One of the two parts of the Red Hat RHCE and RHCT certification exams tests your ability to install Linux in different situations. In this chapter, you learned to install RHEL over a network. You also worked with the major configuration tools that are part of the installation process.
Linux works well on most current computer hardware, and RHEL is no exception. Plug and play, ACPI, and APM systems are integrated into Linux. If you want support from Red Hat, use hardware that they've tested and certified.
RHEL 5 requires a minimum of 192MB of RAM for a graphical installation, and 512MB of hard drive space. That does not include the space required for a swap partition, user files, and more. It's possible to create a functional system (for a simple server) in a 2GB hard drive. If you install everything associated with RHEL 5, including support for various languages, you could need 10GB or more.
Linux represents hardware with devices, whether they're attached by serial or parallel ports, or hotswapped through USB or IEEE 1394 devices. In most cases, Linux can automatically mount devices such as USB keys, IEEE 1394 drives, and even digital media cards once installed.
You'll usually install Red Hat Enterprise Linux over a network. I've shown you how to set up a network installation server in this chapter. The same basic lessons apply if you're studying for the RHCE or RHCT exams.
Hard drive partition planning is quite important. How you assign partitions to directories depends on the size of your hard drives, what you plan to install, and the demands on the system. Appropriately configured partitions can prevent overloads on key systems, allow for appropriate swap space, and improve security on key files.
There are a number of ways to customize your installation. The distribution is organized in package groups. Red Hat starts with baseline package groups, which are the minimum requirements for the operating system. These include default packages for a functional client or server. You can customize by adding or subtracting the package groups of your choice. The selections you make are critical during the Red Hat installation exams.
After installation comes the First Boot process, which varies depending on whether you've installed a GUI, which can help you configure a firewall, SELinux protection, date and time, the first user, password security, and sound cards. The standard First Boot process assumes a GUI. If you haven't installed a GUI, RHEL uses a Setup Agent in its place.
The Linux installation is extremely flexible. You can troubleshoot the installation process with several different consoles. Some provide useful messages: one console provides a bash shell prompt where you can inspect the current detailed status of the installation. After Linux is installed, you can find out what happened. The /var/log/dmesg file helps you figure out what hardware was detected. The /root/install.log file lists the packages that were installed.
Understanding the installation process is one of the keys to success on the RHCE exam. Find a spare computer. Practice every installation scenario that you can imagine.