In Sum

Most of the installation steps in this appendix are integrated into a single installation program. Nonetheless, each step is distinct, and requires your thought and input. Proper planning is essential for everything to go smoothly. Most of the decisions in an installation hinge on knowing the hardware upon which the server is built and the software needed for the server to fulfill its purpose. Understand the details of the server's hardware, and know exactly what you want to use the server for before you begin the installation. Develop a partition plan suitable for the server's purpose. With this preparation, you'll be ready for the installation.

This appendix contains a detailed example of installing Red Hat Linux 7.2. However, there are many different Linux distributions to choose from. If you have time, and I know that is a big if for a network administrator, pick a few distributions and work with them. Installing some different distributions provides insight into the workings of Linux and increased confidence in dealing with Linux problems. A side-by-side comparison helps you select the Linux you like best. Linux distributions are so inexpensive that money is not the problem with this approach. The problem is, of course, time.

Furthermore, use a distribution that comes with high-quality installation documentation. Buy the distribution's boxed set that includes the full set of CD-ROMs and a printed installation guide. Installation procedures can change dramatically from one release to another, and the most current documentation is your best protection against being caught off-guard by these changes. Only the documentation that comes with the distribution can give you all the details you need to install the distribution you select.

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