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The illustrated installation process

This document intends to help people new to Linux or to installation in text mode.

  • Clicking on the images displays them in their original size
  • To have the document at hand during installation, click on the icon export to PDF on the right of the page and print or save it. Getting the PDF file can take some time as the document is big.
  • You can also click on the top icon on the right Show page source to copy/paste/print the text only, without the images.

So, you have already read How to get and install Slint, and your bootable USB stick or DVD containing Slint is ready.

Here are the steps of installation:

Choose a locale and start the installation
Create the partitions if not already done
Set up the partitions
Install the software packages
Configure the system

Choose a locale and start the installation

After (re)booting you will see this screen if your machine is in BIOS or Legacy mode:

Image: language selection in BIOS or Legacy mode

In UEFI mode the screen is slightly different, but has the same features:

Image: language selection in UEFI mode

Select the language you prefer using the down and up arrow keys, then press [Enter]

The screen becomes black and displays a lot of messages (that you generally do not need to read) about system startup, while the system is being loaded in RAM. This being done, an option to load support for another keyboard is displayed at the bottom of the screen:

Image: change the keyboard map?

The keyboard map proposed matches the language chosen for installation. You may change it or just press [Enter] to accept it.

In the example below we change it to French.

Image: selection of a keyboard map

For that press 1 then [Enter]. This displays a dialog box where we can can check the display typing some characters, that we then erase to press only 1 to confirm our choice or 2 to go back to the previous screen and choose another keyboard map.

Image: confirm the choice of a keyboard map

After that (or directly after having accepted the proposed keyboard map) you will see an informative screen:

Image: informative screen

We will go through the displayed recommendations. After having read them, type the user name of the administrator which is 'root' (do not type the quotes) then press [Enter].

This will display another screen with more recommendations:

Image: screen with more recommendations

We assume that you are installing a new Slint system, thus only the last paragraph is relevant.

Create the partitions if not already done

From now on, you are connected on a “live” system (installed in RAM or Random Access Memory), so you can type any available Linux command.You still need the installation media (DVD or USB stick) however, as it contains the software packages to be installed)

If you have already set up the partitions needed to install Slint Linux, you may skip this part and go directly to Set up the partitions

Nowadays the 'cfdisk' application can handle GPT partition tables as well as MBR (also known as DOS), so you can use cfdisk in all cases to set up your partitions. Of course if that is already done, you can skip this step and just type 'setup' (without the quotes) to display the main installation menu.

If you are unfamiliar with the vocabulary (like partition, MBR or GPT) you can consult the page glossary

If you are blind use fdisk instead: it has same features but is easier to use with a screen reader.

You can type “fdisk --help” to know its usage, and press together [Shift] and [Page up] or [Page down] to scroll vertically.

As an example, we will assume that we install Slint on a new hard disk or SSD of size 1TB, in UEFI mode (this is just an example), that is not yet formatted.

Here is the screen that you will after having typed 'cfdisk' then pressed [Enter]:

Image: screen showing the list of possible labels or types for the partition table

On the bottom of the screen we read “Device does not contain a recognized partition table”. This is not surprising as we use a new hard disk or SSD, not yet formatted. So let's create this partition table.

For UEFI it should have the label (in other words, the type) GPT. select gpt and press [Enter] to continue. If we has started the installation in BIOS or Legacy mode, we could have chosen dos instead.

Now we see a screen that shows the partition table (currently empty: no partition created yet).

Image: screen showing the (empty) partition table

We will set three partitions (this is just an example, other layouts with more partitions can be necessary for specific use cases):

  • A partition of type EFI system, called the ESP (EFI System Partition) that will store the files needed to boot the system, with a size of at least 100MB
  • In case of a multiboot system you could need a bigger size. For instance, in some cases Microsoft recommends 256M for the ESP. But then, probably Windows is already installed and you could reuse the same ESP.
  • If your machine is set up to boot in BIOS or Legacy mode, you do not need an ESP partition.
  • A partition of type Linux swap, to store the data when the RAM becomes full. This is optional, but necessary if you have not much RAM (say, less that 4GB) and/or plan to compile very big programs, even more if you intend to hibernate your machine. If you hibernate your machine, all that is in RAM will be stored there, thus I suggest a the it be a little bigger. We will assume that you have 2GB of RAM and will set the size of the swap partition to 3GB.
  • A partition of type Linux system, as big as possible. We will set its size to 300GB, assuming that you plan to use the remaining space for a future use.
Some people prefer to set a dedicated partition to host the /home directory. I don't see a need for that and the more partitions you create, the more chances you have that one of them become full overtime, but that's only my choice. If you want to set up one, choose the Linux type.

In cfdisk, you can navigate using the [Tab] and the arrow keys, and confirm your choices pressing [Enter]. Select [ Help] and press [Enter[ to know more about its usage.

We will first set up the ESP (EFI System partition). Choose [ New ] then press [Enter]. By default the partition takes all available space (1T). We will type 100M instead:

Image: we set up a size of 100 M for the ESP

We confirm pressing [Enter]. By default the partition will be of type Linux system:

Image: partition created of type Linux system

To change that, we select [ Type ], press [Enter] then move the cursor up to select EFI System:

Image: partition type changed to EFI System

Again, we confirm pressing [Enter], then press the down arrow key to create a new partition in the remaining free space:

Image: create a new partition in the remaining space

We repeat the same process to create a partition of size 3G and type Linux swap, then a partition of size 300G and type Linux system.

After the three partitions have been created, we select [ Write ] to actually write the partition table on the hard disk or SSD (all our settings were stored in RAM until now).

Image: all partitions are now set up, ready to write the partition table

When asked, we type “yes” to confirm. Finally, we select [ Quit ] and press [Enter]: we are now ready to setup the partitions and install Slint Linux.

Set up the partitions

Type setup. This displays the main menu:

Image: main menu

The menu lists the steps needed to install then configure Slint, from top to bottom, some of them optional.

We will skip reading display the HELP file, as this article provides more detailed explanations.

We will also skip KEYMAP as we have already set up the keyboard map.

We will first select ADDSWAP, as we have created a swap partition. The next dialog box tells that our swap partition has been detected and proposes to use it to set up a swap space :

Image: our swap partition has been detected

The partition's name is /dev/sda2. This means than on the device sda that represent our first hard disk or SSD, the swap partition is the second one. A second hard disk or SSD would be named sdb, and so on.

Just confirm clicking [Enter] (as usual). You are now proposed to check the swap partitions for bad blocks:

Image: check the swap partitions for bad blocks?

You can safely accept the default answer No.

The next screen displays the line about the swap space that will be included at end of installation in the file /etc/fstab. This file records the mapping between partitions and directories, and associated file systems (fstab stands for File Systems Table):

Image: the swap space is now configured

After the ADDSWAP step, the installer goes straight to the next step TARGET. It first asks in which partition store the main directory, named root and also designated as /.

Here, the word TARGET designates the partition where the packages will be installed.

Image: choose the root (/) Linux partition

As we have set up only one Linux partition we confirm the proposed choice /dev/sda3. “Format the partitions” means “configure a file system that will manage the files stored in the partition”. We choose Quick format with no bad bock checking.

Image: quick formatting of the root partition with no bad block checking

Several types of file systems can be used to format Linux partitions. We will accept the type ext4 proposed by default for the root partition.

Image: the root partition's filesystem will be of type ext4

Formatting the partitions takes a few seconds. The next screen displays the line that will be added to the file /etc/fstab for the root partition.

Image: line added to /etc/fstab for the root partition

We agree to format the EFI System partition as this allows to put in it the files needed to boot in EFI mode.

Image: we agree to format the ESP (EFI System Partition)

The line that be added too /etc/fstab for this partition is now displayed.

Image: line added to /etc/fstab for the ESP

From there, the installer goes straight to the INSTALL step.

Install the software packages

A software package gathers files to be installed, i.e. written on the hard disk or SSD in given directories, as for instance /usr/bin for most applications.

When asked, select the media from which to install Slint Linux. In this example we chose to install from a DVD.

In this example the installer and the software packages are in the same physical media. It is also possible to use different media, for instance if the packages are on a web server.

Image: choose the type of media that contains the software packages to be installed

We let the installer find the DVD drive automatically.

Image: the installer will find the DVD drive automatically

The installer has found the DVD. Confirm that you are ready to install the packages.

Image: we confirm that we are ready to install the software packages

One line is displayed on the screen for each package's installation. If you can read them all, either you are a very fast reader or your computer is very slow…

Image: packages are being installed

Please be patient. The installation of all software packages will take a few minutes.

Configure the system

After installation of the software packages, the installer write files to register the installed fonts. This will help find the relevant ones when in Graphical mode and takes a few seconds.

Image: the installer sets up the installed fonts

It then stores the font catalog in a so called cache to speed up access to the fonts when needed. This also takes a few seconds.

Image: the installer writes the fonts' cache

Then it proposes to make a USB flash boot. This can help if your system is or becomes unable to boot, for instance because the installation of a boot loader failed, or if the boot sector or files were not updated after a kernel upgrade. We will skip this step in this tutorial, but that's a safety measure that we recommend to take.

Image: the installer proposes to make a USB boot flash

You can also use the installation media to boot the installation system or get into it.

The next step is installing at least a boot loader.

There are two ways of booting an operating system like Slint Linux:
  • In BIOS mode, also known as Legacy mode from a boot sector written directly to the Super block of a disk partition or to the MBR (Master Boot Record) of a disk.
  • IN EFI mode from an “EFI image” (file in a specific format) written in an ESP (EFI System partition)thersystem is already installed

In Slint we uses these applications to set up the system to boot:

  • LILO in BIOS mode,
  • ELILO in EFI modeo

Many systems are able to boot in both modes.y present

If a boot loader like lilo or grub or refind is already used to boot another system on the same machine, you may prefer to skip this step altogether and after installation re-configure it to add a boot entry for Slint.

As we booted the installer in EFI mode, the installer proposes to skip the installation of LILO to just install ELILO. But it is safer to prepare the system to be able to boot in both modes, so we will install LILO anyway. We will ELILO too.

Image: we decide to install LILO

We will now be proposed several choices for LILO installation and in all cases will just accept the default choice.

We select the simple mode (try to install LILO automatically):

Image: try to install LILO automatically

We select the standard video mode:

Image: select the standard video mode

Assuming that we do not need extra parameters in the command line to boot, we just press [Enter]

Image: no extra parameters needed in the boot command line

We select MBR to install to the Master Boot Record

Image: install LILO on the MBR

Then, we agree to install elilo. This will put in the EFI partition the files needed to boot in EFI mode.

Image: we install ELILO

We will also agree to add a boot menu entry. This entry will go in the firmware's boot menu, in CMOS, not in a hard disk or SSD, thus giving us an alternate way to start the boot process.

Image: add an entry in the firmware's boot menu

The next screen confirms the installation of the menu entry.

Image: the boot menu entry has been added

You probably won't see then the next screen, as USB mice are auto-detected.

Image: list of mouse types

Now indicate if you want to use of your mouse to select and paste text when in Console mode. This will work in Graphical mode anyway.

Image: we choose to use the mouse to select and paste text in Console mode

We confirm that we want to configure the network. This is needed, even if you has no local network but just a desktop or laptop, to access to Internet.

Image: we confirm that we want to configure the network

The hostname is needed to identify the machine in a local network. If there is no local network, you can use any name, like machine or box

Image: we type the hostname

Similarly, the domain name serves to reach the machine from the internet, it hosts for instance a web server. Else, you can use any fake domain name.

Image: we type the domain name

Then we are asked how we would like to configure the network. In most cases NetworkManager is the best choice.

Image: we will use NetworkManager to configure the network

We can now confirm our choice. In Slint you will automatically see a widget on your desktop's panel allowing you to manage the connections

Image: we confirm our network configuration choice

Slint can be used as a server as well as a desktop. This implies that you are allowed to run a lot of services. It is safe to just accept the proposed configuration, that you can easily change after installation.

Image: we accept the list of proposed services to run at startup

You will now choose if your computer should start in Graphical or Console mode. A beginner in Linux will often prefer Graphical but in the example I chose Console. This also can easily be changed later

Image: choose to start the computer in Console or Graphical mode

Several Windows managers are available in Slint for the Graphical mode. Pick the one you like or one at random. You will be able to change and try other ones after installation.

Image: choose the default window manager

Is your computer's clock set to UTC? In doubt answer No, but Yes if you travel with it.

Image: tell how the hardware clock is set

Then, select your timezone to properly set up the system's time. Use the arrow keys and page up or down to find it.

Image: select the timezone

We are asked if we want to set up a password for root (the administrator of the system, allowed to see everything and run all commands). We confirm.

Image: we confirm that we will set a password for root

So we type the password…

Image: we type the password for root

And we type it again to make sure we will remember it.

Image: we confirm the password for root

You need also to set up at list a regular (non privileged) user account, so select “Create a new account”.

Image: we create a regular user account

Then type the name associated to the account. It can be your first name, for instance

Image: we type the name associated to the user account

We now type the password for this account…

Image: we type the password

And type it again to confirm it.

Image: we confirm the password

You can go on creating user accounts, when you are done select Exit user setup.

Image: we select Exit user setup

We chose English (the default) for installation, but in case it's not our native language we can set another language for the installed system, as in this example.

Image: we set a language for the installed system

The installation is finished, so we are invited to remove the installation disc (that could as well be an USB stick).

Image: we remove the installation disc

Finally we can just choose yes to reboot. If something has to be done before rebooting, choose No.

Image: we confirm that we want to reboot the system

Slint Linux is now installed. Cheers!

en/installation_process.txt · Last modified: 2017/01/19 21:36 by didier