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E.4. Installation

Each distribution uses a different installation method; in addition, the procedure for each major platform is somewhat different. Hence, it is impossible to go into any great depth in this appendix. A few particular issues are worth examining, however.

E.4.2. Partitioning and Filesystems

Each platform uses its own partitioning scheme or one adapted from another operating system. As a general rule, however, the partitioning schemes are more straightforward than those based on MS-DOS systems. Amigas, Ataris, and Macs don't distinguish between primary and logical partitions and can generally be configured without the disk-size issues that plague Intel systems (the 1024-cylinder limit, for example). Because of the extensive support in the Linux kernel for myriad disk-partitioning schemes, native HP/UX and SunOS partition tables can be used on those platforms.

Although each partitioning scheme is different, under Linux they generally use fdisk utilities based on the original fdisk for DOS-based platforms, so the menus are similar with a few exceptions; for example, the Amiga fdisk program provides the ability to set the AmigaOS mountable flag in the partition table.

Before booting Linux for the first time, some people may want to use a more familiar GUI-based partitioning tool under their existing OS. Amiga users should use either HDToolbox or the tool that came with their SCSI controller; Atari users should use a TOS-partition editor like SCSITool; and Mac users can use Apple's HD SC Setup or the m68k version of the pdisk utility from LinuxPPC Inc. (see Appendix D, "LinuxPPC: Installing Linux on PowerPC Computers" for detailed instructions on how to use it). VME systems, along with the Q40 and Q60, use the MS-DOS partition format (like Linux on Intel and Alpha). Users of other platforms should consult their native operating system's documentation.

Native filesystems are highly supported in recent kernels. All of the Amiga's filesystem formats (OFS and FFS) are supported, as are the Atari's GEMDOS (actually a variant of the MS-DOS filesystem) and the Mac's HFS. The native filesystems on other platforms are generally available as well, through the kernel's support for System V and Berkeley FFS filesystems.

E.4.3. The X Window System

Most people have a love-hate relationship with configuring X. On Linux/m68k, the situation is no different; however, due to the capabilities of the framebuffer device interface, configuration is somewhat easier than on other platforms.

Linux/m68k uses the FBDev X server from XFree86, which is a standard XFree86 server designed for the framebuffer device. This allows video settings to be inherited from the Linux console instead of requiring you to extensively edit your XF86Config file. You may want to adjust the depth settings, but you can leave other settings alone.

Users of machines with high-resolution graphics cards may be interested in using one resolution for the console and higher resolutions for X. This option requires that the framebuffer driver in question supports programming the video mode (i.e., it does not inherit the mode from the machine's native boot loader or it has only one fixed mode). Programmable video modes may be added to the XF86Config file. The format of the mode information is identical to the format used in XF86Config on all other architectures; you can also output appropriate mode lines from the fbset utility.

The X server and console also work together in that you can adjust framebuffer settings on the command line using the fbset program and then output the settings in a format that can be copied into your XF86Config file for switching modes within X.

Unfortunately, the XF86Config files shipped with distributions usually include extraneous information that is not relevant to m68k users (and only serves to confuse them). This is an area of concern that the Linux/m68k team plans to address in the near future.

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