Installation of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5
UNIX at SLAC
Linux at SLAC
|Updated: 1 Oct 2010|
Please note: These are not complete Red Hat Enterprise Linux install instructions; go to the Red Hat Web site for more complete information.
This procedure does a "clean install", not an upgrade. If you follow OCIO recommendations against storing permanent data on a workstation's system disk, this should not be a problem. If you do have some data you want to preserve on this disk, but it is all stored in a non-system partition, e.g., /u1, you might be OK, providing your system partitions are large enough to accommodate RHEL5 with sufficient room for future updates (see Disk Partitions, below). Otherwise, it is your responsibility to backup your data before beginning the installation. If you must restore it to a local filesystem after the installation, we strongly urge you to buy a second disk and keep permanent data off the system disk.
You may want to work next to a machine with a web browser and access the Red Hat installation manual from the documentation area of the Red Hat web site.
To make a bootable CDROM for installing RHEL5, you will need to burn an ISO 9660 image file onto CD-R (or CD-RW) media. On Linux, you can use an application like Xcdroast (requires X Windows) or cdrecord (a command-line tool). Mac OSX can successfully create bootable CDROMs using the CDROM burning utility.
To create an installation boot CDROM under Linux, using the cdrecord utility:
Find the ISO 9660 disc image for an installation boot CDROM for your architecture and the current RHEL5 Update level:
cd /afs/slac/package/RedHat/RHEL5/ARCH/images ls boot.isoYou should replace the string 'ARCH' with the architecture of your processor, i.e., for 64-bit-capable processors such as an AMD Opteron or an Intel EM64T chip, you should substitute 'x86_64'; for 32-bit processors, use 'i386'.
cdrecord -scanbus dev=/dev/hdcYou'll get a line that includes some text identifying your specific CDROM device, along with the device address; for example:
1,0,0 100) '_NEC ' 'CD-RW NR-9300A ' '105B' Removable CD-ROMThe first field in this example, "1,0,0", is your CDROM device address. This is the information you'll need.
cdrecord -v -speed=2 dev=1,0,0 -eject -data boot.isoOn some systems you may need to prefix the device address with a transport layer indicator, such as 'ATA:' or 'ATAPI:', or you may need additional options on the cdrecord command line. See the man page for cdrecord for details.
If you haven't burned any CDROMs before, it's a good idea to run some tests first by adding the '-dummy' option to the cdrecord command line.
You might also want to consider burning a "rescue disc" for use in case of problems with the system on your hard disk. The procedure is similar to the above and you can find the appropriate image in the directory, /afs/slac/package/RedHat/RHEL5/ISO/. Look for a file ending in "...-WS-disc1.iso" and matching your architecture and the current update level, e.g., "RHEL5-U2-i386-WS-disc1.iso".
Stick the CDROM in the drive and reboot your machine.
If your machine ignores the CDROM at boot time, and simply reboots the existing system on the hard disk, there is most likely a problem with the boot order in the BIOS. You can usually get into the BIOS by pressing a function key (usually F2) early in the boot process. The various BIOS screens vary quite a bit, even within a single vendor's products. However, there is usually a place where you can specify the order in which the BIOS should look for a bootable device. You should make sure it looks at the CDROM drive before the hard disk.
At the boot prompt, you can choose between running the installation in
graphical or text mode. Unless you have an older monitor or video card, it
should be OK to just type
linux askmethod, then hit the
Enter key and run the installation in graphical mode. To run
in text mode, type
linux text askmethod and press the
It will take a minute or two to load. Once you are in the install program, follow the directions until you get to the question on what kind of installation method to use.
N.B. There may be some variations in the order of the screens in the installation program depending on your exact hardware configuration and/or the choices you make, so it's probably a good idea to read through the rest of this section before proceeding.
In the "Installation Method" screen, choose NFS image to insure that the latest SLAC-recommended kernel and RPMs are installed. If you install from a CDROM, you may need to upgrade the kernel after installation in order to comply with SLAC security requirements.
Next, you will be asked to configure TCP/IP. Uncheck Use dynamic IP configuration and enter the IP Address, Netmask, Default gateway and Primary nameserver information given to you by OCIO when you requested your node name and IP address.
Please be careful to enter this information accurately, since errors can disrupt the network.
Note that the Red Hat install program will try to guess your Default gateway and Primary nameserver after you enter your IP address and Netmask, and will set these up as defaults. These Red Hat-supplied values are most likely wrong. If you don't know one or more of these values, please ask the help desk or unix-admin -- do not use the Red Hat supplied values.
Next you will be asked for NFS setup information. The NFS server
lnxinstall and the Red Hat directories are:
If the directory can't be mounted try using
172.23.16.97, instead of its name.
At the Disk Partitioning Setup screen, select Manually partition with Disk Druid. The default partitioning scheme used by the Automatically partition option is not suitable for use in the SLAC environment.
The table below shows suggested partitioning schemes for two different size disks, representing typical sizes of disks available on older hardware still in service here at SLAC. Newer systems usually have substantially larger system disks.
Make sure to give Linux at least a 9 GB root partition. If your root partition is less than about 9 GB, you should omit installing some of the software package groups recommended below, in order to allow room for future upgrades and security patches. Similarly, if you install more package groups than suggested below, you will probably need a larger root partition -- perhaps 10-12 GB if you install nearly everything. Small root partitions can make it difficult or impossible to install required security patches later on. Systems that cannot apply required security patches in a timely fashion may be denied access to the SLAC network. If possible the root partion should be at least 20 GB for modern machines with 100 GB and larger disks.
You should also create a swap partition at least as large as the memory (twice the main memory is a good rule of thumb for the size of the swap partition).
If there is sufficient space, we recommend that you allocate an
/scswork partition of 1 GB, to be reserved for the exclusive
use of OCIO. Use the rest for scratch space; for example, you might want to
create a larger
/tmp or add a separate
directory. Note that older files in
/tmp are periodically
removed but files in
/scratch will remain until removed by you
unless the system is re-installed.
Always choose to format your Linux partitions. Use the new, ext3 filesystem type on all partitions except swap. (In earlier versions of AFS, /usr/vice/cache needed the ext2 filesystem, but ext3 is now compatible with the AFS cache). ext3 is a journaling filesystem and will permit much faster recovery following crashes.
WARNING! You should not allocate any partitions on the system disk for permanent data. Because of the large sizes of currently available disks, you may be strongly tempted to ignore this warning. However, it is very risky to do so, because:
The best way to make use of extra space on your system disk is to allocate a large /tmp or /scratch partition. If you need additional permanent space, please contact email@example.com; we will do our best to help you acquire reliable, backed-up storage at a reasonable cost. If you ignore this warning, it will be your responsibility to save and restore your data the next time your system needs to be re-installed.
Note that partition names and numbers, and the order of the partitions, are assigned automatically by Disk Druid. Also, the actual sizes of allocated partitions may vary a little bit from what you request via Disk Druid's GUI interface. This may make it difficult to allocate every last block on the disk.
|12 GB disk||+18 GB or larger disk|
|/||ext3||9 GB||12 GB|
|swap||swap||1 x memory or
at least 512 MB
|2 x memory or|
at least 1 GB
|/var||ext3||512 MB||4 GB|
|/usr/vice/cache||ext3||512 MB||2 GB|
|/tmp||ext3||512 MB||4 GB|
|/scratch (or extra /tmp space)||ext3||omit||remainder|
We recommend that you use the default boot loader, GRUB, and accept the defaults for the other options on this screen.
The Network Configuration screen should show the same information you entered above in the TCP/IP Setup when requesting an NFS installation.
If you will be using your system within the SLAC environment, you will need to select "No firewall" at the Firewall Configuration screen. However, if you are installing a stand-alone system, e.g., for use from your home, or a laptop that will be connected to the Internet from outside SLAC's firewall, you may want to learn more about the firewall facilities in Red Hat Linux in order to better protect your system.
At the bottom of the 'Firewall Configuration' page there is a pull-down menu to make SELinux 'active', 'warn', or 'disable'. Choose 'disable'.
When the annoying box pops-up to ask you to confirm your setting, hit
When asked for an Installation or Subscription number, use this:
26e2a46326aee4a5If you don't enter that number, you will not have access to all the RPMs at install time, and you will just get a very basic install. After running taylor, your machine will have access to the full list of RPMs (the workstation and supplementary child channels).
If you wish, select one or more additional languages.
Select the time zone, either by location or UTC offset (e.g., by clicking on a nearby city, such as Los Angeles, on the map or by selecting UTC-08 plus daylight savings time on the UTC Offset tab). You should not check the "System clock uses UTC" box on dual-booted machines (note that OCIO strongly discourages dual boot machines).
root password and DON'T FORGET IT!
SLAC's post-installation tool
taylor will override this password.
'Install default software packages' is probably
sufficient for most installs. This will give you a good basic system.
You may also select package groups or individual packages to be installed
'Customize software packages to be installed', but
do not install or run Server programs (web, nfs, tftp, ftp, etc.) without
checking with unix-admin or cyber-security first.
In addition to the Red Hat defaults, we recommend adding the following groups:
Please do not install servers unless you really know what you are doing and okay it with OCIO first. And please don't select "Everything" which would also install the servers.
To find out exactly what's included in a group, click on "Details" (you'll have to select the group first if it is not already selected). Some groups have optional parts; in the Details screen you can select or unselect these options.If you want complete control, check the Select individual packages option before clicking the Next button. Note that selecting "Minimal" will override your previous selections, but unselecting it will restore them.
Note that the last row in the above table simply shows the sum of the package sizes, and is really only intended to give you a rough idea of relative sizes for different collections of packages. You must allocate a root partition significantly larger than these minimums to get a workable system and to reserve space to install package updates (especially security updates)/
Don't worry too much about getting every package you might ever want -- you can always add additional packages later.It may take 15 minutes to over an hour to install the packages depending on the speed of your machine and network.
The installation program will reboot the machine when it is finished. Make sure to remove any floppy left in the drive from the initial boot of the installation program.
The first time you boot your newly-installed system in the graphical run level (run level 5) the Red Hat Setup Agent may automatically run. This tool is intended for stand-alone systems and guides you through a number of first time system administration tasks such as:
If you are planning to taylor your system you can skip most or all of these steps -- they are either unneeded or will be handled by taylor. In particular you should avoid creating a local account with the same username as your SLAC UNIX account or registering personally with RHN.
In Red Hat Release 5 most graphics chips are probed for correct values. If
you want to change the configuration of X Windows, use the configuration
If you can't get a satisfactory X configuration using this tool then you
will have to fiddle with the
/etc/X11/xorg.conf file. See the
xorg.conf(5x) man page for information on the format of this file and it's
many device-independent options. There are also device-specific man pages
for the various supported video drivers -- see the SEE ALSO section
of xorg.conf(5x) for some of the driver names. Do not
increase the refresh rate ranges on your monitor unless you are absolutely
sure it is supported!
If your sound card was not automatically configured by the installation
program or during the initial boot (by a program called "kudzu"), you can
try running (as root) the Sound Card Configuration Tool. You need to do this
in X Windows. You can also run this tool by entering
system-config-soundcard on the command line, or by choosing
Main Menu => System Settings => Soundcard Detection. Note that this tool
requires that you have an X server running. For more information, see the
section on Sound Configuration in the RHEL5 Installation Guide.
If you have an unusual sound card, you may also have to search the web for
detailed help on configuring it.
WARNING: This is not (yet) for laptop users.
Taylor is the tool used by OCIO for administering the very large number of UNIX (including Linux) systems for which we are responsible. It can be run after the Red Hat installation program to automatically configure your new system to be integrated into the SLAC environment. It normally installs a cronjob which will maintain your system automatically.
Some of the things Taylor does include:
/usr/localto point to SLAC AFS
For additional information, see the Taylor Web page.
Taylor uses a configuration file,
/etc/taylor.opts, to control
its actions. If you don't have this file the first time you run Taylor, it
will install one with a reasonable set of defaults. However, you may want
to set some of these options before you run Taylor the first time, since the
root password you set during installation will otherwise be
overridden at this point.
If your machine was previously taylored, you will most likely want to
restore most or all of the options from your old
file (you did print a copy before
If your machine is connected to a
non-autonegotiating (fixed speed) 100 MB/s port, it is
particularly important to include the option,
If you are not sure, omit this option or check with net-admin.
If your machine has not been previously taylored, look in
/afs/slac/package/taylor/taylor.opts for a sample
taylor.opts file. In particular, this file includes commented
out examples examples showing how to:
For a more complete list of options, do
After running Taylor the first time, if you subsequently need an option
changed and can no longer modify
contact one of your Linux Desktop Support people or send mail to
To install and run Taylor, execute the following command:
elinks -source http://www.slac.stanford.edu/comp/unix/linux/go-taylor | sh
You will be asked whether to use the version of
maintained by OCIO or set up a private /usr/local. We highly
recommend that you use the central one.
Taylor will probably take several minutes to complete its work. If there is
an error and you can see how to fix the problem, it is safe to rerun
taylor afterward. If you have an error you cannot understand
or fix, send email to
unix-admin to request help. If possible, paste the error
messages from Taylor into the email.
If you receive your email via the UNIX mail spool rather than SLAC's
Exchange server, you'll need access to
/nfs/mailspool/mail/<your_UID>. Some users may also want
to access other central NFS file servers from their Linux workstations.
Access to NFS is not automatic; for security reasons you must submit a
request to OCIO for permission to mount our central servers. There is a
simple NFS Access
form for this purpose if you do not need any superuser privileges on the
machine. If you also need privileges, see the next section.
If you need superuser privileges (i.e., the
sudo ALL) on your machine, you will need to carefully
read the Superuser/NFS
Privileges page, then fill out and submit the form you'll find
there. If you also need NFS access, you must request it via this same form.
SLAC maintains a mirror of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux WS 5 distribution on a RedHat Linux Satellite Server.
The yum command is a program that can look at a directory or at an ftp or http site and determine if there are updates to any of your packages there. If it finds them, it can also install them. Taylor installs yum and uses it to apply required security updates. In addition, Taylor configures yum so that you or your system admin can use it to install any necessary bug fix RPMs to bring your system up to the latest OCIO-recommended Red Hat update level. The command to do this is simply,
sudo yum upgradeTo find out what yum would do without actually doing it, use the command,
sudo yum check-update.
Use the GUI program 'pirut' for additional RPMS that you might want to install.
There are some known issues with RHEL5. Please see the RHEL5 Release
notes for other information:
If you need more information, please have a look at our Linux Resources page.