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Install the Base System Subsections

Install the Base System

During the ``Install the Base System'' step, you'll be offered a menu of devices from which you may install the base system. Here, you need to select your CD-ROM device.

You will be prompted to specify the path to the base2_1.tgz file. If you have official Debian media, the default value should be correct. Otherwise, enter the path where the base system can be found, relative to the media's mount point. As with the ``Install Operating System Kernel and Modules'' step, you can either let dbootstrap find the file itself or type in the path at the prompt.

Configure the Base System

At this point you've read in all of the files that make up a minimal Debian system, but you must perform some configuration before the system will run.

You'll be asked to select your time zone. There are many ways to specify your time zone; we suggest you go to the ``Directories:'' pane and select your country (or continent). That will change the available time zones, so go ahead and select your geographic locality (i.e., country, province, state, or city) in the ``Timezones:'' pane.

Next, you'll be asked if your system clock is to be set to GMT or local time. Select GMT (i.e., ``Yes'') if you will only be running Linux on your computer; select local time (i.e., ``No'') if you will be running another operating system as well as Debian. Unix (and Linux is no exception) generally keeps GMT time on the system clock and converts visible time to the local time zone. This allows the system to keep track of daylight savings time and leap years, and even allows a user who is logged in from another time zone to individually set the time zone used on his or her terminal.

Make Linux Bootable Directly from the Hard Disk

If you elect to make the hard disk boot directly to Linux, you will be asked to install a master boot record. If you aren't using a boot manager (and this is probably the case if you don't know what a boot manager is) and you don't have another different operating system on the same machine, answer ``Yes'' to this question. Note that if you answer ``Yes,'' you won't be able to boot into DOS normally on your machine, for instance. Be careful. If you answer ``Yes,'' the next question will be whether you want to boot Linux automatically from the hard disk when you turn on your system. This sets Linux to be the bootable partition - the one that will be loaded from the hard disk.

Note that multiple operating system booting on a single machine is still something of a black art. This book does not even attempt to document the various boot managers, which vary by architecture and even by sub-architecture. You should see your boot manager's documentation for more information. Remember: When working with the boot manager, you can never be too careful.

The standard i386 boot loader is called ``LILO.'' It is a complex program that offers lots of functionality, including DOS, NT, and OS/2 boot management. To find out more about this functionality, you can read the documentation in /usr/doc/lilo after your system is set up.

John Goerzen / Ossama Othman