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Linux test platformGoing LAN

Initial Linux Install

Before being able to boot Linux (Redhat 5.2, CD's included with Redhat Linux Unleashed by David Pitts and Bill Ball), I needed to obtain the DOS mode driver for the CD-ROM drive. It was available from the Compaq web site. This driver was added to the CONFIG.SYS file, and MSCDEX.EXE added to the AUTOEXEC.BAT file.

I wanted to keep the existing Windows 95 installed, to allow comparison with Linux on hardware detection. I therefore defragged the hardrive and used the FIPS tool (from the Redhat CD) to create a new partition, D:.

Linux was booted using the AUTOBOOT.BAT approach, avoiding the necessity to create boot diskettes. Everything was smooth until disk setup. I used Disk Druid. The D: partition was marked as DOS and I was informed that it couldn't be used for Linux. Taking my courage in both hands, I deleted the D: partition and recreated it as a Linux partition of around 400Mb (/dev/hda5). I also added a 64Mb swap partition as /dev/hda6. 100Mb was left unused on the hard drive, and my plan was to add a /home partition later. So, C: resided on cylinders 1-314, while Linux lived on 316-621.

I had very little information on the Compaq monitor (scan rates etc), so I used very conservative settings when came the time to configure X11.

Linux rebooted fine, and X11 started up without problems. However, I was left with one issue; Windows 95 would not boot up with a complete power down first. Even when it did boot, it hung for a while, and intermittent hangs kept occurring. Finally, I noticed that the disk partition used by Linux was seen by W95 as D: with a CD-ROM icon. I reconfigured the real CD-ROM from E: to D: and rebooted. That fixed it, the Linux partition was now hidden from W95.

Linux picked up the Netgear card as a Digital Tulip (OEM'd I suppose), but not the on-board AMD device. I modified /etc/conf.module (apparently renamed to modules.conf in later releases) to recognise both devices. The on-board AMD Ethernet device uses the LANCE driver. On reboot, Linux saw both devices, so I disabled the Netgear as this card was to be transferred to my existing Windows 95 machine to allow both machines to be connected.

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