Once more PCQuest brings you a new version of your favorite open-source OS—PCQLinux 8.0. And, here, as usual, we present you with the different ways to install it. For PCQLinux veterans, there are a few new things to keep in mind as well.
Pop the first CD into your CD drive and fire up your machine. Make sure you have the boot sequence set for booting from the CD drive first through the BIOS. In case you cannot boot from the CD-ROM, you will need to create a set of boot floppies. See the box ‘If Your CD Doesn’t Boot’ for how to do this.
Once the CD boots, you get a set of different options on starting the install. The two main options are to start the installer in graphical or text mode. Obviously, the graphical mode is easier to navigate since you can use the mouse. It also provides more online information about the step being performed. The text-mode install is more of a fallback mode in case you have a video card that has a problem in running X Window. The text-mode installer can do everything that the GUI one can, except that it doesn’t look as nice and nor is it easy enough to navigate. However, it works on all systems; and on slower systems it can be actually faster and more convenient to use than the highly resource-hungry graphical set up.
To start the install in graphical mode, simply press Enter at the boot prompt screen. If you want to get into text mode, type ‘text’ and press Enter at the same prompt. The following install procedure assumes the graphical route. The text-mode route is similar enough not to warrant a detailed description of it.
Regardless of which path you choose, the first screen that comes up asks you to verify the install media. You do not need to do this at first go as it can take a good amount of time for each CD. However, if you do run into some error while installing, we recommend that you verify both the CDs for any media faults like scratches or dirt. Many times, an install failure is due to this and not a problem with the software itself. Most of the issues reported for the install in previous versions of PCQLinux are media-based problems.
Proceeding with the installation, you will be welcomed to the PCQLinux install. You can read the Release Notes here.
Proceed onwards to select the mouse; in most cases the default will be correct and sufficient. If you have a two-button mouse, however, you can select to Emulate 3-Buttons. Continue on to select the type of install you wish. PCQLinux offers you the following options.
Personal Desktop/Notebook: This is ideal if you are a home user or a notebook user. This installs a graphical screen as well as productivty, multimedia and entertainment applications.
Workstation: This install would be useful for office desktops and developer workstations. It installs everything that the Personal Desktop install does, and adds more management tools and developer applications, such as compilers, libraries, IDEs and sources.
Departmental Server: This is the recommended install type for systems that need to be set up as a server within your organization. It includes server utilities and programs, such as Samba for working with Windows servers, and Apache for creating a Web server. There is no graphical component installed in this type of install option.
Gateway Server: For allowing access to users to the Internet, this is the server install type that is recommended. This includes firewalls and other security options. Obviously, this sort of server would require two network cards to function correctly.
Supercomputer (Experimental): For the first time in any Linux distribution in India, PCQLinux allows you to create a supercomputer cluster out of the box. This install process, however, is still in the experimental stage and requires some manual intervention. Please read the article on Setting Up Clustering in this issue to see what needs to be done to get this working.
Custom: This lets you select the packages to be installed yourself.
Everything: This lets you skip most of the other screens and proceed to installing all the packages from both the CDs onto your system. Please note this will take more than 4 GB of space on your hard disk.
As you continue from here, you can select the type of partitioning scheme. Although you can select auto-partition, which sets up the partitions automatically for you, we recommend that you at least review the partitions that it creates, if not create the partitions yourself. If you are doing an upgrade, do not remove any of the existing partitions. See the ‘Partitions in Linux’ for details about partitioning schemes.
Next comes the choice of the boot loader. PCQLinux lets you install two types of boot loaders: the good, old, LILO; or the new, more featured, GRUB (the default). Unless you have a particularly good reason not to, GRUB should be your choice.
You are on to different configurations: network, timezone (this is defaulted to the Indianized—Asia/Kolkata), user accounts (the root password is the minimum required), firewall, etc. The defaults in most cases are fine. Articles on configuring each of these in detail are given separately in this issue.
Next comes a very important part—the applications to install. In most cases (except, the custom install), you will be presented with a screen that shows you what the defaults are in the install type you selected are. However, you can select to view, change and add applications into the install as you desire.
The package-selection screen is divided into sections such as Graphical Internet, Development and Servers. Each of these has more sections within it, such as E-mail Server and Web Server. Clicking on the checkbox next to the name selects many of the default applications within that. To see what is selected and to change these, click on the Details link. This will show you all the applications that make up that section. Select or deselect to your heart’s desire!
Once you are ready, proceed from the selection screen. In case any of the packages you selected, require (depend on) some other packages, this will be automatically detected and shown to you. It is recommended that you follow its advice and let all dependencies by resolved automatically.
This is the point where you can go get your favorite caffeinated beverage—read coffee or cola. After a quick format of the partitions, the files start getting copied. This will take a good amount of time depending on the number and type of packages selected, your computer’s speed and, of course, the speed of your CD-ROM drive. Insert the second CD when prompted.
Once the file-copying process is complete, you will be asked to set up the graphical portion of your system (assuming that the system is configured for graphical login).
In most cases, your graphics card would be detected automatically; however, in case it isn’t, you can scroll through the drivers list and select your card.
Note that certain older, highly proprietary cards, such as the perennially troublesome SiS 6215, are not supported. If all is well, you can select the default resolution that the system should boot up in.
After everything is over, the install process is complete. Reboot the machine when prompted. The boot loader will show you the OS list to boot. Select the newly installed Linux, of course. Sit back and watch the screens of text flow past and wait till the login screen (text or graphical) comes up. Login and see what you have just installed.
If you have USB ports on your PC, you need to specifically enable them for this version of the Linux Kernel. For this, at the end of the installation, after rebooting, log in as root and from a terminal window issue the following command.
Back up First
Before beginning an install, or resizing partitions, it is recommended that you back up all data on existing partitions, Windows, Linux or otherwise.