Vector Linux 5
1. System requirements 2. Preparing Harddisk Partitions 2.1 Tools for Windows/DOS 2.2 Tools for Linux 2.3 Vector Linux Included Tools 3. Obtaining Installation Media 3.1 Tools for Windows 3.2 Tools for Linux 4. Starting the Installation 4.1 Supported controllers 4.2 Direct ISO Install on a Windows Host 4.3 Direct ISO Install on a Linux Host 4.4 Bootable CDROM Install 4.5 Floppy and CDROM Install 5. Installation process step by step 6. Post-install configuration 6.1 Set up Lilo 6.2 Configure the System 7. Using the system for the first time 7.1 Login to VectorLinux 7.2 System administration 7.3 Create passwords and users 7.4 Reboot and Shutdown 8. Enjoy the fruits of your labor 9. Troubleshooting 10. Credits
Welcome to Vector Linux. A distro with two mottos:
The accurate requirements can be found in the introductory documentation published with each flavoure. The following table list the reasonable requirements.
Of course, you also need compatible keyboard, mouse, and CDROM. Other hardware components optional, such as network card, modem, sound card, cdwriter, DVD, printer, etc. Linux also supports modern USB devices including pen drives, digital cameras, and scanners.
As you can see in the requirements, Vector Linux recomends three harddisk partitions with various size.
When you buy a new computer, usually it has preinstalled Windows OS that occupies the entire harddisk (drive C:\). However, you may find out that most of the harddisk is unused (free) and going to be wasted. Fortunatelly, a big harddisk (say 40 GB) can be divided into smaller partitions (ten partitions of 4 GB each, for example). Each partition can be used for different purpose, thus you may install many operating systems on one harddisk, and boot one of them for an occasion (multibooting).
If you make more partitions, Windows OS automatically presents them as drive C:, D:. E:, etc. Linux uses different convention. Firstly, a computer may have many harddisks. Linux maps each of them as a device. For example:
Next, each harddisk can be divided into four PRIMARY partitions. For the first harddisk (/dev/hda), they are mapped as /dev/hda1 .. /dev/hda4 respectivelly. But hey, wait, we want more than four partitions!
Unfortunatelly, four is a legacy limit you can do nothing about. The work around is, one of the primary partition (/dev/hda2 .. /dev/hda4) can be used as an EXTENDED partition. Inside the extended partition, you may create more LOGICAL partitions. The logical partitions are named /dev/hda5, /dev/hda6 and so on.
With that (hard on my logic) theory, let's get back to business. We need three partititions to install Vector Linux. So, if you use this harddisk entirelly for Vector Linux, a possible partitions layout is:
If you want to install VL alongside Windows-OS, things became complicated because now we need more than four partitions. Here is the recomended partition layout:
You have several choices to accomplish that.
Partition Magic is a popular commercial product for non-destructively resizing, partitioning and formatting the partitions. The GUI interface makes it easy to use. Very recomended.
The free alternative is using Fips (resizing) and fdisk (partitioning).
Fips is a free DOS program for non-destructive splitting of harddisk
partitions. Using fips is beyond the scope of this document. However,
the fips package comes with it's own extensive documentation (http://www.igd.fhg.de/~aschaefe/fips/),
so please take the time to read it before attempting
to resize or partition your drive with this method. Fips is provided
on VL install CDROM. Meanwhile, fdisk is a standard tool on any
We recomend to use SystemRescueCd (http://www.sysresccd.org/). This is a live Linux system on a bootable cdrom that aims to provide an easy way to carry out admin tasks on your computer, such as creating and editing the partitions of the hard disk. For our purpose, it includes these needed programs:
The VL installation CDROM includes a resizing utility (GNU Parted) and partitioning utilities (fdisk and cfdisk). The install program provides friendly menu for them. So don't worry. If you have not prepared the partitions ahead of time using one of the tools mentioned above, you may use the provided tools during the install.
Each flavour of Vector Linux is distributed as an ISO file. The obtain it for installation, the steps are:
You may download the ISO image and MD5 checksum using any web browser, FTP client, or download manager. However, some web browsers (Internet Explorer, for instance) have a tendency to rename .md5 files as .htm or .txt. You can just rename it back to .md5.
For integrity checking, download and unzip the GUI tool md5summer (http://www.md5summer.org/). Make sure you are using version 184.108.40.206 or above. The first time you run it, it asks permission to associate the extension .md5 with itself. If you agree, you just need to double-click on a .md5 file to check the integrity of the original file (as long as they are both in the same folder). Otherwise, you have to manually browse to the .md5 file within the md5summer interface, then click on the "Verify sums" button and select the .md5 file. If you get an OK for the VL .iso image file, you can proceed to burn it as a cdrom image.
There is another tool you could use (this one is command line driven):
After that, you may want to burn the ISO image into a CDROM. For this, use the program that is provide by your cdwriter (e.g: Adaptech CD Writer, or Nero Burner).
Most Linux systems already have the tools. Here is how to do that on Linux console/terminal in three steps:
To start the installation, there are two concerns. The first is about your harddisk controller. Today, there are three common controllers called IDE, SCSI and SATA. You must boot the installation using the kernel that support that controller. The second concern is which install method to use. Depends on the capability of the target computer, Vector Linux can be installed via one of these method:
VectorLinux supports and can be installed on systems using IDE/ATA hard disc controllers, which at the moment of this writing is the most popular ones in standard desktop systems. Other wellknown standard is SCSI controllers, but due to its high pricing, only common on high-end server systems. Meanwhile, the emerging standard is SATA (Serial ATA) controllers, which are being quickly incorporated by motherboards manufacturers.
If you are having difficulties using your SATA disks, make sure you have set the BIOS correctly. In a nutshell, set the BIOS to "Enhanced mode SATA only". This is counterintuitive, but it means use enhanced mode only on the SATA, not just use the SATA and turn off the PATA. If you set it to enhanced mode SATA+PATA, the kernel will lock as it tries to use an IDE driver for the SATA controller. Symptoms are the kernel hanging after detecting hda - hdd.
Please know the type of your harddisk controller, because it determines the kernel needed for installation. The default kernel supports IDE controller. Otherwise, you need to specify scsi or sata kernel during the install.
This is a new method that will save you a CDROM burning. Assume that you already have Windows running on the computer, and the partitions have been prepared as suggested before. Download the following files from Vector Linux FTP site (e.g: ftp://anymirror/pub/vectorlinux/veclinux-5.0)
Then proceed with the installation:
You should replace the “ide” with the name of the kernel that you downloaded earlier. The standard installation process will be started.
If you have another Linux running on the computer, this method will be easy. You need to download the following files into a directory (e.g: /home/download):
Use this method if you already have the VL install CDROM, and your computer is capable to boot it.
First, you may need to change the boot order. Changing the boot
order allows your system to boot from different devices like your
hard drive, floppy drive, CD-Rom, etc.
After the boot order is properly set, place the VL installation media in the drive and reboot the system. The boot process will give you a prompt. This is the chance for you to select the correct kernel that support your controller. If you have no SCSI nor SATA controller, simply press [enter] to use the default kernel (ide). Otherwise, type the kernel you want, e.g:
boot: scsi [enter]That's it. The install procedure will be started.
This method allows you to install Vector Linux using the VL CDROM (any flavour) and two floppy disks. You may have to use this method if:
you launch the installation process, after some initial start up messages,
you'll be taken directly to the install screens.
After the installation is done, you will be required to do some basic configuration, as explained in Section 6.
Once VL has been installed, a configuration screen is presented. This allows you to configure sound and video, set up your network connection if you have one, etc. This screen can also be accessed later using "Vasm" as root.
However, it is recommended that you DO NOT skip this configuration step at installation time.
You will be prompted to set-up “LILO”, the Linux Loader that boots the system.
Choose where to install lilo:
root partition (if you installed VL to /dev/hda2, this would install lilo
have another boot manager that can point to your Linux partition, then
you can install to the root partition where you installed VL. If you want
Lilo to take over the boot process
Choose to enable framebuffer or not. This option affects how the boot process looks, and the onscreen indications will let you know what option is best for you.
Add any additional parameter you need to boot you system. If your system didn´t require any special parameter to perform the installation, then leave this field empty.
If you have them, Lilo will detect the partitions and Operative Systems in you hard disk and allow you to select which ones you want to be present in you boot menu.
you've installed VL, you can change the lilo configuration by using "vasm"
as root, which will bring up the configuration screen again, or, also
as root, you can edit the
Once Lilo is installed, the next steps are to configure this new system. On some circumstate (e.g: when you are installing with ISO-File on a Linux Host), it is not safe to perform the configuration. In this case, you may reboot the system. The configuration will be continued later.
The first screen shows the configuration steps, and allows you to choose which ones are to be performed. The wise decision is to select them all, unless you have experienced some problem with the suspicious step before. Thus you are walked through a series of screens to configure the keyboard, auto setup the basic hardware, select network settings, set the video, sound, and time zone. The configuration will try to detect most of the settings. So this would be easy.
On the last step, the configuration ask you to change the root (superuser) password and add the first ordinary user. Please don't skip this step for your own security. On any Operative System, working daily as root is not advisable, so you should set up a normal user and use that for normal tasks and resort to root only for administering the system.
When this is done, you simply press “OK” to restart the system and boot into VectorLinux for the first time.
When you boot into VectorLinux, you will get six text consoles, and if you enabled it, one GUI desktop. You may switch between them by pressing [Alt]-[F1] through [Alt]-[F7] on the keyboard. You will be asked for a username and password. If you did not change the root´s password during installation you should use root as username and leave the password empty. Otherwise, use the name and password of the account you created earlier.If your system has not running a GUI system yet, but you want it, you may login into a console as ordinary user, then type:
user:$ startxAlternatively, you can launch the GUI login mode by switching runlevel into 4 or 5. Please login as root on the console, then type:
root:# init 4
If you want to further configure your system, you can launch VASM (Vector Administration and System Menu) as root:
This will bring you a menu that enable you to set many basic configuration from administering the user to setting up the file system. The common menu are the ones you have been performed during the installation. Some others are able to configure more advance settings, you might be interested in:
There are many ways to reboot the system, including
From a console (not GUI) press Ctrl-Alt-Del
Meanwhile, to turn off the system, you may:
Type "halt" or "poweroff" from a console.
Please join our message forum as you can get great information and help there to enhance your VectorLinux experience (http://www.vectorlinux.com/forum/).
installation gives you a message saying that it can't find the vector bz2 kernel and / or saying that /dev/xxxx is not a valid block device.
This error usually appears when you have more than one optical drive (CD / CD-RW / DVD) and you are trying to install Vector from the second unit. Move the installation CD to the first drive.
Error type 2:
Installation halts or does not start properly after a seemingly correct installation or you get messages about CRC errors during install
That kind of issue often suggests file corruption during download or a faulty burning process.
The first thing to do, if you haven't already done so, is to check the .iso file for corruption; please refer to section 3 of this manual. If the .iso file passed the mdsum integrity check , then you could try burning the file at a slower speed or use a different brand of media.
Remember to burn as a cd image, not as a conventional file!
Error type 3:
You get one of these two messages:
Panic: Aiee, killing interrupt handler!
There was a problem!
Those errors are usually related to old hardware, and It could mean that you need to pass some commands to the boot process.
Some commands you may try are:
mem=16M (replace 16 with the correct amount of memory in your PC)
These commands disable power management, Notebooks often require them:
Error type 4:
Your SCSI or SATA hard drive is not available to install VL on it.
The required driver for you SCSI card is not being loaded, and therefore your disks are not seen by the install routine.
Error type 5:
Installing from CD-ROM fails with this error: "mount: /dev/scd7 is not a valid block device"
Your CD-ROM or CD-RW requires scsi emulation. When the installation greets you with the first prompt (where it says "boot:" at the bottom left) you should type :
(where x is your cd-rom unit).
If that doesn't work restart and try writing
(where x is your cd-rom unit).
Note: The Linux Kernel 2.6.x treats CD-Rx drives in a different way than previous kernels, so this problem shouldn´t arise, it is still mentioned here for the record.
2004 Vector Linux