Linux » HOWTOs (How to...)
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|Revision 2.6.0||28 November 2000||Revised by: |
|Initial release using docbook sgml.|
This document provides a checklist for installing GNU/Linux (hereafter referred
to as Linux) as well as hints and tips along the way.
Translations in Japanese, Dutch, and French are available in Section 1.3.
The most current version of this checklist will be posted online at:
http://members.tripod.com/~algolog/lnxchk.htm. Sgml source for this document
is located here.
Are you a Linux newbie ? Are you a Linux guru ? In both cases, you will find
this checklist of great help to you. How many times have you found yourself
fumbling in the middle of a Linux installation process, because some vital
information about the target hardware is not known ?
Have you ever crossed your fingers when you were asked by the installation
procedure, a simple question, like: to which COM port is the mouse
Let's face it, all of us have, at one time or another, felt we should have
been better prepared before starting to install Linux. Here is a simple
solution, brought to you by Algologic Research & Solutions
This document is copyrighted (c) 2000
Algologic Research & Solutions
and is distributed under the terms of the Linux Documentation Project
(LDP) license, stated below.
Unless otherwise stated, Linux HOWTO documents are
copyrighted by their respective authors. Linux HOWTO documents may
be reproduced and distributed in whole or in part, in any medium
physical or electronic, as long as this copyright notice is
retained on all copies. Commercial redistribution is allowed and
encouraged; however, the author would like to be notified of any
All translations, derivative works, or aggregate works
incorporating any Linux HOWTO documents must be covered under this
copyright notice. That is, you may not produce a derivative work
from a HOWTO and impose additional restrictions on its
distribution. Exceptions to these rules may be granted under
certain conditions; please contact the Linux HOWTO coordinator at
the address given below.
In short, we wish to promote dissemination of this
information through as many channels as possible. However, we do
wish to retain copyright on the HOWTO documents, and would like to
be notified of any plans to redistribute the HOWTOs.
If you have any questions, please contact
No liability for the contents of this documents can be accepted.
Use the concepts, examples and other content at your own risk.
As this is a new edition of this document, there may be errors
and inaccuracies, that may of course be damaging to your system.
Proceed with caution, and although this is highly unlikely,
the author(s) do not take any responsibility for that.
All copyrights are held by their respective owners, unless
specifically noted otherwise. Use of a term in this document
should not be regarded as affecting the validity of any trademark
or service mark.
Naming of particular products or brands should not be seen
You are strongly recommended to make a backup of your system
before major installation and continue to do so at regular intervals.
This checklist is available in:
Algologic acknowledges with gratitude the useful suggestions
and inputs from many members of the Linux community, for
preparation of this checklist. This checklist is proof of the
cooperation and goodwill which exists between Linux users.
Algologic submits this checklist to the Linux community, as a
humble tribute to the spirit of Linux. Many thanks to the following people:
If you are planning to install Linux on somebody else's machine, or
in a location which is not your own work place, you must absolutely get
this checklist completed in advance. It is important to get this
questionnaire answered by your host, so that you go adequately prepared
for the installation.
If you are planning to organize an "Install fest" (we Indians
call it "Linux mela"), ask your participants to come with this
Conversely, if you are going to an Install fest (aka Linux mela), to get
Linux installed on your machine, do your home-work. Go with answers to
If you are going to ask someone to come over and install Linux for
you, send him/her this questionnaire with as many responses as you know.
If you are the D-I-Y type, you must start by answering all these questions,
so that you can save time for enjoying your Linux!
This is a memory aid which may make installation of Linux a pleasant
experience for you. It fills an important role in the promotion of Linux.
It will help you to be prepared with all the answers which may be needed
during the course of installation of Linux on your machine or on anybody
else's machine. Sometimes, it is very inconvenient and even impossible
to find out some details in the middle of an installation procedure. This
becomes all the more difficult when you are installing Linux on somebody
else's machine, and in somebody else's office.
This checklist, when filled up, will help you go through your Linux
documentation and verify in advance whether certain hardware is supported
by the distribution you are planning to install. It will also help you
to be prepared with the packages you would need to install, and the
configuration choices which need to be done.
The idea is to reduce the chances of frustrating surprises.
This checklist is only for installing Linux on PCs. You may use this
checklist as a model for other classes of machines (e.g.SUN, Alpha, ...)
If you want professional (PAID) help with Linux -- ask Algologic.
Algologic Research & Solutions is listed in the official CONSULTANTS-HOWTO of the
Linux Documentation Project.
This checklist does not give any details about hardware compatible with
Linux, or other details about actually procuring or installing Linux.
If you want details, please reference the
Linux hardware howto,
the Distribution howto,
and the Installation howto,
which are all located online at the Linux Documentation Project.
If you are the impatient type, and want help on installation directly,
please reference Section 3 and skip the pre-installation checklist.
ATTENTION: We are actually overwhelmed by the number of general
inquiries about procuring, installing and using Linux. We DO NOT answer such general mail. We strongly
advise you to check out the Linux Documentation Project
for finding other sources of help. Please DO NOT send us any general Linux questions.
Warnings are admonitions which if disregarded,
will result in an inoperable system
, which may or may not be recoverable.
Cautions are admonitions which if disregarded,
will result in an inoperable application
or cause the loss of data, configuration
files, or leave the system in an unbootable state.
Note: Notes state important facts which may be necessary
to perform an operation.
Tip: Tips provide shortcuts or foresight to make performance
of operations easier.
Welcome to the world of Linux. Your first step in installing
Linux on your PC will begin by answering a few simple
questions about your hardware.
This checklist will make it easy for you and us to go through
the installation, painlessly and without surprises. Please
take your own time and fill up the following checklist.
Wherever possible, and necessary, we have given some
suggestions and hints, for your convenience.
If you don't know all the details, you should be able to find
them in your computer's manuals. Or, ask your hardware
vendor, or your local hardware "guru."
If you still have problems finding answers, don't worry --
you can just ignore any areas you don't know. Bring in
your machine and ALL manuals you have. The installation
may succeed with some trials and a lot of luck.
Remember, Linux, like many other software products, is a
growing product. Some of your hardware may still not be
supported in the version of Linux which is being installed.
Each question below can be identified by the section number followed by
the question number (e.g. Section 2.3.1 is a question on processor speed). If you
need any assistance/clarifications about the questions asked
in this form, please specify the section identifier
and the question number, and send an email to:
<algolog (at) hd1.vsnl.net.in> It is imperative that
you also include the version number of the checklist. The version number of
this checklist can be found on the first page of the document.
You are interested in installing Linux on a PC (386 upwards).
You have a CDROM drive on your PC. You have made sure that
your proposed version of Linux supports this CDROM drive.
Check latest version of the
hardware howto at the Linux
Documentation Project (LDP).
You have at least one 3½" floppy diskette drive on
The 3½" diskette drive is a BOOTABLE drive.
You will keep readily available, three, bad-sector-free,
formatted (3½"), blank diskettes, for use in the
If you wish to install Linux over a LAN, you have
confirmed that your network interface card is supported
by your version of Linux. Check latest version of the
hardware howto at the LDP.
Your Name ____________________
Your contact phone numbers:
Your email address ____________________
Have you used Linux before ? What distribution?
Have you used any version of Unix before ? Which one ?
On what hardware platform ?
Is this an upgrade to an existing Linux distribution ?
What will be the end-use of this Linux installation ?
Do you wish to retain DOS/Win/any other OS along with
Linux, on your system ?
Any other detail you want to add:
CPU type [i386, i486 DX2...]:
Bus type [ISA, EISA, VESA, PCI, MCA ... ]:
Processor speed (MHz) ?
What size is your RAM (minimum 4 MB needed) ?
Do you want X Window System (i.e. Graphic User
Interface for Linux) to be installed on your system ?
How many serial ports (COM ports) do you have on your PC ?
Are you planning to add dumb terminals to your PC ?
How many ?
Please mention below, any additional details you wish to add:
To which port is your mouse connected ? What IRQ ?
What type of mouse are you using
[Microsoft, Busmouse, PS/2 ..] ?
How many buttons does the mouse have ?
Tip: If you are not sure if your CDROM is bootable or
not, power on the machine and go to BIOS settings (do not let
the PC bootup). Look for bootable drive options in the BIOS
What is the make and type of CDROM drive
[e.g. IDE ATAPI, Sony, S-B Pro/Panasonic, SCSI, true IDE ..] ?
On which drive interface [1st IDE, 2nd IDE, 3rd IDE,
4th IDE, SCSI, proprietary interface] and which drive
[drive 1 , drive 2, SCSI-ID 5] is the CDROM connected
(e.g. drive 2 of 1st IDE, SCSI-ID 5 of built-in SCSI
Is your CDROM a bootable drive ?
Do you have a 3½" floppy drive?
Is the 3½" floppy drive a bootable drive ?
Do you have a 5¼" floppy drive?
Is the 5¼" drive a bootable drive ?
What type of tape drive do you have (can be NONE)
[floppy interface type, SCSI, parallel port ..] ?
Do you have a secondary floppy controller for your
Tip: At this point, you must be clear about how your
Linux will be installed and on which disk etc. You must also
be clear how your Linux will be booted (there are
Read the Installation howto
before you answer the following questions.
What type of drive do you have [IDE, SCSI, RLL, MFM ....] ?
How many partitions are there on your first disk drive ?
Name, type, size ? Collect these details also for other
disk drives you may have on this machine.
On which drive are you planning to install Linux (e.g. drive
2 of first IDE, or SCSI-ID 5 of built-in SCSI interface)
Can we re-partition your disk ? (All existing data
will be lost)
Which partitions can be reformatted to become Linux
partitions ? Note: All information recorded in this
partition will be erased.
How much of disk space can you give for Linux [50 MB minimum] ?
What is your second hard disk (if any)?
What is your third hard disk (if any)?
What is your fourth hard disk (if any)?
What is your fourth hard disk (if any)?
Do you have any SCSI device ? Which SCSI controller do
you have (if any)?
Do you plan to boot from your hard disk or floppy?
On which hard disk partition do you want LILO boot
loader to reside?
Do you wish to retain the original boot sector/master
boot record that is currently on your hard disk?
On which disk partitions will your Linux root reside?
Do you access the IDE drive in LBA mode (check your BIOS
Tip: If you do not have good documentation on your
VDU, try to look at the sticker (nameplate) on the back of
your VDU, you may find the answers to some of the questions
What kind of monitor do you have [Monochrome, Color]
[EGA, VGA, CGA ..] ? What make ?
Size of screen [14", 15", 19"] ? Is it an
interlaced monitor ?
What are the resolutions, and number of colors
possible on this monitor [600x480, 800x600, 1024x768]?
What is your monitor's vertical refresh rate / vertical
sync. frequency (could be a range)?
What is your monitor's horizontal refresh rate / horizontal
sync. frequency (could be a range) ?
Monitor's bandwidth ?
Video RAM size ?
VDU Control card : make and model ?
Chip set used in VDU control card ?
What RAMDAC do you have ?
Are you using an internal modem | external modem ?
What make ?
On which COM port is the modem connected ? What IRQ ?
What is the speed of the modem [bps] ?
What serial interface chip does your computer use (e.g.
8450, 16550C) ?
Is it a "Windows only" modem [WIN-MODEM...] ?
Which ethernet card do you have [10base2 or 10baseT;
NONE for none] ? What type ?
Will this machine be a part of Internet or any
Will this machine use a dialup connection / PPP connection
to an Internet/Intranet server ?
Will this machine be used as an Internet or Intranet server ?
What will be the hostname of your computer (e.g. penguin) ?
What will be the domain name, if any, of your computer
What will be the IP address, if any, of your computer
(e.g. 188.8.131.52) ?
What is the IP address of the DNS server (can be none) ?
What is the IP address of the default router (can be none) ?
Have you connected any printer on the parallel port of
your PC ?
What is the type, make of the printer ?
Number and type of PCMCIA slots on your Laptop ?
PC cards you plan to use ?
Built-in devices on your laptop (e.g. trackball,
pointer, touchpad) ?
COM ports used for the above built-in devices ?
Tip: Try to make a consolidated hardcopy list of I/O
addresses, IRQs, DMA-addresses used by the different devices
in your machine. Take care to find out the configuration
details of your VDU-driver card, Ethernet card, SCSI card etc.
Does your keyboard use a round connector (DIN-5) or
Do you plan to use keyboard mapping to any non-US
keyboards [French, Greek, Cyrillic, ..] ?
Are you using any Plug & play devices ?
Are you using any sound card ? What card ? What I/O,
IRQ, DMA does it use ?
How many ISA spare slots do you have ?
How many EISA spare slots do you have ?
How many VESA spare slots do you have ?
How many PCI spare slots do you have ?
How many other (describe) spare slots?
What kind of other removable media do you have (can
Do you have any other interesting hardware?
Please add any details you wish to highlight:
Did you find this form clear ? Any suggestions for
Thanks for filling out the form.
Please cross check the above responses, and keep the checklist
handy at the time of installation.
Even the longest journey has to start with a small first-step.
Now that you have taken the first step of filling up the checklist, you would
like to prepare for the real installation. Here are a few tips, for starters:
A very good installation guide is here.
You must visit this excellent site. It also gives tips to find answers for some of the questions asked in
the pre-installation checklist (e.g. video cards, monitor, chipset, modem, ...etc.).
The official Installation HOWTO is here.
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