The version I used for this install was Fedora Core 3, the community-based Linux distribution based on Red Hat Linux. In terms of installation, I could almost as easily have shown you the install for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4, the famous commercial Linux distribution, whose company financially supports the development of Fedora. Both are essentially identical in terms of the install steps.
Start by putting in the CD-ROM and rebooting your system. The boot menu will appear, giving you the option of choosing either a graphical or text install. For almost every system out there, the graphical install will be just fine. All you need to do is click or press Install and the system will start booting. The system will identify devices and you'll see a number of messages scroll by.
A few seconds later, you'll see an interesting message. Fedora's install has a media check option. Here's the idea: You have your installation CDs, but you don't know for sure whether there isn't some kind of surface defect that will make installation impossible. Isn't it better to find out before you start off on all this work? It really is your choice. You can take time to test each CD in your set before you proceed, or you can simply skip the step.
After the media check option, the graphical install screen will appear. This is just a welcome screen, and you can simply click Next and continue on. On the following screen, select the language you would like to use for the installation. I selected English and clicked Next again. What follows is the keyboard selection screen. Once again, I selected the default of U.S. English and clicked Next, which brings us to the mouse selection screen.
The next screen is for installation type. The default option is "Personal Desktop," which Fedora suggests is "Perfect for personal computers or laptops." Most people will want to accept the default and click Next.
On the next screen, you have the option of letting the system automatically partition your disk or using Disk Druid to do the job yourself. Unless you are trying to preserve another operating system, you can accept the default, which is to allow the install to automatically partition your disk. After clicking Next, you will be given some choices on Automatic Partitioning, which is to decide how the installer will make use of the available space. The default is to "Remove all Linux Partitions on this system," and this is probably the right choice. Another option to consider if you are looking to dual-boot with Windows is the one labeled Keep all partitions and use existing free space. If you want to double-check the decisions made by the installer, make sure that you check off the option to "Review (and modify if needed) the partitions created."
A warning box will appear letting you know that all data will be erased. Click OK. The Boot Loader configuration is next. Fedora Core installs the GRUB boot loader by default, but it is possible to change it to LILO. Both work very well, and in the end it is your choice. I have personally grown to like GRUB quite a bit, but I still use LILO on other systems without a care. At this point, you also have the option of setting a password on the boot loader. Home users don't have to worry about this, but some network installations may want the additional security of having to enter a password when the system is booted. Before you move on, you may want to have a look at the labels the installer assigns. I mention this because if you are setting up a dual-boot system, one of those partitions will be Linux and another Windows. Most people will accept the default. When you are happy with your choices, click Next.
The following screen is for network configuration. If you do not have a network card installed, you can skip to the next step. If your Internet connection is through a DSL or cable modem connection, that will likely be the case. The default is to boot and pull an address via DHCP, and this is what you would choose. If your PC is on a home or corporate network with fixed addresses, you will want to click Edit, check off the "Configure using DHCP," and enter your address information. If you are in an office, check with your systems administrator for this information. Otherwise, enter your IP address and netmask; then click OK. Enter your hostname, gateway, and DNS information; then click Next.
The next section is very important; the Firewall Configuration screen. There are many options here, and you should take the time to read what each one offers. Network security is extremely important because the incidence of cyberattacks continues to rise all the time. Linux PCs aren't as susceptible to viruses, particularly if you don't run as the root or administrative user, but that doesn't mean you should let your guard down. If you are a single user on a home PC that is connected to the Internet, choose Enable Firewall, and leave the various services checked off.
What follows is yet another language selection screen (Additional Language Support). That's because the OS can support multiple languages, and you can change that default at a later time. Unless you have another language at your disposal, leave the choice as it is and click Next. On the next screen, you will be asked to enter your time zone (in my case, I chose America/Toronto). When you are done, click Next.
When you arrive at the next screen, you will get your first taste of Linux's multiuser nature, with the Account configuration. This is where you set your root password (root is the administrator login). After the installation completes, you have the opportunity to create other, nonroot (regular user) accounts. It's early, but I'll stress it now: You should create at least one nonroot account from which to work on a day-to-day basis.
This brings us to the screen with the goodies, Package selection. The packages selected for the Personal Desktop are as follows:
Desktop shell (GNOME) Office Suite (OpenOffice) Web browser Email (Evolution) Instant messaging Sound and video applications Games
Since, in this book, I concentrate on KDE as the desktop, make sure you click "Customize the set of packages to be installed" before you go on. Click Next, and you will be on the Package Group Selection screen. Notice that packages are ordered into categories such as Desktops and Applications. Make sure you check off the KDE Desktop Environment under Desktops. Then click Details, and make sure that all KDE packages have been selected before you click OK.
When you are done here, click Next. This is the last step before the installation takes off on its own. You'll be given a final opportunity to change your mind before committing to this installation. Click Next, and a pop-up window will inform you of what other CDs you will need (in my installation, I needed CD #1 and CD #2 and CD #3). Click Continue and you are on your way.
Your partitions will be formatted and a progress bar will keep track of where you are in the installation. As the install progresses, you will be treated to some information about the Fedora project and some of the included products. Incidentally, this is usually a good time to take a break and grab something to drink. From time to time, you'll need to change CDs (you may need all three). When the installation completes, remove the last CD and click Reboot, and the system will restart with your Fedora Core installation.
After the system reboots, you will be presented with a graphical Welcome screen. From here, you will be asked to go through a few final configuration details. Accept the license agreement and click Next. If the date and time are incorrect, you can adjust them here. On the next screen, you'll have an opportunity to fine-tune the display based on your monitor type and the number of colors you want displayed (Figure B-2).
Figure B-2. Your Fedora Core 3 desktop running with KDE.
Click Next, and you'll be at one of the more important parts of the process, User Account creation. You must create at least one nonroot user for the system, and this is the time to do so. After clicking Next, the system will let you test your sound card and provide you with a chance to install additional CDs (if you have them), after which you are done. The graphical login manager will start up and you can log in as your nonroot user.