RedHat 7.1 mini-review

Troy Engel tengel at
Tue Apr 24 17:37:46 PDT 2001

Next in our series is RedHat 7.1 - our victim this time is none other than:

1) PII-300 Dell Inspiron 3500, 128m RAM, 4.6gig disk, Neomagic audio/video, Xircom Cardbus Realport 100+56k combo type III card

RedHat offers the choice of graphical vs. text install - historically I've had to use the text install, as the gfx mode on laptops is a bad idea.  This time I decided to live on the edge and try it, and it worked great. (wwooooo, he's dangerous - watch out!) 

They've definitely revised the installer and actually had it make sense this time!  For once I actually think they've done a good job; the initial screen is package selection type (Workstation, Server, Custom, Laptop), followed by the partitioning tool.  The tool did a nice job (I think you could call it a GTK version of Disk Druid).  Next we configure the network (DHCP or static) and on we go to package selection - you get the classic KDE/GNOME choice, but this time you can also "Select Individual Packages" - cool.  For some reason these dorks never think you need mtr, tcpdump, and other cool junk like that; the default selections were nice, requiring very little change on my part.

After that is the standard installation of packages, make a boot disk, remove the CD and reboot.  Wait, where's the "where do you want to put the MBR?" screen?  It appears to be missing, or perhaps the installer is smart enough to realize I have no other bootable partitions (only one 0x0a hibernate slice) and does the right thing.  In any case, I crossed my fingers during reboot that it didn't screw up.

System comes up (I chose runlevel 5), log in and everything is kosher except for the hostname and domainname.  Weird, the installer shoulda done that -- I used the RedHat tool to redo the network real quick stops working right.  What?!?  Yup, I can't open any more term windows, run other apps.  Hrm, so I log out and....GDM doesn't come back up! christ, what have they gotten me into.  A little futzing and a reboot, and now it came up fine again - my only guess is that the changing of hostname screws up the X display forwarding and leaves you in limbo. Not pretty.

Other than that, the system is pretty tight - latest stable kernel (2.4.2 - 2.4.3 has problems), openssh 2.5.2p2, openldap 2.0.7, and so forth down the line.  I chose the GNOME desktop (we all know how RedHat loves KDE - not!), it's the 1.2 GNOME setup, not 1.4.  Xinetd is now the default; a quick nmap against the box is looking good.

So anyways, there ya go.  The Ximian servers are way tapped out right now, so I can't try that upgrade; meanwhile, I burn Mandrake 8.0 disks to give it a shot on this laptop as well....


Troy Engel
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