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How To Install Linux (Page 3/4)

Posted: June 23, 2000
Written By: Keith "Farrel" McClellan

Pre-installation Setup Continued...

Next you will get to setup your keyboard and mouse. Most of you will be using a US keyboard (note that US international is a DIFFERENT keyboard layout than the one you are likely to have). When it comes to choosing a mouse, choose the one that comes closest to your piece of hardware. Any mouse with a wheel should be listed as an Intellimouse (unless your brand is specifically listed), and so on and so forth.

Next up comes some of the most important settings for your computer (at least when you are talking about the initial speed of the installation) – the miscellaneous settings. Under the misc. settings, you are going to want to enable hard drive optimizations (enables DMA, write-behind caching, and other goodies like that), set the security level to medium (unless you have a permanent connection to the internet, in which you might want to go with high), input the exact amount of RAM you have in your system, and enable ‘supermount’ing. You may or may not prefer to have NUM lock enabled on startup.

Once you have set up the miscellaneous options, it is time to set up the file system. For the purposes of this guide, I will assume that you are installing Linux as the only operating system for the computer. If you were to dual boot, and you wanted LILO (the Linux Loader) to be your boot loader, you would have to make sure the partition Linux was installed on was below the 8 GB line (below the 1024th cylinder on the hard drive). If not, LILO would not be able to recognize the partition as bootable (which could end up being a serious problem).

Before I continue with the installation procedure and setting up a partition, it is important that the naming conventions for hard drives and partitions be discussed. Linux calls the boot drive of your computer HDA, the slave to that drive HDB, and so on. Each partition on that drive has a number, going from 1 on up into infinity (or whatever Linux's logical limit is). That means that what you would normally call the C drive would be hda1, the D drive could be hda2 or hdb1 (if you have two disks), etc. And that is the low down on Linux naming conventions.

You will need to create two partitions for Linux – a Linux native file system partition of at least 1.5 GB (for a full install with a bit of space left over) and a Linux swap file partition should probably be set to about 128 MB unless you have a lot of I/O traffic on your system. Before you continue on, don’t forget to mount the Linux native partition as root [/]. And make sure you let the computer format the new partitions so that you can install to them.

Next you will need to choose which packages to install. Most of them include at least one or two important and very useful programs so I would recommend leaving most of them intact. However, the one that I have found has nothing in it you may need would be the web server package (that assumes, of course, that you aren’t running a web server – but if you were you would have chosen Server instead of normal under usage, right?). After that, you get to choose the size of the packages you wish to install. I would recommend leaving this at a maximum because lowering it may remove some programs you would find useful, and particularly as someone new to Linux it wouldn’t be smart to limit your options. Once this is done the files will start loading – this will take anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour depending on your system and what you chose to install.

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