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1.7. Exercises

A practical exercise for starters: install Linux on your PC. Read the installation manual for your distribution and/or the Installation HOWTO and do it.

Note Read the docs!

Most errors stem from not reading the information provided during the install. Reading the installation messages carefully is the first step on the road to success.

Things you must know BEFORE starting a Linux installation:

  • Will this distribution run on my hardware?

    Check with when in doubt about compatibility of your hardware.

  • What kind of keyboard do I have (number of keys, layout)? What kind of mouse (serial/parallel, number of buttons)? How many MB of RAM?

  • Will I install a basic workstation or a server, or will I need to select specific packages myself?

  • Will I install from my hard disk, from a CD-ROM, or using the network? Should I adapt the BIOS for any of this? Does the installation method require a boot disk?

  • Will Linux be the only system on this computer, or will it be a dual boot installation? Should I make a large partition in order to install virtual systems later on, or is this a virtual installation itself?

  • Is this computer in a network? What is its hostname, IP address? Are there any gateway servers or other important networked machines my box should communicate with?

    Caution Linux expects to be networked

    Not using the network or configuring it incorrectly may result in slow startup.

  • Is this computer a gateway/router/firewall? (If you have to think about this question, it probably isn't.)

  • Partitioning: let the installation program do it for you this time, we will discuss partitions in detail in Chapter 3. There is system-specific documentation available if you want to know everything about it. If your Linux distribution does not offer default partitioning, that probably means it is not suited for beginners.

  • Will this machine start up in text mode or in graphical mode?

  • Think of a good password for the administrator of this machine (root). Create a non-root user account (non-privileged access to the system).

  • Do I need a rescue disk? (recommended)

  • Which languages do I want?

The full checklist can be found at

In the following chapters we will find out if the installation has been successful.

Introducing Linux
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