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2. Anatomy of the Red Hat FTP site

In the spirit of the Linux community, Red Hat Software has made available their Linux distributions for several platforms on their FTP site. These are all available from the top distribution directory.

2.1 The top level directory

The toplevel directory for RedHat Linux release 6.1 ( pub/redhat/redhat-6.1) contains distributions for the different platforms, and a directory containing updates and corrections to program packages that have been published since the release.

SRPMS/     alpha/     i386/      sparc/      iso/

In this document, we use the i386 distribution as an example. The procedure given in this document is likely to work on all platforms supported by Red Hat (Alpha, SPARC, ppc, etc.), but we have only tested it on the i386 platform (the authors would be most interested in additional information). The root of the i386 directory looks like this:

-rw-r--r--   1 root     root    18391  Mar 19  1999   COPYING
-rw-r--r--   1 root     root     3409  Sep 26 01:12   README
-rw-r--r--   1 root     root     1908  Sep 25 18:20   RPM-GPG-KEY
drwxr-xr-x   5 root     root     4096  Oct 26 09:01   RedHat/
-rwxr-xr-x   1 root     root      538  Sep 26 04:16   autorun
-rwxr--r--   1 root     root     2048  Sep 30 20:00
drwxr-xr-x   7 root     root     4096  Oct 26 09:01   doc/
drwxr-xr-x   6 root     root     4096  Oct 26 09:01   dosutils/
drwxr-xr-x   2 root     root     4096  Oct 26 09:01   images/
-rw-r--r--   1 root     root   391123  Jan  5 09:05   ls-lR
-rw-r--r--   1 root     root    51786  Jan  5 09:05   ls-lR.gz
drwxr-xr-x   4 root     root     4096  Oct 26 09:01   misc/

The doc directory contains an abundance of information. Most importantly, the RedHat installation manual can be found in HTML format in the directory doc/rhmanual/manual/. Next, there is a number of FAQs, and finally, the entire collection of HOWTOs and mini-HOWTOs.

The images directory contains boot floppy images that must be copied to a diskette. In the most recent distribution (6.1), there are two disk images available. The boot image is called boot.img, which is required when installation is performed directly from a CD-ROM. If installation from a local hard disk, NFS mounted disk or FTP is required, the supplementary disk image supp.img might be needed. See section Installing from the CD and references therein for details.

The misc directory contains source and executables of a number of programs needed for the installation. Finally, the iso directory contains iso9660 images just like the one you we about to make.

2.2 The "RedHat" directory -- the core of the distribution

The most important part of the directory tree is rooted in the RedHat directory:

drwxr-xr-x   2 root     root    28672   Oct 26 09:01   RPMS
drwxr-xr-x   2 root     root     4096   Oct 26 09:01   base
-rw-r--r--   1 root     root        0   Jan 19  1999   i386
drwxr-xr-x   6 root     root     4096   Oct 26 09:01   instimage

The RPMS directory contains the major part of the Red Hat distribution consisting of a set of RPM (Redhat Package Manager) files. An RPM package typically contains binary executables, along with relevant configuration files and documentation. See the section RPM packages for more information.

The base directory holds different book-keeping files needed during the installation process, e.g. the comps file, which defines the components (groups of packages) used during the "Choose packages to install" phase. See section The comps file for more information on this file, and how to use it. Another important file in the base directory is the hdlist file containing most of the header fields from all the RPMs in the RPMS directory.

This means that all the interdependencies among RPM packages can be determined just by reading hdlist without having to read all the RPM packages which is quite convenient especially during FTP installs.

Another use of hdlist is mapping package names to file name, eg. perl to perl-5.004-6.i386.rpm. This means that if you want to incorporate updates from RedHat (see section Incorporating the updates) or add your own packages to the RPMS directory, you need to update hdlist. This is descriped later in Generating a new hdlist file.

The instimage directory contains a bare-bones live file system with a number of programs and shared libraries needed during the installation procedure.

2.3 The "updates" directory

The /pub/redhat/updates directory has updates for all releases of RedHat's distribution since version 3.0.3. This is the place to find software packages that have been uppdated for some reason or other. You should especially be aware of security updates. These are publicised on RedHat's errata page whenever a fix is available. The most important files found in the updates directory are:

drwxrwxr-x   8 ftpuser  ftpusers      8192 Aug 18 08:05 5.1/
drwxrwxr-x   9 ftpuser  ftpusers      8192 Sep 18 08:07 5.2/
drwxrwxr-x   9 ftpuser  ftpusers      8192 Jan  7 23:09 6.0/
drwxrwxr-x   9 ftpuser  ftpusers      8192 Jan  7 23:09 6.1/
lrwxrwxrwx   1 ftpuser  ftpusers      3 Aug 25 13:14 current -> 6.1/

The structure of each of these directories is similar to that described in section The top level directory

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