing on the hard disk. In the figure, the hard disk contains only free space.

Figure 3.8: The initial cfdisk screen

Figure 3.8

To create a new partition from the available free space, use the Up and Down arrow keys to select a free space entry. Then use the Left and Right arrow keys to select the New menu item at the bottom of the screen. Press Enter to create the partition.

As shown in Figure 3.9, cfdisk asks whether the new partition should be a primary or logical partition. Choose Primary and press Enter.

A hard disk can have a maximum of four primary partitions; a logical partition lets you escape this limitation. After creating a logical partition, you can create several extended partitions within it. However, cfdisk is not able to create extended partitions. If your hard disk already contains several partitions, you'll need to seek help in using a program other than cfdisk to partition your hard disk. See the section titled Section 3.2," near the end of this chapter.

Figure 3.9: Specifying the partition type

Figure 3.9

Next, cfdisk asks you to specify the size (in MB) of the new partition. As a rule of thumb, you should leave 50-100 MB of free space in which to establish a Linux swap partition. Type the desired size, which must not exceed the available free space, and press Enter.

Next, if the new partition is smaller than the available free space, you're asked whether the new partition should be created at the beginning or the end of the available space. It generally makes little difference. Select Beginning or End, according to your preference, and press Enter.

An updated display appears, as shown in Figure 3.10. The updated display shows the new partition, which was created as a Linux partition. Next, you must specify the Linux partition as bootable. Select the Bootable menu item by using the Left and Right arrow keys and press Enter. The screen is updated to reflect the new status of the partition. Notice how the new partition is named by using the name of the hard disk ( hda) and a sequential number (1). Make a note of the name of the Linux partition.

Figure 3.10: The updated display

Figure 3.10

Now, you must create a Linux swap partition from the remaining free space. Use the Up and Down arrow keys to select the free space and use the Left and Right arrow keys to select the New menu item. Press Enter.

Create the swap partition as a primary partition, with a size of 50-100 MB. Make a note of the name of the swap partition, which will be something like hda2.

Next, you must identify the new partition as a swap partition. Use the Left and Right arrow keys to select the Type menu item and press Enter. Type the code that corresponds to a Linux swap partition (82) and press Enter.

Finally, you must write the modified partition table to the hard disk. Use the Left and Right arrow keys to select the Write menu item and press Enter. The program tells you that erroneous changes to the partition table can destroy data. Check your work and, if the partition information is correct, type Yes and press Enter.

If the partition information is not correct, you can easily revise it. Select the erroneous partition and use the Delete menu item to delete the partition. You can then use the New menu item to recreate the partition with the proper size and type.

The program confirms that the partition table was written by displaying a message near the bottom of the screen. Exit the program by using the Left and Right arrow keys to select the Quit menu item and pressing Enter.

The main menu appears, with the Next item designated Initialize and Activate a Swap Partition. Press Enter to proceed.

3.1.2.10 Initializing and activating a swap partition

The install program asks you to identify the swap partition. Using your notes, select the proper partition - the smaller of the two partitions you just created - and press Enter.

The install program asks if you want the partition scanned for bad blocks. For a small partition such as a swap partition, this takes only a few moments and can help you avoid puzzling problems. Select Yes and press Enter.

The install program then informs you that all data on the swap partition will be destroyed. Make certain that you've correctly identified the partition, select Yes, and press Enter to begin the initialization. The display helps you keep track of the progress of the task.

When initialization is complete, the main menu reappears, with the Next item designated Initialize a Linux Partition. Press Enter to proceed.

3.1.2.11 Initializing a Linux partition

The install program asks you to identify the Linux partition. Using your notes, select the proper partition - the larger of the two partitions you earlier created - and press Enter.

The install program asks if you want the partition scanned for bad blocks. For a large partition, this can take can several minutes. However, identifying and marking bad blocks can help you avoid puzzling problems, particularly if your hard disk hasn't been previously used. Select Yes and press Enter.

The install program then informs you that all data on the Linux partition will be destroyed. Make certain that you've correctly identified the partition, select Yes, and press Enter to begin the initialization. The display helps you keep track of the progress of the task.

When initialization is complete, the install program asks whether the Linux partition should be mounted as the root file system, the one to which programs will be installed. Select Yes and press Enter to mount the partition.

When the partition has been mounted, the main menu reappears, with the Next item designated Install Operating System Kernel and Modules. Press ENTER to proceed.

3.1.2.12 Installing the Operating System Kernel and Modules

The install program asks you to specify the medium which contains the Linux distribution. Use the Up and Down arrow keys to select CDROM and press Enter.

As shown in Figure 3.11, the install program asks you to identify the CD-ROM drive that contains the distribution. Highlight the appropriate device and press Enter. If you can't confidently identify the device, don't fret. If the install program fails to find the distribution, you'll get another chance to identify the device.

Figure 3.11: Selecting the CD interface type

Figure 3.11

The install program prompts you to place the distribution CD-ROM in the CD-ROM drive. Do so and then press Enter.

The install program prompts you to specify the CD-ROM directory that contains the distribution files. The text box is initialized with the default directory /debian, which is the appropriate choice for the CD-ROM that accompanies this book. Simply use the Up and Down arrow keys to highlight Ok and press Enter.

The install program next asks how you want to specify the location of the resc1440.bin file that contains the kernel. Select the item designated List and press Enter.

The install program builds a list that contains the name of each directory that contains a file named resc1440.bin. The CD-ROM that accompanies this book includes only one such directory, so you can simply press Enter to select that directory.

The install program copies the kernel and modules to the hard drive. Then the main menu reappears, with the Next item designated Configure Device Driver Modules. Press Enter to proceed.

3.1.2.13 Configuring device driver modules

The install program prompts you to select a module category, by presenting the screen shown in Figure 3.12. Each category contains a list of modules, small programs that extend the capability of the kernel to accommodate special devices and functions. By using the Select Category screen and its subscreens, you can specify which modules should be automatically loaded when you boot your Linux system.

Figure 3.12: Selecting a module category

Figure 3.12

To see how this works, select the item designated "fs" and press Enter. The screen shown as Figure 3.13 appears. As the screen explains, you can specify that a module should be loaded by selecting the corresponding list item, and pressing Enter. Select the item designated "binfmt_aout" and press Enter.

Figure 3.13: Selecting fs modules

Figure 3.13

A confirmation screen, shown in Figure 3.14 appears. To install the module, select the Install item and press Enter. A text-mode screen appears briefly to display the progress and result of installing the module. When the module has been installed, press Enter to return to the module selection screen.

Figure 3.14: Installing a module

Figure 3.14

Table 3.3 shows the modules you should install. If your computer has a network adapter, you should also install the proper module from the net category. If your computer has a CD-ROM with a proprietary interface (one other than ATAPI or SCSI), you should also install the proper module from the cdrom category. If you fail to install the proper modules, you can easily install them later. However, the device corresponding to a module will not function until the module has been installed.

When installing some modules, such as the lp module, the install program may prompt you for additional information, using a screen similar to that shown in Figure 3.15. Most modules will load and operate correctly even if you specify no command-line arguments. So, the simplest approach is to forego them. If a device associated with a module fails to operate correctly, you should suspect that command-line arguments are needed. Use the information in the Section 3.2" section to learn what arguments to specify and how to specify them.


Table 3.3: Modules To Install

Category

Module

fs

binfmt_aout

fs

smbfs

fs

vfat

misc

lp

misc

serial

net

bsd_comp

net

dummy

net

ppp

Figure 3.15: Entering command-line arguments

Figure 3.15

When you've specified all the necessary modules, exit the Select Category screen by highlighting Exit and pressing Enter. Then the main menu reappears, with the Next item designated Configure the Network. Press Enter to proceed.

3.1.2.14 Configuring the network

The install program presents a screen, shown in Figure 3.16 that lets you choose a hostname for your system. If your system is attached to a network, the network administrator has likely assigned a hostname; in that case, you should specify that hostname here. Otherwise, you may select a hostname of your own choosing. Simply type the hostname in the text box, use the Up and Down arrow keys to highlight the Ok button, and press Enter.

Figure 3.16: Choosing the hostname

Figure 3.16

The install program asks whether your computer is connected to a network. If your computer is permanently connected to a network, highlight Yes and press Enter. Otherwise, even if your computer temporarily connects to a network via a dialup connection, highlight No and press Enter.

If you specified that your computer is connected to a network, the install program presents a series of screens that prompt you for information describing your system and the network to which it connects. Your network administrator should provide you with the information required by the install program, including:

  • Domain Name, the domain name of your system (for example, debian.org).

  • IP Address, the network address of your system (for example, 192.168.1.2).

  • Netmask, a bitmask that specifies the portion of your system's network address that uniquely identifies the network (for example, 255.255.255.0).

  • Broadcast Address, which specifies the network address to which broadcast messages will be sent.

  • Gateway, the network address of the router your system uses to send packets beyond its local network (for example, 192.168.1.1).

  • Nameservers, the network addresses of the systems that provide hostname lookup services to your system (for example, 192.168.1.1).

  • Type of primary network interface (for example, Ethernet or token ring).

The first such screen prompts you to specify the domain name associated with the network. Domain names are often - though not always - two words separated by a dot: for example, oreilly.com. Type the domain name associated with your network, highlight the Ok button, and press Enter. The install program asks you to verify the full name of your computer, which consists of the hostname and the domain name. Check your work. If the full name is correct, highlight Yes and press Enter. Otherwise, highlight No and press Enter; doing so will allow you to re-specify the erroneous information.

The install program next asks you to specify the IP address of your computer, which usually consists of four one- to three-digit numbers, separated by dots: for example, 192.168.1.1. Type the IP address, highlight the Ok button, and press Enter.

Next, the install program asks you to specify the netmask, which has a form resembling that of the IP address. Generally, the netmask value includes only the numbers 0 and 255. Type the netmask, highlight the Ok button, and press Enter. If you don't know the netmask, you can try the value 255.255.255.0, which is often correct.

Next, the install program asks you to specify your system's broadcast address. Generally, the first item - which specifies that the broadcast address is formed by setting the last several bits of the IP address to one - is the correct choice. Highlight the desired item and press Enter.

Next, the install program asks whether your computer connects via a gateway to networks other than its local network. If a gateway exists, highlight Yes and press Enter; otherwise highlight No and press Enter.

If you specified that a gateway exists, the install program prompts you for the IP address of the gateway system. Type the IP address, highlight the Ok button, and press Enter.

Next, the install program asks about nameservers. Generally, another system acts as the nameserver for a desktop system; therefore, unless your network administrator suggests otherwise, select the first item and press Enter.

If you specified that your system uses a nameserver, the install program asks for the nameserver's IP address. You can actually specify as many as five nameservers so that if one server is unavailable, your system can use another. Type one or more IP address, separating each address from the next by a space. Then, highlight the Ok button and press Enter.

The install program presents a confirmation screen, like that shown in Figure 3.17, which summarizes your system's network configuration. If the configuration information is correct, highlight Yes and press Enter to proceed. Otherwise, highlight No and press Enter in order to be able to correct the erroneous information.

Figure 3.17: Confirming the network configuration

Figure 3.17

When you've confirmed the network configuration, the install program asks you to specify the type of the primary network interface, by presenting the screen shown in Figure 3.18. Generally, systems are connected to their network via an Ethernet card. Unless your network administrator suggests differently, select the "eth0" entry and press Enter.

Figure 3.18: Choosing the network interface

Figure 3.18

After you select the network interface, the main menu reappears, with the Next item designated Install the Base System. Press Enter to proceed.

3.1.2.15 Installing the base system

The sequence of screens that follows resembles the sequence that appeared earlier when you installed the operating system kernel and modules. The install program first asks what medium contains the Linux distribution; select cdrom and press Enter.

Next, the install program asks you to identify the CD-ROM drive that contains the distribution. Highlight the appropriate device and press Enter. If you can't confidently identify the device, don't fret. If the install program fails to find the distribution, you'll get another chance to identify the device.

The install program prompts you to place the distribution CD-ROM in the CD-ROM drive. Do so and then press Enter.

The install program prompts you to specify the CD-ROM directory that contains the distribution files. The text box is initialized with the default directory /debian, which is the appropriate choice for the CD-ROM that accompanies this book. Simply use the Up and Down arrow keys to highlight Ok and press Enter.

The install program next asks how you want to specify the location of the base2_1.tgz file that contains the first part of the base system. Select the item designated List and press Enter.

The install program builds a list that contains the name of each directory that contains a file named base2_1.tgz. The CD-ROM that accompanies this book includes only one such directory, so you can simply press Enter to select that directory.

The install program copies the base system to the hard drive. Then the main menu reappears, with the Next item designated Configure the Base System. Press Enter to proceed.

3.1.2.16 Configuring the base system

To configure the base system, you must first select the time zone associated with the system's location. You can do this either of two ways, by using the screen shown in Figure 3.19. The list at the left of the screen (titled Timezones) lets you select a time zone by its coded designation. The list at the right of the screen (cryptically titled Directories) lets you select a time zone by location, using familiar geographical names. Use the Left and Right arrow keys to select the list you want to use, then use the Up and Down arrow keys to select the appropriate list item and press Enter. If you selected a location, the install program may present a second screen that lets you more precisely designate the location. Use the Up and Down arrow keys to select the desired item and press Enter.

Figure 3.19: Selecting the Time Zone

Figure 3.19

Next, the install program presents a screen that explains that Unix system clocks are generally set to Universal Time (GMT), rather than local time. However, you're free to set your system clock any way you like. Most desktop users prefer to set their system's clock to local time, particularly if their system contains multiple operating systems. Press Enter to move forward to the screen that lets you specify how you want your system's clock to be interpreted. If you plan to set your system's clock to GMT, select Yes and press Enter; otherwise, select No and press Enter.

The main menu reappears, with the Next item designated Make Linux Bootable Directly from Hard Disk.

Do not press Enter. Instead, use the Up and Down arrow keys to select the Alternate item, designated Make a Boot Floppy. By booting Linux from a floppy, you avoid several potential problems. For further information on booting Linux, including information on booting Linux directly from a hard disk, see Appendix D, Managing the Boot Process.

3.1.2.17 Making a boot floppy

Next, the install program instructs you to place a blank floppy diskette in your system's first floppy disk drive. Insert a floppy diskette - it need not be formatted - and press Enter. The install program creates the boot floppy.

WARNING: All data on the floppy disk will be lost.

After the floppy diskette has been created, the main menu appears, with the Next item designated Reboot the System. Press Enter.

The install program asks you to confirm your decision to reboot the system. Leave the newly created boot floppy in the floppy disk drive, highlight Yes, and press Enter. Your system should restart. If - after a minute or so - it hasn't restarted, press the system's reset button or cycle power to the system.

A boot prompt should appear shortly after your system completes its power-on self test. Press Enter to boot Linux from the floppy diskette. Linux should load, causing a series of messages to cascade off the screen.

3.1.3 Configuring the New System

Once your system has booted, you'll see a series of screens that prompt you to configure your new system. First, you're prompted to establish a password for the root user.

3.1.3.1 Establising a root password

When your system has booted, you should see the screen shown in Figure 3.20. This screen lets you establish a password for the root user, the master user who administers the system. Follow the on-screen instructions, by typing a password consisting of from five to eight characters. If you choose a password that the install program regards as insecure, the system will prompt you to type another password. If you really want the original password, simply type it again; the system will not object a second time. For security, the system will not display a password as it's typed. Instead, it will prompt you to enter the password a second time, helping you avoid typing a password other than the one you intend.

Figure 3.20: Setting a password for root

Figure 3.20

3.1.3.2 Establishing a normal user account

Next, the install program asks whether you want to create a normal user account, in addition to the root user account. Respond by typing Y and pressing Enter. Then type a username, consisting of eight characters or less and including only letters and digits. Many Linux users create usernames that consist of the first letter of their first name followed by their last name, or the first seven characters of their last name if their last name has eight or more characters. For example, the author often uses the username bmccarty. After typing the username, press Enter. If you make a mistake, use the backspace key to erase the erroneous letters.

The system will ask you to establish a password for the new user account, much as it did for the root account. It then asks you to supply the following additional information:

Full Name

Your full name, including your first and last name

Room Number

The room number of your office

Work Phone

Your work phone number

Home Phone

Your home phone number

Other

Other brief information about the user

You should supply the full name. You can supply or omit the other information as you see fit. Once you've entered all the information, the system asks you to confirm your entries. Type Y and press Enter to confirm your choices; or, type N and press Enter to revise your choices.

3.1.3.3 Configuring shadow passwords

Next, the system asks whether to configure shadow passwords. Unless you have a good reason for doing otherwise, you should configure shadow passwords by typing Y and pressing Enter. That way, your system's encrypted passwords are stored in a file that only the root user can read, making your system much less susceptible to break-ins.

3.1.3.4 Removing PCMCIA support

If your system doesn't require PCMCIA support, the system prompts you to allow it to remove the PCMCIA modules. So long as you don't actually require PCMCIA support, you should type Y and press Enter.

3.1.3.5 Connecting via PPP

At this point, depending on options you previously selected, the system may prompt you to allow it to connect via PPP to download requested packages. If this prompt appears, respond by typing N and pressing Enter. Downloading the packages over a dial-up connection would be a very time-consuming operation; it's much quicker to access the packages from the CD-ROM that accompanies this book.

3.1.3.6 Choosing Packages

Next, the system asks whether you'd like to use a speedy way of specifying what applications (packages) you want to install. Type Y and press Enter to take the fast route, which lets you select from a set of system profiles or tasks.

The screen shown in Figure 3.21 appears. This screen lets you choose profiles that describe the kind of system you want, or tasks that describe the kinds of operations you want your system to perform. The system associates a set of applications with each profile or task; selecting a profile or task instructs the system to install the associated applications in an upcoming step.

Figure 3.21: Selecting a profile

Figure 3.21

The most appropriate profile for most initial users of Linux is Basic. To choose that profile, use the Up and Down arrow keys to select the Basic item. Then select the Ok button and press Enter.

Next, the system informs you that it's about to start the dselect program, which actually installs the selected applications. Press Enter to begin.

3.1.4 Installing the Applications

The initial dselect screen, the program's main menu, is shown in Figure 3.22. You can use the Up and Down arrow keys to highlight a menu item. You can select the highlighted menu item by pressing Enter. The on-screen instructions earlier advised that you should skip Access and Update: ignore these instructions.

Instead, you'll generally select the menu items in order in which they appear. However, you'll skip menu item 2 (Select), menu item 4 (Config), and menu item 5 (Remove).

Figure 3.22: The dselect main menu

Figure 3.22

3.1.4.1 Accessing the packages

Highlight the Access menu item and press Enter. The program presents a list of methods for accessing the applications to be installed. Use the Up and Down arrow keys to highlight the entry designated apt and press Enter.

Next, you'll be asked if you want to change the source list. Respond Yes, which initiates a dialog that builds a simple configuration. Here's a sample dialog that shows the responses you should give to install packages from the CD-ROM diskette that accompanies this book:

I see you already have a source list.
-------------------------------------------------------

source list displayed here: contents vary
-------------------------------------------------------
Do you wish to change it?[y/N] 

y
         Set up a list of distribution source locations

 Please give the base URL of the debian distribution.
 The access schemes I know about are: http ftp file

 For example:
              file:/mnt/debian,
              ftp://ftp.debian.org/debian,
              http://ftp.de.debian.org/debian,


 URL [http://http.us.debian.org/debian]: 

file:/cdrom

 Please give the distribution tag to get or a path to the
 package file ending in a /. The distribution
 tags are typically something like: stable unstable frozen non-US

 Distribution [stable]: 

stable

 Please give the components to get
 The components are typically something like: main contrib non-free

 Components [main contrib non-free]: 

main contrib

 Would you like to add another source?[y/N]

N

3.1.4.2 Mounting the CD-ROM

Access the second virtual console by pressing Alt-F2. Login as root and issue the following commands:

mkdir /cdrom
mount -t iso9660 -o ro /dev/
hdx /cdrom

where hdx represents the Linux designation of the CD-ROM drive that contains the diskette that accompanies this book. For example, hdb is the secondary drive on the first controller. See Figure 3.1 for other common designations.

If the command succeeds, return to the first virtual console by pressing Alt-F1. Otherwise, check the arguments and try again.

3.1.4.3 Updating the list of available packages

Highlight the Update menu item and press Enter. The program will update its list of available packages. When prompted to do so, press Enter to return to the main menu.

3.1.4.4 Installing the selected packages

Skip the Select menu item, by highlighting the Install menu item. Press Enter to begin installing the selected packages.

A mail package called exim will request configuration information as it's installed. Table 3.4 summarizes these requests and provides the information with which you should respond.


Table 3.4: Configuration Information for exim

Prompt

Response

Select a number from 1 to 5....

2

Visible mail name of your system

Enter

Other system names appearing on incoming names

Enter

Domains for which mail is relayed

Enter

Local machines for which mail is relayed

Enter

RBL (sites from which mail will not be accepted)

Enter

Smart host handling outgoing mail

The outgoing mail host provided by your Internet service provider, if any

User account for system administration mail

Enter

You can revise the configuration of exim after installation by issuing the command eximconfig.

When all the selected packages have been installed, the program will display the message "Installation OK." Press Enter to return to the main menu.

3.1.4.5 Exiting dselect

Exit the dselect program by highlighting the Quit menu item and pressing Enter. The screen shown in Figure 3.23 appears.

Figure 3.23: The Linux login prompt

Figure 3.23

To login to Linux for the first time, type root or the name of the user account you earlier created, and then press Enter. When the system prompts for the password, type the password and press Enter. You should then see a shell prompt, consisting of a pound sign (#) or dollar sign ($), as shown in Figure 3.24. Congratulations: you've just installed and configured Linux.

Figure 3.24: The Linux shell prompt

Figure 3.24

If you don't see a shell prompt, or if something went wrong earlier in the installation process, don't despair. The next section will show you how to obtain the help you need to get your Linux system up and running.


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