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Old 02-10-2006, 10:21 PM   #1
ajcamm@aol.com
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Registered: Feb 2006
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Just Beginning


Hi,
I am a Mac user, but have a PC that is a large paper weight, so I decided I want to install Linux on it to make it useful again. I downloaded Red Hat Enterprise Desktop...

First I have a few questions about that...
-I downloaded the .iso files, do I burn these to CD's, or do I open them and burn the contents?
-How do I install them after I burn? I want to install them on a second hard drive, and possibly have a dual boot system.

I understand that I have to make sure that my BIOS checks to boot from the CD-ROM before the hard disk, but I don't know how to get to the BIOS screen.

I have limited Linux experience from engineering school, but if someone has input as to which distribution may be better for me, please let me know. I won't be using the machine for anything in particular, maybe a little development (I like my Mac for that), other than that usual stuff, no games, cool apps...etc.

Any help is appreciated,

Thanks,

Andy
 
Old 02-10-2006, 10:35 PM   #2
devinnull
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajcamm@aol.com
Hi,
I am a Mac user, but have a PC that is a large paper weight, so I decided I want to install Linux on it to make it useful again. I downloaded Red Hat Enterprise Desktop...

First I have a few questions about that...
-I downloaded the .iso files, do I burn these to CD's, or do I open them and burn the contents?
-How do I install them after I burn? I want to install them on a second hard drive, and possibly have a dual boot system.

I understand that I have to make sure that my BIOS checks to boot from the CD-ROM before the hard disk, but I don't know how to get to the BIOS screen.
I'm not sure what piece of software Mac has but you want to burn a CD/DVD from the iso image and the first one will be bootable.

On getting into the bios...this can be different for every motherboard but start out by tapping the del or delete key after you hear the beep that signals your systems post.
If that key doesn't work then try F2 or F1. One of those should get you into the bios.

I'm a rookie here too but that should get you started.
 
Old 02-10-2006, 11:45 PM   #3
J.W.
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Registered: Mar 2003
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Welcome to LQ. devinnull's advice is good - you need to burn the .iso file as an image. Make sure that you choose the "Burn as Image" option when you are burning - don't burn the iso as a regular file, or drag and drop it over to the blank CD as you might do to copy a file, etc.

Getting into BIOS will depend on the particular PC you are using, but as the PC powers up, you should see a message for ~5 seconds that say something like "Press Del to enter setup" or something like that. (Other common keys are F2 and F12) If your PC displays a banner (eg, the Dell logo) instead of text, you can try pressing Esc to cancel the banner. Note that even if a banner is being displayed, once you press the proper "enter setup" key you'll be able to get into BIOS. Once you are in BIOS, you want to go to the Boot section, and then in the boot priority order option, make sure the CD-ROM is listed as the first device, or at least that it is listed above the hard drive.

In terms of setting up your system as a dual boot and putting Linux on the second drive, you just need to specify that the target drive for Linux is that second drive. Note that in Linux the hard drive labelling system is different, and for reference:

/dev/hda = primary master
/dev/hdb = primary slave
/dev/hdc = secondary master
/dev/hdd = secondary slave

Based on your description, that will probably be /dev/hdb or /dev/hdd.

As for "which distro", there's no right or wrong answer. The best thing to do is just to try several and then decide for yourself which one fits your needs and preferences the best. That being said, some of the most popular distros currently are Ubuntu, Fedora Core, SuSE, Debian, and of course I will have to suggest Slackware. All of these are available for free download from LQ ISO

Good luck with it and Welcome to LQ
 
Old 02-11-2006, 03:39 PM   #4
ajcamm@aol.com
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Registered: Feb 2006
Posts: 5

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So I need to make sure my second HD is the "primary slave" in BIOS, and installing is when i need to type '/dev/hdb'???

I'm not sure what you mean by this, where do I use it?

I did successfuly burn the ISO's, thank's for the help with that.
Also, for dual boot, do I need to DL a Boot loader program?, or how do I set my system up for that?
 
Old 02-11-2006, 06:17 PM   #5
bigjohn
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Distribution: *buntu (usually Kubuntu)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajcamm@aol.com
So I need to make sure my second HD is the "primary slave" in BIOS, and installing is when i need to type '/dev/hdb'???

I'm not sure what you mean by this, where do I use it?

I did successfuly burn the ISO's, thank's for the help with that.
Also, for dual boot, do I need to DL a Boot loader program?, or how do I set my system up for that?
Redhat Enterprise might not be the best distro to start with - maybe Mandriva, SuSE or Fedora are better to start with.

J.W. was telling you how linux distros name hard drives and other devices that plug into IDE channels. If the PC only has one hard drive, then it should normally end up being called /dev/hda - if it has windows on it already, then the windows partition would be called /dev/hda1 and any other partitions numbered sequentially i.e. hda2, hda3 etc. don't forget, the system can only normally have 4 primary partitions, which is where logical ones come into play e.g. if you already had 3 partitons on the system, all set up as primary, then the 4th one would have to be made "extended" so that you can then set up further partitons as "logical", and they then number as hda5, hda6 etc. Though if it's a basic windows PC, with just the one hard drive, then you probably don't need to worry about that.

What you might find, is that if the system has 1 hdd, and say 2 removeable drives e.g. a CDROM and a CDRW or DVD, then it depends on how it's connected internally. Because you often find that the hdd is installed/plugged/connected and set up on the primary master IDE channel, but because some IDE cables also had a second connector, then they might have plugged in either the CDROM, CDRW or DVD into that. If that was the case, then often, linux distros will actually see the device as /dev/hdb (even though it's not actually a hard drive). The other device might then be seen as /dev/hdc (again, not actually a hard drive). Thats how my system is set up.

I'd guess that the easiest suggestion would be to get Mandriva or SuSE (latest versions, probably linked from the download section here at LQ). I have used both, but prefer mandriva.

It has the ability to make some space on the hard drive for the distro (shrink windows), if you then follow the default selections that are offered by the installer it invariably works fine - thats not guaranteed though, but probable.

It will also install a bootloader for you. You'd normally put that on the very first section of the MBR (major boot record). Yes it will overwrite the windows bootloader, but by putting it on the first part of the MBR (on the first hdd for multi hard drive systems) it can see all installed OS and will offer you the choice of which OS you want to boot (when you install a linux distro like that, it will usually put the linux distro as the default OS, but thats not hard to change, it's entirely up to you).

If you do try mandriva, I think you'll find that with windows running, you can put the mandriva disc in and if you then have a look at the contents, theres a sort of guided tour about what to do and how to do it.

Someone else (J.W. and devinnull) have already mentioned about making sure that the PC needs to be able to boot from a CD etc.

regards

John

p.s. Oh and if your username is your e-mail address and you are using AOL, then that can also be problematic (well it was last time I was reading about it).

Last edited by bigjohn; 02-11-2006 at 06:21 PM.
 
Old 02-11-2006, 10:02 PM   #6
ajcamm@aol.com
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Registered: Feb 2006
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Well, RH Enterprise was suggested from a coworker, so I thought I would give it a try. I wanted to try that or the University's distro.

Does only Mandriva have a bootloader built in?
Also, I want to install on my second hard drive, is that a problem if it not connected to the master IDE?

Thanks for the info
PS-how do I change the settings so my username is not shown as my email, I can't find that.
 
Old 02-12-2006, 08:50 AM   #7
bigjohn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajcamm@aol.com
Well, RH Enterprise was suggested from a coworker, so I thought I would give it a try. I wanted to try that or the University's distro.

Does only Mandriva have a bootloader built in?
Also, I want to install on my second hard drive, is that a problem if it not connected to the master IDE?

Thanks for the info
PS-how do I change the settings so my username is not shown as my email, I can't find that.
RHEL is exactly that. An "enterprise" version i.e. aimed at business. Which usually means that lots of the upgrades/updates etc are only available if you pay for a licence. Linux itself, is only the main kernel of the system, the distro is the collection of packages that surround the kernel.

as for using your university distro, which one is it ??? because that depends on how easy or hard it maybe to install/manage/use.

Mandriva, like all distros has a choice of at least the two main bootloaders. They are called Lilo and Grub - in the same way that the main two desktop environments of KDE and Gnome will do the same stuff, but get there is slightly different ways, Lilo and Grub are similar, but different. Some distro's come with one or the other set as default, but if you want you can choose the other (My mandriva uses lilo as it's default, but I've learned how to use Grub so I just told the installer to use that instead).

If you want to install the linux distro onto your second hard drive, then that shouldn't be a problem. The drive should be seen by the installer and you'd normally just tell it to put it there - Oh and the only problem that still sometimes seems to appear is that some distros can be buggers when it comes to systems with IDE and SATA hard drives - all you can do is to try, unless you know that your system uses one or the other (AFAIK that is).

You'd still have to put the bootloader onto the first part of the MBR on the first hard drive, otherwise you either have to keep changing the BIOS to boot from the other HDD when you want to change OS, or you have to make a boot floppy to be able to boot the linux distro i.e. put it in the drive and then reboot from windows, it see's the boot floppy and knows to boot from the second hard drive.

Another possible option for you to think about, is to try a "Live CD" distro. That is where you download the distro, burn it to disc (bootable etc), make sure that your system will boot from a CD and then just boot it. Live CD's are ones that only run from the CD, they don't put anything on the hard drive at all, unless you tell them too and you can't do that by mistake. Sure it means that they run slower that a distro installed to a hard drive, but they would as CDROM/DVD type drives are much slower than hard drives, but it gives you a taste of how it works.

Then your only issue would be connecting to the internet - because it can depend very much on the hardware as to how easy or not, that might be i.e. I use an ethernet card with ADSL modem/router, so it's easy, I just have to apply the LAN settings as it's my modem/router that manages my connection. It's a bit more effort if it was a USB ADSL modem, because some of these need proprietary drivers. If you're still stuck with dial up, then it can be a complete bugger, because so many internal modems are whats known as "winmodems" i.e. they are software based and designed to only work under windows - yes, some of them can be made to work, if you can get/find the correct driver from them (just google for winmodems if thats the case and read there).

The live distros to check out, would be kanotix, knoppix and Ubuntu. All three can be installed to a hard drive if you wanted - Hell, if you go to the Ubuntu site, there used to be an option to get them to send you the discs free of charge (you get two in each pack, a live CD version to try and an "install to hard drive" copy as well it does take a while for them to turn up but they're free, postage and everything).

I'd still say that Mandriva would be the easiest to try, from the point of installing to hard drive. Hell, you could even get the PPC version and install it onto your MAC if you wanted!

regards

John

p.s. Oh and if you want to change your username, you'll probably have to re-register. As far as I'm aware theres no facility for users to do that.
 
Old 02-12-2006, 11:48 AM   #8
ajcamm@aol.com
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Registered: Feb 2006
Posts: 5

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The University distro is UBLinux...I think I will start with that version, I have used it before, and while I am still around, I can get tech support for it.

THanks for the info
 
Old 02-12-2006, 10:16 PM   #9
J.W.
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Registered: Mar 2003
Location: Boise, ID
Distribution: Mint
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Sorry for the delay in replying. bigjohn's comments are on the mark - what I was trying to say was simply that if you intend to install Linux on your "second drive", then that drive's designation will depend on whether it is on the primary IDE cable or the secondary IDE cable, and whether or not it is in the master or slave position. Your existing drive presumably is in the primary master position, and I'll assume that your CD-ROM is in the secondary master position. If this is true, then your second drive will be either the primary slave (if its connected to the same ribbon cable as your primary master) or the secondary slave (if its connected to the same ribbon cable as your CD-ROM)

The only reason this is relevant is because during the Linux installation procedure, it will ask you where you want to install Linux. I'll assume you don't want to overwrite your existing Windows system (which lives on /dev/hda) and therefore in all likelihood you will want to choose /dev/hdb or /dev/hdd as the target. Again, this is just general advice - the specifics will depend on your particular system. Good luck with it
 
  


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