From: (Richshie)
Subject: HELP
Date: 1997/10/04
Message-ID: <>#1/1
X-Deja-AN: 277846011
Organization: AOL,
Newsgroups: alt.os.linux

  I want to use linux , but where can I get it from , where can I get X-Windows
 , How do I get my system ready for use with linux , I have read various txt
 files but all of them were to complicated , any help would be much helpfull
 thankyou to anyone that helps

From: "Brian" <>
Subject: Re: HELP
Date: 1997/10/05
Message-ID: <01bcd1b1$c47eeb80$>
X-Deja-AN: 278067150
References: <>
Organization: English Bay
Newsgroups: alt.os.linux

Richshie <> wrote in article
>   I want to use linux , but where can I get it from , where can I get
>  , How do I get my system ready for use with linux , I have read various
>  files but all of them were to complicated , any help would be much
>  thankyou to anyone that helps


As a Linux 'new user' I can empathize with anybody wishing to experiment
with Linux before dedicating any resources. If you wish to get try Linux
without spending a dime, this is the document for you. You will want to
print this document for reference during your first installation of Linux.

I recommend starting with a basic Slackware 3.2 installation which is
freely available on the Internet. You will require ~35 megabytes of space
on your DOS hard drive to download the required files for a basic Linux
installation. (Instructions should work equally well with Slackware version

Also required is an additional ~100 megabytes of 'non-DOS' space to install
the Linux operating system and a collection of helpful utilites. I cannot
recommend a DOS FAT installation so it is not covered here.

The required hardware for a basic installation of Linux:

386SX or better CPU (AMD and IBM/Cyrix variants welcome)
8 megabytes of memory (less may work but more is merrier)
200-500 megabyte IDE hard drive (SCSI support available)
3.5 inch 1.44 megabyte floppy disk drive as A:
VGA video card (256 kilobyte minimum memory)
14.4 kbps modem - faster is better (no winmodems please)
MS compatible mouse (2 or 3 button is fine)
101/104 key US keyboard 
Internet Access - mail, news, ftp, http browser
3 - 1.44 megabyte floppy discs - freshly formatted

Optional additions:

30 - 1.44 megabyte floppy discs - freshly formatted 
(required for an 'all floppy' disc installation - not recommended)

CD-ROM player IDE
(non IDE CD-ROM support is available)

+512 megabyte IDE hard drive
(see below)

Large IDE Hard Drive Note:

Many older 386 motherboards are unable to correctly install +512 megabyte
hard drives without a tiny driver hidden in the master boot record (MBR).
These drivers are incompatible with Linux.

Late model 386 motherboards (486 and later have this feature as well) have
a BIOS option called LBA which enables +512 megabyte hard drives to be
recognized and used by standard BIOS calls.

A desperation solution is to take the BIOS defaults and lose some capacity.
Were you to have a 540 megabyte Western Digital IDE hard drive (many of
these were produced and they are a quality long lived product) and you want
to install it on your older 386DX 33Mhz motherboard without the benefit of
the LBA BIOS option, you will lose ~8 megabytes of storage but Linux will
install without difficulty (other problems notwithstanding).

Please note that this is 'a way', not 'the only way' to install a basic
Linux system.

What you should know and record before you start:

Video Card chipset & memory - 
Serial Mouse com port - 
Modem com port - 

Write this information down and keep it handy.

Think up a simple name for your computer. This will be your computers

examples:	bob

3-12 characters preferable
first character must be a letter

Think up a simple name for your 'domain'. This will be the name of your
home network, even if your network is only one computer. Do not use your
ISP's domain name, make up one of your own.


If you selected 'chaos' as your HOSTNAME and '' as your domain,
your computer's FQDN (Fully Qualified Domain Name) would be
''. If your login name is 'charlie', then you would be
'' when logged in to your computer.

Write your choices down and keep them handy.

Let us begin by downloading some basic Linux files.
(Slackware 3.2 - Kernel 2.00.29)

Create a DOS directory on your computer and call it '\Linux\'.
Create 3 subdirectories called '\Install\', '\Docs\' and '\Slakware\'.
The '\Slakware\' directory will have a number of subdirectories but they
will be created during the FTP download.
(Note the spelling of the directory 'Slakware')

Late at night, connect to '' on the Internet.
(Slackware's home site)

When connected to, move to the,
'/pub/linux/slackware-3.2/' directory.

If is too slow, try ''.
(home of many Linux distributions)

When connected to, move to the,
'/pub/linux/distributions/slackware/' directory.

You will be presented with a number of subdirectories such as
'Bootdsks.144', 'Rootdsks', 'Docs' and 'Slakware'. These are the important
directories for our purposes. Notice how they all feature the DOS 8.3 file
name convention.

Start by downloading some helpful documents. You will find a file called
'INSTALL.TXT' in the main 'Slackware' directory. Download it to your DOS
'\Docs\' directory. This is an installation HOW-TO text file.

Go to the '/docs/install-guide/' directory and download
'install-guide-2.2.2.txt' to your DOS '\Docs\' directory. Rename it
'guide.txt' for the purpose of telling the two files apart. This is a
beginner's manual on Linux, including installation.

I recommend the 'txt' version over the others because they are virtually
unreadable in the DOS world and may only be useable on an installed 'Unix
like' system. The fact that it is a document telling you how to install and
run Linux and is only readable in Linux never fails to amuse me. It is a
great book so format it and print it out. You will read it cover to cover
when you have it in your hands.

You now have 'guide.txt' and 'install.txt' on your hard drive. They are
both written by Matt Welsh and while there is some overlap, they are an
excellent source of information for the new user. 'guide.txt' is a great
starter book on Linux while 'install.txt' is about installation and basic

Next download the disc images; they are called 'Bare.i' from
'/Bootdsks.144/' and 'Color.gz' from the '/Rootdsks/' directory. Put
'Bare.i' and 'Color.gz' into your DOS '\Install\' directory. If you have an
SCSI controller, you should download the help document 'Which.One' from
'/Bootdsks.144/' and read it before proceeding. 

Download the DOS utilities required for creating the image discs in DOS and
adjusting your partitions, if required. You will need 'Rawrite.exe' from
the '/Install/' directory and 'Fips.exe' and 'Fips.doc' from the
'/Install/Fips/' directory. Download them all into your DOS '\Install\'

'Fips.exe' will help you to non-destructively change the size of your DOS
partition to make room for Linux - Read 'Fips.doc' - all of it including
the warning before using Fips. I have not heard of any problems but I am
new to Linux myself.

Download the system disc sets for Linux. Change to your DOS directory
called '\Slakware\' and the FTP site directory called '/Slakware/' (note
the spelling). See the different directories named with letters + numbers.
The letters represent the disk series whereas the numbers represent the
disk number within the series. Each directory contains all the files that
will fit onto one floppy disk. If you want to download the 'A' series
(absolute minimum operable Slackware Linux system) onto floppy discs, you
would need 9 x 1.44 meg floppy discs.

Download the entire 'A' series of disc sets to your DOS '\Slakware\'
directory so each disk set gets its own subdirectory. Just highlight the
whole 'A1' through 'A9' series of directories and instruct your FTP program
to download them all, directory structure included.

You also require the 'Ap1' through 'Ap4' series - they contain basic Linux
applications. Get them - same deal as the 'A' series, download them,
directories and all.

Next the 'F1' through 'F3' series. These are FAQs, HOW-TOs and other
documents - required.

Download the 'Y1' through 'Y2' series. They are an assortment of games you
can play on your Linux text terminal - required for mental health.

If you want to tool around on the Internet with Linux in text mode,
download the 'N1' through 'N6' series - recommended.

Here is a list of everything you want:

A1  to A9  basic Linux (required)
Ap1 to Ap4 Linux utlities (required) 
F1  to F3  FAQs and documents (required)
N1  to N6  networking (recommended)
Y1  to Y2  text games (required)

I don't recommend downloading any of the 'X' discs until you acquire a
taste for what Linux is about; primarily a powerful, robust, text based,
32bit, multitasking, multiuser, network aware, computer operating system.

When you have finished downloading (FTPing) all the required disk sets, log
off the Internet and jump into DOS mode - No Windows Please.

You have almost consumed 30 megabytes of hard drive space and haven't
installed so much as a script file as yet.

Have 3 fresh (no bad sectors) DOS-formatted 1.44 meg floppies on hand.

Mark one 'Boot Image', one 'Root Image' and one 'Linux Boot Disc'.

Change to your DOS directory '\Linux\Install\' on your hard drive.

Put the freshly formatted floppy disk called 'Boot Image' into the A:

Please Note:

Everything within double "quotes" is your input or selection, do not type
the quotes.

Anything to be entered at an obvious prompt (such as ':' or '#' or a DOS
'C:\>') will not be contained within quotes.

Everything within <keystroke> is a keystroke or an action initiated by a
keystroke. e.g. At the bottom of a screen may appear an <OK>. To hit <OK>
and continue will require the <OK> to be highlighted and then activated by
hitting the <enter> key. 

Run 'rawrite.exe' as follows,

C:\> rawrite <enter>

Rawrite 1.3 ...

Enter source file name: bare.i <enter>
Enter destination drive: a <enter>

Writing image ...


Excellent! Remove your new 'Boot Image' disk from the A: drive and place
the 'Root Image' disk in it's place. Same deal, type as follows,

C:\> rawrite <enter>

Rawrite 3.1 ...

Enter source file name: colour.gz <enter>

Enter destination drive: a <enter>

Writing image ...


You now have a way to boot an elemental Linux operating system.

Decision time: How are you going to make room for Linux? You can use
'Fips.exe' to shrink your present hard drive partition to make room for
Linux or you can move everything off an existing partition and delete it
making room for Linux.

Lets take a hypothetical situation. You have a 200 meg hard drive to play
with and you want to install a Linux system along with a working DOS

Make the primary DOS partition 100 megs (for DOS 6.x, Win3.11, games and
all the Linux files you downloaded). That will leave you with ~100
megabytes of empty space. Just leave it empty, don't create another
partition with the DOS version of fdisk.

Make certain you have all the files you downloaded handy either on the DOS
partition or on floppies. (a 'floppy disc' only installation is not

Place your 'Boot Image' floppy disk into drive A: and reboot!

When the computer restarts, you will be presented with a text notice. It
will then stop and wait for you to enter any special instructions (there
are none), just hit <enter>.


(read notice if you wish)

boot: <enter>

Loading ramdisk........

VFS: Insert root floppy to be loaded into ramdisk and press ENTER
(VFS = virtual file system)

Remove the 'Boot Image' floppy disk from the A: drive and replace it with
the 'Root Image' floppy disk and hit <enter>.

RAMDISK: Compressed image found at block 0

More text and then,

Welcome to the Slackware installation disk! (version 3.2.0)

At the 'Slackware login:' prompt, login as "root".

Slackware login: root <enter>

and finally,

Linux 2.0.29 (Posix)

To start the main installation, type 'setup'.


At the Linux '#' prompt, start 'fdisk'.

# fdisk <enter>
Using /dev/hda as default device!

If you have two hard drives, the first drive is called '/dev/hda' and the
second drive is called '/dev/hdb' and so on - the first drive is selected
by default so if you want to install to the second drive, you must start
'fdisk' like this,

# fdisk /dev/hdb <enter>

'fdisk' presents as follows,

Command (m for help) :

Actually 'm for help' is 'm for menu'.

Here is a synopsis of the commands you require.

p	displays your current partition table (print to screen)
n	creates a new partition
l	"L" lists partition table types (for your reference)
d	deletes a partition
q	quit without saving changes (for the faint of heart)
w	writes the changes you have made and exits
t	changes the partition type ie: 

'DOS 16 -bit >= 32M' id 6 
'Linux native'       id 83
'Linux swap'         id 84

You can hit "l" <enter> (thats an 'el' not an 'eye') to see them but all
you will need to know are the (above) three designations. 

You do not require the other commands but you can see them by hitting "m"
<enter> anytime for a complete listing - play at your peril.

Let us look at your partition table.

Command (m for help): p <enter>

You will be presented with a table summarized like,

Disk /dev/hda: 20 heads, 20 sectors, 400 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 400 * 512 bytes

Device    Boot Begin Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/hda1  *     1     1   200 100000 6  DOS 16-bit...

'/dev/hda1' refers to the existing DOS partition on the first hard drive,
'/dev/hda' means first hard drive and '1' means the first partition on the
first hard drive - simple right?

Now you must make a 'Linux native' partition and a 'Linux swap' partition.
We have ~100 megabytes available to play with so lets start with an ~84
megabyte 'Linux native' partition and a ~16 megabyte 'Linux swap'

Each block equals 1024 bytes therefore 100000 blocks equals ~100 megabytes.
We want 84000 blocks for ~84 megabytes for the native partition and 16000
blocks for ~16 megabytes for the swap partition.

The numbers under 'Begin Start End' refer to cylinders and for the purpose
of brevity, we will state that in this purely imaginary setup (your mileage
will vary), each cylinder = 512 kilobytes of space, ergo 400 cylinders =
~200 megabytes. You will have to do the math for your own hard drive.

You are going to create two new partitions, called '/dev/hda2' and

'/dev/hda2' is going to be your 'Linux native' partition and it will have
cylinders 201 to 369 which equal 84000 blocks of 1024 bytes each or ~84
megabytes (Warning - your math may be different, be prepared with a piece
of paper and a pencil)

'/dev/hda3' is going to be your 'Linux swap' partition and it will have
cylinders 370 to 400 which equal 15000 blocks of 1024 bytes each or ~16

Here is how we do it, proceed as follows,

Command (m for help) : n <enter>
Command action
	e	extended
	p	primary (1-4)
p <enter>

Partition number (1-4) : 2 <enter>
First cylinder (201 - 400) : 201 <enter>
Last cylinder or +size or +sizeM or +sizeK (201 - 400) : 369 <enter>

As you can see we have many options in the way we make the final entry. We
can either just enter "369" which means our last cylinder for this
partition will be '369'. If we entered '+88080384' that would have meant
the same thing only expressed as cylinder '201' plus '88080384' bytes which
would have equaled cylinder '369' as well. The other designations are for
Megabytes and Kilobytes respectively.

Let us designate the number 2 partition a 'Linux native' partition,

Command (m for help) : t <enter>
Partition number (1-4) : 2 <enter>
Hex code (L to list) : 82 <enter>

Now for the 'Linux swap' partition,

Command (m for help) : n <enter>
Command action
	e	extended
	p	primary (1-4)
p <enter>

Partition number (1-4) : 3 <enter>
First cylinder (370 - 400) : 370 <enter>
Last cylinder or +size or +sizeM or +sizeK (370 - 400) : 400 <enter>

Let us designate the number 3 partition a 'Linux swap' partition,

Command (m for help) : t <enter>
Partition number (1-4) : 3 <enter>
Hex code (L to list) : 83 <enter>

Let us look upon our handywork.

Command (m for help) : p <enter>

Disk /dev/hda: 20 heads, 20 sectors, 400 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 400 * 512 bytes

Device    Boot Begin Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/hda1  *     1     1   200 100000 6  DOS 16-bit ...
/dev/hda2       201   201  369  84000 82 Linux native
/dev/hda3       370   370  400  15000 83 Linux swap

Check over your figures and make sure everything is correct. You can still
go back and change things - nothing has been written to the hard drive as

If you wish to bail out and think about it,

Command (m for help) : q <enter>

The 'q' command quits without writing your changes to the partition table
of your hard drive.

If you are satisfied with your figures, proceed,

Command (m for help) : w <enter>
The partition table has been altered!

Calling ioctl() to re-read partition table
(reboot to ensure the partition table has been updated)
hda: hda1 hda2 hda3
Syncing disks.

We should be back at the '#' prompt now.

Remove the 'Root Image' floppy from the A: drive and replace it with the
'Boot Image' floppy.

Reboot as follows,

# reboot <enter>

What follows is a standard Linux shutdown. It may pause for a moment so be

When your computer reboots, it will go through the same procedure as your
first boot so just follow the same procedures as before.

slackware login: root <enter>

NOW is time to run 'setup'!

If at any time you wish to stop the installation or bail out of 'setup',
hit <CTRL-C> to bring you back to the Linux prompt '#'. Most procedures in
'setup' can be started again by simply selecting the appropriate menu item
in the 'setup' opening screen.

Proceed as follows,

# setup <return>

Select "ADDSWAP" <enter>







Select Linux Installation partition "/dev/hda2" <OK>

FORMAT PARTITION /dev/hda2 "Format" <OK>
FORMAT PARTITION /dev/hda2 "Check" <OK>
(choose the second option if the hard drive has errors)

SELECT INODE DENSITY FOR /dev/hda2 "4096 ..." <OK>

Select other Linux partitions for /etc/fstab "add none" <OK>





/dev/hda1  /dos  msdos ... <OK>





SELECT SOURCE DIRECTORY "/linux/slakware/" <OK>
(note spelling and forward slash)


Select with <space bar> as follows;

[X] A
[X] Ap
[X] F
[X] N
[X] Y





Select with <space bar> as follows;

[X] ide
[X] lprng
[X] loadlin
[X] pnp
[X] getty
[X] aoutlibs
[X] minicom
[X] cpio
[X] keytbls
[X] gpm
[X] zoneinfo



[X] ispell
[X] jove
[X] manpgs
[X] diff
[X] sudo
[X] ghostscr
[X] jed
[X] joe
[X] jpeg
[X] be
[X] workbone
[X] mc
[X] groff
[X] sc
[X] texinfo
[X] vim
[X] ash
[X] zsh



[X] manfaqs
[X] mini
[X] howto



[X] dip
[X] ppp
[X] mailx
[X] tcpip
[X] bind
[X] lynx
[X] elm
[X] pine
[X] sendmail
[X] metamail
[X] smailcfg
[X] cnews
[X] tin
[X] trn-nntp
[X] nn-nntp
[X] netpipes



[X] bsdgames
[X] sastroid
[X] koules
[X] tetris
[X] lizards




Put your floppy disk marked 'Linux Boot Disk' into drive A:

MAKE BOOTDISK "Format floppy ..." <OK>

SPECIFY FLOPPY SIZE "1.44 megabytes" <OK>

Formatting /dev/fd0u1440

MAKE BOOTDISK "simple vmlinuz > ..." <OK>



MAKE BOOTDISK "continue" <OK>

MODEM CONFIGURATION "cua1 com2: under DOS" <YES>
(select your modem com port)


SELECT MOUSE TYPE "1 Microsoft ..." <OK>
(select your mouse type)

SELECT SERIAL PORT "ttyS0 com1: under DOS" <YES>
(select your mouse com port)

(assuming you have one)

Configuring CD-ROM link (/dev/cdrom) "1 ..." <OK>
(select your CD-ROM type)

SELECT IDE DEVICE "/dev/hdb Primary IDE slave" <OK>
(only applicable to ATAPI IDE devices)




(read notice if you wish)

(enter your own personal choice)

(enter your own personal choice)


(read notice)

(read notice)


(enter your own timezone here)


Slackware Linux Setup (version 3.2.0) "EXIT" <OK>

Leave your new 'Linux Boot Disc' floppy in drive A:

# reboot <enter>

Your computer now reboots...

Welcome to Linux 2.0.29.

chaos login: root <enter>
Linux 2.0.29
You Have Mail.

(message of the day - occasionally humorous)


CONGRADULATIONS - You are running Linux

Space used ~58 megabytes
Space left ~26 megabytes

To Exit Linux - VERY IMPORTANT -

remove 'Linux Boot Disk' from drive A: and,

# reboot <return>

This will gracefully shutdown linux and reboot your computer. Turning off
your computer without using 'reboot' or 'shutdown now -r' will damage your
file system. This is a very bad thing.

I hope this helps the new users out there who are looking for a taste of
contemporary Linux.

You are now on your own. Good luck and have fun.

Recommended books:

'Running Linux'
'Linux in a Nutshell'
'Linux Bible' or 'Dr. Linux' (same book - different names)
'Linux The Complete Reference' (same book as above but latest edition)

Recommended distributions for New Users:

'Slackware 3.2'	great
'Slackware 3.3'	
'RedHat 4.2'
'Debian 1.31'