PCLinuxOS Edu Installation
Now that you have logged in as user root, you see the following desktop screen. Double click the Install PCLinuxOS icon on the desktop to start the installation. You can follow each step, referring to this document, or print the document for reference during the steps done while this document is closed.
Click OK to continue.
The installation wizard screen will appear. Click Next to continue.
The disk partitioning window will appear. If you choose to use free space, a partitioning scheme will be suggested. I almost always use the custom disk partitioning method. You may use the free space option if you prefer.
Here I have toggled to expert mode by clicking the button in the lower right corner of the window. It is not mandatory that you do this in order to complete the installation. In the illustration, we are starting with a blank 8 GB hard drive.
The first thing you want to do is create a partition. I prefer to have the SWAP partition at the beginning of the drive. Because the computer has 512 MB of RAM, I will create a SWAP partition of 1024 MB, twice the size of available RAM. This is, generally, a good rule of thumb.
In addition, I chose a primary partition. A hard drive can only have 4 primary partitions. If your partitioning scheme will have more than 4 partitions, make 3 primary partitions. Then, make the 4th partition extended. The extended partition is a container for all the extra partitions. The next screen shows the SWAP partition having been created, and the remaining hard drive space is still unused.
Next, I will use the remaining space to create a single root filesystem partition, which is referred to as “/”. Normally, you would create two partitions here, one for the root filesystem and one for /home. The /home directory is where the users’ individual directories will be created. If you have two users named Jack and Jill, each one’s home directory would be /home/jack and /home/jill, respectively. The reason that you may want to create a separate “home” partition is so that if the operating system is ever reinstalled, the users’ existing data can remain on the hard drive during the reinstall, by simply electing
not to format the
Once the partitions you want have been created, click Done.
Click OK to the message that the partition table is going to be written to the disk.
The partitions selected for the operating system will be formatted. If you have a separate /home partition, a separate screen will appear with an option to format it or not.
The operating system files are then copied to the selected partitions on the hard drive.
After the files have been copied to the hard drive, the boot loader configuration screen will appear. The default bootloader is GRUB with a graphical screen. There is also a GRUB with text screen option, and a LILO bootloader option. It is best not to use the LILO option for technical reasons. Unless you are going to have more than one operating system installed on the computer, it is best to accept the default boot device option, which will install GRUB to the master boot record of your hard drive. The default timeout before booting is 10 seconds, but you can change it here. If you are taking extra precautions about who can boot the operating system on the computer, you will want to set a boot password here. Note that the bootloader must be set to GRUB with text screen for the boot password option to work.
Unless you have experience with configuring GRUB’s boot menu, it’s best to select the default options here.
Preliminary installation has completed. Click Finish.
At this point, you should review the following steps up to the next login. If you printed this document, refer to it instead. Back on the desktop again, click the blue PC icon and select Logout from the popup menu.
Select Restart from the next popup window. Once the screen turns black, the message “Please press <Enter> once the LiveCD is removed” will be shown. Pressing <Enter> will reboot the PC.
When booting from the hard drive installation, the GRUB menu only has two options. Choosing safe mode will not give you a GUI and will not continue the installation.
The rest of the operating system setup procedure is continued. First, select your timezone from the available choices.
Once your timezone has been selected, select either local time or UTC for your computer’s time clock. In addition, you can elect to synchronize your hardware clock with a NTP (network time protocol) server.
Set a strong password for the root user. Root is the same as the Windows Administrator account and will be used when installing software, setting up hardware, etc. A strong password would be one that is not easily guessed, is not a standard dictionary word, has a mixture of upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters, and is at least 12 digits in length.
Enter a user’s real name and login name. Note that the login name must consist of lowercase letters, but can include numbers, as well. But, the username cannot begin with a number. A login name is suggested based on what the user’s real name is. For this example, I chose a real name of school, user name of school, and the same for the password. The password here can be as strong or as weak as you wish to make it, based on your usage needs. The computer may be used by several different students, all with the same username. You can also elect later to automatically login that user when the computer is started, which would bypass the need for a strong password or any password at all.
Once completed, the login screen will be displayed.
The method used to install and update software used in a Linux system may seem very different to a Windows or Mac user. When using Windows or Mac OSX, one may buy a program at a retail store to take home and install on the computer. The installation is performed by running a program from the purchased CD which installs the running program on the computer. The other most common method is to search the internet for a program to be used, download a file or group of files to the hard drive, then run the downloaded file or files to install the running program on the computer. One other, less common method, is to install the running program directly from a web page on the internet.
Linux distributions use a package manager to install new programs and to update already installed programs. When the update function is used, all existing programs are updated at once. This is in contrast to Windows, where each program must be updated individually. The Windows method can become tedious very quickly if one wants to keep all programs up to date. The Linux package manager method can be considered as “one stop shopping”, where the search for new programs is done in one place, similar to a shopping mall.
After installing the operating system and logging in, the first thing that should be done is to check for any software updates. You will need root privileges to do this, but you do not need to login as user root. Any time you perform a task that requires root privileges, the system will prompt you for root’s password. Logging in as user root exposes the operating system to security risks, is almost never necessary and is discouraged. To check for software updates, click the Synaptic Package Manager icon in the orange desktop program bar. The icon is shown below.
A window will appear asking for the root password.
After entering the correct password, the package manager Synaptic will start. In the Synaptic window, the first action to be taken is to click the Reload button in the upper left corner. This will check the software repository for all new software.
Once the software database has updated, click the Mark All Upgrades button.
If there are any software updates available, the Apply button will be unghosted. Click the Apply button to install the updates.
A summary window will appear showing what changes are to be made. It is always a good idea to review what will be removed, added or updated.
To see a summary of each category, click the triangular arrow to the left of “To be …” To proceed with the changes, click the Apply button. The packages will be downloaded to your computer in the next step, and a progress bar will be shown.
When the files have finished downloading, the installation process will begin. The window will be titled Applying Changes, and two progress bars will appear.
NOTE: If you received a message that not all files could be downloaded, you will be asked if you wish to proceed anyway. NEVER proceed anyway. Doing so could leave your system in an unstable condition. Click the large Apply button at the top of the Synaptic window again. If all files still cannot be downloaded, close the Synaptic window and try again later. The files already downloaded will remain on your computer’s hard drive, and you can later resume the downloads from where you left off.
Once all changes have been applied, another summary window may appear. This window will contain messages about certain packages that were installed or updated. It is recommended to always read those messages to see if there any special instructions included. You may occasionally receive a message to logout and login or to close all windows and reboot the computer. The best practice is to perform those actions as soon as you have closed Synaptic and quite all other running programs.
To keep your PCLinuxOS Edu installation healthy and running well, you should check for updates at least twice a month. Once a week is even better. You can also install the update-notifier package which will automatically notify you of any new software updates.
To get help if you have questions or encounter any problems, please visit the Openbox section of the PCLinuxOS forum. Your comments and suggestions are welcome.