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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Choosing How to Install Fedora

Fedora can be installed in a variety of ways using different techniques and hardware.

Most users will install Fedora by booting to the installation directly from a CD-ROM. Other options include

  • Booting to an installation using a floppy diskette.

  • Booting to an installation using Fedora's mini CD-ROM.

  • Using a hard drive partition to hold the installation software.

  • Booting from a DOS command line.

  • Booting via a virtual network session. (See the file Release Notes included on the first Fedora Core CD-ROM for details.)

  • Booting to an installation and installing software over a network 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-ROM

Most PCs' BIOS support booting directly from a CD-ROM 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 your PC's BIOS if required (usually accessed by pressing an F or Del key after powering on), then insert Fedora Core's first CD-ROM, and boot to install Fedora.

To use this installation method, your computer must support booting from CD-ROM, and the CD-ROM drive must be recognizable by the Linux kernel. You can verify this by checking your BIOS and then booting your PC.

Older PCs with some CD-ROM drives 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. However, you can consult Table 3.1, which lists a driver disk image that can be used to support older drives.

The file boot.iso listed in Table 3.1 is a 4.5MB CD-ROM image found under the images directory on the first Fedora Core CD-ROM. The image can be burned onto a CDR, mini CDR, or business-card-sized CDR 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 diskettes.

You burn the image onto optical media using the cdrecord command. For example, copy the file to your hard drive, insert a blank CDR into your CDRW drive, and then use a command line like so:

# cdrecord -v speed=4 dev=0,0,0 -data -eject boot.iso 

This example will create a bootable CD-ROM, and then eject 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 will 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 first Fedora Core CD-ROM 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'll then be asked to choose the type of network installation.


Just press Enter at the boot prompt if you boot to a network install using a CDR created with the boot.iso image. You'll boot a graphical network install.

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'll then be asked for the FTP site name. You can enter the name or IP address of a remote FTP server hosting the Fedora Core release. The name of the remote directory will depend on where the Fedora install files are located on the remote server.

Installing Fedora using the File Transfer Protocol (FTP) will require access to an FTP server (see Chapter 18, "Secure File Transfer Protocol [FTP] Service," to see how to set up a server and use FTP). You'll need to know the hostname or IP address of the server, along with the path (directory) holding the Fedora Core software. One way to prepare a server to host installs is to

  1. Create a directory named Fedora under the FTP server's pub directory. The directory will usually be /var/ftp/pub on a Linux server.

  2. Create a directory named base and a directory named RPMS underneath the Fedora directory.

  3. Copy or download all RPM packages included with Fedora Core into the pub/Fedora/RPMS directory.

  4. Copy all original base files (comps.rpm, comps.xml, hdlist, hdlist2, hdstg2.img, netstg2.img, stage2.img, TRANS.TBL) from the first CD-ROM'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 Core install software.

Installing Fedora Core using a remotely mounted network file system (NFS) is similar to a hard drive installation, but requires access to an NFS server. You'll 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 Core software. See Chapter 13, "Network Connectivity," for more information about NFS and network addressing.

To install Fedora using HTTP, you will need the hostname or IP address of the remote Web server, along with the directory containing Fedora's software. See Chapter 16, "Apache Web Server Management," to see how to set up a Web server.


See Chapter 18 for details on how to configure the vsftpd FTP server. Chapter 16 provides information on how to set up and configure Apache for Web service. See Chapter 13 for Samba settings. Note that you can have your server perform all three duties.

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