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Best of Technical Support

Kickstart from USB Floppy?

I am using the Red Hat Kickstart installation feature for the 7.2 distribution to install a customized version of Linux on several machines. Currently, I use a floppy drive to boot and store the ks.cfg file on the floppy, so the syslinux.cfg file has a line that looks like this:

label ks
kernel vmlinuz
append text ks=floppy initrd.img lang=
devfs=nomount ramdisk_size=7168

How do I start the Kickstart installation using a USB floppy/USB CD-ROM? I can boot using USB floppy/CD-ROM, but the Kickstart installation fails, as it doesn't find the ks.cfg file residing on the USB device.

—Vishali Karnik, Vishali.Karnik@respironics.com

According to their release notes, Red Hat did begin recognizing USB floppy drives during install with the 7.2 release, so this should be possible. I don't have a USB floppy drive to test this, but the helpful people at Fujitsu Siemens Computers have some advice on how to do Kickstart from USB floppies: www.fujitsu-siemens.com/partner/linux/readme/driver-disks-redhat.shtm. USB floppy drives are detected as SCSI devices. If you have no real SCSI devices on the system, you need to change ks=floppy to ks=hd:sda/ks.cfg. If that doesn't work, drop to a shell during a manual install and cat /proc/scsi/scsi to see what device name in /dev is being assigned to the USB floppy. The first device in /proc/scsi/scsi will be sda, the second will be sdb and so on.

—Don Marti, dmarti@ssc.com

Using a Nonstandard Modem

The PCtel 2304 WT modem with my Dell notebook is not detected by Red Hat 8.0.

—Hari Babu Prasad, hari_bsnl@rediffmail.com

In order to use PCtel-based modems under Linux, you must use a driver module. An unofficial home page, linmodems.technion.ac.il/pctel-linux, provides the latest version, a list of supported modems and a pretty good HOWTO.

—Mario Bittencourt, mneto@argo.com.br

I Have No POP and I Must Get My Mail

I just installed an internet server (Red Hat 7.3), and when I try to access the POP3 mail from another computer, it says the connection is refused. I already checked sendmail, and it's running.

—Fausto Garcia, faustog@gesnet.com.mx

There are two halves to a complete mail server configuration, and sendmail provides only one-half: the mail transfer agent (MTA) using the simple mail transfer protocol (SMTP). This is a push mechanism used for delivery of a message to a target system. It does not provide services for clients to pull messages from their mailboxes.

—Chad Robinson, crobinson@rfgonline.com

POP3 is not provided by sendmail in Red Hat; it is provided by a package named IMAP, more specifically, imap-2001a-10. To configure POP3, follow these steps: 1) load the package from rpmfind.net/linux/redhat/7.3/en/os/i386/RedHat/RPMS/imap-2001a-10.i386.rpm; 2) install it with rpm -Uvh imap-2001a-10.i386.rpm; 3) enable the POP3 service by editing the file /etc/xinetd.d/ipop3 and changing the line that says disable = yes to disable = no; 4) start the service with service ipop3 start; 5) make sure POP3 starts every time you boot your server: chkconfig --level 345 ipop3 on; and 6) test your POP3 service. Of course, you need to have a user account in your server.

—Felipe Barousse Boué, fbarousse@piensa.com

USB Keyboard Quits at Boot

I recently upgraded my Compaq Presario 7000 from Red Hat 7.1 to Red Hat 8.0. My USB keyboard worked fine during the whole setup process. Once the unit boots into runlevel 3 or above, however, the USB keyboard no longer works. To get around this, I have edited my modules.conf file so no USB support is ever started, which is not a great solution.

—Doug Poulin, dougp25@yahoo.com

Make sure your kernel includes “USB Human Interface Device (full HID) support” and “HID input layer support”. Try modprobe hid to see if this actually is a module. If so, you might try adding these lines to your /etc/modules.conf:

alias usb uhci
post-install uhci modprobe hid

—Robert Connoy, rconnoy@penguincomputing.com

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