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RULE Install Guide, version 0.7.1

This file describes the options of how to install Red Hat Linux using the RULE installer. Author is Martin Stricker

  # History of changes                                                                         #
  # Date       | Version   | Author             | Description of change                        #
  # -----------|-----------|--------------------|--------------------------------------------- #
  # 25.02.2002 | 0.0.1     | Martin Stricker    | initial version, quite uncomplete            #
  # 26.02.2002 | 0.1.0     | Martin Stricker    | initial version, now complete                #
  # 27.02.2002 | 0.2.0     | Benoit Mortier     | Installing Red Hat Linux 7.2 step by step    #
  #            |           | Martin Stricker    | instructions from Benoit Mortier added       #

WARNING! The RULE installer is still beta software and may or may not work! Do not use it on important or production machines and backup all data beforehand!

The RULE installer enables you to install a very minimal Red Hat Linux 7.2 system on your hard disk without the need of at least 32 MB (or 21 MB for text install). Currently it seems to work with as low as 12 MB of RAM. With some special cheating some testers could install with 8 MB of RAM, but for others it failed. You are on your own risk!

INSTALLING step by step

Download the boot floppy image and the updates.tar

From the RULE download area at . For version 0.7.1 of the RULE installer you need the version 0.7.0 boot image for your type of install. There was no change in the boot images between versions 0.7.0 and 0.7.1. For a normal install you need boot.img, if you want to boot from a laptop with a PCMCIA CD-ROM drive you need both the pcmcia.img as boot floppy and pcmciadd as driver disk. Also you need the updates-v0.7.1.tar file. And you need the original Red Hat Linux 7.2 installation CDs 1 and 2, of course. Buy a boxed set or download them at or a mirror.

Create the floppies

The disk images (download files ending with .img) need to be written in raw mode onto a msdos-formatted, empty floppy. To accomplish this, you can use:

on Linux: Type at the command linedd if=filename of=/dev/fd0 bs=1440k (replace filename with the relative or absolute path to the floppy image file you downloaded)

on Windows: Copy the file X:\dosutils\rawrite.exe (X: is your CD-ROM drive letter) into the directory where your downloaded the floppy images. Doubleclick rawrite.exe and follow the instructions on the screen to create the floppies you need.

To create the updates floppy you need a Linux machine available.

If you don’t have a Linux system available you can boot from the boot floppy made from boot.img (pcmcia.img might not work!). If you need to use the boot floppy type at the boot prompt linux updates.

The booting will continue. When it asks you for the updated floppy, press [Alt][F2] simultanously to get to VT2. Take the boot floppy out of your floppy drive and replace it with the floppy you want to use as updates floppy.

Now at the Linux command line type these commands (wait until each has finished before typing the next one)

  mke2fs -c -m0 /dev/fd0
      mount /dev/fd0
      If this gives an error create a directory to mount it
      mkdir floppymount
      mount /dev/fd0 floppymount
      Continue with uncompressing the tar file
      cd /mount/floppy
      or where the floppy was mounted
      tar -xvf /path/to/updates-v0.7.0.tar
      If you use the boot floppy as Linux system you have a problem here. I'm trying to
      solve it.
      cd ~
      umount /dev/fd0
      The updates floppy is now ready to use. Take it out of the floppy drive and reboot the
      computer using the reset button.

Install it!

Insert the boot floppy into the floppy drive and boot your computer. If it doesn’t boot from floppy you need to set the BIOS to do so. See the handbook of you computer’s motherboard for more information (sorry, I cannot cover every BIOS version here). Once the floppy boots, it shows the welcome screen for the RULE installer. At the boot prompt type:

linux updates

If you need to boot from the pcmcia.img floppy type instead:

linux dd updates

If you want to restrict the installer to less RAM than you computer has for testing purposes add mem=xxM, where xx is the amount of RAM in MB you want to restrict the installer to. Proven to work in most cases is mem=12M:

  linux updates mem=12M
  linux dd updates mem=12M

Then follow the installer through the usual Red Hat installation process. In the end you will have a minimal Red Hat Linux 7.2 system installed.

Installing Red Hat Linux 7.2 with the RULE installer step by step

(initial version by Benoit Mortier, Martin Stricker expanded it to provide more information for newbees and to include the early swap hack)

General instructions


To go from one field to the next just hit [Tab]. To go back either go round or use [Shift][Tab]. To select/deselect a choice hit the [Space] bar. To confirm a screen and accept all it’s settings move to [OK] with [Tab] and hit [Enter].

1) First of all, this is beta software and may or may not work. If it does not work, your system might be unusable afterwards and all data lost! Therefore do not use this installer on any important or production machine! Backup all data and have a install disk of an OS at hand that is proven to install on this machine!

That said, if you still want to install with the RULE installer, insert the boot floppy you made with the instructions above into your floppy drive and boot or reboot your computer. If your computer does not boot from the floppy, please see the manual of your computer’s mainboard for instructions on how to change the boot sequence in the BIOS.

2) At the RULE installer boot prompt type linux updates mem=12M. You need to specify the mem=xM parameter only if you want to restrict the RULE installer to less RAM than the computer really has. According to our testing so far 12 MB is the lowest number the installation process will work with properly. If you need a drivers disk (i. e. booting from pcmcia.img you need pcmciadd as a drivers disk) you have to provide the dd option, too: linux dd updates mem=12M

3) If you need a drivers disk, remove the boot disk and insert the drivers disk into your floppy drive when prompted for the drivers disk and confirm [OK].

4) When you are asked for the update disk, insert it and the original Red Hat Linux 7.2 installation CD 1 of 2. If you want to use the early swap hack, continue with 5), otherwise continue with 11).

5) The early swap hack: Warning! This really is only a hack and might not work! Be careful! This is not for the faint of heart!

That said, if you still want to use the early swap hack, go to the virtual terminal 2 (VT2) by pressing [Alt][F2] simultanously. There type

mknod /dev/hda b 3 0

to create the special device file for the first IDE disk. If you want to use another disk, look into the file /usr/src/linux[version]/Documentation/devices.txt on a Linux machine with installed kernel source RPM. If you don’t have such a machine you probably should not use this hack at all. ;-) . But Red Hat’s install floppy is quite smart:

mknod /dev/hda

will just work fine.

6) Now run fdisk to determine if there already is a swap partition or to create a new one:

fdisk /dev/hda

In fdisk type the letter [p] to get the partition table. Look for an entry whose filesystem flag is set to 82 (Linux swap). Jot the device name (i. e. /dev/hda3) to a piece of paper and quit fdisk with the letter [q]. If there is not Linux swap partition present, you need to repartition the disk. This is for experts only, so no explanation here, sorry.

7) Now create the special device file for the Linux swap partition you found or created:

      mknod /dev/hda3 b 3 3
      mknod /dev/hda3

(both commands will work properly). Replace /dev/hda3 and the major/minor numbers according to the partition you want to use.

Interesting side note: You can even use an empty floppy as swap partition, but this will cause damage to both your floppy drive and your ears. ;-)

8) Now format the Linux swap partition: mkswap /dev/hda3. Replace /dev/hda3 with the partition you want to use for swap.

9) Finally, turn the created swap partition on: swapon /dev/hda3. Replace /dev/hda3 with the partition you want to use for swap as before.

10) Return to the installation process on VT1 by pressing [Alt][F1] simultaneously. End of the early swap hack.

11) After inserting both the updates floppy and the first Red Hat Linux 7.2 installation CD

confirm [OK]

12) Select you install language (English is selected by default and will be used in the future examples in these installation instructions)

13) Select your keyboard type (default selection depends on the language you have chosen before)

14) Select your install type (Low Memory is selected by default). To test the RULE installer you want to choose “Low Memory” or, if you are using a laptop, “Laptop”. The “Laptop” install type is the same as “Low Memory” but with a few laptop-specific packages added.

15) Confirm the information about the Red Hat website with [OK].

16) Select the style of partitioning (Autopartition is selected by default)

17) Remove all partition on this system or change the partition table to your needs. WARNING!! Partitions which you delete or change or mark to be formatted will loose all their data! YOU CAN NOT RECOVER THIS DATA!!! Be careful and do a full backup of your system prior to using the RULE installer!

18) Confirm [Yes].

19) Confirm [OK].

20) Select the boot loader you want to use (Grub is the default). Both boot loaders can boot
other operating systems like Microsoft Windows.

21) Confirm [OK], the boot loader should have added all OS present on your computer to the
boot menu.

22) Select where to put the boot loader (Master Boot Record is selected by default).

23) Confirm [OK].

24) Confirm [OK].

If you have a network card, go to 25), otherwise go to 31)

25) Deselect DHCP/BOOTP unless you are using DHCP in your local network.

26) Type or the IP addess of this machine in your local network.

27) Type or the netmask of your local network.

28) Type or the IP addess of the default gateway in your local network.

29) Confirm [OK].

30) Type or the fully qualified domain name (FQDN) of this compuer in your
local network.

31) Confirm [OK].

32) Select your Language (the language you have chosen in step 12) is selected by default).

33) Confirm [OK].

34) Select your time zone (the default selection depends on the language you have chosen in
the steps 12) and 32)).

35) Confirm [OK].

36) Type your root password and REMEMBER it.

37) Retype the root password for confirmation.

38) Confirm [OK].

39) Create a normal user. The username is limited to 8 characters.

40) Confirm [OK].

41) Confirm [No].

Your install is now done. Remove the Red Hat installation CD from the CD drive (it is ejected automatically)


The system installed consists completely of original Red Hat Linux 7.2 packages, so Red Hat, Inc. will provide support for it if you bought a support contract. However, the install process the RULE installer uses was NOT made by Red Hat, so you cannot get installation support from Red Hat for a RULE install even if you paid for installation support (i. e. bought a boxed set). If you have problems with a RULE install or have any questions, please subscribe to the RULE mailing list. Afer you successfully subscribed please provide as much information as possible in you mail so we actually can help you. If you want to unsubscribe from RULE-list again, go to the same URL above, type in your email address and password (you can get a password reminder there) and unsubscribe yourself.

Have fun! / The RULE installer team

RULE = Run Up to Date Linux Everywhere
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