In most cases, installing Red Hat Linux is a trouble-free process. If you re installing Red Hat Linux on a new computer, all you probably need to do is insert the installation CD in the correct drive, set your computer s BIOS to boot from the CD, restart your computer, and you re ready to go. The Red Hat Linux installation program should start and detect most hardware automatically.
If you have a relatively new PC with at least a Pentium-level CPU, and if you don t have the absolute latest in computer hardware, you may never have to worry about Linux drivers. While you should at least read the first sections on disk partitions, you may be able to skim much of this chapter.
However, suppose your PC includes proprietary hardware without Linux drivers. Perhaps your PC has hardware that is too new to have Linux drivers. Or you have a slightly older PC that is prone to hardware conflicts. Perhaps you re responsible for installing Linux on a network of computers where hardware problems can get expensive.
In that case, it pays to have a detailed list of hardware on your PCs. Then you can review available lists of compatible hardware. With a little work, a perfect match isn t even required. With the right resources, even configuring the dreaded Winmodem is easier than you might expect.
Many Linux users set their computers up in a dual-boot configuration, where they can start either Red Hat Linux or Microsoft Windows (or even another operating system) during the boot process. Preparing a computer that currently has only Microsoft Windows for Linux does take some work. This chapter covers the following topics:
Creating hard disk partitions
Configuring Microsoft and Linux on the same computer
Why worry about hardware?
Finding compatible hardware
Preparing a hardware checklist