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Novell Linux Desktop Overview: Installation

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Joe Harmon

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Posted: 22 Feb 2005

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 Part 1: Click here to view a video related to the information in this article. 

 Part 2: Click here to view a video related to the information in this article. 

** Windows Users ** If you do not desire to move from Windows all at once, then that is just fine. The NLD (Novell Linux Desktop) installation will automatically create a dual boot system if Windows was already installed on your system. This will allow you to move at your own pace. However, if you do run into issues, we would love to hear what holds you back from moving over.

Dual Boot Procedure

** IMPORTANT ** If you are not planning on having a dual boot then you can move straight to the installation section. However, be aware that if Windows is installed on this workstation, then NLD will try and create a dual boot system. If you are going to replace windows then you will need to redo the partition during the install. We will walk you through this procedure.

Preparing your hard drive

  • Do you have only one hard drive? If the answer is yes, then is the whole drive partitioned as a Windows partition? If you only have one drive, and the entire partition is a Windows partition, then the only option you have is to resize that partition if you plan on having a dual boot. Before a resize can happen we need to prepare the hard drive by cleaning up any file cross links as well as any lost file fragments. This is done by running scandisk. After the scandisk is complete you will want to run a defrag to move all of your files to the beginning of the partition. NLD can perform a moving of files for a FAT partition, but it is not a native operation and therefore is not as fast or as safe as using a Windows native tool on a Windows native file system. Not to mention that a defrag cannot be performed by NLD on an NTFS file system and therefore the resizing of the partition cannot happen until the files have been moved.

  • Is the windows partition a FAT partition or an NTFS partition? There are advantages and disadvantages to either. You can read and write information between Linux and Windows on a FAT partition. You can read from an NTFS partition, but writing to NTFS from Linux is not supported, so the better question at this point is whether or not you are planning on sharing information between Windows and Linux? If the answer is yes, then I would suggest that you have a FAT partition with that shared information. Remember that a FAT partition doesn't have the security that NTFS has. NTFS also has better performance than FAT partitions. Another option is to share all of you information thought iFolder. This will allow for security as well as writing to each individual native file system. The iFolder server will then keep everything in sync between the two dual boot systems.

Installation Procedure

BIOS Considerations

  • IBM Thinkpads have a hidden partition that will need to be deleted before you can install NLD. If this partition is not deleted, you will end up at a grub prompt upon reboot of the first installation CD.
  • Some workstations are automatically set to boot from the CD. If you are not setup for this option, this can be set in the BIOS.

Installation of NLD

  • There are several options that you may or may not want to use during the install. We will discuss the F2 and F3 option
    • F2 - Display Options
      • Depending on your monitor, you may or may not need to change the display before you start the installation process. Typically if you have a docking station you may pick up a resolution that will be out of the range of your monitor and / or laptop display. For example your laptop may only be able to support 1024 x 768, but through a docking station the resolution may be much higher than that. If you select F2 and change it to something that you know your monitor or laptop will pick up (like 800 x 600) you will then be able move forward with the install.
      • VMWare Considerations - You can install NLD (Novell Linux Desktop using the GUI in VMWare if you press F2 and choose SVGA. However the screen size has been seen to go larger than the host screen size, so it is typically easier to install in text mode. To do this select F2 and choose TEXT MODE or you will need to put vga=none during the install option.
    • F3 - Installation Source
      • You have several option for the installation Source. CDROM is the default. If you have a source server setup, this can make the install much faster (depending on your bandwidth) as well as cut down on distributed resources. This section will be covered more in depth in the administration section.

  • License Agreement. Read and Accept the license agreement to continue.
  • Choose the appropriate language and click on ACCEPT to continue.
  • Both Gnome and KDE are supported on NLD (Novell Linux Desktop). North America has a large install of gnome while Europe has a large install of KDE. Feel free to install either or both, but you will need to choose which one you want for the base install. If you are not sure, then contact your system administrator to see how your company policy has been set.

    ** NOTE ** There are two login managers (KDE and GNOME) for the Novell Linux Desktop. They both carry the NLD branding, but they do look a little different. If you choose GNOME as the default you will receive the GNOME login manager. If you choose KDE as the default you will receive the KDE login manager, even if you choose to install both desktops.
  • There are also several settings on this next screen that may need to be changed. The most common are discussed below.
    • Partitioning - Currently the Novell Linux Desktop will perform a new fresh installation or a dual boot. The installation will automatically take care of formating the partition if a windows previously existed on the desktop. If you do not want to run a dual boot and you did have windows previously on this workstation, then you will to select the CHANGE button and choose partitioning. You will then need to create a new partition using the whole disk.
      • Once you are in the partitioning, you see the suggested partitioning at the top of the screen. Since you have decided to have only NLD on this workstation, click on the CREATE CUSTOM PARTITION SETUP option and then select NEXT to continue.
      • This section allows you to go in and create your own partitions if you choose the CUSTOM PARTITION option, but for this example we just want to erase the whole drive and let the install do the partitioning for us. Choose the hard disk you want to use and then NEXT to continue.
      • To allow the install to automatically partition your disk, choose USE ENTIRE HARD DISK and click NEXT.
    • Software - If you wish to add more software, click on the CHANGE drop down and choose software. You can then add specific software depending on your needs.

    • Time Zone - You will also most likely need to change the Time Zone. It is set to US Pacific time by default. To do this click on the CHANGE button and choose TIME ZONE. Chose the proper time zone, and change the time and date if necessary. If you are installing this into a vmware session, make sure that you choose LOCAL TIME and not UTC.
  • This screen is just a "last chance to make changes" screen. Click YES INSTALL to begin the installation.
  • NLD ships with 3 CD's for the install. Once the first CD has completed, the workstation will reboot and the second and third CD will install.
  • Once the file copy process has completed you will need to do some last bit configuration. Here you will be asked to put in the password for root. Please note the length of the password. If you are going to have a password that exceeds 8 characters, then you will need to click on the EXPERT OPTIONS and choose MD5.
    • This screen shot shows the EXPERT OPTIONS screen. Click OK and NEXT to continue.
  • Now we have the option to configure our network connections. If left at its default you will be using DHCP. If you desire to use static IP information, or want to add other interfaces, then you can change that information here. If this is going to be a server then I would recommend a static IP, however for this workstation example we will keep the defaults and configure the rest under the networking section after the installation is complete.
  • Now we will be prompted to test the connection to the Internet. The reason for the test is due to the update that we will try to perform on the workstation. If you skip the test then you will not be able to perform the upgrade. Choose YES... and then NEXT to continue.
  • The result window will come back with either a success or a failure. If there is a failure, then you will need to perform the update after the installation.
  • If the updates are available then you should receive a prompt to run the update. There are two types of updates with the NLD. There are security update that you will automatically receive regardless of an activation code, and there are patches, fixes, and all other types of updates. that only come with the registered activation code that you receive when you purchase the product. Choose YES... and the OK to run the update. Again, if you choose NO..., then the update will have to be performed after the installation.
  • Place your email address and activation key in the Zen Online Update activation form. You should have received an activation key via email when you purchased the software. You then need to first register the activation before it can be used. If this has not yet been done then please see the Registering NLD chapter. If you have not purchased the product then a 60-day evaluation key is available at the same location as the download.
  • If you registration key was correct, then you will show a dialog that the registration succeeded. If you don't receive this dialog, then you either submitted the wrong activation code, or it has not been activated through your eLogin account.
  • Once the patch download has completed, click FINISH to continue.
  • Now we come to the user authentication method. In this case we will be creating a stand alone machine and will be keeping the default selection of "Local".
  • Put in the User data for accessing your local machine. It is suggested that you access the local machine using this user. The password settings will be sufficient, and the User Management section (were rights are set) will be discussed after the installation is complete.
  • Please review the readme for known issues and other important information about the NLD 9.0. Click NEXT to continue.
  • Now your graphic cards, monitor, sound card, etc., will be automatically detected. We will discuss these further after the installation.
  • Congratulations, the installation is complete. Click Finish to continue.
  • Now you will receive the login prompt. Login as the desired user.

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