Installing Red Hat 6.1



This is my own configuration, step-by-step. I know this works, so if you're a first timer, you'd be best following it as closely as your hardware allows. If you intend to use Windows on the same PC you should install Windows 95/98/(dare I suggest it)2000 before Linux. Red Hat will detect Windows and provide an option to boot it from the LILO boot manager. If you install Linux first, Windows will just splodge all over the master boot record assuming it is the only operating system, making it messy to get back into Linux.

The headings throughout this page (in blue for those watching in colour) refer to the headings in the Red Hat installer.

The Install Program

Language Selection

Select English.

Keyboard Configuration

Select Generic 105-key PC, UK, None.

Mouse Configuration

Select 2 Button PS/2, Emulate 3 Buttons.


This screen is redundant!

Install Type

I prefer the GNOME Workstation to KDE, but it's all the same thing underneath. If you need help configuring Red Hat or installing Oracle or AOLserver, stick to GNOME.

Automatic Partitioning

Always Manually partition.

Disk Druid

hda1 should be Win95 FAT32 or similar
make hda2 2000M Linux Native /
make hda3 2000M Linux Native /apps
make hda4 128M Linux Swap

Choose partitions to Format

Both hda2 and hda3 should be selected. You may as well check for bad blocks while you're at it.

Network Configuration

Select Activate on boot.
Hostname linuxbox
blank gateway & DNS

If you know anything about IP conventions you'll notice that I've used which is normally reserved for a router. This is because my first Linux box was a router and I can't get out of the habit.

Time Zone Selection


Account Configuration

Root password = anything as long as you don't forget it
Account name: oracle
password: oracle
Full name: oracle user

X Configuration

Video Card: 3D Rage Pro AGP 1X/2X

About to Install

This is the bit that formats the file systems you selected earlier.

Installing Packages

Last time I installed, I had 395 packages, 561M Total. On my machine this takes just over 8 minutes.


Don't forget to take out the CD. Don't do what I do: press the eject button & walk off. My CD drive pulls the tray back in when it reboots, which means when I get back I find myself looking at the installation screen again. D'oh.
When the self test is done, you'll get:

LILO boot:

Press [ENTER]

(If you haven't seen LILO before, it stands for Linux Loader, but it can load other systems too. If you had Windows installed before you installed Linux you will be able to type dos to boot into Windows. Pressing [TAB] gives you the LILO options. LILO is configurable from Linux)
Linux tells you exactly what it's up to as it loads which is handy for spotting config errors. For now I'll assume you have a working installation.
Login as root (using the password you entered during installation). Now we have a little tweaking to do.

Set display resolution for X Window

A great feature of Linux is file name completion. Whenever you have a file name to type in, if you type the first few letters then press [TAB] Linux will try to finish off the name for you. If there is more than one file starting with the letters you typed, you'll hear a beep. Press [TAB] again and you'll get a list of matching files. I use this all the time and I've used it in this document. Whenever you see [TAB] in my command line entries, it means you can use it and Linux will finish off the word for you.

Start Xconfigurator by typing



There's a welcome screen telling you what the program does, which is change settings in XF86Config.

If you configured your mouse properly you should be able to use it here. I don't like moving my hands from the keyboard, so I
Press [ENTER] for OK

PCI Probe

PCI probing found a:

PCI Entry: ATI|3D Rage Pro AGP 1X/2X
X Server : Mach64
Press [ENTER] for OK

Monitor Setup

I don't know the refresh rates for my monitor, so I use
Generic Multisync

Probing to begin

Press [ENTER] for OK
The screen will flash a few times

Probing finished

You might not want to use the default video mode suggested, so press [TAB] and [ENTER] to select Let Me Choose.

Select Video Modes

Use the up and down cursors, [TAB] and [SPACE] to select a suitable mode. (Mine is 1024x768x24).

Starting X

When you say OK, X Window is launched.

Can you see this?

Obviously the answer is Yes.

Would you like to boot into X?

This option will give you a GUI login screen. I don't like being forced to use X (neither Oracle nor AOLserver needs it), so that's a

Configuration file has been written

If you're interested you can look at the file. We don't really care at this stage, though. When you click OK (or press [ENTER]) you're back to your prompt.

Coloured directory listings

This will add some default switches to the ls command. We're going to edit root's profile so that these changes are made whenever root logs in. In this case we're using vi to edit the file, a nasty but simple text editor.

Logged in as root, in the /root directory,

vi .bash_profile

Use the cursor keys to move around or, failing that, use H, J, K, and L.
Go below the line that reads USERNAME="root"

press i (to enter insert mode), enter a few blank lines, put alias ls='ls -al --color=tty'
press [ESC] (to exit insert mode), :x [ENTER] (colon enters a command, x saves and exits)

Back at the prompt type logout

When you log back in as root and try an ls you should see the full listing, showing permissions and owners as well as the file names. Directories are in blue and executable files are green.

Mount DOS at boot

As root,
cd /etc
cat fstab

This file lists your physical partitions and where in the file system they are mounted to. If you have an MS-DOS (or Windows) partition you can add it in here to make it available whenever you start Linux.

My Windows 95 partition is the first partition on my primary disk, hda1. I mount it to /mnt/msdos and the file system type is vfat (which is fat-32 - you can also use msdos for fat-16). I add the line

/dev/hda1 /mnt/msdos vfat defaults 0 0

Defaults means use the default mount settings for this file system. We don't need to worry about the 0's. They are parameters used by the commands dump and fsck.

The directory we are mounting to must exist, so mkdir /mnt/msdos. Next time you start Linux you should see your Win/DOS partition in /mnt/msdos.

Dial-up Networking

From the GNOME menu, select Internet, Dialup Configuration Tool. This starts a wizard.

Click Next

You do not appear to have a modem configured

Click Next

Searching for modems

My modem is on COM1 in DOSpeak, which is /dev/ttyS0 115200

Click Next

Enter your ISP details and click Finish

This brings up the Internet Connections box.

Click Edit

Under the Advanced tab, enter your DNS IP address(es).

Now from the GNOME menu, select Internet, RH PPP Dialer.

Select your dialup account. Say yes to start the interface. You'll hear the usual noises from your modem, then a little black box will appear. This graphs the traffic through your internet connection and can be configured to show how much time or cash you've spent so far.

For some reason, I get kicked out the first time. The RH Dialer automatically redials though, and it's always successful the second time

In a terminal, ping an IP address you know, like your DNS. Then ping a www address. If the www address isn't found but the IP address is, it's DNS problem.

This happened to me, so I tried setting resolv.conf as you would if you were configuring PPP without a GUI interface. To do this, in a terminal as root, go to /etc.

Edit resolv.conf, adding the lines:


replacing my own DNS IP addresses with yours.

Install FTP

You should already be able to use an FTP client on your Linux box, but we need to set up an FTP daemon to let you connect to Linux from another PC.

Stick in your Red Hat CD and type

mount /dev/cdrom
cd /mnt/cdrom
cd RedHat/RPMS
rpm -i wu[TAB]

You can probably start the ftp daemon manually, but I reboot.

Now you can use ftp (where is the IP address of your Linux box) from any machine on your network. Note that Linux won't let you log in as root from an FTP or Telnet session.

Michael Hinds, March 2000