Creating a Hardware Checklist

Ideally, you should collect information on every hardware component in your computer. This section provides a checklist on the information that you need. Once you ve identified your hardware, you can check the Red Hat and other websites for the drivers and configuration tips that you may need.

At a minimum, you should get the specifications for your graphics card and monitor before installing Red Hat Linux. Once Linux is installed, test each hardware component. Make a list of those components that are hard to configure or that do not work to your satisfaction. Detected components are normally configured in the /proc directory, as described in Chapter 11 . The next time you install Red Hat Linux, you ll be ready with the drivers and configuration commands that you need. This is a good approach if you re installing Red Hat Linux on a group of computers.

In the following sections, you ll learn about the information that you should collect on each hardware component. Then, you ll find how to associate each component with a specific driver. Finally, we provide a table where you can fill in the blanks with the data you need.

Collecting Information

Before starting to install Red Hat Linux on your computer, you should keep in mind a few basic things. You don t absolutely need to know everything about every hardware component; most are automatically detected during the installation process. Review the list of priority hardware in Table 2.3.

Table 2.3: Priority Hardware


Required Information


Red Hat Linux 9 requires at least a 200MHz Pentium-level CPU. If you want a GUI, you ll need at least a 400MHz Pentium II-level CPU. In addition, if you have a non-Intel (or compatible) CPU, you will need a different set of installation packages.


The amount of RAM you need depends on whether you re using the computer with a GUI, and/or for multiple users. While 64MB of RAM may be enough for a command-line interface, you should have at least 128MB (and preferably 192MB) of RAM to install Red Hat Linux with a GUI interface.

Graphics card

You need to know a few things about your video card. The Linux XFree86 server packages include a database that can configure your card based on the make and model. If Linux does not recognize the card, you should be able to configure it separately knowing the video RAM and available vertical and horizontal refresh rates.


You should know the capabilities of the monitor: its resolution, as well as its vertical and horizontal refresh rates. If the graphics card can put out refresh signals above the monitor s capacity, be careful; the wrong settings can burn out your monitor.

In other words, you should know the make, the model, and the specifications of at least the priority hardware components on your computer.

Collecting Drivers

Drivers for most hardware components are already included with the Red Hat Linux installation CDs. Most drivers are automatically configured during the Linux installation process.

But Red Hat Linux does not include drivers for all hardware. No Microsoft operating system includes drivers for all hardware. There are two basic ways to collect additional drivers. One is based on community knowledge, as discussed earlier. The other is based on drivers created by hardware manufacturers.

Many hardware manufacturers are friendly to Linux. Remember, IBM has invested over a billion U.S. dollars in Linux development. A lot of manufacturers have followed their lead and provided Linux drivers for their hardware. Many Linux drivers are downloadable from manufacturer websites. Typically, documentation and instructions are available from the same sites.

Once drivers are available, they can be installed with commands such as insmod . You can make sure that the drivers are installed the next time Linux starts with the right commands in /etc/modules.conf . More information on this process is available in Chapter 11 .

Hardware Checklist

For your convenience, this section includes a table of hardware information that you should collect for your PC. This is more important if you have a group of PCs with similar configurations, to help you avoid potentially costly errors. The hardware you need to detail is listed in Table 2.4.

Table 2.4: Hardware Checklist



CPU type, speed


RAM Memory, in MB


Keyboard, make, model


Mouse, protocol, make, model, buttons


Hard drive 1 size


Partitions and mount points, such as /home and /dev/sda1


Hard drive 2 size


Partitions and mount points, such as /var and /dev/sdb1


Hard drive 3 size


Partitions and mount points, such as /usr and /dev/sdc1


Hard drive 4 size


Partitions and mount points, such as /boot and /dev/hda1


CD-ROM, type


CD-writer, type


DVD-ROM, type


SCSI adapter, make, model


Network card, make, type, model, speed


Network card 2, make, type, model, speed


Telephone modem, make, model, speed


Graphics card, memory, make, model, vertical and horizontal refresh


Monitor, make, model, vertical and horizontal refresh


Monitor 2, make, model, vertical and horizontal refresh


Sound card, make, model, chipset


USB device 1, make, model


USB device 2, make, model


USB device 3, make, model


USB device 4, make, model


IEEE 1394 device 1, make, model


IEEE 1394 device 2, make, model


You should make special note of any devices that don t conform to plug-and-play standards. You may need to reserve IRQ ports or I/O addresses in your BIOS for any such hardware.


Mastering Red Hat Linux 9
Building Tablet PC Applications (Pro-Developer)
ISBN: 078214179X
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2005
Pages: 220 © 2008-2017.
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