Site Contents:

General Notes: Installation
Installation of any Linux distribution should comprise these distinct phases:

  • Preparation
  • Partition
  • Installation
  • Setup

Preparation || This is the "discovery" phase in which you gather not only the needed installation files or CD, but explicit, detailed information about your system components so you can interact with the installer in a knowledgeable, intelligent manner. Seriously - record the make and model of your hard drive, CD drive, monitor, mouse, video card, sound card, printer, modem, and any network adapter cards you may have. Check the lists of Linux-supported hardware at the Linux Documentation Project (LDP) site. It really helps to have the manuals for your monitor, video card, and printer handy. I promise: you may regret it if you skip this phase!

Install Prep Checklist ||  If you intend to bring a rig to a meeting to have Linux installed, please do a little homework:

  • If you want a dual boot (Windows & Linux on the same harddrive) please backup and defrag your Windows partition before you arrive so we can use Partition Magic to shrink it.
  • Please bring your complete system - cpu-box, monitor, keyboard, mouse and cables/power cords.
  • Pick a distribution you'd like to install. We will have the latest popular releases, RedHat, Mandrake, and SuSE, plus some earlier versions of Debian, Caldera, etc. on hand. Newbies are encouraged to start with either RedHat or Mandrake.
  • Round up as much detailed info on your system devices as possible (bring the manuals if you have'em):
    • video card type and amount of VRAM
    • monitor make and data - vert/horiz sync rates
    • modem model (no "Winmodems")
    • CDROM model
    • network card type

Partition || RedHat, Mandrake, LinuxPPC and other distros based on RedHat have partitioning aids built into the installer. In general, for most needs, a single large root and ~50MB swap partitions will suffice. Multi-user or application server systems generally make use of separate partitions for the different limbs of the Linux directory tree (/root, /usr, /home, /etc, and so on). A minimum for general desktop use system is 950MB root, 50MB swap for a total of 1GIG. Most distros recommend a minimum of 1.2G. This can be a dedicated drive, or a Linux partition on a larger drive, sharing the drive with Windows, Mac, or other OS for a dual-boot setup. The advantage of dual-booting is that you retain a known functioning, productive environment until you are confident enough and have acquired enough applications and resources to switch permanently to Linux (...the goal - right?!).

Installation || Follow the documentation accompanying your distribution files. Most RedHat-based installers (RedHat, Caldera, Mandrake, LinuxPPC) are pretty self-instructive, and some are more graphical than others. In general, it's a good idea to install all the offered packages you have room for. Many of the "Development" packages contain libraries required to install third-party software, for example.
     The most sensitive parts of the installation tend to be the partitioning and X-windows monitor driver setup, but if you paid due dilligence to the "Preparation" phase, confusion will be minimized. "If at first you don't succeed,..."

Setup || This phase involves getting your Linux working for you; selecting and customizing your window manager, connecting to your modem and printer, and learning to use and manage Linux. During this phase, you will be depending mostly on Web-based resources such as HOW-TOs and newsgroups to create print queues, install productive applications, and play audio CDs. As mentioned above, the LDP is a good place to start. The right margin of this page lists a few helpful sites for new and experienced Linux users.
     Good newbie etequette is to exhaust all on-line resources before shouting "HELP! I need..." in a newsgroup or calling your mentor. When someone helps you, it's not really necessary to reply, it just adds extra messages of little content to the list. But if you discover a neat trick or distribution error in the process of solving your problem, by all means share it with the rest of us. Remember: newbies experience the most pleasure from solving early problems. It is a grand and satisfying time when you can finally ftp your first color screenshot of your 16bpp desktop to your website. Tastes in color schemes aside, this really contributes little except to remind us how we felt at that point in our own Linux experience.



Helpful Links:

LinuxBerg HOW-TOs
Linux Documentation Project
Linux Newbie FAQ
Search Newsgroups
Linux MAN Pages On-Line
Linux Unleashed
Linux on Laptops
Sunsite Archives



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Official WindowMaker Site
WindowMaker Themes

Rogue Penguins Linux Users Group • http://www.rplug.org • Founded 10JUN99
Last Modified: Tuesday, 18-Dec-2001 16:30:59 PST
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