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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,

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: 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,

Using a Nonstandard Modem

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

—Hari Babu Prasad,

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

—Mario Bittencourt,

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,

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,

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; 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,

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,

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,