The RHCE and RHCT exams are not for beginners. This chapter covers the prerequisites for the RHCE exam and thus the elementary skills that you need for the remainder of this book. If the explanations in this chapter are too brief, you may need to refer to sources such as those I cite at the beginning of this chapter. While these exams are based on RHEL 5, you can use Fedora Core 5/6 or a third-party rebuild of RHEL 5 to study for these exams.
This chapter provides an overview of many Linux fundamentals. While the RHCE and RHCT hands-on exams may not explicitly test the skills you learn in this chapter, you need to know many of these fundamentals to solve the problems presented on those exams.
Before you start planning your Linux installation, you need a basic degree of knowledge of PC hardware, specifically the Intel-based architecture. A basic understanding of IRQ ports, I/O addresses, DMA channels, and hard drive systems can help you plan how Linux manages and connects every component in your PC.
But not all hardware is supported by Linux. You should now have enough information to find the hardware that fits your needs. Alternatively, you now know about the resources that help you determine what other hardware you need that also works with Linux. Planning your Linux installation makes it easier to handle a wide variety of hardware.