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7. How to install Mandrake Linux 9.1 on HP products

2003-11-19

7.1 Description of the products used in this experiment

Notice: Folks, that part of the article is NOT a commercial for HP production of any means! In fact, a series of their machines I use has lots of failures in the power supply units, as well as with their hard disks. On the other side, laptop's batteries get exhausted earlier than expected. Other than these issues, HP machines are fine.

HP Omnibook 6000

A laptop computer Omnibook 6000 is equipped with a bootable DVD drive. On the other hand I have supplied a bootable DVD-ROM with Mandrake Linux 9.1 installation. After booting the laptop with that bootable DVD, it gets directly to the installation menu, asking the user to choose a language to use for the rest of the installation.

HP Vectra VL420 (used as a server)

In opposite, an HP Vectra VL420 doesn't have a DVD drive (it only has a CD drive), so the direct installation from that particular installation DVD is not possible. But, an option of making a bootable floppy disk for starting the installation procedure is possible. In fact, several boot images are available for those users who don't have (bootable or not) DVD drive. One of the images is a 'network' one. That means, in a local area network there has to be either a NFS, FTP or HTTP server from which the installation will take place.

HP Vectra VL420 (used as a workstation)

Another VL420 desktop system I also use, has a spare HDD from a previous Windows 2000 server installation (actually, that IDE disk was moved from the other computer where it was a primary one and here it is the second one disk for backup data). The nice things is that it has a HTTP and FTP servers installed (of course, usable if the system is boot from that disk). That was good so I could use one of these servers now. On the other hand, that particular Vectra VL420 was used to install a workstation kind of Linux (that time, using its first hard disk - having Windows 2000 Professional).

7.2 Installation procedure

System boot of the laptop

As explained earlier, the laptop has a bootable DVD drive, so that's it.

System boot of desktop machines

So, I made a 'network' bootable floppy and booted the first Vectra VL420 (intended to be a Linux server) with it. After a while, it came to a point to choose the installation method (NFS or FTP or HTTP server). At first, I wanted to use the second 'spare' HTTP server on the other Vectra, but regardless of what permission I tried to give to the 'Everyone' group of Windows users, I always got the following answer from the Linux setup:

Error: Couldn't get file ... (or something like that)

Then I tried to use the 'spare' FTP server from the second Vectra and, at first, it also asked for local and remote IP addresses. That time successfully, it started to load a part of the remote Linux files into its memory without any complaint. Soon after, it came to the very same position as Omnibook 6000 did: it got directly to the installation menu, asking a user to choose a language for the installation use.

>From that point, the setup process was almost the same...

I have chosen/confirmed the following items:

- a language to use, besides English(American) as default: I added Unicode and Serbian (both Cyrillic and Latin); - a mouse and keyboard; - a security level - I accepted defaults: 'Standard' for laptop and 'Higher' for server;

The next important task was to choose one of DrakX partitioning options:

- for laptop I chose the 'Use the free space on the Windows partition', because the laptop has one IDE hard disk and I wanted it to use a part of it for Linux (besides existing Windows 2000 Prof. already installed). Windows' Disk Management reported:

Disk 0  15      MB      FAT     (HP Diagnostics or like)
        7.13    GB      FAT32   (C: "HPNOTEBOOK")
        20.80   GB      Free space

The two partitions (FAT & FAT32) were made during the installation procedure, using HP's supplied installation CD's.

At the first moment, Linux setup complained that my Windows partition "was too fragmented" and required me to reboot under Windows, run the "defrag" utility, then restart the Mandrake Linux installation. The defragmentation process have taken cca. 1.5 hour to be completed! When restarted the setup, it wanted to use 7.13 GB Windows partition, instead of 20.80 GB. I chose to 'Use the free space'. Then it made partitions for Linux: /dev/hda5 and /dev/hda7.

- for Vectra VL420 I used 'Custom disk partitioning' because there I had two SCSI disks, one of them running Windows 2000 Server already installed, and the other one I wanted to use entirely for a Linux server. BTW, I wasn't sure what the option 'Erase entire disk' would do during its next step (erase a whole disk or a partition?), although it also may be the proper solution too. DrakX recognized the two SCSI disks as sda and sdb and I chose sdb to install Linux. The first step was to 'Clear all' and after that to 'Auto allocate' the space on that second disk. Finally, after a 'Done' it appeared to make /dev/sdb1 and /dev/sdb6 Linux partitions.

Package Group Selection

Per default, the Mandrake 9.1 setup offers the following to be installed:

- Office Workstation
- Internet Workstation
- KDE Workstation
- Gnome Workstation

that is in sum: Total size 1010/5267 (at laptop) and 1066/5265 (at server).

- for laptop I added all that was available, excepting 6 'Server' items (1612/5267),

- for server I added all that was available, including 6 'Server' items (1708/5265).

Then I got an info, related to selecting following servers (?) on laptop:

cups, postfix, rwho, webmin

and on server box:

cups, openssh-server, postfix, proftpd, rwho, webmin, ypserv, bind and nfs-utils.

Although I was confused about the 'servers' to be installed on a laptop, I have accepted those things to be installed, considering them needed for the proper installation of other packages.

The installation started ...

Interestingly, although the installation on the laptop was performed directly from its DVD drive, the package installation process was significantly faster on the server box. I suppose that was due the difference in performances between server's SCSI disk and laptop's IDE disk.

After that step was finished, and after entering a password for root, setup asked to 'Enter a user' (an ordinary user). The difference between laptop and server installation was that the latter offered some additional tasks for the (ordinary) user:

- access to compilation tools (ctools)
- access to rpm tools (rpm)
- access to X programs (xgrp)
- access to network tools (ntools)
- access to administrative files (adm)
- allow "su" (wheel)

... and that should be the same for other (new added) users.

Then laptop suggested to 'set up computer to automatically log on one user'. I didn't accept such a solution because I wanted each user to enter his/her password every time he/she is about to log on to the system.

On the other hand, server's setup skipped that particular step and asked where to install the bootloader. I have chosen to use 'First sector of drive (MBR)'.

Soon after, a 'Summary' screen appeared, so I could fine tune the installation. I changed the following items:

- timezone: Belgrade (both machines)
- Graphical Interface (reported as 'not configured' on the laptop? - I tried 
   with 'Flat Panel 1400 x 1050' because that resolution runs fine under 
   Windows), X server: Rage Mobility, XFree 4.3 and 16 million colors - 
   24 bits). On laptop, I chose XFree to start when I reboot. On server, it 
   offered 800 x 600 - due to a recognized monitor Samsung SyncMaster 
   510(M)s (CHA5807*) and card ATI Rage 128 and 16 bit - 65 thousand color.
- Sound card: laptop is ESS Technology|ES1983S Maestro-3i|PCI Audio and
   server is Intel Corporation|ICH2 810 Chipset AC'97 Audio Controller.
- Network: with 'Use auto detection'. Results: on laptop it recognized 'LAN
   connection - ethernet card(s) detected'; on server it recognized
   nothing. So, on server I chose to configure 'LAN connection'.
   Drivers are: 3c59x (laptop), eepro100 (server).
   IP addresses for both laptop and server.
   Host name: laptop, server, Gateway:
- Firewall: disabled (def.)
- Botloader: lilo-graphic on /dev/hda (laptop)
   lilo-graphic on /dev/sda (server)
   default boot: windows on /dev/hda2 (laptop)
   windows on /dev/sda1 (server)
- Services: 32 activated for 47 registered (laptop)
   24 activated for 60 registered (server)

Soon after ...

Congratulations, installation is complete.

(reboot)

Installation results

The next Windows boot made a screen 'System Settings Change': Windows 2000 has finished installing new devices. You must restart your computer before the new settings will take effect. Do you want to restart your computer now? Well, I said

Windows' Disk Management has showed new Linux partitions:

- laptop:       5.85 GB         Healthy \
Disk 0          495 MB          Healthy - all 3 are logical drives within the extended one
27.95 GB        14.46 GB        Healthy /

- server:       5.85 GB         Healthy - primary partition
Disk 1          494 MB          Healthy \
17.12 GB        10.79 GB        Healthy - these 2 are logical drives within the extended one

It seems that /boot and /swap partitions are very similar in size, regardless the disk sizes, but / (root, home etc) partitions depend on disk size. Note that at my 'laptop' box I used the same HD of 27.95 GB for both Windows and Linux (for Windows 7.13 GB FAT32 of 27.95 GB available, the rest, cca. 20 GB for Linux).

At the 'server' box I have two HD's of 17.12 GB each, and I used Disk 0 (the 1st one) entirely for Windows 2000 Server, and Disk 1 (the 2nd one) entirely for Linux.

The first Mandrake Linux boot screen:

- laptop: a screen with only a name of a user (no root available!), Reboot and Halt buttons.

- server: a screen with 'Enter Login', 'Enter Password' and 'Session type' (no name of a user appeared).

First Time Wizard: Default KDE (both)

...

What about the Ctrl-Alt-Del action:

- laptop: a screen 'End Session for "username"' What do you want to do next? Login as different user, Turn off computer, Restart computer, OK and Cancel buttons.

- server: a screen 'End Session for "username"', Logout and Cancel buttons.

After choosing Login as different user (at laptop), or Logout (at server), what appeared were the same screens as described in 'The first Mandrake Linux boot screen' section.

Should you want to learn more about LILO (Linux Loader), configured to boot the systems in the examples above, you should refer to the LILO mini-HOWTO.

HP Vectra VL420 (workstation - desktop client)

As mentioned before, HP Vectra VL420 doesn't have a DVD drive (it only has a CD drive), so the installation from that particular DVD installation was not possible. But, an option of making a bootable floppy disk for it was possible. In fact, several boot images are available for those users who don't have (bootable or not) DVD drive. One of the images was a 'network' one. That means, in a local network there should be a NFS, FTP or HTTP server from which the installation will take place. As earlier explained, a Windows 2000 server machine (that I earlier used for Mandrake Linux server installation), has HTTP and FTP servers installed. That was good so I could use one of them now.

So, I used the 'network' bootable floppy and booted Vectra VL420 with it. After a while, it came to a point to choose the installation method (NFS or FTP or HTTP server). At first I wanted to use my HTTP server but regardless of what permission I gave to 'Everyone' I always got the answer from Linux installation program: Error: Couldn't get file ...

Then I tried to use my FTP server (on the same Windows server) and it also asked for IP local and remote addresses. Then it started to load a part of the remote files into its memory. Soon after, it came to the very same position as Omnibook 6000 did: it gets directly to the installation menu, asking for choosing a language to use.

>From that point, the installation procedure was almost the same...

I have chosen/confirmed the following items:

- a language to use - besides English(American) I also added
Unicode and Serbian, both Cyrillic and Latin;
- a mouse and keyboard;
- a security level - default 'Standard';

The next important point was to choose one of DrakX partitioning options:

- At first I used the 'Use the free space on the Windows partition' because it has one IDE hard disk and I wanted it to use a part of it for Linux (besides existing Windows 2000 Prof. already installed).

At the first moment, Linux setup complained that my Windows partition "was too fragmented" and asked me to reboot under Windows, run the "defrag" utility, then restart the Mandrake Linux installation. After defragmentation process was finished, I tried once again the 'Use the free space on the Windows partition' but it wanted just to 'shrink' Windows partition from cca. 30 gig to cca. 28 gig. Then I used Partition Magic software and tried to shrink it to cca. 20 GB in order to get more free space for Linux.

Than I tried 'Custom disk partitioning', chose the first IDE disk (hda) of 27GB, chose action 'Resize'. That one option was not good because it just offered Windows partition to get larger instead of smaller than before. Finally I used 'Use the free space' and it automatically made Linux partitions. In fact, on that one Vectra I have two IDE disks, one of them having Windows 2000 Server already installed, and the other one having Windows 2000 Prof. that I wanted to use partly for Linux. After 'Done' it came to making /dev/hda5 and /dev/hda7.

Package Group Selection

Per default, Mandrake installation offers the following:

- Office Workstation
- Internet Workstation
- KDE Workstation
- Gnome Workstation

in sum, Total size 1009/5105 (client).

- for client I added everything else (1638/5105), excepting 6 'Server' items.

Then I got an info, related to selecting following server(s) on client:

cups, postfix, rwho, webmin

I have accepted those things to be installed.

The installation started ...

After that step was finished, and after entering password for root, setup asked to 'Enter a user' (an ordinary user). The difference between client and server installation was that the latter offered some additional tasks for the user:

- access to compilation tools (ctools)
- access to rpm tools (rpm)
- access to X programs (xgrp)
- access to network tools (ntools)
- access to administrative files (adm)
- allow "su" (wheel)

... and that would be the same for other (new added) users.

Then client suggested to 'set up computer to automatically log on one user'. I didn't accept that because I wanted each user to enter his/her password every time he/she is about to login to the system.

Soon after, a 'Summary' screen appeared, so I could tune the installation. I changed the following items:

- timezone: Belgrade
- Graphical Interface: it offered 1280 x 1024 - due to a 'custom' monitor
   and card NVIDIA GeForce2 DDR (generic) - 24 bit 16 million colors.
- Sound card: Intel Corporation|ICH2 810 Chipset AC'97 Audio Controller.
- Network: with 'Use auto detection'. Results: recognized nothing. So, I 
   chose to configure 'LAN connection'.
   Driver is: eepro100.
   IP address
   Host name: client, Gateway:
- Firewall: disabled (def.)
- Botloader: lilo-graphic on /dev/hda
   default boot: windows on /dev/hda1
- Services: 32 activated for 47 registered (the same as laptop)

Soon after ...

Congratulations, installation is complete.

(reboot)

Installation results (all 3 systems)

- laptop options: windows, linux, failsafe, floppy;
- client options: windows, linux, linux-nonfb, failsafe, windows2, floppy
- server options: windows, linux, linux-nonfb, linux-secure, failsafe

Notes:

- 'windows2' option at the client box is, in fact, Windows 2000 Server installation located on the second HD.

- Not sure why 'laptop' doesn't have 'linux-nonfb' text boot option, although it looks like it boots to Linux in just like that mode (maybe it is a matter of the laptop's LCD screen capabilities or something like that). On the other hand, client and server differ in floppy and linux-secure options (perhaps as some security measures or like).

- 'linux-secure' option at the server box may be a result of a 'Higher' security level, that I have chosen at the beginning of the installation or, maybe, there are some special server security features.

The next Windows boot made a screen 'System Settings Change': Windows 2000 has finished installing new devices. You must restart your computer before the new settings will take effect. Do you want to restart your computer now? Well, I said Yes.

Windows Disk Management has showed new Linux partitions (comparison of 3 systems):

- laptop:       5.85 GB         Healthy \
Disk 0          495 MB          Healthy - all 3 are logical drives within the extended one
27.95 GB        14.46 GB        Healthy /

- client:       5.68 GB         Healthy \
Disk 0          494 MB          Healthy - all 3 are logical drives within the extended one
37.28 GB        3.52GB          Healthy / (same as laptop)

- server:       5.85 GB         Healthy - primary partition
Disk 1          494 MB          Healthy \
17.12 GB        10.79 GB        Healthy - these two are logical drives within extended

It seems that /boot and /swap partitions are very similar in size, regardless the disk sizes, but / (root, home etc) partitions depend on disk size. Note that at my 'client' box I used the same HD of 37.28 GB for both Windows and Linux (for Windows 27.60 GB NTFS of 37.28 GB available, the rest, cca. 10 GB for Linux).

At the 'server' box I have two HD's of 17.12 GB each, and I used Disk 0 (the 1st one) entirely for Windows 2000 Server, and Disk 1 (the 2nd one) entirely for Linux. That's why Mandrake setup allocated 'less' space for / at the larger disk (in fact, at the 'server' box, it allocated relatively much more space for / even that HD is smaller - because that HD is 'dedicated' for Linux only.

The first Mandrake Linux boot screen:

- laptop: a screen with only a name of a user (no root available!), Reboot and Halt buttons.

- client: a screen with only a name of a user (no root available!), Reboot and Halt buttons.

- server: a screen with 'Enter Login', 'Enter Password' and 'Session type' (no name of a user appeared, but root may also login there!).

First Time Wizard: Default KDE (client, just like the others)

There is a difference between KDE screens at client and server: the client VL420 offers 'CD-ROM mounted at /mnt/cdrom' and 'Floppy mounted at /mnt/floppy' but server Vectra VL420 (having the same type of devices!) doesn't. Besides that, if a flash storage is connected to a USB port, before Linux being started, there will also appear an icon for it. Interestingly, at server there's no something like that. I consider, that is also a matter of the difference between the client and server types of Mandrake Linux installations, or maybe a matter of some security measures for server-type installations. Whatever it is, I see that as a shortage of confortable for Mandrake Linux servers. Case some of you, the readers, has some workarounds on that issues, your contributions are welcomed!

Besides that, KDE's Panel at client offers 'Mandrake Control Center - System configuration tool' (although useful only under root privileges), and KDE's Panel at server doesn't have that (in fact, an 'ordinary' user may access the same tool from the Start Applications menu and, again, to use it after the root's password entered). It makes me wonder why they at Mandrake did it like that. Maybe they didn't want 'ordinary' users to access some configuration tools as easily ...

...

What about the Ctrl-Alt-Del:

- laptop: a screen 'End Session for "username"' What do you want to do next? Login as different user, Turn off computer, Restart computer, OK and Cancel buttons.

- client: a screen 'End Session for "username"' What do you want to do next? Login as different user, Turn off computer, Restart computer, OK and Cancel buttons.

- server: a screen 'End Session for "username"', Logout and Cancel buttons.

After choosing Login as different user what appeared were the same screen as described in 'The first Mandrake Linux boot screen' section.

Should you want to learn more about LILO (Linux Loader), configured to boot the systems in the examples above, you should refer to the LILO mini-HOWTO.

There is also a difference between client and server behavior when it is about to shutdown (halt) the system. A user is capable to halt the system even from the login screen at client (that is not available at server). On the other hand, a user has to know root password to halt the system at server.

7.3 General issues with the Mandrake 9.1 Linux installation

A 'Network' bootable installation floppy should also be capable to reach Mandrake installation files not only from NFS, FTP or HTTP servers, but files that are copied to shared disks on machines within the local network. When an image is called a 'Network' image, that means, IMHO, all kinds of network locations should be accessible - NOT only those specific server-type locations like NFS, FTP or HTTP servers. In fact, if a user in a local network doesn't have NFS, FTP or HTTP servers, but has the installation packages copied somewhere else on the LAN, there should be a way to access those packages too.

The workstation-like installations do not offer a 'root' account to be used from the graphical login window (I suppose that 'su' or 'sudo' actions are available - I haven't tested them yet). That might be a problem in cases when a user misconfigures his/her account and when the administrator has to login to the system to fix that problem. At the moment, I am not sure how the administrator could do that without having the 'root' login ability (perhaps using virtual text consoles accessed with CTRL-ALT-F1, CTRL-ALT-F2 ... , then starting GUI if needed, etc ...)

Some issues after the Mandrake 9.1 Linux installation:

Talking about the behavior of Mandrake 9.1 - related to the type of installation (a workstation or a workstation/server combination) - it seems that there are some other differences. As already mentioned, on a workstation desktop there are icons for CD and FD drives (although maybe not already being mounted at the moment of the system boot). As well, if a USB flash storage is connected to the USB port, there is also an icon of an sda (SCSI ?) USB storage available. On the other hand, in case of workstation/server installations - there are no icons of those devices at all. It seems that the server installation considers that is better to live without these devices in case of a server :-) Any comments are welcomed.

Related to writing and testing HOWTO's. I prefer to write a 'HOWTO' document using a text editor and make it with a .sgml extension. Then I use the old, good sgml2html tool to make HTML pages, in order to check how these pages will look like. Well, that's OK under Red Hat 7.1 but under Mandrake 9.1 it seems that I am not able to find the same tool. Any idea on that task?


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