31 Ford Model A Coupe Hot Rod 31 Ford Model A Coupe Hot Rod Another Linux Install or
How I spent two Weeks getting to know RedHat 9.0

  Another note about my latest adventure installing Linux, this time installing RedHat 9.0 in place of a Redhat 7.1 system that I had been running.
My Superbowl install follows further down the page.

I had 3 systems running AMD XP 1700/1900 processors with 640 meg of memory and 15 to 20 gig drives running RedHat 7.1. I needed to upgrade the harddrives to 80 gig drives and figured that I would upgrade to RedHat 9.0 at the same to time. I had tried to install and setup RedHat 7.1 on one of the 80 gig drives and it seemed unhappy with it, so I figured I had to go to Redhat 9.0 to make use of the new drives. No problem I'd just order a real copy of RedHat 9.0 from amazon.com and install it. Fortunately I was actually installing and setting up the new drives in a 4th backup machine, identical to my operating servers, so I didn't have to take down any of my operating servers until I physically changed out the harddrives.

I recieve my new RedHat 9.0 Box and CD's via UPS and promptly go about doing an install.

First thing the install routine tries to do a GUI install as default, presumably using Xwindows, and it goes nowhere. Seems Xwindows dosen't like my equipment. Not a good feeling with my history of Linux installs.

I try again by telling the install routine to do a 'linux lores' and get an install working in regular VGA video. Actually this is a familiar install method that I've used in several previous RedHat installs so all was not lost. I step thru the menus generally selecting the defaults provided after choosing a Server install. I accept the the drive partition recommended, everthing on one partition except for swap and boot partitions, which is what I prefer. The install partitions and formats the drive and then the software install begins. 'This Will Take awhile' it says and I watch the progress bar move across the screen.

Then the CD drawer opens and a message box asks for Disk 2. I place the Install Disk 2 in the drive and hit the return key. Up pops a message box that says 'This is not Disk 2' try again. I remove the disk and look it over and make sure is says 'Install Disk 2' and try again, No joy. I try Install disk 3 and still no workey. I look thru all the other disks to see if any might also be an Install Disk 2 with a mislable. Still no luck. I place the CD in my laptop drive and check for information on the disk and it appears readable and I can see the label and files on the disk. Now what? I look thru the install, instruction and operations manuals and find answers to every possible install problem that could arise other than a 'This is not Disk 2' error. I log onto and register at the RedHat support website and search for any problem discussions on 'This is not Disk 2' errors, and find nothing. I look for an email address or problem reporting form to request help with the error and finally find an email address and send off an email requesting assistance with my problem, never receive an answer.

It comes to me that I might find something on amazon.com, like maybe a disk replacement pkg or something. First thing I find after doing a search is that several individuals are selling copies of their RedHat disks and the prices are quite reasonable, so I order from a seller with good ratings. While at amazon.com I decide I could use some manuals on the RedHat systems to help me out using everything more effectively once I get it installed. I read several of the reviews of the books and choose a few and order them.

I receive the manuals almost the next day, since it appears amazon.com has a wharehouse in Coffeyville, Ks. I'm close by. I receive the copied disks in usps a couple days later. Come to findout that one of the manuals I ordered has a set of RedHat 9.0 installation disks with it. Woo Hoo, 3 sets of disks now! I get to thinking in my devious mind that possibly the privately copied disks might have a backdoor inserted in their code, so I am in a quandry as to what to do. I finally decide to use the RedHat CD's that work and use the disk 2 that was provided with the manual I had purchased. I hoped this would lessen the possiblity of untoward code getting loaded.

So, now I crank up a new install with RedHat Install Disk 1 and go thru the default process to the point of needing install disk 2. I insert the aftermarket Disk 2 and proceed on with the install and finally inserting the official RedHat 3 disk to end of the install process, until it suggests chosing an Xwindows setup. I agree with settings recommended and finish the install, but specify a text login screen. Hot Dog! All is well with the world.

I fireup the system and log in to check things out. First thing I want to do is checkout the Xwindows setup. I type in 'startx' and to my surprise, it bombs. I'm not yet checked out on manually configuring the Xwindows setup so I try typing in 'Xconfigurator' and find it's not available in the RedHat 9.0. I crack the books and it seems most all the Xwindow setups refer to using the GUI setup available in Xwindows but little or nothing on getting a non-working Xwindows configured. After searching through all the books more than once I find a note about the how the new RedHat 9.0 text configuration works. I fire it up and find that it shows my hardware configuration correctly to the best of my knowledge, save and try it again. Still no workey. I thing proceed to reconfigure, first chosing the possible setting for my hardware recommendations and still no luck. I then try configuring for a really lores generic setting and I finally get a screen, a 640x480 with like 16 colors, nothing to brag about, but it works.

It appears nowadays that Xwindow capability is virtually required to make use of most of the tools provided by RedHat 9.0 to setup and administer a server. Up till now I've pretty much managed to get by with command line routines but most of what I was used to isn't available in RedHat 9.0 and I'm still not real confortable at pulling in the stuff I use from the net or off of other distributions.

Anyhow, now that I know I can get an Xwindow config that works, I decide to try to get a configuration more like I would prefer. After several trial and error changes, more than you might think, like I'm not all that smart ya know, I finally get a resolution in the 800x600 range with millions of colors that will work. During this process I've also located the X86Config file and notice what changes in it when I change configurations and think I've got a line on how to manually edit the file for what I want, something I just want to know.

Now this whole process is to get a web server up and running on new larger harddrives, so the next thing is to check that the Apache Web server is up and running and lo an behold the it appears to be there with its default screen when I key in the IP address in the browser on my laptop. Next I need to change the Apache configuration to work with my preferences, so I pull up the httpd.conf file in my editor and start checking the configuration only to find out that several things have changed from my apache configuration on my RedHat 7.1 systems. Now I need to trial and error my way thru configuration changes the way the new config file expects them. It takes me quite awhile to ponder things and finally get things to work hopefully like I want. I leave quite a bit of stuff at defaults that I have know idea what it does. Anyhow, it seems to work, but unfortunately, later I find out things are quite a bit different, much to my chagrine.

Now that things seem to be working, I need to load all the web files onto the new drive. The only way I know of to do this is to ftp all the files from my laptop drive to the new server's drive over my network. So, I try to get an ftp connection working and find out that the ftp process on the webserver isn't setup as a default. Now I have to figure out how to make this happen. Back to the books, where I find out that I that a routine can be run from the Xwindows screen to set what processes to start or stop at bootup. Now I 'startx' and begin noticing there are differences between a Gnome desktop and a KDE desktop to the point I find I prefer the KDE default, so I set it. After this I find a way to get thru the menus to the Services screen. The services screen shows a whole list of what could be run on the system with a check box in front of each and with a few of them checked. My first look finds me scrolling thru the list until I find a listing for the ftp routine. I had previously found out in my manuals that the wuftp routine has been replaced with vsftp, so I check the box in front of vsftp and save the config and also click on the button to turn on the routine. Not knowing what else might be involved I leave it at that and log out of Xwindows and try again to make an ftp connection from my laptop, much to my surprise it works.

I figure it's as good a time as any to transfer the web files since everything seems to be working on the server. Heck it's only about 12gig of files and only takes about 18hrs of continous transfer to get them over. Much to my dismay, I get real good at doing this as I wind up reinstalling everything only 9 more times before I get an acceptable system.

I probably could have saved myself a whole bunch of reinstalls if I was smarter and could read and understand all the man files. Anyhow, my first pain was to find out that the choice for a 'server' resulted in some of the services I was used to not getting installed. So, not wanting to take the time to figure out what was missing, I just did a reinstall as a 'server' again but chose to install everything when prompted for whether I wanted to pick any files other than the default to be installed. This results in the typical reconfiguring Xwindows, getting the services to run that I wanted and reconfiguring the Apache web server again. Again I had trouble with the Xwindows setup, probably because I didn't write down what worked before and evidently didn't remember it correctly. When I think I have things working again, I quickly find out that the vsftp default configuration isn't doing everything like I was used wuftp doing. Wasn't sure why, whether I would have to live with the differences, which would be a pain, or figure how to fix it. I really didn't need this problem, but back to the books and find out that vsftp has a configuration file, so, I pull it up and check it out and lo and behold the file does seem to contain entries for getting the routine to work like I expect. Neato, problem solved.

Also I now find that telnet isn't working. After searching and checking around I discover that during the install a box needs to be checked to not only install the routine but also to setup the routine to work and make sure that the port is opened in the firewall in order to use it. During this discovery process I see that using the Services screen on the Xwindows menus provides a list of all the services that are running so I can check all the routines that I feel I can't do without and get them set to start at bootup by checking the appropriate box and saving the changes. In addition to getting services running that I want, I see that several services are setup to run by default that I don't understand or don't need. Fortunately when clicking on the name of the service a short explanation of it pops up so as to help understand what that service is and what it's used for. I quickly go down the list and uncheck everything that I'm pretty sure I don't need on my server and make sure everything is checked that I want to use at bootup. I used to have to go edit files in the a couple different directories to get this all to work.

Now, reload web files, another 18hrs, and then checkout how things work only to find out that none of my perl/cgi routines will work. Seems they all come up with an error message 'Premature end of script header', Huh? I've got close to a hundred perl scripts that are integral to my web sites function and have been funcioning with no problem in my previous installations, now none of them work. What happened? Come to find out that the error message has become somewhat infamous on the coding newsgroups. It appears both an Apache upgrade and a RedHat/Perl upgrade that come in RedHat 9.0 have caused the problem. Seems Apache is a little more particular in how things work now, and the Perl routine expects a little better code than what I have been doing. So, after reading a lot of discussion on the newsgroups I take a stab at some of the Apache configuration options and revise the ones for perl/cgi scripts to what I think they should be, and it results in some of my scripts starting to work, but others still don't. I then go to some of my scripts to try and devine what the new Perl routine dosen't like. Again after reviewing posts in the newsgroups I trial and error my way thru some changes in my scripts until I can get a sample to run. I finally get a script to work after some extensive revision and deletions in my code. Now, even though the code works I find that errors continually showup in my error log files, so I have to trial and error changes until I get a script to work without the error codes. Eventually I get a clean sample to work, now I only have to recode my 99 other scripts in a similar fashion.

Whew! Think that's enough for now, the process included a lot more other hiccups for me to resolve but at least I got them working now.

I also haven't included the adventure of replacing the default sendmail/pop3 routines with a postfix/IMAP setup, which required me to find a Linux guru to actually talk me through the process.

A Linux Install or How I Spent My Superbowl Weekend

I just wanted to post a note about my latest adventure installing Linux in place of a W98 system this last weekend (01/28/00).

It was a pentium class 150 MHz with 32 meg of memory, 4.3 gig drive and a recently purchased D-Link PCI 10/100 Etherfast NIC. Has been online since 10/99 as a windows web server, which worked OK but had died on a few occasions.

I've installed Linux on 4 servers to date, starting with a Slackware distribution, so I'm an expert, right? Wrong!

Just got a Red Hat 6.0 CD and thought I'd install it on the system. So, took the system down Friday evening, expecting to get done before the Super Bowl on Sunday. Put the boot floppy in and the CD and booted the system, chose to install as a SERVER and let it crank away. First couldn't find my NIC card so skipped that, skipped LAN install, 300meg later got to the end and was asked if I'd like to install lilo, I click OK and get an error, no can do. Hummmmmm.

Thought about it a bit and figured that the W98 had been installed with a FAT32 and maybe Linux couldn't handle it, so I booted DOS and fdisked to remove all the partitions and tried to reinstall. At the end linux gives me the same error. I remember that the 4.3 gig was installed with a Quantum DM routine to allow one continuous partition under windows, maybe linux didn't like that. I boot DOS and run the DM program and remove the routine. Try linux install again, still no joy.

I pull out my Red Hat 5.0 CD and try it. I manually partition the harddrive and it dosen't find my NIC but does get thru installing 150meg and the lilo install successfully. System boots and up comes with Red Hat 5.0 without any networking. It's late Friday night or early Saturday morning, not sure which, so I plan on getting up later and getting myself a compatible NIC.

Early Saturday morning I procure a 3Com 3C509B TPC card and install it. Decide to reinstall 5.0 again and configure LAN networking. Install probes and finds card, askes for LAN info and I mistakenly enter static IP address of adjacent machine with the rest of the info and trundle thru the install to completion. Reboot and login to find that the system is connected to the lan, go try to find it with a remote system and find that it has taken over for the other boxes IP address. Try to find all the config files pertaining to static IP addresses and correct the wrong address. Reboot and no joy, same problem.

Don't really know what to do next so try reinstall of 5.0 and make sure I enter correct info this time. Install successful, login and check ifconfig and eth0 still comes up with wrong IP address. Hummmm, getting a little desparate. What would Paul Hovnanian do? I don't know, I decide to reinstall 5.0 again and see if some magic occurs. No joy.

What the hey, I've got a compatible NIC card now and lilo is installed and working maybe if I try 6.0 again it'll find the card and I can skip the lilo part and it might fix the IP problem or maybe give me a new config routine to seek out the problem. So, I install 6.0 as an upgrade instead of a new install. Finds NIC and gets through lilo and reboots. Login and no NIC access ifconfig gives bunch of gibberish after eth0. Really stumped now.

Decide to go back to 5.0 and reinstall from scratch and be very careful at every turn. Partition, finds NIC, install LAN, double check info, install web server, enter root passwords, install lilo. Reboot system and find that I've apparently entered the root password incorrectly, won't let me in. System still running on wrong IP address. It's getting late again I want to watch the Super Bowl on Sunday so I turn the system off.

Think about the situation and realize that I hadn't done a cold boot of the system all day long and that maybe the eth0 card got the wrong IP initially and just wouldn't give it up until I cold booted. Hopefully Monday evening would go better. At least my team won the Super Bowl.

Monday evening, I boot the system on the 5.0 install and go thru the process again checking carefully everything as I go and choose a minimum of programs to install, just want a bare minimum web server. Install completes, reboots and voila, system comes up with web server in the right place. Now we're cooking, I login and create a user and then go to a remote system and login thru telnet and get in OK. I then fireup WSFTP to transfer files to the system and no joy. Won't let me FTP in. I remember there was a choice for anon FTP server that I hadn't checked in the install.

So, not being familiar with individual package install and setup I do a complete 5.0 install again and make sure the FTP choice is checked. Reboot the system, login and create a user, try FTP from remote system and Oboy! it works. Telnet in and it works! I copy over all the web site files and let it go.


This dosen't include the hassels I had to go thru to get the X-Windows setup and working.

I really like the results, but getting there for me was a real hard row to howe. I still don't know anything about Linux.

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G. McDowell
est. 1996