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Re: New User setup - need advice

>>>>> "Rory" == Rory Lysaght <> writes:

    Rory> Just got the version of Linux (1.2.x) included in a CD with
    Rory> Linux Universe.  The installation instructions seem to want

There are several "distributions" of Linux available.  The kernel
(what in MS-DOS would be and, or whatever they call
them) is the same (except for version, and all can be upgraded to more
recent kernels).  The differences are (1) what additional packages
(applications and system extensions) and package management tool they
provide (you don't care about this yet) and (2) the setup program
(this is very important).

To give reasonable advice, we need to know which distribution it is.

    Rory> to install it so that it boots from my hard drive, but while
    Rory> I learn my way around I'd prefer to use a boot floppy.  I'm
    Rory> still working on getting Win95 set up, so I don't want any
    Rory> more complications.

The most popular distribution is called "Slackware".  It asks if you
want to make a boot floppy--you do (even if you are going to boot from 
the HD, for all the usual reasons).  If your distribution doesn't have 
you make a boot floppy first, trash it and get one built by someone
with sense.  IMHO.

Somewhere in the installation it asks where to install.  Tell it the
hard drive.  Slackware (I can't speak about other distributions) will
install the files there.  It will *not* install the bootloader to your 
hard disk until later.

The ubiquitous bootloader is called "LILO".  The LILO configuration
utility is called by most setup programs, in particular by
Slackware's, and you can quit from it without installing the
bootloader or the OS itself to the MBR; DOS or Win95 (eek!) will still
be there.  I doubt that your distribution would buck the crowd in this 
and try to automatically install without using liloconfig.

    Rory> Here's what I want to do: I want to run mainly from the CD
    Rory> right now, until I get a larger hard drive.  I can spare
    Rory> about 75Megs on my *SECOND* hard drive (drive D).  I guess I
    Rory> need to create a partition this size on drive D.  But then I
    Rory> would like to just boot from a floppy (Drive A) whenever I
    Rory> want to experiment with Linux.

Whatever you do, you'll have to find a place to mount the CD-ROM.
Probably /usr is the right place.  Don't mount it on root; root MUST
be read/write, a physical impossibility for a CD-ROM.  However, no
matter what you do you are likely to have to adjust your path.  Do
some exploring of the CD-ROM's file system to find out where the
important programs are located.  (Hint: on Unix all really important
programs have unintelligible two letter names: ls, ln, rm, cp, ...)
Figure out where /bin, /usr/bin, and /usr/local/bin, and /sbin,
/usr/sbin, and /usr/local/sbin are relative to the top of the CD.
Then you will need to put the mount directory for the CD-ROM in front
of each of those, and put all that contain programs you will use in
the path.  Remember that Unix paths are separated by ':', not ';'.

Probably you shouldn't partition at all if you are just experimenting.
Use UMSDOS, and a swapfile instead of a swap partition (see below).  I 
have know at least two people who have installed exactly the kind of
setup you are talking about for similar reasons, and they are quite
happy with it.  (One used the Slackware distribution, the other
Yggdrasil.  I know nothing about Ygg.)

It's possible but risky for Linux to share swapfiles with Windowze and
Windowze NoT, if you're really that hard up for HD space.  I don't
know about Windows 95.  Windows 95 is rumored to very jealous, and
greatly dislike having other operating systems hanging around.  I
don't use UMSDOS and I don't clean MSy Windows (although I'll probably
be forced to in the near future---sigh); you'll have to get advice on
that elsewhere.

If you really want to use separate partitions, I would suggest the
following arrangement.  If you are going to experiment with X Windows
and use Emacs, you need 32MB of virtual RAM.  To be reasonably
comfortable.  Otherwise 16MB should be plenty.  Subtract your actual
RAM from 32 (or 16), and make one partition that size.  This will be
your "swap partition".

Make another partition of at least 10MB, and mount /tmp on that
partition (do "man mount" to find out how).  Many programs will die
very ungracefully if they cannot find temporary space.  You will be
able to fill that 75MB very quickly.  Setting aside 10MB in a separate 
partition will probably make it possible to avoid a system crash when
you run out of HD space on the root partition.  The remainder will be
your root partition.  It may be possible to partition directly from
the setup program, but this can wipe out your whole disk.  Be very

    Rory> My configuration: 486 DX2/66, Adaptec AHA1540 SCSI card,
    Rory> Mitsumi internal CD .  Logitec 128M MO drive.  Matrox
    Rory> Impression 1024 video card.

Is your MO a SCSI?  Let me know if Linux finds it.  Linux can't ever
seem to find my Fujitsu 230MB MO on the AMI Fast SCSI-2 host.  :-(
Unless I configure the MO as a hard drive.  :-(

Best bet is to find /usr/doc/faq/howto/ and read the stuff there.
Installation-HOWTO first (betcha you figured that out yourself).

Good luck!  Let us know how you do.

                            Stephen J. Turnbull
Institute of Socio-Economic Planning                         Yaseppochi-Gumi
University of Tsukuba            
Tennodai 1-1-1, Tsukuba, 305 JAPAN       

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