Choosing How to Install Fedora
Fedora can be installed in a variety of ways using different techniques and hardware. Most users install Fedora by booting to the installation directly from a CD or DVD. Other options include
- Booting to an installation using Fedora's mini CD bootdisc.
- Using a hard drive partition to hold the installation software.
- Booting from a DOS command line.
- Booting via a virtual network session. (See the Release Notes file included on the first Fedora CD-ROM for details.)
- Booting to an installation and installing software over a network or even via the Internet using FTP or HTTP protocols.
- Booting to an installation and installing software from an NFS-mounted hard drive.
How you choose to install (and use) Fedora depends on your system's hardware, networking capabilities, corporate information service policy, or personal preference. The following sections describe the issues surrounding each of these types of installation.
Installing from CD or DVD
Most PCs' BIOS support booting directly from a CD or DVD drive, and offer the capability to set a specific order of devices (such as floppy, hard drive, CD-ROM, or USB) to search for bootable software. Turn on your PC, set its BIOS if required (usually accessed by pressing a Function or Del key after powering on); then insert Fedora's first disc, and boot to install Fedora.
To use this installation method, your computer must support booting from your optical drive, and the drive itself must be recognizable by the Linux kernel. You can verify this by checking your BIOS and then booting your PC.
Older PCs might prove problematic when you desire to boot to an install using optical media. The good news is that this should no longer be a problem with most post-1995 personal computers.
The file boot.iso is a 4.5MB CD-ROM image found under the images directory on the first Fedora CD-ROM or the DVD. The image can be burned onto a CD-R, mini CD-R, or business-card sized CD-R and supports booting to a network install. This is a convenient way to boot to a network install on a PC with a bootable CD-ROM drive, but no installed floppy drive, or when you don't want to use multiple floppies during an install requiring driver disks.
You burn the image onto optical media using the cdrecord command. For example, copy the file to your hard drive, insert a blank CD-R into your CD-RW drive, and then use a command line like so:
# cdrecord -v speed=4 dev=0,0,0 -data -eject boot.iso
This example creates a bootable CD-ROM, and then ejects the new CD-ROM after writing the image. The speed (4, in this example) depends on the capabilities of your CD writing device. The device numbers are those returned by running cdrecord with its scanbus option, like so:
# cdrecord -scanbus
Installing Using a Network
Fedora can be installed using a local network (or even over the Internet if you have broadband access). You need access to a web, FTP, or NFS server hosting the installation packages. To boot to a network install, use a network boot floppy, a bootable CD-ROM created using the boot.iso boot image, or the Fedora DVD included with this book. Boot your PC with the boot floppy or, if you use CD-ROM, type linux askmethod at the boot prompt. Follow the prompts, and you will be asked to choose the type of network installation.
To install using FTP, select the network IP address assignment for your target PC, such as DHCP, or manually enter an IP address along with optional gateway IP address and nameserver addresses. You are then asked for the FTP site name. You can enter the name or IP address of a remote FTP server hosting the Fedora release. The name of the remote directory depends on where the Fedora install files are located on the remote server.
Installing Fedora using the File Transfer Protocol (FTP) requires access to an FTP server (see Chapter 24, "Remote File Serving with FTP," to see how to set up a server and use FTP). You have to know the hostname or IP address of the server, along with the path (directory) holding the Fedora software. One way to prepare a server to host installs is to follow these steps:
- Create a directory named Fedora under the FTP server's pub directory. The directory is usually /var/ftp/pub on a Linux server.
- Create a directory named base and a directory named RPMS underneath the Fedora directory.
- Copy or download all RPM packages included with Fedora into the pub/Fedora/RPMS directory.
- Copy all original base files (comps.rpm, comps.xml, hdlist, hdlist2, hdstg2.img, netstg2.img, stage2.img, TRANS.TBL) from the DVD's base directory into the pub/Fedora/base directory.
Using this approach, enter pub when asked for the name of the remote directory holding the Fedora install software.
Installing Fedora using a remotely mounted Network File System (NFS) is similar to a hard drive installation, but requires access to an NFS server. You need access permission, a permitted IP address or hostname for your computer, the hostname or IP address of the NFS server, and the path to the Fedora software. See Chapter 18, "Network Connectivity," for more information about NFS and network addressing.
To install Fedora using HTTP, you need the hostname or IP address of the remote web server, along with the directory containing Fedora's software. See Chapter 21, "Apache Web Server Management," to see how to set up a web server.