Before you can install Red Hat Linux, you need to prepare your hardware. You may have to prepare hard disk partitions on IDE and/or SCSI drives for Linux. Special preparations are required if you want to configure Linux and another operating system, such as Microsoft Windows, on the same computer.
If you already have Microsoft Windows installed, it s easiest to install Linux on a second empty hard drive. The Red Hat Linux installation program, Anaconda, should detect the new empty hard drive and configure partitions on this drive. If you don t have a second hard drive, all you need is sufficient room on the first drive. With the Microsoft Windows Disk Defragmenter, you can make room. Using the FIPS utility, you can split an existing partition into two. You can then install Linux in the free space of the newly created partition.
Red Hat Linux detects most current PC hardware. Usually, there are no hardware concerns when installing Red Hat Linux. But if you re planning to install Linux on a group of computers, problems can be expensive. Not all hardware is built for Linux. And some hardware, specifically related to the graphics system, can be put at risk during the installation process.
Red Hat can help you find compatible hardware. Red Hat classifies hardware in four categories: certified, compatible, community knowledge, and not compatible. Community knowledge hardware may require additional work; drivers, directions, and advice are available from a number of sources.
You should collect basic information at least on the CPU, RAM, and graphics system. Drivers are available from a number of sources, including those discussed as community knowledge, as well as from the websites of a number of hardware manufacturers. We provided a hardware checklist and table to help you collect data on the other components in your PC.
To prepare your PC, you should also at least review the settings in your BIOS. The BIOS can help you configure IDE and SCSI hard drives. The Linux /boot directory should be installed on very specific drives. The boot sequence should work with these drives. You can also reserve specific channels in many BIOS menus for non “plug-and-play legacy hardware.
In the next chapter , you ll install Red Hat Linux, using various boot methods , from files on local Red Hat Linux installation CDs. Once Linux is installed, you ll see how easy it is to register your computer for updates on the Red Hat Network.