Installing Libranet 2.0

Notes on the Debian-based distribution.

Libranet 2.0 now comes on two CDs, and installation time was exactly one hour on my lab rat system (Celeron 850MHz, 320MG, ATA/100 Maxtor IDE HD, ATI Xpert 98 video, AC97 on-board sound chip.)

Since lab rat and my other systems use Caldera's GRUB for booting, I preconfigured /boot/grub/menu.lst to add a chainloader entry for the new Libranet:

chainloader = (hd0,7)+1, 

because my new Libranet boot partition would be hda8 when created. I did this because Libranet needs to reboot in the middle of its installation.

Partitioning is still accomplished by cfdisk, but Libranet 2.0 no longer insists on a separate /boot partition. I prefer to use /boot but decided to follow the recommended partitioning scheme. Reiser FS is the default; no other option was offered. I do not know at this time if it is even possible to use ext2. I'll do another install later and customize the partitioning a bit.

After writing the new partitions, Libranet inquired if I wanted to let Libranet take over booting. I declined, and Libranet then recommended making a boot floppy. This is an improvement over 1.9.1 and a feature well thought out. Libranet then rebooted.

At this point, I had to insert CD1, and it immediately requested that CD2 be installed. During the package installation, I had to swap CDs a couple of times, which was a bit of a nuisance. When all packages were installed, the system booted into the new kernel and began configuring the hardware.

Libranet correctly autodetected my mouse and video card. I would recommend manual configuration, though, because it set the monitor at a very conservative default, only a 640 X 480 display.

Audio was correctly configured (on-board AC97, in my case). Libranet also detected my CD-RW drive and volunteered to set up SCSI emulation. Network configuration(in my case, just dial-up) followed. Voilá.

The first KDE came up at 640 X 480, as mentioned above, and I had to fiddle with X a bit to get 800 X 600. The problem was solved by manually setting the monitor scan rates. By the way, Libranet 2.0 comes with KDE 2.2.2 with KOffice 1.1.

Libranet also now uses CUPS as its vice apsfilter as well as its printtool. Printtool did not work for me with 1.9.1 but apsfilter did.

All in all, Libranet is a very pleasant Debian installation. It still boots remarkably fast despite the 2.4.16 kernel and KDE 2.2.2. The installation is still not ideal for newbies, it remains the domain of the Linux user who understands the mechanics of partitioning. Adding Storm's partition utility would be a big enhancement. Adding LIZARD would make it a dream.


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