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Obviously, the first step in constructing any system, including this case study, is to install the base distribution. Like all the case studies, this one starts with a stock Red Hat Linux 7.3 installation. This section describes a few basic details of how the system was initially configured.
This section focuses on the installation of the stock Red Hat Linux distribution. It doesn't focus on explaining the entirety of the system in detail; that is, after all, the focus of the rest of the chapter. In other words, if you want to duplicate this case study, you can start the Red Hat Linux installation after reading this section, but it's a good idea to read the entire chapter first, so that you get a comprehensive feel for how to duplicate the system.
As discussed in Chapter 4, Red Hat Linux has several installation classes from which the user can select when installing the system. These classes are really just lists of RPM packages that together make up a typical configuration for a particular use. For example, the Server configuration contains packages such as the Apache HTTP server, Network Filesystem software, and so on.
The installation class selected for this case study was the KDE Workstation. As you'll read later in this chapter, KDE was selected over GNOME for this case study, though nothing prevents you from making a different choice. The package list was not further customized at installation, though parts of the rest of this chapter discuss additions to the basic configuration.
During the installation process, the Red Hat installer (called anaconda) prompts you for a variety of configuration information. Nothing out of the ordinary was done for this case study; the defaults were configured as you would expect them to be for a workstation. For example, the network was configured to use Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), and the disk was partitioned along fairly typical lines, with /boot, /usr, and /home on different partitions.
See Part Two, or consult your favorite Red Hat reference for more information about configuring the system during installation.
After the configuration, nothing was changed, except for the basic security procedures discussed in Chapter 4 (such as disabling unwanted inetd services). Notably, the firewall included with Red Hat Linux was left enabled, with the security level set to High. Only the port for the Secured Shell (SSH) protocol was left exposed, so that OpenSSH can be used for remote access (which is explored later in the section "Accessing the Desktop Remotely Using SSH"). This is important for security (even if your network has a separate firewall such as the one discussed in Chapter 16), and it is referred to occasionally throughout the rest of this chapter.
As you can see, there isn't much to configuring the base Red Hat Linux installation used for this case study. That, of course, was the point of choosing Red Hat in the first place: It does much or most of the work for you. In the rest of this chapter, you'll read about the reasons why each decision was made, and about any caveats or pitfalls that you may encounter if you reproduce this case study. The next section goes into a bit more depth, and starts to outline additional software that was installed.
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