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2. General System Setup

2.1 Keyboard

First of all, how to configure the keyboard. If you missed this step during installation or have changed your keyboard, you'll have to:

Upon the next reboot, the keyboard will work fine.

2.2 Kernel

IMHO, the first thing to do next is build a kernel that best suits your system. It's very simple to do but, in any case, refer to the README file in /usr/src/linux/. Hints:

2.3 Bootup Messages

If you want to customise the bootup messages, check whether your /etc/rc.d/rc.local overwrites /etc/issue and /etc/motd. If so, get your hands on your editor and go.

2.4 Hostname

Issuing the command hostname new_host_name is not enough. Edit /etc/sysconfig/network and change the hostname therein.

2.5 Sendmail Lock

On some systems, sendmail locks the machine at boot time. Make sure your /etc/hosts contains a line that reads localhost

2.6 Device Drivers

Devices in /dev (or better, links to the actual device drivers) may be missing. Check what devices your mouse, modem, and CD-ROM drive correspond to, then do what follows:

~# cd /dev
/dev# ln -s /dev/cua0 mouse
/dev# ln -s /dev/cua1 modem
/dev# ln -s /dev/hdb cdrom

and, if you want, do chmod 666 to these devices to make them fully accessible by every user. Tip: in some laptops the mouse device is /dev/psaux: take this into account also when configuring X11.

In addition, you'll want to make the floppy accessible by non-root users with chmod 666 /dev/fd*. This is bound to cause security problems, but I don't know the details. Comments on this are welcome.

2.7 Mouse

gpm mouse services are useful to perform cut and paste in console and to use the mouse in some apps. Check that you have a file called /etc/sysconfig/mouse and that it reads:


Moreover, you must have a file /etc/rc.d/init.d/gpm. Of course, make sure this configuration is right for your mouse type. Tip: in some laptops, MOUSETYPE is ``PS/2''.

2.8 Mount Points

It's handy to have mount points for the floppy, the CD-ROM, the DOS partition, and other devices. For example, you may do the following:

~# cd /mnt
/# mkdir a: ; mkdir floppy ; mkdir cdrom ; mkdir win ; mkdir zip

This creates mount points for an MS-DOS floppy, an ext2 floppy, the CD-ROM, the DOS partition, and the parallel port Zip drive.

Now edit the file /etc/fstab and add the following entries:

/dev/fd0        /mnt/a:         msdos           user,noauto 0 1
/dev/fd0        /mnt/floppy     ext2            user,noauto 0 1
/dev/cdrom      /mnt/cdrom      iso9660         ro,user,noauto 0 1
/dev/hda1       /mnt/dos        msdos           user,noauto 0 1
/dev/sda4       /mnt/zip        vfat            user,noauto 0 1

Obviously, you must use the correct device in the first field. To access Win95 long names, use vfat instead of msdos in the last line. This doesn't (yet) apply to vfat32, though.

2.9 LILO and Loadlin

Many users want their PC to run both Linux and DOS/Windows, and want to choose at boot time which os to use. Let's suppose that /dev/hda1 contains DOS/Windows and that /dev/hda2 contains Linux.

Do what follows:

~# fdisk
Using /dev/hda as default device!

Command (m for help):a
Partition number (1-4): 2

Command (m for help):w

This makes the Linux partition bootable; this step ought to be carried out by activate when running LILO's QuickInst, but it won't work with my Red Hat.

Write this basic /etc/lilo.conf file:

boot = /dev/hda2
delay = 50
# message = /boot/bootmesg.txt  # write your own
root = current
image = /boot/vmlinuz
  label = linux
other = /dev/hda1
  table = /dev/hda
  label = dos

Now issue /sbin/lilo and you're set. Being LILO a crucial part of your installation, you're strongly advised to read its documentation anyway.

To boot Linux from DOS without resetting, put LOADLIN.EXE in a directory (in the DOS partition!) included in the DOS path; then copy your kernel to, say, C:\DOS\VMLINUZ. The following .BAT file will boot linux:

rem   linux.bat
smartdrv /C
loadlin c:\dos\vmlinuz root=/dev/hda2 r

I you use Windows 95, set the properties of this .BAT so as it starts in MS-DOS mode.

2.10 Printer Configuration

Red Hat has a fine configuration tool that worked wonderfully for my HP DeskJet 400; if you don't use Red Hat, manual configuration follows.

Let's suppose you have a non-PostScript printer you want to use to print raw text (e.g., C source files) and PostScript files via GhostScript, which is assumed to be already installed.

Setting up the printer involves a few steps:

For more complex or exotic printing configurations, the Printing-HOWTO awaits you.

For Red hat users: be aware that the GSDEVICE chosen by Printtool will work, but is not necessarily the best for your printer. You may consider fiddling a bit with the file postscript.cfg; for instance, I changed GSDEVICE from cdj500 to djet500 and now my prints come out much quicker.

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