Installation walkthrough of Mandriva Linux 2006

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Older installation walkthroughs:
Mandriva Linux 2005 Limited Edition
Mandrakelinux 10.0 Community Edition
Mandrakelinux 9.2
Mandrakelinux 9.1

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This page describes the installation I did with the clubmember download dvd of Mandriva Linux 2006 Powerpack. I have installed it and run it on my desktop system (zurich), my wife's desktop (neuchatel) and my laptop (samos) (see also the hardware specifications page).
To those who've already used or seen a graphical Linux installer this may not be exciting, but those who haven't and are curious are invited to give this page a good read. I hope that this information will help some uninitiated to take the plunge and give Linux a try.
I used 'use existing partitions' and 'install' instead of upgrade on both desktops and the laptop. I will do an upgrade from Mandriva 2005LE as soon as I find the time. It seems that in most cases 'upgrade' works fine, but in some it doesn't. (This actually used to state that it was quite a bad idea to upgrade instead of install the system anew - I think things have been improved a lot, the only thing is that you have to take into account what the release notes say about updating, and if you are so experienced with Linux you wouldn't be reading this page... In any case, I no longer find it quite a bad idea, I've upgraded it to thinking it's sometimes not a very good idea.) Your mileage may vary; if you use the 'upgrade' function and you have problems, you may first want to do a clean install to see if that helps. BTW, a clean install is usually faster anyway, since there are no dependencies of the packages that get replaced to be checked.

I have several partitions that I use as root partitions; normally I have the bootloader of my main system in the MBR of the first harddisk, /dev/hda, and on other installs (different distro, beta's or rc's) I choose to have the bootloader on a floppy (/dev/fd0). On these installs I choose to install on the MBR directly.

On all three systems I installed with the boot.iso image that I burnt to a cd-rw. You can find this image on the dvd: install/images/boot.iso. It's less than 14MB so even a mini cdrw would do, and this boot image supports lots of installation methods: FTP, HTTP, NFS, local harddrive image, local harddrive files. I had my server mount the iso image so it would be available via ftp on the local network - this should be good, I have recently upgraded my network to gigabit ethernet. I decided that my laptop would not always be connected, so there I installed from the iso image on the local harddrive (naturally after copying said image).

By doing the install from iso image(s) on your local harddrive or via ftp, the installation media location is known to the system afterwards, which means for me that I can just issue urpmi commands to install applications and will never be prompted to insert the media - with current harddisk sizes not a problem. One thing I ran into: if you have the iso image on your /home partition, during installation your 'old' usernames will not be found (in the 'create user' steps), and if you opt to create the same username(s) the chances are they will not have the same UID and GID - this can lead to some problems (that can be fixed, but they will keep the novice puzzled)... Naturally I filed a bugreport for that, so please vote for that bug. (This I ran into with Mdv 2005LE, and unfortunately I found this situation has not changed - on the laptop I installed from the iso on the /home partition, and sure enough I quickly found myself on the console as root using the command id and fixing /etc/passwd and /etc/group - since you can't log on if 'your' home dir is not writable to you...)

Another feature is that the installer actually offers to copy the installation media to the harddrive - this has the same effect as the iso installation, one will not have to scramble for any discs later on.

A last remark: it will pay off later if you create an extra partition that can serve as root partition for subsequent linux installations, for instance for beta/rc testing.
It seems I cannot stress this enough; read the forums, there are still so many posts of people who go like: "I wish I hadn't given up my nice installation of Distro X to try out Distro Y which I now find is totally disappointing to me.." but usually with stronger wordings.

The installation itself

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Just put the dvd or the first cd in the tray and reboot the pc; then type enter when you get to the question if you want to install, upgrade or other.

I will now just give some tips and explanations on what and how I do things, along with the screenshots I made during the install on desktop system neuchatel and my laptop (just hit F2 to make a screenshot, you can find them later in /root/DrakX-screenshots/). Note that I have chosen to resize the screenshots, the normal resolution is 800x600 (SVGA). You can click each image to get the normal size screenshot.
The following parts are in the installation; I've intermittently put my comments, whereever I have tips to spare.

Choosing Your Language

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Use advanced to select more than one language. Very important if you want multiple languages, in some cases it can be near impossible to add later (well you can always run through the install process again, just doing upgrade instead of install...). Selecting extra languages means you also get the spell checker files for those languages installed. Install screenshot
As you can tell when browsing this list, Linux offers an astonishing choice of languages (any language that anyone has bothered to do the translation for, as a matter of fact). I checked the secondary languages of my choice and moved on. Install screenshot

License Terms of the Distribution

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License agreement - nothing objectionable here, no EULA's that try to take your rights, quite the contrary. This is the only License you'll see and/or have to agree to. Install screenshot
Clicking the release notes button gets you ... the release notes.
Install screenshot

Install type

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Here the question is asked is whether you want to install or upgrade; even if you have an older version of Mandrake installed, it is often wiser to do an install than an upgrade. People have reported problems with the result in case of an upgrade from some older Mandrake installation. In any case it's usually much faster. Remember, as long as you don't format your /home partition (which is a separate partition, right?!) you keep your own data; the install vs upgrade question is only related to the system.
The installer proposes to upgrade, but I selected 'Install'.
Install screenshot

Keyboard selection

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Select your keyboard layout. (Tip for Dutch users: you can choose the Dutch layout, but this is actually very uncommon; the commonly used keyboard layout in the Netherlands is US international.) I got the British layout preselected, since I chose British English as the first language. I chose Swiss (German layout) since that's the keyboard layout of my wife's system. Basically you get all options that are relevant to the languages you selected in the beginning - naturally you can get all other layouts by clicking the 'more'-button. Install screenshot

Security level

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Choose the security level of your Mandrakelinux system. For servers with a fixed ip address that will be permanently internet-connected, you may want to select something a bit higher than the standard setting that I took. Nowadays the preselected value is 'High', so apparently Mandriva is stepping up the security level. Install screenshot

Hard disk partioning

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Select whether you want to use existing partitions, erase the entire disk, reduce the size of your windows partition to make place for your Linux system or do your own custom setup. For comments on disk partitioning, read my Mandrake 9.1 installation page. For more screenshots from the Mandrake Diskdrake program, read the 9.2 installation page.
As always, I really recommend to create a spare partition that can later be used as root partition to an alternative system. With harddrives of 120GB and more being todays standard, some extra 10GB that lies unused 'just for when you want to use it' is not an issue, whereas throwing out your working system for some new hyped system that happens to be 'not all that' in your case is a real shame.
Install screenshot
I chose 'existing partitions', and I guess the installer read one of the old /etc/fstab files to know where I usually mount which extra partitions. Neat! I indicated which partition I wanted to use as a root partition ( / ) for this installation, and where to mount the other 'root' partitions. Install screenshot

Formatting of partitions

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The next step is to format the partition that will serve as root partition. After this, there is no way back, so be sure that you have made backups of any file on that partition that you may need. If you wish, you can choose to format other partitions as well; in my case I wanted to keep all data on all other partitions. Install screenshot

Package selection

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The installer checks which programs can actually be installed. The group selection allows for quick installation of the most common applications per subsection. Install screenshot
This is my usual selection, except that I used to include LSB - which I don't see the point of, I only install Mdv packages anyway. Install screenshot
I had opted for the individual package selection. Note that in 'flat list view' (click the circular arrow-icon), you can just start typing away and the built-in search will jump to the package name you're typing. Install screenshot

Server packages security issue

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This is just a warning that the server applications that you may have selected to install will be switched on and if they should have a security problem, you will have to update them. In other words, please realise that installing these packages burdens you with the responsability of their maintenance.
After you 'OK' this, the chosen packages are installed, which can take between 10 and 100 minutes, strongly dependent on your selections and the speed of your hardware.
Install screenshot

System installation

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Here the system gets installed, and the looks of this part have really improved. It's a bit like a slideshow of things to come, and if you click 'Details' you see the list of packages that are being installed; previously each package had it's own progress bar and there was only one name. The new details list looks a lot more like the one Suse Linux uses, and I like it much better. Install screenshot

Setting the administrator (root) password

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Choose a password that you can remember, but bear in mind: anyone with physical access to your machine can easily change it (not necessarily find out what your password is, but set a new one. See the howto page on how to do that). Install screenshot

Create user accounts for your system

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You have to create at least one user account. You can select an icon (which, naturally can be changed later) for each user, by clicking on it. Note that the (new) default login manager doesn't show these icons...
Click 'accept user' to add another one, and 'next' when you're done.
Install screenshot


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If you want the system to log one specific user on upon boot, without asking for the password, you can set that up here. If you don't use this feature, a logon screen (MDKKDM) is presented each time the machine is booted, where the account name and password have to be used to get into the machine. Note that if you use KDE, you can simply set things up to use a screenlock when starting - so you can safely use this autologon feature and still be sure no-one will mess with your data and/or account. Install screenshot

Boot loader

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The bootloader serves to let you choose between the Operating Systems on your machine at boot time. You can have the bootloader at the various locations that are selectable here. Note that it only makes sense to put the bootloader in the first sector of the root partition if you have some other bootloader to direct the computer BIOS there. If you choose 'skip' you won't be able to start your system, and even the rescue mode of the installation cd won't be able to help you; it relies on the bootloader info being available somewhere on your system, and if you choose 'skip' here, it won't even get created. Another thing: the title is clearly LILO/grub installation - but if you want grub, how can you select it? Maybe I missed something here... Install screenshot

Summary and configuration

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This is the summary screen; you can (re)configure plenty of hardware here, from your mouse, keyboard, audio, graphics card to your printer(s) and internet/ethernet connection. Install screenshot
Scrolling down shows some more things to configure... Install screenshot

Summary -- Network

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Choose which connection to configure. In my case, it's my LAN connection. Naturally this was all set up, I was doing a network installation. Install screenshot

Interface type. Install screenshot

Protocol: DHCP or manual IP configuration. (BTW that bug that claimed you had previously configured the network device where you clearly hadn't is finally fixed.) Install screenshot

I prefer to have fixed IP addresses on my home lan - especially when some cable is unplugged or the switch is powered down, it avoids long waits at boot time. Install screenshot

Here the DNS and gateway information can be fed to the system. Install screenshot

In case you want to use Zeroconf, you can put the hostname here. Install screenshot
And as a last option, you can choose to allow users to start the network connection. I'm not sure what this is good for, but this is Linux and you have a choice! Install screenshot

Summary -- Printer setup

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Before doing the printer setup, you have to do the network setup if have a network (colour laser) printer as I do. Without the network up and running, setting up the printer would be a futile event. Note: I forgot to take screenshots for a bit on neuchatel, so these printer config screenies are from samos... Install screenshot
Here the printer detection settings can be configured. I opted to have 'Auto-detect' on for printers directly connected to the local network. Install screenshot
The autodetection actually found my network printer - this is the first time ever! Now, the installer detected the printer IP address, port, name and number... Install screenshot
... but then failed to propose the correct model, so I opted to select it by hand ... Install screenshot
... picked the correct model description ... Install screenshot
... and had the system print a test page, which came out fine. After this, the printer showed up nicely on the overview Install screenshot
The printer showed up nicely on the overview. Install screenshot

Summary -- Graphical interface

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There was nothing to set up for the NVidia graphics card since the installed automatically used the closed source NVidia driver that is included in the Powerpack, and the monitor was also properly detected.

Install updates

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Before ending the install, you get to install the updates that have been released after the install cds hit the web. Figuring this was just after the release, I declined. If you get installation media a few weeks or more after release, this is really a nice feature. Install screenshot

End of installation

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Done! It took just about an hour, including my package selection by hand,... not bad for a full system install. Install screenshot

Final remarks

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The installation went extremely smooth and relatively fast, on both desktops and on my laptop. Actually I'd almost say: uneventful. Naturally, the graphics drivers were included this time, since I used the powerpack and both desktops have an Nvidia card. Compared to earlier Mandrake/Mandriva releases, I'd say this installer is really nicely polished and good looking. Nicely uneventful, smooth and problemfree on my hardware and good looking too, it almost sounds like the old Mandrake is really gone. I don't know if this is much to do with the recent mergers/acquisitions of Conectiva and Lycoris, but I'd like to say: Welcome to the new Mandriva! Make yourself at home on my systems!

Happy installing!

Discussion and feedback

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If you want to give me feedback you can get to me via my contact info (link at the top) or in this topic: I'm tracking that topic, so as soon as you add a message I will be notified and read up on your comments. That forum is also great for help in case of problems.

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Page first created: October 11th 2005. Page last updated: 2005-10-12 21:25

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