Putting On the Fedora
The version I used for this install was Fedora Core 2. I should point out that I was using the Beta release, but that the official Fedora Core 2 will be out by the time you read this book. In terms of installation, there were virtually no differences at all between Red Hat 9.0, Fedora Core 1, and Fedora Core 2.
Start by putting in the CD-ROM and rebooting your system. The boot menu appears, giving you the option of choosing either a graphical or text install. For almost every system out there, the graphical install is just fine. All you need to do is click or press Install, and the system will start booting. The system identifies devices, and you see a number of messages scroll by.
A few seconds later, you'll see an interesting message. Fedora's install has a Media Check option. Here's the idea: You have your installation CDs, but you don't know for sure whether the disk is free from surface defects that will make installation impossible. Isn't it better to find out before you start all the work? The choice is yours. You can choose to test each CD in your set before you proceed, or you can simply skip the step.
After the media check, the graphical install screen appears. This is just a welcome screen; click Next to continue on. On the following screen, select the language you would like to use for the installation. I selected English and clicked Next again. The keyboard selection screen follows. Once again, I selected the default of U.S. English and clicked Next, which brought up the mouse selection screen.
On the mouse selection screen, the installer does an autodetect and makes a selection. Make sure that the mouse selected is more or less what you have. Notice the Emulate 3 Buttons option at the bottom of the screen. Unless you already have a three-button mouse, select this, because the Linux graphical X window system makes use of all three buttons. Clicking the left and right button simultaneously is the same as clicking the middle button on a three-button mouse. Hot on the heels of mouse selection, it's time for the monitor configuration, another screen where you can pretty much just accept the default unless, of course, you can tell that the autodetection is way off from what you own.
The next screen is for installation type. The default option is Personal Desktop, which Fedora suggests is "perfect for personal computers or laptops." Most people will want to accept the default and click Next.
On the next screen, you can accept the default, which is to allow the install to automatically partition your disk. After clicking Next, you get some choices on Automatic Partitioning, which is to decide how the installer will make use of the available space. The default is Remove All Linux Partitions on This System, and this is probably the right choice. If you want to double check the decisions made by the installer, make sure that you check off the option Review (and Modify if Needed) the Partitions Created.
A warning box appears, letting you know that all data will be erased. Click OK. Depending on the size of your hard drive, you may get a warning, such as "Boot partition/boot may not meet booting constraints for your architecture. Creation of a boot disk is highly encouraged." I'll talk about a boot disk later.
The Boot Loader Configuration is next. Red Hat installs the GRUB boot loader by default, but you can change it to LILO. Both work very well, and in the end, it is your choice. I have grown to like GRUB quite a bit, but I still use LILO on other systems without a care. At this point, you also have the option of setting a password on the boot loader. Home users don't have to worry about this, but some network installations may want the additional security of having to enter a password when the system is booted. Before you move on, you may want to have a look at the labels the installer assigns. I mention this because if you are setting up a dual-boot system, it will be identified as DOS. When you are happy with your choices, click Next.
The following screen is for network configuration. If you do not have a network card installed, you can skip to the next step. If your Internet connection is through a DSL or cable modem connection, that will likely be the case. The default is to boot and pull an address via DHCP, and this is what you would choose. If your PC is on a home or corporate network with fixed addresses, click Edit, check off Configure Using DHCP, and enter your address information. If you are in an office, check with your systems administrator for this information. Otherwise, enter your IP address and netmask, then click OK. Enter your hostname, gateway, and DNS information, then click Next.
The next section, the Firewall Configuration screen, is very important. There are many options here, and you should take the time to read what each one offers. Network security is extremely important, because the incidence of cyber-attacks continues to rise all the time. Linux PCs aren't as susceptible to viruses, particularly if you don't run as the root or administrative user, but that doesn't mean you should let your guard down. If you are a single user on a home PC that is connected to the Internet, choose Enable Firewall, leave the various services checked off, and click Next.
What follows is yet another language selection screen: Additional Language Support. That's because the OS can support multiple languages, and you can change that default at a later time. Unless you have another language at your disposal, leave the choice as it is and click Next. On the next screen, you will be asked to enter your time zone (in my case, America/Montreal). When you are done, click Next.
When you arrive at the next screen, you will get your first taste of Linux's multiuser nature with the Account Configuration. This is where you set your root password (root is the administrator login). After the installation completes, you have the opportunity to create other nonroot (regular user) accounts. It's early, but I'll stress it now: You should create at least one nonroot account from which to work on a day-to-day basis.
This brings you to the screen with the goodies: Package Selection. The packages selected for the Personal Desktop are:
Desktop shell (GNOME)
Office Suite (OpenOffice)
Web browser (Mozilla)
Sound and video applications
Because I will be concentrating on KDE as the desktop, click Customize the Set of Packages to Be Installed. Click Next, and you will be on the Package Group Selection screen. You'll notice that packages are ordered into categories such as Desktops, Applications, and so on. Check off the KDE Desktop Environment under Desktops. Then, click Details and make sure that all KDE packages have been selected before you click OK.
For the most part, you can leave everything else as is, but there is one other thing you may want to consider here. Despite the fact that most desktop users will not want to compile packages, I think that the lure of trying out something that is leading-edge or unusual will be more than even home users will be able to resist as they get familiar with their systems. That's why you might want to choose to install such development tools as gcc, perl, python, and more, as well as X Software Development, GNOME Software Development, and KDE Software Development.
When you're done here, click Next. This is the last step before the installation takes off on its own. You receive a final opportunity to change your mind before committing to this installation. Click Next, and a pop up window informs you of which other CDs you will need. For mine, I needed CD 1 and CD 2. Click Continue, and you are on your way.
Figure 3-2 Fedora Core 2 (beta) desktop.
As your partitions are formatted, a progress bar keeps track of where you are in the installation. As the installation progresses, you are treated to some information about the Fedora project and some of the included products. Incidentally, this is usually a good time to take a break and grab something to drink. From time to time, you'll need to change CDs; you may need all three. When the installation completes, you have the opportunity to create an emergency boot diskette. Follow the instructions to do so, and label the diskette "Linux emergency boot diskette."
Make sure you take out the CD-ROM before the system reboots.
When the diskette creation is done, click Next. The system reboots to a graphical Welcome screen. From here, you go through a few final configuration details. Accept the license agreement and click Next (Figure 3-2). If the date and time are incorrect, you can adjust them here. On the next screen, you'll have an opportunity to fine-tune the display based on your monitor type and the number of colors you want displayed.
Click Next, and come to one of the more important parts of the process: user account creation. You must create at least one nonroot user for the system, and this is the time to do so. After clicking Next, the system lets you test your sound card and install additional CDs if you have them, after which you are done. The graphical login manager starts up, and you can log in as your nonroot user.