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Installing CentOS 5.4 over HTTP

Installing a distro, in this case CentOS over HTTP is a good learning experience however, beyond learning it can have some great benefits:

- You can boot from small media, for example a 100Mb USB drive
- You get all the latest builds for software and services
- You might have a customised repository of packages on your network that your company uses that you want to install from

First, you will need to get a copy of the network install ISO and burn it to your chosen media. The size of the ISO is only 9.4Mb so a nice and quick download.

CentOS Downloads

Start the installation
Once downloaded and burned to your media, boot from the device. You will be presented with a screen where you can choose the install process. Either graphical or text mode.


linux text

And hit enter.

You will then be presented with a screen loading the Linux kernel and drivers. This is nothing to worry about, let it progress.

Language and country
Select your language (English), hit enter and then select your country and hit enter.

Installation method
In the next stage you need to select HTTP as the installation method.

Network configuration
On the TCP/IP configure screen, unless you have IPv6 support simply uncheck it by selecting it and hitting the space bar. If you’re using DHCP hit enter on OK otherwise change from “DHCP” to “Manual configuration” and hit OK.

Manual network configuration:
Here you will need to enter your IP address, CIDR (Usually 24, ask your network admin), gateway and a single name server.

Repository details and stage 2 download
The next part to configure after the network is the location in which your install will build from. This example will be based on the repository:

Web site name:
CentOS directory: centos/5.4/os/x86_64

Please note, dependent upon the version you wish to install and the architecture change 5.4 (version) and x86_64 (architecture) .

Hit OK. If you are presented with a retrieving screen stating the install is retrieving images/stage2.img then the details you’ve entered for the HTTP host are correct, otherwise you may have input the wrong details. Go to the mirror directly in your browser and make sure you have the correct details.

Downloading the second stage may take a little while dependent upon the speed of your network connection and the mirror you’re downloading from.

Onwards and upwards!
Once stage2 has been downloaded you will be presented with a screen asking you if you wish to use VNC or text mode, select text mode – we’re techies here, we do not need a GUI ;) .

Upon selecting text mode the installer will try and detect your graphics mode and then present you with a screen saying “Welcome to CentOS!”, a bit early for that I think, we haven’t completed the install yet but a nice gesture none-the-less.

You may receive a warning stating no partitions can be found, that’s fine, we want to create the partitions anyway so hit yes to erase all data on the drive.

Partition setup
For this specific install we’re going to use the default setup, in this case the server only has a single drive which is already selected – choose your medium and hit OK.

If you wish to create your own partition layout, feel free to do so, you will be presented with a screen to form your layout.

You will be asked to confirm your actions and if not creating a custom partition layout you will be asked to review and modify the partition layout. For the sakes of this tutorial, I’m happy with the base layout.

Boot loader
You will need to choose whether you wish to install Grub or no boot loader at all. Grub is nice and for the sake of this tutorial we’re going to use Grub. Hit OK!

Boot loader configuration
Upon selecting grub you will be presented with a screen allowing you to setup parameters to be passed to the kernel upon boot – by default you should not require any specific options but if you do this is the time to enter them.

Boot loader password
Enter your boot loader password, this prevents anyone without a password changing the boot parameters however usually isn’t required. This decision is entirely down to you – just remember the password if you set one!

Other partitions for grub to boot
For this specific install there are no other operating systems on the server so there is no need to select other bootable systems. If you have more than one OS installed make sure you configure it here.

Boot loader location
Select the location of the bootloader, the MBR is usually the best place to put it however if you are dual booting this will overwrite any other OS’s bootloader you have in the MBR so be careful.

eth0 (network) configuration
Yes you do want to configure the interface, so do so. Make sure activate on boot and IPv4 are selected and continue.

The rest of the eth0 configuration will be based on your initial configuration of your network earlier on in the setup. If the details are correct continue otherwise change as required.

You will also get a chance to enter a secondary DNS server.

Hostname configuration
If you’re using DHCP your hostname may be provided for you, otherwise enter the name manually and hit OK.

Simple, select your time zone

Root password
It’s usually a good idea to set the root password as something you’ll remember ;)

Package selection
Select the packages you wish to install, no desktop is required if you’re accessing the server via CLI only.

You can customise the software that will be installed however the base install isn’t too bad.

Hit OK and continue when done.

A dependency check will be done and then you’re ready to start the installation. Hit OK and wait for the install to complete. The install took 15 minutes to finish running on a 2ghz processor with a gig of RAM.

Once the installation is complete you are able to hit reboot, remember to remove your boot media.

Setup agent
Once rebooted you will be presented with a setup agent. This allows you to configure authentication (users), firewall, network and system services. Go ahead and do so if need be, but don’t wait too long to decide as the screen will automatically be bypassed.

I do suggest setting up a non-root user for security reasons.

Congratulations, your server should now be running CentOS 5.4. Cool ‘eh?

Posted in Linux on the 25th February 2010

3 people have spoken their minds!

  1. Thank you very much for the content in this blog. I dont usually reply to many blogs, usually just a lurker however i feel you needed comments because of the quality of this article. Thank you.

  2. I know this is really boring and you are skipping to the next comment, but I just wanted to throw you a big thanks, you cleared up some things for me!


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