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4. Installation Overview

4.1 Basic Installation Steps

The basic outline of Linux installation is simple:

  1. Collect configuration information on your hardware.
  2. Make installation floppies.
  3. If you want to run a "dual-boot" system (Linux and DOS or Windows both), rearrange (repartition) your disk to make room for Linux.
  4. Boot an installation mini-Linux from the floppies in order to get access to the CD-ROM.
  5. Prepare the Linux filesystems. (If you didn't edit the disk partition table earlier, you will at this stage.)
  6. Install a basic production Linux from the CD-ROM.
  7. Boot Linux from the hard drive.
  8. (Optional) Install more packages from CD-ROM.

4.2 Basic Parts of an Installation Kit

Here are the basic parts of an installable distribution:

  1. The README and FAQ files. These will usually be located in the top-level directory of your CD-ROM and be readable once the hard disk has been mounted under Linux. (Depending on how the CD-ROM was generated, they may even be visible under DOS/Windows.) It is a good idea to read these files as soon as you have access to them, to become aware of important updates or changes.
  2. A number of bootdisk images (often in a subdirectory). One of these is is the file that you will write to a floppy to create the boot disk. You'll select one of the above bootdisk images, depending on the type hardware that you have in your system.

The issue here is that some hardware drivers conflict with each other in strange ways, and instead of attempting to debug hardware problems on your system it's easier to use a boot floppy image with only the drivers you need enabled. (This will have the nice side effect of making your kernel smaller.)

You only need RAWRITE.EXE if you plan to create your boot and root floppies from an MS-DOS system. If you have access to a UNIX workstation with a floppy drive instead, you can create the floppies from there, using the `dd' command. or possibly a vendor-provided build script. See the man page for dd(1) and ask your local UNIX gurus for assistance.

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