Installing the Software

The installation program asks you to select the software to install. All Linux distributions provide similar choices. You can select related groups of software (Red Hat calls them components), individual packages, or everything.

Installing everything is simple, but it is only useful when all functions from compute server to mail server are concentrated on one system. Installing everything is not the best approach for most operational servers. Unneeded software wastes disk storage, and can open a hole for an intruder to crawl through.

Selecting individual packages gives the most control over the installation, but it also requires the most knowledge about each piece of software—and it is very time-consuming. There are several hundred individual packages, and many of them are dependent on other packages to function properly. After you select the packages that should be installed, Red Hat checks for package dependencies, and warns you if a package needs additional software to function properly. At that time, you must allow the system to install the packages needed to satisfy the dependencies.

Selecting components is a good compromise for most systems. It is faster than reviewing individual packages for installation, and it gives you more control over the configuration than installing everything.

Select the minimum software needed to effectively run the server. Sometimes, this is not obvious. For example, you might plan on creating a dedicated mail server. You know you need sendmail and the TCP/IP network software, but what about programming languages such as C? You may want to download and compile the latest version of sendmail, which would require C. And you need m4 to create the sendmail configuration file. One possibility is to have a separate development machine compile sendmail, and build the configuration files before placing them on the mail server. This is a more secure configuration than having a compiler sitting on the mail server, but many system administrators prefer to have the compiler on the machine where it is needed. Select the packages that fit the way you manage your systems.

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