Filed under Linux
Hey all! Since this is my first offical post to Stumpee, let's kick things off by going through the bare basics of installing a very popular server operating system, Linux. I've gained some experience with CentOS not by choice but since it's been used heavily at every stop at my career. From simple FTP servers, web servers, database servers, to full blown carrier grade VOIP switches... CentOS works wonderfully. Let's begin.
First, you'll want to download the latest verions. Your first stop is here: http://mirror.centos.org/centos/5/isos/
If you want to run the 32-bit version, click on the "i386" folder. If you want the 64-bit version, click on the "x86_64" folder. Next, choose a mirror of your choice (I can't really tell the difference between any of these until I just go ahead and try them out). Next, you're pummeled with a bunch of links that may seem overwhelming. Through trial and error, I've realized the most stable and consistent isos to download are the xxxxxx-bin-1of7.iso to xxxxxx-bin-1of7.iso (64-bit goes up to 8). For the purposes of this tutorial, I'll go through the 32-bit version. I figure if you're reading this, you're likely new to the world of Linux so... you're probably gonna want to experiment on an old computer lying around, most of which are 32-bit compatible. I've highlighted the links to download in the image below with a red arrow:
After you've downloaded the 7 (or 8) isos, you'll need to now burn them to actual CD-ROMs. If you're never dealt with an ISO before, it's basically an exact copy of a CD/DVD but saved into file. This file can be emailed, saved onto a USB drive, or whatever you want to do with it. The awesome thing about ISO's is that can always burn these onto a disc for later use. If you're running Windows 7 you should be able to just pop in a blank disc in the drive and choose to burn an iso from the popup menu. Otherwise, you can always download an iso burning software. Try this one: http://infrarecorder.com/
Once you have all the ISOs burned onto a disc, we can now install Linux. The first thing you'll need to do is set the priority on your motherboard to boot from your CD/DVD drive before booting from the hard drive. If your computer prioritizes booting to the hard drive first, it won't read your installation discs. This change can be set by entering the BIOS. Each BIOS is different among all the different motherboard manufacturers, please reference your computer's specifications on how to enter the BIOS settings. Most of the time, upon first powering on your computer you'll see somewhere in small letters that will say "Press DEL to Enter Setup". Usually you'll either be prompted to press DEL or one of the F keys (F1 - F12). Once you've successfully logged into the BIOS menus, take some time to navigate your way around the menus to see all different options that you have at your disposal. Navigate your way around until you get to a screen similar to the one below:
At the above screen, you'd hit ENTER to begin configuring the boot sequence of your motherboard. The screenshot below shows how the boot sequence is configured in my test system. Make sure that the boot priority of your CD/DVD drive is above all other devices. This will ensure that your system will read from the Linux installation discs that we burned earlier.
Once the settings have been saved, Save and Exit. Wait, before doing so - be sure to insert installation disc 1 into your CD/DVD drive. On my test system, I had to press F10 to save and exit the BIOS. At this point your system will reboot, and if your settings are correct, your system will boot from the installation disc.
Upon successful boot into the installation disk #1, you will see the screen below:
Although there are several options from which to choose to install CentOS, I prefer to use text mode. Although graphical mode is much easier on the eyes, I've encountered numerous issues with video card and graphics compatibilities with older machines. I've found that using the text-based installer yields the most stable and consistent installations. Enter "linux text" similarly shown in the image above and hit ENTER to begin installation.
The installer will begin loading the necessary files to install the operating system. After the required preliminary files have been loaded, you will have the option to check each of the 7 (or 8) installation discs. If you're never checked your installation discs before - it's a good idea to run this disc check to facilitate a successful installation. However, for the purposes of this tutorial, I will skip the disc check and select OK to skip the media test.
The installation disc will now run anaconda, a system installer. Then, you'll be prompted with a "Welcome to CentOS!" screen:
After you select OK on this screen you will be prompted to choose a language installation. Select "English" an hit ENTER. Then, the next screen you'll be prompted with a keyboard model (defaulted to "us"), click ENTER again. I've shown the two screenshots below:
On the next screen, you will be prompted with a warning to inform you that you are about to delete all the data on the hard drive. You'll need to select Yes at this point to continue with the installation.
On the next screen, you will be presented with some options on how to setup the partitions for your operating system installation. The default setting is to remove linux partitions on selected drives and create a default layout. You will need to use the TAB button to change between the setting options. Let's leave it default for now and TAB to OK.
On the next screen you'll be prompted to confirm the removal of all existing linux partitions. Select Yes and continue.
You can select No to review and modify the partitioning layout:
The next screen will prompt you to configure your network. At this point, let's choose No. We can configure the network after the operating system has successfully installed:
Now, you'll be prompted to enter your gateway and DNS settings. Usually, the most common setting to put here is the interal ip address of your router. In my case, my router's ip address is 192.168.1.1 and the same ip address will be used for my DNS setting:
On the next screen, I select to manually choose the hostname and called it "localhost":
Now, select the timezone settings:
Now, you'll be prompted with a root password. Be sure to write this down and don't forget it!
On the next screen, check everything except the following boxes:
- Server - GUI
- Customize software selection
On the following screen, uncheck everything except the following:
- Administration Tools
- DNS Name Server
- Development Libraries
- Development Tools
- FTP Server
- Java Development
- Legacy Network Server
- Legacy Software Development
- Legacy Software Support
- Mail Server
- MySQL Database
- Network Servers
- Server Configuration Tools
- System Tools
- Text-based Internet
- Web Server
- Windows File Server
The next screen will let you know the path to find the installation log information:
The next screen the final screen before installation will finally commence. Select Continue to begin:
The disc will now format the file system. During the installation process, you will be prompted to change the the installation discs. It's a good idea to keep them all handy at this point. After inserting the final disc, you will be prompted to reboot:
After rebooting, you will arrive at the setup screen. You can use this screen to make system changes including firewall and security settings as well as choosing which programs should launch at startup. Let's skip this for now. You can always pull up this menu after logging in and typing the command, "setup". Here's a snapshot of the menu:
Finally, almost done! The image below is a snap shot of what you should see when you've succesfully installed the operating system:
Login with user name: "root" and enter the password that you selected in an earlier step. If you're never logged into a Linux/Unix based system before, when you type into the password, you will not see the cursor move or stars to represent characters. It may seem like the screen is not accepting your input - don't worry, just continue to enter the password correctly and off you go! You're now ready to start enjoying the world of CentOS!